I have never been a Roman Catholic. That means I'm not an ex-Catholic mad at a nun who hit me with a ruler, or a priest who didn't know what he was doing. The things I've learned about Rome have been theoretical. I've never experienced them. I've only been to a Roman Catholic Church a few times, and these for either funerals or weddings. So, I don't claim to know all in regard to all things Roman Catholic. I assume the same honest admission would come from cradle Catholics in regard to my Reformed perspective. Many Catholics have never been to a Reformed church service, so they do not know what the experience of being a member of a solid Reformed church is like.
It has been from listening daily to Catholic Answers Live that I've found I don't know what most Roman Catholics are concerned about. Many, if not most of the questions called in have to do with the rules of Rome on things like divorce, parenting, or aspects of the rules of liturgy. Most of these questions (and the answers) I find dull and tedious. The "divorce" answers typically require an aspirin or two- they require listening to interpretations of canon law, personal opinions, and discussions as to what makes a marriage valid or invalid.
Some questions are actually humorous. I did get quite a chuckle when someone called up asking if it was okay to applaud after the Eucharist. The questions about what to do about contemporary worship are ironically funny- that Catholics leave particular parishes because the music is either too conservative or too liberal. Or, questions about "group confession" or "group holding hands" show that Rome suffers from some of the same silliness Protestant churches do.
Recently I started a "fact finding" discussion thread about the Roman Catholic understanding of the Eucharist. Remember, I've never participated in the mass, nor do I have reasons to go search out all the tedium of canon law on it. It's enough for me to know that it is unbiblical in theory. But, I do have some questions as to the practice.
My wife, who was brought up Roman Catholic, recently attended a Catholic funeral. She is a faithful member of the Reformed Protestant church I belong to, and has been a Christian for many years. I realize some Christians would never go to a Roman Catholic service. In terms of Christian liberty, I did not object to my wife attending the service. She knows the truth about Rome, and went only as a support to her family.
At a point in the funeral service came mass. As her relatives went forward to partake in the Eucharist, she did not. Some of those who went forward probably do not practice their Catholicism with any vigor or consistency. Some of her Catholic relatives have informed me that even though my wife has not been a practicing Catholic for many years, she still could've gone forward to partake. My studies lead me to believe that according to recent Catholicism, this would be wrong. Is this is so, and if yes, what should Rome do to stop people from violating Roman protocol? I told my Catholic relatives that non-Catholics, according to Rome, should not take the Eucharist in a situation as I've described it, only to be told I don't know what I'm talking about.
Further, here are some related questions:
1. If a person is unknowingly in mortal sin, and takes the Eucharist, what are the dangers? Should those in such a state simply be excused for being ignorant of the gravity of their state?
2. Where does the Roman Church outline these dangers?
3. Should a priest be concerned about the possibility of giving someone the Eucharist who should not have it? If so why? If not why?
I've never researched the matter in the Catechism, but I do find one of the major differences between my church and the Roman sect, according to some of the answers given in the discussion thread, is that my church would not allow strangers to partake in the communion sacrament, thus erring on the side of caution, while the Roman sect says its priests can't babysit, and thus (in my opinion) err on the side wanton irresponsibility. If Romanism were true, I would not want to be a priest giving the Eucharist to people so haphazardly, knowing that God will eternally judge my actions as a priest.
I have often read Catholics in cyber-space praise the sacrament of the Eucharist, and explain how Protestants don't take it as seriously as Roman Catholics. The questions I've asked though lead me to believe quite the opposite: my church takes the sacrament far more seriously.