Can a priest give "compassionate" Holy Communion?


Because there has been some trouble with the website, I am resubmitting this question, hoping it was not just ignored…

Is a priest permitted by the Church, at his own discretion, to offer Holy Communion to one who admits not being in the state of grace when it is done as an act of compassion in a time of crisis - for instance, when a family member has just died? If this is NOT permitted and one suspects that it is being done routinely, should a Catholic witnessing such an event feel obligated to report it to the diocese so that it may be halted, or does the responsibility lie solely with the priest?

I hope that you do not avoid all questions pertaining to the actions of priests, since you did address one questioning the motives of (then) Cardnial Ratzinger! Thank you for easing my conscience (and perhaps those of others) in this matter. (If , for whatever reason, you choose to not answer, I will try EWTN.) :slight_smile:


Dear KC,

To receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin is a mortal sin in itself! We don’t know how culpable the person was since the priest insisted that it was alright for him to receive. It’s hard to imagine that the priest didn’t know the Church’s teaching on this, but it is possible.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (#1385): “St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: ‘Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord…’ Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.”

First write the pastor. If he does not respond, then write the diocese.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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