“Ask a Priest: What If a Eucharistic Minister Doesn’t Accept Church Teaching?”

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Q: I am a Eucharistic minister in my local church and was raised Catholic. However, I sometimes have thoughts of joining a non-Catholic church. The reason is because I do not believe much of what the Church teaches. I believe in Jesus and take Scripture seriously. But I find many Catholic beliefs to be unbiblical and do not accept them. I feel out of place as a Catholic. But leaving the Church would mean abandoning the volunteering I do there, and I don’t want to do that. What would be your advice? — V.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s good that you are sincere in facing these issues.

As Catholics we understand that reception of Communion signals, among other things, that we identify with Church teachings.

This doesn’t mean that every Catholic in the Communion line has to know and understand everything in the Catechism. Church teachings are deep and broad, and we can spend a lifetime learning more about them.

There might even be teachings that a Catholic has difficulty accepting. But having a difficulty with an aspect of the faith is much different from doubting it. In the face of a difficulty, we should make an act of faith, ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, and then do some research.

It’s a much different thing, however, to disbelieve what the Church teaches. That signals a deep rift with the Church and goes against the unity signaled by one’s reception of Communion. In that case one should consider refraining from Communion.

This would apply even more so in the case of a Eucharistic minister. Such ministers should be profoundly united to the Church and its teachings, for they are privileged distributors of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

That is why it would be an act of honesty and sincerity to step back from being a Eucharistic minister.

If some teachings seem “unbiblical,” it’s good to recall that the Church relies both on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the latter being the oral transmission of what Christ and the apostles taught. Not everything can be found explicitly in the Bible.

Suffice it to say that whatever the Church teaches is either explicitly or implicitly in Scripture, or at least doesn’t contradict the sacred text.

You might try dedicating time to studying the faith more. One place to start could be our RCSC 101: What We Profess course, on the First Part of the Catechism at our online classroom. You can go at your own pace.

You didn’t mention any of your specific doubts. Feel free to send other questions.

In the meantime, you might want to speak with your pastor. That could help you move toward living externally what you are embracing internally.

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