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talljasperman's avatar

Have you heard of or seen someone crossing their arms while refusing communion? I was told to do this If I had uncertainty about my faith, and wondered how it started?

Asked by talljasperman (21744points) June 13th, 2014

I was told to do this If I had uncertainty about my faith.

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15 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I never did hear of this, but then all one needs to do is not go up to receive the communion. These people folding their arms are either sending a message or this really isn’t happening.

If you really have uncertainty about your faith, just don’t go to Sunday Services.

And try chatting direct with God. I find the message is much clearer without all the middle men.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I’m a Catholic (a practicing one) and I have never heard of this. If you are “uncertain about your faith” then why even walk up on the Holy Communion line? Sounds to me like someone who would want to make a spectable (sp) of themselves among True Believers.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Who told you to do that? And what denomination was this? Many teach that “all are welcome at God’s table” regardless of the status of their faith.

talljasperman's avatar

@Darth_Algar It was so long ago… I was a child. Some woman told me that. It was in a Roman Catholic church.

Strauss's avatar

The Catholic Church teaches that to receive receive Communion, one must be ” a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication,” according to Catholic Answers.

There are times when one may have doubts about being in the state of grace, or just change one’s mind about wanting to receive communion. In order to avoid the embarrassment of stepping out of line, it is permissable to approach with arms crossed (hands to opposite shoulders), as a respectful signal to the priest (or to whomever may be distributing the Eucharist) that you prefer not to receive.

I have seen this done in the case of family groups, where the children have not received their First Communion, but do not want to wait in the pew until the rest of the family comes back.

Judi's avatar

I do it in a Catholic Church because I’m not Catholic. I cry every time. I love how sacred they hold their communion.

AstroChuck's avatar

My wife is Catholic. When she was wheelchair bound do to a foot injury, I would take her to mass and push her through the communion line. As an atheist I obviously don’t take communion. I, too, was told to cross my arms in front of my chest if not taking part in the Eucharist. I can’t remember where I heard this but we were in the priest’s line and he kind of looked at me as if saying, “What the hell are you doing?”

dxs's avatar

This happens at Catholic ceremonies. Only people who have gone through the (Catholic) Holy Sacrament of First Communion can receive the Eucharist, so Christians who are not Catholic also do this when they are at Mass. They’re receiving a blessing from the priest.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

like I stated before I am a Catholic. I have been attending Mass every single Sunday of my life for lets say over fifty years. I am also very involved in the workings of my parish. I have lived in the South and I have lived in the North East. I have also attended sunday Mass when on vacation to Italy, London and Ireland. Like I said I never miss attending Mass even while on vacation.

Never never never in all my years have I ever heard or seen this thing of gong up to communion standing in front of the Priest and “crossing your arms and not receive”.

If a person is not a Catholic, just visiting, in sin and has to go to confession, or just plain does not want to “receive” that day all they do is just stay in their seat in the pew. Not everyone has to get up and follow the line up to receive communion. You are not even expected to if you don’t plan on receiving Holy Communion.

Also the Catholic church has stopped the “fast before communion” many years ago along with not eating meat on Friday. only during Lent do we stop eating meat on Fridays and do some Fasting.

As for some people here saying they want a blessing from the priest. The priest always gives a general blessing to everyone at the end of every Mass.

Judi's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat , maybe it’s a west coast thing although that’s what I was instructed to do in Nova Scotia too. I have also just sat in the pew. Ask your priest if he’s ever heard of it.

dxs's avatar

I went to a Catholic school, but not everyone there was Catholic. One of my theology teachers went through Mass etiquette during class once. When she got to receiving communion, she said that if you are Christian but not Catholic, such as Episcopalian, fold your arms & bow an the priest will bless you. I’ve seen this happen many times here in New England, especially at school Masses.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I also went to Catholic school a long time ago when everyone who attended was Catholic. Actually taught by the Nuns of which are in short supply today.

anyway, to make a long story short I just called my Parish Priest to ask him about this. He said that actually people who are not Catholic or can not receive Holy Communion can walk up and cross arms for a blessing. He said that in all his years of being a Priest he has only seen that done a couple of times. I have never see that done.

live and learn…...

shrubbery's avatar

I attended a Catholic elementary school but I guess my parents had told the school they were Anglican because I wasn’t allowed to receive communion, but would go up with the rest of my class so I wasn’t the only 5 year old left in the pew and cross my arms and just receive a blessing instead.

AstroChuck's avatar

edit: due to a foot injury…

Strauss's avatar

@AstroChuck better late than never!

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