A few Questions Regarding Penance, Confession, and Communion


#1

Let’s just pretend and say a dear relative of mine has taught me some rules regarding the aforementioned sacraments:
-He/she says that Confession is only for mortal sins, which, according to my dear relative, are activities solely having to with non-mutual consent.
-He/she also says that if, for whatever reason, you committed a mortal sin but did not have time to attend Confession before Sunday Mass, then God will understand that you tried to attend Confession and it would still be ok to partake in Communion.
-Finally, he/she states that, Penance assigned by a Priest can be replaced by another Penance assigned by another Priest (or even the same Priest) and the older Penance need not be fulfilled if not already completed.

I would like to ask you all to **fully explain **to me whether or not my dear relative is correct:
-Are mortal sins limited to activities regarding non-mutual consent (it sounds like euthanasia and contraception can be made not sinful by this)?
-May one still partake in Communion as long as one sincerely tried to partake in Confession (it seems to go against proper Sacramental procedure)?
-Does Penance assigned by a session of Confession get replaced by another Penance from another Session and the latter Penance does not need to be fulfilled if not already completed (I am a bit unsure of this)?

I would greatly appreciate your input.


#2
  1. No, not limited.
  2. No, if one is conscious of mortal sin, one must confess before receiving communion.
  3. No, one does the penance assigned by the confessor as soon as possible after the confession. What you described is bizarre, to say the least.

I would not seek spiritual direction from this relative again.


#3

This person clearly has a “goal line” understanding of our salvation. Very dangerous and frankly a very stingy way to spend the life that God gave to him/her.

Our job is not merely to get to heaven…it’s to bring as many souls into heaven with us. We can’t do that if we are “venial sinning” all over the place.

Confession gives graces such that we can minimize over a cheerful and resolute period of struggle many of these small sins, making the lives of others around us more pleasant, enabling supernatural oriented discussions to occur for their benefit.


#4

No. There’s no such principle in moral theology about mortal sins being determined by a criteria of “non-mutual consent.”
And no, confession is definitely not “only for mortal sins.”

-May one still partake in Communion as long as one sincerely tried to partake in Confession (it seems to go against proper Sacramental procedure)?

Maybe. If someone makes a sincere effort to confess but is prevented from doing so, and makes a sincere act of Contrition and has a firm intention of confessing at the first opportunity, then he may receive Communion.
The first time you posed the question, you phrased it as “did not have time to attend confession” and that can mean almost anything. If someone says “I didn’t have time because I was watching a movie on TV” that’s not good enough. On the other hand “I didn’t have time because I could not leave my dying mother’s sickbed” is a good reason.
The key word here is “sincerely.” The person must indeed make a sincere effort to go to Confession.

-Does Penance assigned by a session of Confession get replaced by another Penance from another Session and the latter Penance does not need to be fulfilled if not already completed (I am a bit unsure of this)?

I would greatly appreciate your input.

Depends on what you mean by the question. A penitent cannot simply disregard the penance from one confession only to say that the penance from the next confession covers both (which seems to be the way you’re asking the question the 2nd time); while it is acceptable for a penitent to “appeal” a penance to another priest-confessor (or even the same priest) if the one assigned by the first priest seems inappropriate (which seems to be the way it’s phrased the 1st time).

From what you’re describing, it does not seem like the person trying to teach you about Confession has accurate information.

I would suggest posing these questions to someone you can be certain is a true expert in the subject, such as a priest or a RCIA instructor. You can also get accurate information from reliable written/online resources.

The USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)* has a short Q&A usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/sacrament-of-penance-question-and-answer.cfm

The Catechism of the Catholic Church vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM
is the most authoritative document on the subject, although it might not answer your specific questions.

EWTN (the TV channel)* has some good resources, including one published by the bishops of Pennsylvania
ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/GUIDEPEN.HTM

This has a good explanation of venial vs mortal sins.


*no, not everyone is familiar with the acronyms


#5

Well stated.


#6

Not to mention that we’ll be spending a long time in purgatory before we experience the Beatific Vision.


#7

:popcorn: Just to mention it might be a good idea to invest in a Catechism plus a Book called Catholicism for Dummies, have it myself its excellent, answers everything in a simple manner.

I wont say anymore as the questions you asked have been more than good been explained.

Walk with the Lord.


#8

As long as I wont be helping towards Global Warming I don’t mind !!!


#9

That’s what you say now. But we’ll be begging for all the prayers (and ice :slight_smile: ) we can get.


#10

I see people going to confession all the time, while I opt-out because I haven’t made it to confession since the last time around. I have to figure that those around me are either more saintly, more ignorant or more sinful than I am.

I mean, even missing mass without a legitimate excuse is a mortal sin. Sometimes I’ve missed mass because I was tired and slept in or took a nap. I meant to go, but I don’t consider that truly excusable, so I wait to go to confession before taking communion again. And then there are other sins along the way considered mortal. I believe even fantasizing about sleeping with a woman is considered a mortal sin and must be confessed.

I suspect that most don’t take this as seriously as I do. But as I understand it, it is the only way to go about it according to the Church.


#11

I would like to thank you all for your help. I really wanted and needed guidance on these issues. God bless.


#12

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