Are sins forgiven at mass?

Hello all, this is my first post at this site. I used the search feature for my question and I didn’t see it. I hope it hasn’t been asked before.

Until last December I had not faith or exposure to religion. I went to a mass at the parish across the street to my dorm and liked it. I’ve been studying the Catholic faith and plan to enter an RCIA course when it starts up again after Pentecost.

I ordered some books and CDs from the Catholic Society of Evangelists. One of them was “The Wonders of the Mass” by Fr. Paul O’ Sullivan. I really enjoyed it but it had some things in it that confused me.

My understanding was sins are forgiven via baptism and reconciliation. However the book quoted St. Lawrence Justianian saying:

*“No human tongue can describe the immense favors and blessing which we receive from the Mass. The sinner obtains pardon, the good man becomes more holy, our faults are corrected and our vices uprooted by hearing Holy Mass.” *

There are many quotes in the book to that affect, sins are forgiven by piously assisting a mass.

Is this the case?

Thank you

Our venial sins are forgiven during the penitential right. Venial sins may be forgiven without confession. If you have a mortal sin you need to go to confession before Mass. Reception of The Body of Christ will actually take away temporal punishment for venial sins.

Hope this answers your question.


The Venial sins of the person who is in a state of grace…can be forgiven in many various ways …including perhaps at the penitential rite at Mass…and at Holy Communion etc…


1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. "It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins."35

1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father - every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.

(of course a person who is not a Catholic ordinarily can not receive Holy Communion yet…)

It is also highly recommended that Catholics confess at least some of their venial sins in the Sacrament of Confession…

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful

As above, for the contrite of heart, venial sins are forgiven during the Mass, at the Penitential Rite.

Also, the Confiteor prayer is said during Lent.

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Or, you’ll hear the priest say:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.


  • the Greek prayer the Kyrie Eleison may then be sung -

‘Christe eleison’ (three times), ‘Kyrie eleison’ (three times): ‘Lord, have mercy … Christ, have mercy … Lord, have mercy’.


Lord, we have sinned against you:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
And grant us your salvation.

For an explanation of mortal vs venial sins:

Venial sins are explained beginning at the bottom of page 4 through 8.

As others have said, venial sins, yes, mortal sins, no.

Furthermore, it would appear in our “no need for confession anymore” world we live in, there are priests and other religious individuals who are telling people that when the priest says, “May Almight God, have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us to everlasting life” it’s a form of general absolution that restores us to a state of grace so that we may all receive communion. My parish priest uses this as reasoning for only offering confession 30 minutes/month.

I’m starting to wonder if all this mis-education from people who are supposed to sherpard us makes us less culpable for our mortal sins. I don’t have some fancy theology degree or a Masters in Divinity, nor the title of priest, so when it comes to what I say is required and what the priest says is required, people are going to go with the priest on this one…unless they don’t like what he says.

Thanks for the quick and clear answers everyone. I’m no longer confused.

I didn’t know that temporal punishment was taken away for venial sins through receiving the Eucharist. I was under the impression that temporal punishement was only taken away through whittling away at them either through our own sacrifices (should we ask the Lord) or indulgences. I have been going to receive with the thought that my venial sins were being forgiven but the temporal punishment still remained.
Can someone explain how this works?

maybe if you look at it from the perspective of: God has already forgiven us before we even sinned. But by sinning we move ourselves away from the love of God. (I know lots of theology simplified there) 592 but if you look at it that we need to fix our selves not prove ourselves to God. It might help you understand that for the little stuff in life we can feel better by just saying sorry, but the bigger stuff we need to prove to ourselves that we are sorry so that we can again open our hearts and lives to God’s love. But there is also the devine priesthood that understands that we need directions and can not choose just to be open to God’s love. We need help. This is why we can not just forgive ourselves we need a priest to help us along the journey.

Temporal punishment…is removed in various ways. Both the reception of the Sacraments, works of prayer and penance etc…and indulgences contribute to this.

Thank you Bookcat… hmmm ya learn something new every day. I still have loads and loads of making up for past sins to do but it does help to know that something that I though only did half the work, does much much more :smiley:

You’ve already got the answer, but WELCOME HOME to the Catholic Church! God bless you in your journey.

In the Philippines, mortal sins are forgiven during Mass

because Masses are said there back-to-back-to-back, confession is ongoing during Mass :D. So you can go to confession while a Mass is ongoing and have your mortal sins forgiven :thumbsup:

There are instances of priests giving “general absolution” during mass, but they are invalid.

I’ve heard of a priest being forced to “absolve” a group, not in extreme proximity of death such as a ship in a storm or something, then immediatley going to confession for saying what he knew to be an invalid absolution.

Does this mean that receiving the Eucharist in a state of grace actually functions as an indulgence?

Well I would not put it exactly that way…(see the CCC on indulgences and the handbook of indulgences)…(and one should seek to gain indulgences…)

but it is true that the various aspects of living a Christian life…prayer, the reception of the sacraments …penance …charity…all can contribute (by the grace of God) to our healing…to the healing of the effects of sin…(indulgences are one way…that this can happen of course…and an important way)…

and to the becoming more and more like our Master…

Thanks for the quick and clear answers everyone. I’m no longer confused.

Hi FIU Student,

Although this is a Liturgy and Sacraments thread, I just wanted to point out a wonderful truth that you have stumbled upon in your research of the Catholic Faith.

Venial sins are forgiven during the Celebration of the Mass, why? I believe (someone please correct me if I’m wrong… I would hate to be giving out incorrect information!) because of the Sacrifice that is the Mass. As Catholic’s we believe that the presence of Christ in the bread and wine is REAL, and the continual sacrifice of his body and blood is REAL. And as Christ died for our sins, would he not also forgive those (when we are in a state of communion with him and able to receive the Eucharist) sins?

In no way, though, do I want anyone to take this to mean that going to Confession isn’t important. Confessing all your sins (even venial ones) is VERY important.

God Bless, and keep up the research!


You are correct Venial Sins are forgiven durring Mass. Also, because of the act of contrition. In the history of the church sins could be forgiven durring “public confession”. This is where you would stand in the middle of the croud or at church and actually say, “I have sinned by ________” fill in the blank. I am sure the wording was probably different but you get the point. Everyone heard your sin. Therefore the comunity would accept your contrition [edited]

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