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Jonathan C. wrote:

Hi guys,

I am a Jewish man, 37 years old, from a non-practicing Jewish family. As a child, I probably spent as much time in churches with my Protestant and Catholic friends as I did in synagogues.

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I accompanied a Catholic friend to Sunday Mass. When Holy Communion was distributed, my friend told me I should go up to the altar with everyone else and receive the Sacrament.

I had no idea what I was doing, or what Communion really was, and it seemed harmless.

I have been very interested in the Catholic Church for many years and I have been doing a lot of studying on my own, thanks in large part to this web site and to Mike Humphrey, who has graciously given me the Catechism, the Bible, and other materials that have immensely helped answer my questions.

I have learned that, to receive Communion unworthily is to bring down God's judgment upon oneself. My question is:

  • Did I unwittingly bring down judgment upon myself by receiving this Sacrament unworthily as a small child?

Life has been a great struggle for me for many years and it causes me to wonder if I've brought it on myself through my own deeds.

Thank you for your help.

Jonathan
Lexington, Kentucky

  { Did I unwittingly bring down judgment upon myself by receiving Holy Communion unworthily? }

Eric replied:

Hi Jonathan,

God does not hold us responsible for things we do in ignorance. (John 9:41) You were a child; you were told by someone you trusted to know what to do. You are guiltless in the matter.

Once I had heard about an Episcopalian church that had converted lock, stock, and barrel over to Catholicism. I was going to be in the area and visited it. I received communion and, only afterward, learned that their conversion to Catholicism had not yet been completed. They were in a sort of in-between state between the Episcopal Church and the Catholic Church. Because I did this innocently thinking it was a Catholic Church, I was guiltless in the matter.

Don't worry about it. Keep studying the faith and God-willing you will be able to receive Communion.

Eric

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