As a Catholic, may I witness my grandson’s Lutheran first communion?




Full Question

My husband and I are Catholic; our daughter and her family are Lutheran. Her son is now going to make his first holy communion but at a Lutheran church. Is this acceptable, and are we as grandparents and Catholics allowed to attend his first communion at a Lutheran church?

Answer

We could not recommend that you attend such an event since Lutheran churches do not have a valid priesthood and thus do not have a sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. While Lutherans who take communion in their churches in good faith may be blessed by God for their attempts to please him, in fact their community rejected the priesthood at the time they broke away from the Catholic Church, and so their ministers do not have the power validly to celebrate the Eucharist.

As a result, your attendance at the event in question would seem to imply that you recognize or endorse the idea that your grandson is actually receiving further Christian initiation by receiving the Eucharist (one of the sacraments of initiation). That is a message you must not send as it would constitute a form of false witness to your family and to your grandson.

Matters would be different if the sacrament were valid—for example, if he were being baptized or married in the Lutheran church (those two sacraments being valid among Lutherans) or if he were receiving Communion in a church that has a valid Eucharist (such as the Greek or Russian Orthodox churches).

But to attend a non-Catholic ceremony that one knows to be invalid—whether it be a baptismal ceremony, a marriage ceremony, or a first communion ceremony—would be to send the wrong message. It would be better, if more painful, to say, “We know that this is event is meaningful to you, but we cannot attend.”





117 comments

  1. Patricia Reply

    Absurd! What are you thinking? Of course you should go. The primacy of your conscience is your guide. This is family. For God’s sake (really) you should go.

    1. keda smith Reply

      surely attending the ceremony is ok? They are not planning to receive communion themselves. I find the answer to be very harsh, surely this would cause derision in the family if his nana and poppa weren’t there for him.
      I have always been under the impression I can attend a non Catholic Church as long as I do not participate in the service i:e receive communion etc

      1. Lois Reply

        How do you refrain from receiving their communion because it is not The Eucharist but still attend the service celebrating, thus joining in with the celebrating, of your grandson’s receiving these invalid sacraments? As a previous Missouri Synod Lutheran, I am aware that there are two celebrations in this… They receive confirmation and first communion together.

        On my journey into The True Church, I became painfully aware of the invalidity of communion outside of The Catholic Church and hated not being able to receive, precisely because I believed in the True Presence as a Lutheran (even though Lutherans do not believe that The Lord remains in and under the bread and wine after service, I as a Lutheran was never taught this and thus did not believe that Jesus just exited after Divine Worship). I even took offense at people who told me we believed it, but that didn’t stop it from being what the Lutheran Church taught. However, I was all the more joyous upon receiving the Real Thing.

        I do believe these grandparents can convey their love for their grandchild (who should be in about the 8th grade) and explain why they can not join in a celebration that they do not believe in. Our teenagers see through the wishy washy-ness of us adults. Even if he does not agree, he will respect them for standing by what they believe. If we can not suffer the slight consequences we might currently experience for our beliefs, why on earth would any one else want what we have?

        I have been on both sides of this coin, my fundamentalist Baptist family refused to attend the Baccalaureate Mass for my daughter’s graduation, and I have been the one who refused to attend (witness as matron of honor) my sister’s wedding to a Catholic man outside of the Catholic Church, in said fundamentalist church. I respected my family’s choice and did not give them the grief that I received from them when the shoe was on the other foot.

      2. Karen Linsmayer Reply

        If the child was baptized in the Catholic Church, as my grandsons were, and parents were both raised Catholic, I definitely will not be going and approving of their leaving the church.

    2. Janine Reply

      ConscIence is the last thing you should pay heed to, if it contradicts the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

      1. Father Dominic Reply

        but the teachings of the church require that one follows his or her conscience. this does no harm to anyone, but is a loving grandparent attending a special moment her his/her granchild’s life. not going would be a sin against charity.

        1. Mario Reply

          I would not follow my conscience. I would follow the teaching of the Catholic Church. true and purchased at a price. Imagine if Christ would have made excuses in Jn 6; ie, i meant symbolically! because Moses said do not eat uncooked flesh or drink the blood of any thing. Strong language as it was. The Lord fulfilled the law completely

        2. Toni Bright ( grandparent to 9 children with faith and integrity in their lives) Reply

          Thank you Father Dominic! Encouraging a grandchild to have faith and love and follow the Lord is so important! God is love.

        3. Anthony Reply

          I disagree Father Dominic, it would be a sin against charity to attend the event. The attendance at the event would seem to imply that you recognize or endorse what is going on; and that would be the most uncharitable thing you could do. And the teaching of the Church is to conform ones conscience to the Catholic Faith.

          1. Donna

            Anthony, your remarks are just one of the reasons I left the Catholic church. It is divisive and unloving which in my opinion is caused by caustic and spiteful comments such as yours.

          2. Diane

            I agree with you Donna. Trying to be as charitable as possible, I can only say that Anthony’s remark is nonsense.

    3. Marlene Reply

      If your a catholic then you have to go…nevermind all that..your grandson will think there is something wrong with his church and you wont have the same relationship that you had..so the catholic church is telling you not to go thats a bit two faced..jesus would of never said to stay away from your grandsons first communion..so they are judging …and thats not godly

      1. Father David Sharland, YA Reply

        The Catholic Church is NOT telling anyone not to go. A website has suggested they shouldn’t go. This website does not speak with the authority of the Church. The initial response raises some very good points, but I would disagree with their answer. I think the grandparents should go, not receive communion themselves, and make sure both the grandson and his parents understand, in great love, why they didn’t receive.

        1. Marie Caron Reply

          Thank you for that reminder Fr David

        2. Shane Reply

          Thank you Father. I was about to type these exact words.

      2. Margarett RBC Zavodny Reply

        But there is something wrong with the Lutheran ecclesial body. Jesus would have expected us to follow his teachings–all of them. We are indeed called to judge actions. Right Judgement is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    4. Sabrina Harper Reply

      I wholeheartedly agree with Patricia on this issue. Regardless of theology (not to say that it’s not important, but…) this is a pastoral issue. It is important for parents to support their children and grandparents to support their grandchildren. The grandson is being raised in the faith of Jesus Christ, these arbitrary distinctions between Catholics and Lutherans are man-made arguments that are of no consequence. The primacy of your conscience is your guide. Family is more important. God is love, show your love for your family and be god-like.

    5. Clay Evans Reply

      Patricia, I so agree with you. I am fully Catholic … Drank the cool aid a long time ago. This answer was so far from where the church that I know is, through the leadership of our last three Popes. The rigidity of the person who answered this question leaves me speechless. Keda makes the best point. This couple are not “participating in the liturgy” but celebrating a Christian family milestone. And to the writer of the answer, Lutherns do support and offer the Eucharist. Albeit not as Transubstantiation (Catholic) but Consubstantiation (both the Body of Christ and bread).

    6. Jimmy Reply

      ‘Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgements. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.’ (paragraph 1801 Catechism)

    7. AMARINE GRIPOND Reply

      As a catholic, were you not taught to extend love and attention to all ? were you not taught that the sabbath was made for MAN, not the opposite? were you not taught to share meals with sinners? were you not taught to PRAY WHEN YOU HAVE A QUESTION ? were you not taught THAT YOUR FATHER GAVE YOU FREE WILL ?
      …..so NOW…..what do YOU think and feel ?

    8. Marie Caron Reply

      Yes, please go! Your grandson needs all the support and prayers you can give him in following Jesus in a hostile society. Your love and grace and faith are so very important, and your actions will say much to him about what is right and good and beautiful about your Roman Catholicism. Go – praise him for taking this step of faith. Ass you are able, give his a faith momento and a ‘fun’ gift. If you do not go, he may not understand that you do not accept this rite in the Lutheran church. He may feel you are rejecting him and his non-Catholic parent. Be gracious. Be loving. Jesus did not always agree, but he loved. You are not expected to receive Communion in his Lutheran church.

  2. dommia11 Reply

    I have a huge problem with this answer. How is that going to help bring the daughter and her family to the Catholic faith when they’ve pretty much caused division and anger with their refusal? Not only is the daughter going to be hurt by their rejection, but the innocent grandson as well. He did nothing, why should he be punished by not having grandparents he loves there for him no matter the ceremony. l really think that is the wrong way to go about it and would only cause anger. My family is not Catholic but nothing would stop me from attending their ceremonies.

  3. Bridget Reply

    I was told by many priest that as long as you know the truth of the Catholic Church, and know that what they are doing is not right but still want to be there for your loved one, it is okay to attend the ceremony. But if you are weak in your knowledge and faith in the Church then attending the ceremony is not recommended. It does not send a wrong message if you go to the ceremony and know its not Christ they are receiving in the sacrament, it just enforces more understanding.

    1. Mary Reply

      The best, most informed answer yet. My family is half Lutheran and half Catholic. We love and respect each other but know the boundaries concerning Communion. That does not mean that we do not celebrate our love for Jesus in our lives and family though. He unites us.

      1. Diane Reply

        As a practicing Catholic I find the use of the phrase ” what they are doing is not right” unfortunate. The
        Lutheran tradition is certainly not the same as the Catholic tradition but that does not make it wrong for those who embrace the Lutheran tradition. Once again, no one is suggesting that the grandparents practice, become, or promote their grandson’s religion. The are simply celebrating this child’s participation in HIS faith tradition.

  4. Isaac Mounce Reply

    Plus, these Lutherans and other protestants are basically nothing more but heretics, who we should not even associate with.

    1. Lois Reply

      Whoa there…while I fully believe in abiding, thriving in the teachings of The Church, we must ‘associate’ with those of other or no faiths. That, however, does not mean not adhering to our own.

    2. foxglove2013 Reply

      Heretics, seriously, Isaac? I don’t think the Church has espoused that for years. It certainly doesn’t bring others to the faith, only to harsh judgement of others. As I understand, the Church states we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Wishing you peace in Christ.

      1. Margarett RBC Zavodny Reply

        Yes, the Church does indeed take heresy very seriously, especially in this day and time!

    3. Rob Reply

      Dear Issac,
      You are my brother in Christ. I would never ask you to compromise your practice of our catholic faith. You happen to be Roman; I am Methodist. I confess my belief in one holy catholic and apostolic church every Sunday. (Lower case c as in universal)

      While our connection may not be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, he is our brother too.

      When my friend Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb invited me to participate as a protestant witness at the memorial mass for Pope John Paul II, eagerly accepted his invitation. When he greeted me during the peace I welcomed his embrace. And yes, on the occasion of my congregation’s 180th anniversary, he attended the worship service, as did the Chancellor.

      During the worship service I presided over Holy Communion. I am obliged by our tradition to offer the Eucharist to all who confess their sins and seek to lived in peace with God and neighbor. He, as a Roman prelate was obliged to decline. He did not leave or object. He observed in a worshipful manner. After the service he complimented me. “That was a fine job of presiding.” he said. I was touched.

      There are doctrines that distinguish us. That does not mean that we are divided. The lost ones are watching us. Let’s agree that our witness must draw them to Jesus.

      Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

      1. Donna Reply

        A beautiful response, Rob… made my heart full!

        1. Rob Reply

          Thank You Donna. Also, you might find John Wesley’s “Letter to a Roman Catholic” refreshing. It was written to be published in an Irish newspaper. Would to God that Anglo-Irish relations, both temporal and spiritual, could have taken this tone.

          “If your heart is as my heart, then give me thy hand.”

          May the world see “Christ in (us) the hope of glory!

          Rob

          1. Donna

            I’m trying to reply to Rob, not Clay Evans, but the site won’t let me; so let me just say to Rob a huge thank you!!! I too am a Methodist (born and raised), joined the Catholic church , and went back to my original, beautiful Methodist Church. Everyone there was glad to see me, unlike the other. I was and am HOME!! It feels wonderfully peaceful! I am going to read your recommendation. Thank you loads, Rob!!!

          2. Donna

            Rob, I love your words. I, too, am a Methodist, born and raised. I turned to the Catholic church for some years, but after much disillusionment, I returned to my loving Methodist Church. They were glad to have me and I am filled with joy to once again be HOME!

    4. Michael Houston Reply

      Isaac, that is very unchristian, in fact it’s sectarian and bigoted, you should reflect and reconsider your relationship with Christ, would he think like that? I don’t think so

  5. Adaku iwuogo Reply

    Yes oo!

  6. dolly Reply

    Sorry father but this seems unfair for grandparents and for us catholics who accept people as they are

    1. foxglove2013 Reply

      Couldn’t agree more. When this child understands his beloved grandparents were forbidden to attend an important event in his life, do you think that will positively affect his perspective of the Roman Catholic Church? I have a difficult time believing that Pope Francis would agree with this lack of support for love and family.

  7. -vb- Reply

    Hi! I am also a Catholic.

    I read in a Catechism book that I may attend events made by other Christian sects or other religions for “social reasons”, and as long as I am not particularly participating in their rites/rituals. Please correct me if I’m mistaken.

  8. Alex Reply

    Why catholic bishops discussed and voted though not passed issue of homosexuality while is against life? I think it is some thing not to discuss but to rebuke and reject all over. WHY? you make my faith get down on catholic

  9. Jim Wilson Reply

    Nor ought our Romanist friends expect to be communed in the Catholic and Evangelical Church known as Lutheran, until that is, they have been instructed in the Faith and in consequence of their agreement in it, are received as members. We would not harm those, nor offend our Lord by distributing His Body and Blood into those who are not so examined and rightly prepared.

  10. Andrew Reply

    Sad to say that so many people do not follow through with thought out logic and have fallen into the trap of relativism.

    1. Lois Reply

      So right, I am afraid.

    2. Jana Reply

      I am a Catholic all my life, growing up with Lutherans friends , i don,t see the reason why can not grand parents be there? What harm can that do? There is only” ONE GOD” We all worship the same GOD! Just for thinking all those of different faint will be punish by GOD?

  11. Donna Reply

    This sort of thinking and believing is exactly why I left the church. The child does not know the difference for heaven’s sake! By not attending, you would possibly be making a family ununited. Only love of God comes before love of family in my estimation.

    1. Lois Reply

      “Only love of God comes before love of family in my estimation.”

      Love of both are the very reasons they should not attend.

      “The child does not know the difference for heaven’s sake!”

      This young man (teenager at least) should be well instructed in Luther’s Large & Small Catechism, just in his preparation with his church for reception.

      We would welcome you back in an instant.

      1. Donna Reply

        Lois, that’s not going to happen. The Catholic church is divisive in so many ways! I taught in a catholic school system; I know how it works. No retirement for teachers, custodians, or kitchen help; but certainly the superintendent and principals got it. Purchase of property never stopped, infact increased, yet no retirement for its “grunt labor”. We had a loving, caring staff who saw to it that our students achieved above and beyond the public schools. Finally, when the priest “lost” my annulment papers THREE, yes I said 3, times that was the final straw. Now, by not attending the family is going to be further divided… is that what Jesus would do??

    2. Debi Reply

      Exactly correct

  12. chris Reply

    You should not distance yourself from family. They know with you being Catholic what your stance is. In no way should you participate but not going would cause more harm them good. If you fail to go, the door will close tightly on any further evangelization…. If you are well grounded in the Catholic faith then there should be no problem..that answer applies primarily with Catholics questioning their faith….Good luck and God Bless

  13. Miss_EH Reply

    If you want to be simply horrible and disrespectful to your daughter and her family, by all means don’t attend. If you want to be decent, loving grandparents, attend. There are some families who keep their relatives firmly at a distance, and it’s for reasons just like this. Why would they want to subject their beloved son to grandparents who have plainly demonstrated they are unfeeling, cold, and judgmental?

  14. Rev. Dean Kavouras, Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church Reply

    As a Lutheran pastor this answer makes me angry. Today is Martin Luther’s birthday, and I now celebrate it in these waning hours with more joy. O that a new Luther would appear, who would teach Rome the truth Gospel of Christ: and how to give the fingers of Christ the full glory for his sacrament, and not the fingers of man.

    I don’t know if this answer actually represents the official teaching of the Roman church. But if it does, I thank the writer for reminding me that nothing has changed since Trent, and any thawing of relations between our denominations is a mistake.

    1. mommalovesherbabies Reply

      Reverend Kavouras, this is not the entirety of what the Catholic Church teaches. I am a convert to the Catholic Faith from the Baptist Church. I went to extensive OCIA classes and was fortunate to have had a wonder priest who was a Canon Lawyer to be my catechist. While we may have different views on the truth of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Catholics believe that when the bread and wine are prayed over in the mass (and this is only done by a priest of the church) the holy spirit enters the bread and the wine and through the power of the Holy Spirit it truly becomes the body and blood of Christ and we are receiving His Body and Blood when we receive Holy Communion. Most protestants do not believe this and this is why Catholic Churches ask our non Catholic visitors to refrain from receiving communion. This is why the grandmother should not receive communion from the pastor at the Lutheran Church where her daughter attends. However, she should go and witness her grandchild’s communion and there is no harm done as long as she herself does not receive the communion because it goes against what we believe in. I do not know what the Lutheran Church teaches and if I teaches that the bread and wine are only mere symbols of the act that Christ performed at the last supper than a Catholic should not be participating. However, going in support of her grandchild would not be considered a sin as far as I can see. The catechism of the Catholic Church is readily available to anyone who wishes to read it and can be found at any book store that sells religious material.

      1. John Reply

        Lutherans believe that Christ is present “in, with, and under” the bread and wine — a Real Presence. It would be a sad mistake if this loving grandmother were not present for this important occasion in her grandson’s life. I find the writer’s answer to be insulting to all non-Catholic Christians and certainly does not help in achieving Christian unity.

        1. Mario Reply

          wish I knew what the real problem is, instead of not focusing outside of the self by contending on the validity of the Eucharist, by now things seem very much confused by the enemy. Some of the mistakes Luther made and he still has a following or it seems like. The original mistake the Catholic Church made and the changes it has gone through. My question is if the Catholic Church has all the validity, where is the humility of acknowledging its truth

    2. TS Reply

      Didn’t Martin Luther come back to the Catholic church?

      1. with-a-z Reply

        He did when he saw the face of God and realized his errors surely.

    3. Lois Reply

      Actually, the teachings of The Catholic Church have not changed since the council of Trent, or since Jesus Christ for that matter. Thanks be to God for the Magisterium.

      The Catholic Church is not a denomination.

      Protestants have denominations.

      Please, keep in mind, we were not the ones who left.

      1. lisa Reply

        Lois – Luther didn’t leave – he loved the Church. It was the Church that kicked him out and put a price on his head, all because he wanted to correct certain abuses… like selling indulgences.

  15. dclarion Reply

    Please attend. This is a significant event in the life of your grandson. Your family is real, unlike the deity the Catholic Church invented. I will say that the attitude shown by the person answering your question is one of the reasons for my apostasy, the second-best decision of my life.

  16. lou Reply

    Your faith is in God and his and his son Jesus’s teachings and the main teaching is LOVE, you love your family so go, God also gave us the gift of free will, is that also now disallowed in the Catholic faith?

  17. Susan Masten Reply

    What would Jesus do? He would attend and probably bring wine to the celebration after the Communion! It angers me to no end that the author would respond with disdain for your immediate family and for another Christian faith. God is a loving and merciful God – and as such, I can’t imagine that God would want anything other than you supporting your family. Peace!

  18. Thomas Moeller Reply

    I applaud the answer. It is good to actually read a good example of good and bad doctrine mixed together and see that the good portion is ruined by the bad.

    The Christian Book of Concord: Smalcald Articles, Part III, Article X. Of Ordination and the Call.

    1] If the bishops would be true bishops [would rightly discharge their office], and would devote themselves to the Church and the Gospel, it might be granted to them for the sake of love and unity, but not from necessity, to ordain and confirm us and our preachers; omitting, however, all comedies and spectacular display [deceptions, absurdities, and appearances] of unchristian [heathenish] parade and pomp. 2] But because they neither are, nor wish to be, true bishops, but worldly lords and princes, who will neither preach, nor teach, nor baptize, nor administer the Lord’s Supper, nor perform any work or office of the Church, and, moreover, persecute and condemn those who discharge these functions, having been called to do so, the Church ought not on their account to remain without ministers [to be forsaken by or deprived of ministers].

    3] Therefore, as the ancient examples of the Church and the Fathers teach us, we ourselves will and ought to ordain suitable persons to this office; and, even according to their own laws, they have not the right to forbid or prevent us. For their laws say that those ordained even by heretics should be declared [truly] ordained and stay ordained [and that such ordination must not be changed], as St. Jerome writes of the Church at Alexandria, that at first it was governed in common by priests and preachers, without bishops.

  19. Kyle Ness Reply

    Of course you should go, It’s first communion of your grand kid and not only that, you can fully participate in communion. In a Lutheran church you are free to come up for communion as long as you believe in the holy spirit, that Jesus died for all sins. And the service lasts 45 min to an hr usually.

    1. Rev. Don Pobanz Reply

      There are many different Synods known as ‘Lutheran’. Not all are alike. ‘Open communion’ is practiced in some Synods, but not in others.

  20. Franz Reply

    Opinion much? Please learn the facts about what you’re denouncing, before you make a fool of yourself. This blog is going around the Lutheran community as completely absurd and misrepresenting everything Christianity is about. We’re having a good laugh at your ignorance. (Baptism and Communion are the only true sacraments. Marriage is not.)

  21. tpel Reply

    I am Catholic, and am godmother (sponsor) to a Lutheran girl. When she received her first communion, not only did I attend, but I took communion with her that one time — normally, when I attend her church I don’t receive. Before doing this, I discussed it with both her pastor and mine. The Lutheran pastor was fine with it, as they do not prohibit other Christians from receiving. My pastor and I looked into Cannon Law, and found that normally Catholics are not supposed to receive communion from sources that the Church does not consider valid. But there is an obscure exception: one may do so “whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or indifferentism is avoided” (CL 844). Naturally, it would be pretty rare for true spiritual advantage to result from receiving communion from a priest outside one’s denomination, and the examples given focused on advantage for the individual receiving, not for another. But my pastor and I agreed that it could apply to my situation: receiving communion (and talking with her about why) would be to my goddaughter’s spiritual advantage; doing it only on her first communion day would avoid indifference. Now, the grandparent role is different from the godparent role. So, I don’t think that receiving communion would necessarily be called for in that case. But attending? Absolutely.

    1. Fr Thomas Reply

      Hi Tpel,

      If you read the entirely of that subsection 844(2), it states:

      §2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

      So the sacraments must be considered valid. Since Lutheran Eucharist is considered invalid by the Catholic Church owing to the lack of a validly ordained priesthood, then this provision would not apply to receiving communion from the Lutheran Church.

      God bless

      Fr Thomas

    2. Lois Reply

      Tpel
      It grieves me to hear that you were counseled this way….. Say it isn’t so….. :'(

  22. karen Reply

    Why is everyone condemning the grandparents. The daughter was raised Catholic, she is the one who turned her back on the faith her parents passed on to her. I would send a card and a child’s catechism of the Catholic Church. Something his mother should have been teaching him!

    1. Donna Reply

      So are you, Karen, saying the grandparents shouldn’t go? The baby has nothing to do with its mother leaving the Catholic church. I pray that families can be united with God and His son at the top of their unity…. regardless of what congregation they share their faith.

    2. Simple Catholic Layman Reply

      Excellent comment Karen. The indifferentism exhibited by catholics on this page is astounding. Faithful catholics didn’t pinch incense to the Roman emperor just to please family & friends. Likewise, faithful catholics shouldn’t pretend to recognize the mock/invalid sacrament of a heretical group that stole away a daughter and grandchild from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

      1. Lois Reply

        Simple, I love this!

  23. mommalovesherbabies Reply

    As far as the Eucharist not being valid, I agree and this grandmother should by all means remind her daughter, in a private conversation, that she has chosen to leave the fullness of the church and that her child’s communion is not truly the eucharist. However, you should not create scandal in your family by not supporting your grandchild. As far as baptism goes, I am sorry but you are dead wrong on what the church teaches about baptism. The church fully recognizes baptisms from other non catholic Christian churches as being valid baptisms and I know this because I am a convert and my Baptist baptism was recognized as valid. Any Christian can perform a baptism, it is one sacrament that does not require that a priest to perform it.

    1. Lois Reply

      You would cause scandal by attending.

      From original answer:
      ” As a result, your attendance at the event in question would seem to imply that you recognize or endorse the idea that your grandson is actually receiving further Christian initiation by receiving the Eucharist (one of the sacraments of initiation). That is a message you must not send as it would constitute a form of false witness to your family and to your grandson.”
      That is the very definition of scandal.

      As far as what the original answer said about baptism in the Lutheran Church:
      “Matters would be different if the sacrament were valid—for example, if he were being baptized or married in the Lutheran church (those two sacraments being valid among Lutherans) or if he were receiving Communion in a church that has a valid Eucharist (such as the Greek or Russian Orthodox churches).”
      As you can see there is no statement implying that Lutheran baptisms are INvalid, just the opposite.

      There are 2 sacraments that a priest is not required to administer. You are right on baptism and proper form must be present (in the name of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) but marriage is not administered by the priest, it is witnessed by the priest, he basically is validating that this is a valid marriage, the bride and the groom are the ones actually administering it.

  24. Lois Reply

    If your grandchild was robbing a bank, would you go with just so you don’t cause any “division?”. I mean you wouldn’t want to have him feel like you didn’t support his choices right? What if he feels like that is what is right for him? What if that is what his parents taught him? How dare you demonstrate adherence to your morals and values!! How dare you stand for truth! How dare you let the beliefs you hold so dear effect any other part of your life other than one hour a week. In case it’s not obvious this is tic…

    Btw, in the Catholic Church there are 7 (seven) sacraments…. Including Eucharist.

  25. Ann Reply

    You should most definitely go! Answers like this is why i no longer attend church!

  26. ponderingpastor Reply

    Interesting. Many Lutheran pastors have been ordained under the historic episcopate through the laying on of hands. Are those orders then also invalid?

  27. see above Reply

    really? no…REALLY? i simply do not believe this question ever was asked but have a feeling it was fabricated so it’s “answer” could be published. disgusting and totally in violation of basic Christian behavior.

  28. Steve Reply

    I am a Catholic and have worked in youth ministry in the Catholic Church for over 20 years. I have also ministered with many Lutheran pastors and churches. I understand and accept the differences in the Lutheran theology of holy communion and understand the Catholic Church’s stance that you should not commune at your daughter’s Lutheran Church. However, it is plain that your daughter is choosing to raise her children as best she can as Christian children. Go to your grandchild’s important day and let the theologians argue over the systematics. Be grateful that your daughter continues to seek grace through worship and prayer and, dare I say, sacrament.

  29. Rev Robert Reply

    As a Lutheran priest I must say your answer proofs why we had to break away and stay away. You turn yourself into (a large) sect. Hope you will turn from that and become a part og the one true non-roman universal Catholic Church. Any Christian is welcome at the eucharistic celebrated weekly in my church. God bless and guide you.

    1. Karen Linsmayer Reply

      How about because Martin Luther was a heretic. He didn;t know that God thinks He is God, not Martin Luther. Sorry, but he wouldn’t accept the teachings of Jesus Christ, so he decided his way would be better. Since then, look at the thousands of religions that have sprung up. Which one was first. Roman Catholicism was founded by Jesus Christ, Peter the first Pope, etc.

  30. Marisol Hernández Reply

    Lol it’s funny how many of us dont remember when many people left in the middle of Jesus’ preaching because what He was saying was “too harsh”. However, Jesus continued to preach the truth without hesitating to “hurt the people’s feelings” mostly because He was focused more on truth and salvation.. on another point, as far as the whole creating separation between the mother and daughter, well, isnt that what happens when one stands for the truth and another doesnt? Isnt that what Jesus Himself said He came to do? We forget that Jesus wasnt always Mr Nice Guy . Many people hated Him for preaching the truth.. With that said, the books of Wisdom also teach us about speaking with prudence though.

    1. Lois Reply

      Love it! Speak the truth in love, but we must speak the truth….

  31. Simple Catholic Layman Reply

    Now that we got the answer to the question of whether a catholic can accomodate and pretend to support a mock/invalid sacrament performed by a “priest” who was invalidly ordained; let’s follow through with some follow-up questions directed at the daughter:

    If one can believe in a theology that says that bread can contain the body of Christ, then why can’t one believe the Catholic theology on the Eucharist; that the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the accident of bread?

    If one can believe that a guy who can’t claim apostolic succession can perform sacraments, they why can’t one go to a Catholic priest who can claim apostolic succession?

    Which leads us to the question of why isn’t the grandchild getting his first communion at a Catholic church?

    Then also, why does the daughter expect her catholic parents to support her apostasy, and support the rearing of the grandchild in a man-made religion?

    Why can’t the catholics who have commented on this page realize that they are steep in indifferentism?

  32. lisa Reply

    Since this priest will NEVER have a grandson it is easy for him to give such a heartless answer. Since this priest will NEVER experience the complexity of biological family life and the differences in it, and the love that overcomes those differences, it is easy for him to give such a heartless answer. There is a difference between theory and practice – and that difference is REALITY. I think it would be safe to guess that Pope Francis would say GO TO YOUR GRANDSON’S FIRST COMMUNION, and pray for him if you must, that one day he return to the one Roman faith, instead of remembering the heartless grandparents who wouldn’t be there at such an important moment in his life.

    1. keda smith Reply

      I believe that you would be there to support your family in their chosen faith, I would interpret the priest meaning that as long as you are there to observe and not receive communion yourself then, surely this is ok? I thought Vatican 2 made this kind of thing quite clear? years ago I had a funeral to attend and asked the priest if it was ok and I was told that as long as I was there to support my family it was fine, but that I could not partake of the sacraments in that church, I have since been to many non Catholic services, thinking that all was well, I have not queried it lately and I am surprised at that priests response. So have I done the wrong thing all this time? my conscience tells me NO I HAVE NOT!

    2. Lois Reply

      Why is it that so many people think that priests were raised by wolves, or dropped off from a spaceship? They did grow up in a biological family, they continue to be a part of those biological families, just like other single adults remain a part of their families. They also continue to be a part of and deal with all of our (us parishioners) crazy families; if that is not the most varied and complex family life you can imagine….and they continue to love us.
      His answer is filled with love and concern for both the grandson and the grandparents, telling them what is best for them even when it is not what they want to hear-isn’t that what a good parent does?
      It ticks me off to no end that so many people seem to think that our Pope would go against Church teaching, he wouldn’t….that is part of the fabulousness of the Catholic Church.

    3. Margarett RBC Zavodny Reply

      The priest didn’t hatch from an egg. He grew up in “the complexity of biological family life”. Supporting an untruth is neither pastoral nor loving.

  33. Lois Ann Sorensen Reply

    Sadly, whoever wrote the original answr was not accurately informed. Lutherans recognize two sacraments: baptism and communion. Marriage and the other four activities recognized by RC’s as sacraments are considered just “sacramental” because they do not meet all three criteria of: (1) being instituted by Christ, (2) using an earthly element to express a spiritual event and (3) providing an outward, public expression of an inward grace. Lutherans believe in the Real Presence (Jesus Christ is truly present in, under and through the Holy Eucharist). Christian family members, even those who choose to not to receive communion during the Lutheran service, should attend as a matter of recognizing the communicant’s decision to more fully participate in the body of Christ. – Deacon Lois Ann Sorensen

    1. Lois Reply

      Lois Ann Sorenson
      The op was referring to what are considered valid Sacraments by The Catholic Church, we have seven. Even though they may occur in a Lutheran Church and may/may not be considered Sacraments there, the Catholic Church recognizes baptisms and marriages that happen in the Lutheran Church as valid Sacraments, but not communion in the Lutheran Church due to lack of apostolic succession. Luther left the Church, thereby breaking that succession. Thus any pastors ordained by him are not in succession from Peter. Thus not Catholic priests. I think we agree here, yes?
      Key thing here is, it requires a validly ordained Catholic priest/bishop for other sacraments to be valid for the Catholic grandparents.
      The Catholic Church says baptism may be validly administered by anyone who intends to do as The Church does and uses proper form (in the Name of The Father, Son & Holy Spirit) such as an atheist doctor, or a Jewish nurse may do for a family of an at risk newborn at birth. They do not believe in baptism, but they mean to do as the Church does at request of the family. Obviously the Lutheran Pastor has the intent to do as The Church does, in baptism.
      Marriage is “administered” by the bride and groom, not the Catholic priest. The Catholic priest witnesses that the marriage taking place before him is valid, and thus a valid Sacrament. This can also be validated after the fact, by thorough examination by a Catholic priest in what is called convalidation.
      The bottom line is how does someone who doesn’t believe that what the young man is consuming in Lutheran communion is actually Jesus, celebrate the reception? As we can see by some of the many Catholic posters here, it causes scandal. To the point that some feel it is no big deal to take or rejoice in “communion” that has not been validly (by a Catholic priest) consecrated, thus remains bread and wine.

  34. Katherine White Reply

    wow, this makes me want to run screaming back out of the Catholic church that here sounds more cult-like than Christ-like.

    1. Donna Reply

      Agreed!!

  35. Stuart Smith Reply

    Thanks to the reasonable answers left here since Christmas day when I first saw it, advising the grandparents to, for Heaven’s sake, attend the first communion, presumably awhile ago. As for the arguments of who is a priest and rightly administers the sacraments, what is a “valid” holy communion and all that, the term “circular reasoning” comes to mind. I had to refresh my old liberal arts education on the subject, but circular reasoning can be defined as “a pragmatic defect in an argument whereby the premises are just as much in need of proof or evidence as the conclusion, and as a consequence the argument fails to persuade.” This occurs in all arguments citing Roman Catholic self-definitions as sacred sole keepers of the Eucharist. Your conditions matter only to those who accept the artificial conditions. The Eucharist is Christ’s – not ours, not Peter’s, not the college of cardinals’. Christ came bodily to where people were – the ritually sinful, outsiders such as the Samaritan woman, to Peter who denied Christ. The Eucharist in RC mass is Christ’s. Christ certainly can inhabit the Bread among some Lutheran heretics who humbly say and accept the Words of Institution without Vatican permission. Are Lutheran pastors (ministers of Word and Sacrament – priests to you) not called when they experience the call of the Holy Spirit, their church, and parish? Honestly, can anyone explain this divisiveness (including the scandal of Lutheran subdivision) in terms that might convince the new communicant in question? Anyway, cutting through the propaganda, 1) Luther and colleagues never “left the church” – many were excommunicated – for asking questions, mind you – by a d’Medici pope who was (unlike your recent examples) unworthy of the title, and 2) ELCA Lutheran bishops and pastors are supposedly in the apostolic succession – as surely as many in the Roman Catholic tradition can actually trace it given disruptions in European history.

    Ann (above) and Katherine – don’t run out and stay away. Your Roman Catholic parish needs your spirit. But if you do, find a home elsewhere. In Lutheran churches in the Lutheran World Federation (such as my ELCA) you are welcome with open arms to commune. This will also be the case in most Anglican and Episcopal churches. In any case, you are welcome, in Christ, who I (imperfectly) cling to. If you have questions, ask a Lutheran pastor or Episcopal priest – he or she will be glad to pray and discuss it with you.

  36. Tamara Reply

    WOW!!!!!!!
    First of all, how dare you ask such a question. This is YOUR grandson. Are you seriously that naive, ignoran and selfish that you are putting religion before family. You should be ashamed of yourself. Religion should NEVER come before family. Views like yours is what’s wrong with the world. No wonder as time goes on Catholicism is losing followers. As long as my child is happy in her religious beliefs (as long as it’s not a cult) I’m happy. Protestant, Anglican, Lutheran, Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhist, Paganism, etc…God is God, a higher power.

  37. mando Reply

    This is oppression, family should stick together. The granny just want to be present nothing more. I do love the Catholic Faith but some of the things are way to weird. Eventually we will be told NOT to befriend non-Catholics.

  38. Joby pazhampillil Reply

    I agree with this answer. Most of the Americans try to think there are easy ways of doing things. Like, I can join any protestant church with less rules . No, there are no short cuts to heaven! You can try to make your own excusess like family, biological conditions bla bla… Either be with the Catholic and Jesus or get prepared for the company of Satan in hell!

  39. Joe Rives Reply

    This response to this question illustrates why non-Catholic Christians; although we admire and acknowledge the faith and commitment of our Catholic brothers and sisters in true faith in Christ, are often entirely flabbergasted by some unhealthy separatist attitudes of some Catholics including some in positions of leadership. We understand and respect their desire to defend and cling closely to historical beliefs about the nature of communion, but artificially imposing both physical and faith separation of close family members over differences in interpretation of a communion that is common to both is destructive both to Christian families and to the family of Christ…and is disappointing. Encouraging, however, are the comments of obviously serious and concerned Catholics who share that disappointment.

  40. bppettie Reply

    The answer is incorrect. They may certainly attend this ceremony for their grandson. The only qualifier would be that they should not take part in the ceremony. Attending is not taking part in the ceremony.

  41. ET McCarthy Reply

    All three of my children were raised in the Catholic Church. One had two out of three children Baptized, but no longer practices. One child became a Baptist and married in that church. The youngest loves the Catholic way and has brought that love onto her first born son. She wasn’t married when she had him and got married by a JP a year. Her husband lied about having a Green Card and was deported back to Mexico. She was able to get the marriage annulled due to abandonment. If she was married by a minister she would never had the annulment. Then she found her true love who accepted her and her son who was five at the time. After joining the Navy they got married by a JP because due to his Military job it was impossible to get the classes done. Her Parish Priest said they could do skype and the Chaplin refused. She just had a new baby who was just Baptized. She still loves her Faith. Her hubby isn’t Catholic, but does not condone her for being one. He’ll attend his Church and sometimes goes to the Base Chapel for her services. Her almost 9 yr old son has been calling him dad. I’m hoping and pryaing that he’ll adopt him. I was taught that its not our job to judge ones mistakes. I attended my daughter’s Baptist Wedding and looked at her that she was a Christian still, but no longer believed in the Catholic Church. I asked my priest and said that I should pray for her to find the true Church. Also, I will always love my children and will never shun them because that’s not who I am or what I believe in the forgiving God. Only God can judge… Not me or you…

  42. L Bartlett Reply

    This answer has no Biblical basis. I hope the grandparents went anyway.

  43. Orthodox Priest Reply

    The person, who wrote this is a monster.
    His answer does not have any theological justification and no biblical basis.
    It confirms the sad prejudices people hold against catholics.
    Signed, an orthodox priest

  44. Bill Wilkins Reply

    Please, take control of your brain and go to your grandchild’s communion.

    If you were to take the advice of that self-serving, horrlible answer, I would be ashamed of you.

    Who would even ask this question?
    The Catholic leadership systematically hid sexual abuse, over decades. Known offenders were sent to other parishes and allowed to prey again upon unsuspecting innocent families.
    They have lost all authority to make such a judgement. Their priests are celibate know-nothings. And you would ask for their guidance on such an issue? How dare the person who answered this question assert the Lutheran priests “do not have the power to validly celebrate the Eucharist”.
    The question should be – “should Catholics, who allow and condone widespread sex abuse, be allowed to attend?”

  45. Diane Trombley Reply

    What a cruel, insensitive, arrogant answer. The grandparents are not being asked to embrace, confirm or validate the religion of their grandchild. Attending the celebration and acknowledging the special event in their grandson’s life, if anything, recognizes that he is a child of God, has been baptized and is growing in his faith. Note I said his, the grandson’s, faith. No one is demanding that the grandparents change faiths or reject Catholicism. As a cradle Catholic, a practicing Catholic, I am ashamed that anyone would interpret their attendance as anything but a loving action. There are too many times that our faith, the Catholic faith instituted by Christ, gets so wrapped in “man’s laws” that we forget God’s law–“love one another as I have loved you”!

    1. Donna Reply

      Beautiful!!

  46. Christine Bowles Reply

    This medieval and absurd thinking is exactly why I left the Catholic Church over 45 years ago. So glad I did. Funny how these priests are so quick to say how grandparents, spouses, etc. should act, yet they will never be either.

  47. A.J. Boyd Reply

    What century is this website living in? Are you even aware of the Church’s actual teaching??
    The official Catholic teaching on the matter is yes, go.

    “Christians are encouraged to share in spiritual activities and resources, i.e., to share that spiritual heritage they have in common in a manner and to a degree appropriate to their present divided state, including such things as prayer offered in common, sharing in liturgical worship in the strict sense, as well as common use of sacred places and of all necessary objects.

    …In spite of the serious difficulties which prevent full ecclesial communion, it is clear that all those who by baptism are incorporated into Christ share many elements of the Christian life. There thus exists a real, even if imperfect, communion among Christians which can be expressed in many ways, including sharing in prayer and liturgical worship…”

    Read Chapter IV of the Directory on the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism, last updated by the Holy See in 1993.

    1. CatholicSay Editor Reply

      “Since Eucharistic concelebration is a visible manifestation of full communion in faith, worship and community life of the Catholic Church, expressed by ministers of that Church, it is not permitted to concelebrate the Eucharist with ministers of other Churches or ecclesial Communities.118”

      Quoting from same Chapter IV of the Directory on the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism, this is where the holy Eucharist is mentioned

      1. A.J. Boyd Reply

        which says nothing at all against participating in the liturgy, much less simply “witnessing” it.

  48. Charles Burns Reply

    A Catholic may attend ANY sort of non-Catholic service for family reasons or other important reasons, like your Jewish boss’ funeral as a bystander. Just don’t participate in the service, except to politely stand and sit with the group. Do not take their “communion” or participate in the service in any day. In this case it is a familial obligation and she should attend but NOT participate

  49. SteveC Reply

    Martin Luther would have encouraged you to go and be supportive 😎

  50. osvnig Reply

    Whether the Lutherans in question have valid (even though unlawful by canonical law) priesthood or not depends on what branch of Lutheranism they belong to. In Scandinavia, for example, the whole Church converted to Lutheranism with the kings and retained the succession of bishops and priests. (Only in recent times have some of them broken the succession by “ordaining” women bishops.)

  51. cathrine Reply

    I truly think you both should attend to give support to your kids, but if you may not be part of the communion as catholics don’t believe in other denominations communion but not going will really hurt your kids

  52. Diesel Reply

    Don’t go. It’s like proclaiming and following the church initiated by our Lord Jesus.

  53. David C. Reply

    I think your answer is your own advice. Our Parish, in RCIA it was acknowledged to attend other denominations, as guests. When I visit my brother in Mississippi, I, sometimes go to their Baptist Church, because my nephew is involved within the church, musically. One shall not partake in communion, but to witness a grandchilds event. You are way out of your league.

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