EWTN Catholic Q&A
Reception of the Eucharist
Question from Joyce on 04-03-2013:

I have a concern for family members who have been away from the Church. When visiting, they attend Mass. Their daughter has not received First Communion, reconciliation or confirmation. She is 14. The mother and father grew up in the Church and received all of their sacraments. For some reason they have not been active in their faith but still consider themselves Catholics. When at Mass, they allow their daughter to receive the Eucharist. This weighs heavy on my heart, and I don't know how to approach them without turning them off completely. I love them dearly, but cannot stand by and see this happen anymore. This is my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. Please help me with your direction.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 04-04-2013:


Why do you seem more worried about your granddaughter receiving the Eucharist, when she is innocent in this, than you do about your daughter and son-in-law, the ones responsible for neglecting to form their daughter in the faith? In any event, you cannot step over your granddaughter's parents and deny their daughter what they themselves allow. They are her parents, not you.

The most you can do is to take advantage of any opportunity in which you are the "acting authority" in the absence of your granddaughter's parents. If she visits you on her own and the two of you attend Mass together, you can show her and ask her to read the Communion guidelines that are printed on the inside front cover of most parish missalettes. Given her parents' position on the matter though, I cannot recommend that you outright "forbid" your granddaughter to receive Communion. If she reads the guidelines and asks for clarification or for direction, at most you might say, "I can't be your conscience, dear. You must read what the Church says here in the guidelines and make the decision whether or not you can receive Communion under these conditions."

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers