Confession Before Communion: when did that start


I know that it is a Catholic teaching that it is wrong (sinful) to take Communion with an unconfessed mortal sin.

Can someone tell me when this tradition started? If you can provide proof that it was an early church custom to have all sins confessed before Communion that would be great.



It was not an early Church practice in the sense it is now. Perhaps this link will be of some assistance


[quote="Warandpeace, post:2, topic:329781"]

Perhaps this link will be of some assistance


Wow! Great! Thanks a lot. But from the looks of some of these quotes, it seems that confessing all sins before Communion was in fact an early church tradition.


Is there something you are struggling with?

For a general confession, one need only confess the mortal sins one remembers for a valid confession.


It is not a "tradition" not to receive Holy Communion with an unconfessed mortal sin on one's soul, it is an obligation. This is not just some funky practice that developed, it is essential. Receiving Holy Communion with an unconfessed mortal sin on one's soul is itself a mortal sin.


How about in the year 33 A.D. at the Last Supper and in the year 55 A.D when St. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.

First, would you buy a Marie Livingston Porterhouse steak and take it to the City Morgue and feed it to a corpse? Why not? Obviously food...good nourishing food... will do nothing for a dead corpse. well likewise...since Christ's flesh is real food and Christ's Blood is real drink (John 6: 56)...feeding it to a Soul that is dead because of mortal sin (1 John 5:16)...will do it no good. It's somewhat of a spirit and body biological reality... no matter when the practice of Confession before Communion started.

Second, remember what receiving the Eucharist did for Judas at the Last Supper who was dead in Mortal Sin...nothing...absolutely nothing...after receiving the Eucharist...he still carried out his evil deed and still yet did not repent/confess...but despaired in his pride filled self...and committed suicide.

Third, here is St. Paul's exhortation and admonition.

I Corinthians 11:26-29
Knox Bible (KNOX)

26 So it is the Lord’s death that you are heralding, whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, until he comes. 27 And therefore, if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, he will be held to account for the Lord’s body and blood. 28 A man must examine himself first, and then eat of that bread and drink of that cup; 29 he is eating and drinking damnation to himself if he eats and drinks unworthily, not recognizing the Lord’s body for what it is.

1 Corinthians 11:26-29
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

26 For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.
27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.
28** But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord**.

For your consideration.
Pax Christi


[quote="Lancer, post:6, topic:329781"]
How about in the year 33 A.D. at the Last Supper and in the year 55 A.D when St. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.


Similar reference in the Teaching of the Twelve or Didache:

every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.

And the most striking one of them all: the washing of feet by the Lord and command to do the same or else have no part with Him. The reminder that "we are clean after a bath" (Baptism) and only need to wash our feet (since we all commit sins while our feet touch the earth, that is, while in this life), and the commandment to the apostles to do the same - reaffirmed after the Resurrection.


Excellent replies! Many Thanks!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit