Church contradictions regarding confession

Catechism: we are required to confess mortal sins at least once a year.

Catechism: we are required to confess mortal sins prior to receiving the Eucharist.

If we are minimally required to confess mortal sins only once a year, that implies that we are only required to receive the Eucharist once a year (which is, in fact, the case). Of course, we already know that we are required to attend mass (whether we receive the Eucharist or not) every day of obligation.

Question 1: Being that Communion is “the culmination of our existence” why would the Church only require that we receive our Lord’s body once a year? Shouldn’t we desperately do whatever it takes to confess mortal sins as soon as possible so that we can receive the Eucharist at the next mass? How can we do otherwise without being guilty of denying the body of Christ?

Question 2: If I make an act of perfect contrition for a mortal sin but do not get a chance to go to confession prior to being killed suddenly, what is the disposition of my soul?

  1. The Church only requires us to go to confession and receive the Eucharist once a year, but they would recommend that we go as much as we possibly can. Its just like when they don’t require us to go to daily mass but they would certainly encourage us to do so. I think that people should try to receive the Eucharist as much as they can so that would mean going to confession as much as they can too. I also would wonder why a person living in the state of mortal sin would not go to confession ASAP because they should want to receive Jesus at mass.

  2. If someone does not get to go to confession because of no fault of their own they are obviously not at fault. Remember that God is not bound by his sacraments. Confession is the ordinary way to get sins forgiven, but if you are truly sorry (i.e. you intend to go to confession as soon as you can) then God would forgive you. However, if you were living in the state of mortal sin for a long time and then died without confession it would be harder to tell the state of your soul because it would seem like you were not intending to seek forgiveness. We can never say for sure about the state of people’s souls but we know God is the judge who is both merciful and just.

Hope this answers the question.

I think your answer is right in the Catechism @ Paragraph 1389: The Church obliges the faithful to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season.224 **But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily. **

We should do whatever it takes to bring ourselves out of mortal sin as soon as we can, not only so that we may receive at the next Mass but also because it makes us right with God.

I really don’t get the “denying the body of Christ” stuff, sorry. I don’t recall where there is grave matter defined as “denying the body of Christ” but we know it is better to not receive if not in a state of grace than to receive unworthily.

God only knows. Really. No pun intended. Even if you got to confession prior to being killed suddenly, only God knows the disposition of your soul. (In my opinion, if you truly did make an act of perfect contrition you are probably OK).

It is not mandatory that we receive Holy Communion every Sunday – sometimes we cannot because of mortal sin or because we are not properly disposed (e.g. have not kept the Communion fast). We should receive Communion as often as we can, although for a period of time that was not the mentality of the laity. It would be a rare situation today, I imagine, for a Catholic (who has regular access to Sunday Mass) to receive only once a year.

If you make an act of perfect contrition you have already received forgiveness from God for your sin; receiving absolution from the Church is only a necessity insofar as it is possible (i.e. you’re not prevented from it by, for example, death).

I find it hard to believe how few people actually go to Confession as they are supposed to! Our priest has commented on this from the pulpit, to remind people that they may not take Communion in a state of mortal sin.
Now, I believe that an act of perfect contrition will save your soul regardless; God is our merciful judge. But we need to get to Confession as soon as possible.
But we certainly are not to receive Communion without going to Confession.

Sometimes, the Church just can’t win. Since she requires that Catholics attend Mass every Sunday (unless validly impeded), she is characterized as unreasonable and demanding (not by the OP, I mean generally). If she doesn’t also require that we receive the Eucharist every week, she is being called contradictory. :banghead: :smiley:

As others have pointed out, just because it isn’t a rule doesn’t mean the Church hasn’t said it’s a good idea.

OTOH, it is not denying the Body of Christ to miss receiving the Eucharist one week, or two, etc. Sometimes people even stay in the pew on purpose, in solidarity with others who are not receiving because they are in mortal sin (which can be embarrassing for some people–it is “easier” just to receive anyway, so these people are doing well to stay in the pew), or in reparation because of people who are receiving when they shouldn’t be. (One shouldn’t do this often, but it is not denying the Body of Christ to do it.)


So some think it’s better to be in solidarity with a fellow layman than to enter communion with the Lord’s physical body?

Good grief!!

I don’t understand how the Church can merely “strongly encourage” people to receive Communion as often as possible (but if all else fails, once a year is “good enough”). If the Church truly believes in transubstantiation, then we should be moving hell and earth to consume our Lord as he directed at least every Sabbath. It shouldn’t be optional to once a year.

No wonder most laity approach the Eucharist with a cavalier attitude.

We are “in communion with the Lord’s physical body” starting with our first Communion. This does not expire on a weekly basis if we do not receive again. And solidarity with “a fellow layman” is what we are required to do. “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren you did it to me.” (Mt. 25:40) Giving up a great benefit like the Eucharist one week for the benefit of the soul of a fellow child of God is an act of charity that has meaning only if the person doing it believes in transubstantiation. Giving up something that is not valuable is meaningless. Most people are not called to do this, and nobody should do it often, but I have never heard anyone with authority say there was anything wrong with it.

The Lord did NOT anwhere in the Bible direct that we receive the Eucharist every week. We keep holy the Lord’s day by participating in the Mass (this means praying the prayers, singing the hymns, etc., not necessarily being a Lector or in the choir or anything like that).

There could be no requirement to receive the Eucharist every week, because that would mean that anyone who (for example) commited a mortal sin on Saturday evening would have to choose between mortal sins to commit the next morning at Mass–either profaning the Lord’s Body by receiving unworthily, or (according to what you appear to want) by failing to receive. The Church is not going to put people in the position of playing “Choose your mortal sin.”

There is no Tradition in the Church of weekly reception of the Eucharist being a requirement by anyone–Christ, Apostles, Popes, anyone. AFAIK, for the majority of the history of the Church, most people (aside from priests of course) did not receive every week or anything like it. This was not out of a lack of reverence, but because they revered Him so much that they felt unworthy to receive every week.

The lack of belief in transubstantiation by the laity is not a result of people not receiving every week. Statistics alone can show that. It is also certainly not a reason to require them to receive every week–most decidedly the reverse.


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