Disobeying a Confessor


So the long and short of it is that I’m under obedience from my confessor to receive Communion if I’m uncertain whether I’m in a state of grace. Yesterday I went to Mass and found myself like 80% certain that I was not (the general explanation was that I was watching a TV show which got a little bit too, ah, realistic in certain aspects; I wasn’t watching it for that purpose but I think I took a glance it while waiting for it to move on to another scene), so I didn’t receive. I thought it might be a mortal sin to disobey that order but I did it anyway.

What I’m wondering is, is it a mortal sin in and of itself to disobey your confessor?



You should bring this matter to your confessor, not an anonymous forum. He clearly knows a lot about your heart to give you an instruction like that, and he will know best in this situation as well.

Would do, except I have to go to Mass today, too.

I’m asking in general; is disobedience to your confessor a mortal sin?

Today is not a holy day of obligation.

Scrupulosity is a heavy burden. No it is not a mortal sin to use your judgment in the case you describe and refrain from communion. Keep working with your confessor to work through your issues. Because at its heart, scrupulosity erodes and distorts your ability to judge accurately.

Assuming there is not a local obligation different than elsewhere.

“is it a mortal sin in and of itself to disobey your confessor?”

Well, that depends on your state in life and the sort of authority your confessor has over you, obedience is necessary for spiritual formation… but I’m going to divert and not answer with more detail because I suspect something. Given the nature of what you have said and what your confessors advise is, I suspect you are struggling scrupulosity.

If that’s case you should obey him, he knows what he’s doing and can’t help you if you won’t obey. Trust him.
I would say if you are 20% in doubt, given your confessors advise, you should receive.

First off, I should say of course that I’m just a young man who does have a good deal of knowledge of Church teaching, but I’m no authority on the matter, so disregard any advice or judgment that conflicts with your confessor’s.

However, I’m sure nearly every good confessor would agree with me here, in saying that you’re scrupulous. The TV show thing you descibe is a venial sin at worst. Hence, you should have recieved communion, especially since you confessor so commanded.

The way scrupulosity is conquered is, getting the necessary medical treatment, if necessary, and by careful obedience to your confessor. You should look up Scrupulous Anonymous if you haven’t already.

I can’t say whether it’s a mortal sin or not to disobey your confessor, since I honestly don’t know. But, it’s somewhat secondary to the concern above.

I will add this, though, that it is the common teaching of theologians that if you sincerely believe you’re in the state of grace, but in fact, are not, and thus receive communion, you are not only not guilty of sin, but will in fact recieve sanctifying grace (and thus re-enter the state of grace), since the sacraments confer sanctifying grace ex opere operato. Thus, even if you were in mortal sin, but out of obedience to your confessor, gave yourself the benefit of the doubt, received communion, you would be not guilty and receive sanctifying grace. I myself have struggled with scrupulosity and found this tremendously helpful.

Thus, in short, obey your confessor. You won’t conquer your scrupulosity if you don’t.

Benedicat Deus,

You are not aware whether or not disobeying your confessor is a mortal sin.

As such, the very thing he told you to do applies to this very situation.

And what did he tell you?

To receive Holy Communion if you are unsure whether or not you have committed a mortal sin.

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