Can I Receive Holy Communion Before Completeing Penance?

Quick question, can one recieve Holy Communion before fullfilling an assigned Penance? I’m having a bit of trouble completing mine (I’m suppose to talk to someone about a problem they have i.e gossip, taking God’s name in vain etc) and was wondering if I should take Holy Communion. (it was assigned about a month ago:eek: ) any backing for answers would be great. Thanks

IMO, definitely. With the understanding that you do truly intend to complete the penance.

Yes you can

You shouldn’t unless there will be a long time before you can have the opportunity to receive Holy Communion again, like several months.

The sin is forgiven by the priest’s absolution; therefore you are in a state of grace and may receive Communion.

You are obliged to perform the penance, and it is recommended that you do so as soon as convenient lest you forget it. I have heard that there is a rule that the penance must be completed before ;your next confession, or you must confess the failure to perform the penance, but I have not seen that in writing.

Is there a specific reason as to why I shouldn’t recieve, would it be sinful?

I admit I’ve procrastanated (sp?) and even thought of the possibility of just not doing it, though I believe (but not 100% sure) that I dismissed those thoughts. I’ve confessed twice the failure to complete this Penance and fully intended to complete it at the time, then I don’t really know what happened, probably cowardice out of human respect:( :mad: . I was actually very determined to complete it on friday before the week long Thanksgiving break but it turned out that the person I was targeting walked past me telling me she was going home due to an illness.

I’m rather sure I completed the actual Penance in other ways, it’s just that when the priest spoke it, I knew exactly who I needed to talk to and exactly what needed to be discussed and I can’t rest completely at peace until I talk to that specific person. ( my Penance by the way was talking to someone about a problem they have, in this case, taking God’s name in vain, a horrible habit:( )

So should I refrain from Holy Communion until then? I know my sins are forgiven and all it’s just that I’m not completely sure about the Penance thing and it’s gravity. Is there anything in writting about it?

The Sacrament of Reconciliation has four component parts, Contrition, Confession, Absolution, and Satisfaction (penance) The Sacrament is not complete until all are complete. It would be best to speak with your confessor if you feel that you cannot complete what was given you in a reasonable time.

Please correct me if I’m wrong. It’s my understanding that sins are forgiven once the words of Absolution are spoken and that the fullfillment of a Penance is required to make up for the temporal punishments of sin, but doesn’t affect the validity of the Absoultion, provided the person had contrition, a firm purpose of amendment and confessed all known mortal sins well.

I do believe I could have completed my Penance sooner and I hold myself at fault for waiting too long for the “best” opportunity and passing over countless others, justifying my cowardice as “prudnce”. Yet, I am determined to fullfill my obligation as soon as possible and would like to know if it would be wrong to take Holy Communion in my state, I have taken the Blessed Sacrament before without completing this Penace because I thought it was ok, though I’m unsure now.

You alone will have to determine that. Ask yourself if will it be an extraordinarily long time before I can complete the penance, and return to Holy Communion.

I’m not sure I understand your suggestion.

I think I’ll just refrain for now until next week when I can talk to my friend, but I still wonder, how serious would avoiding a Penance intentionally be? I won’t get scrupulous (as I usually do) about it being a mortal sin because I was unaware of its gravity before, but I’d like to know just how serious it would be and if there’s anywhere that states this. Many thanks.

God Bless

This is not a black and white issue. Intentionally not completing a penance would be serious matter. I cannot answer for you, only you can. If it were me. I would complete the penance before returning to Holy Communion. If I anticipated that it might take 30 or more days to complete I would return to speak with my confessor about it.

I was given a penance of reading the bible and catechism every day for a month. I had the same question…did I have to wait a month to receive Eucharist? I guess I could have tracked down the priest and asked him, but I went with what seemed common sense, that I could receive as long as I was doing what he said. I don’t think a priest would want you to wait a month to receive, even though there are cases of delayed absolution (like in the case of abortion).

Interesting… I’ve been told that so long there is a firm ammendment to complete the penance, you may receive; that Absolution is not dependent upon completion.

I’ve been in a situation where I’ve gone to Confession right before Mass and was assigned a decade of the Rosary that couldn’t be said before Mass. I’m sure others have had similar occurences…

My opinion is that not being able to receive our Lord in Holy Communion is a result of OUR choosing to sin and is simply a consequence of OUR actions. We should want to receive Him at every Mass we attend, yes! But, because we choose to sin we may not be able to. One month is not a extraordinary amount of time to go without receiving Holy Communion. It should remind us of how horrable Mortal sin is to Christ, it should really bother us that we cannot receive, because of OUR actions.

Only my opinion on the matter. I hope it makes sense.

Penance is not part of the sacrament, rather the imposition of the penance, according to the catechism (1480):

The elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest’s absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.

Since this action takes place prior to absolution, yes, you may go ahead and receive.

If in doubt, always go to the book. It has the best answers.

Addendum: from #1459

Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused

Penance is a redress of the disorder. It is the absultion that removes sin.

Okay, this is what you do. The next time this person uses the Lord’s name in vain in your earshot, you add, “is the Light of the world”. I do that all the time. Then when this person looks at you like you are a martian or makes some crack, you say as nicely as you can that using the Lord’s name like that is an insult and offensive. You would appreciate it if they would try not to do this.

Suggest they say “Jiminy crickets” instead. As he is a fictional character, there is no insult.

I know this isn’t what you asked but I hope it helps.

I understand your opinion. However, if the penance is not for a mortal sin (but the confession of venial sins), do you think the same way?

I just read the passage and the paragraphs after. I do not find the words “Penance is not part of the sacrament.” within that paragraph or the section on the Sacrament. That is your intepretation of the wording of the paragraph.

Perhaps I should have said that the catechism does not state that penance is part of the sacrament.

From Fr, Serpa:

Dear Rich,

No probolem! Once you are absolved, you are in the state of grace whether you do your penance or not.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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