Eucharist and Mortal Sin

If I have to be in a state of sanctifying grace to receive the Eucharist, and I still choose to receive it whilst in a state of mortal sin, does it mean that I have *not *been in communion with God?
Does my sin cancel out the act of communion? I’m thinking that perhaps the act of receiving Communion is in itself an act of atonement, if the receiver is genuinely penitent.

But what of the sinner who just goes up any-old-how and receives the host (as a matter of habit, perhaps) in a state of carelessness, or worse, fully intending to mock the institution of Communion? In these cases, it can hardly be regarded as a valid communion, any more than an insincere confession is held to be valid.

Any ideas or church teachings (surely there must be a teaching or ten on this topic).

If you receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, you commit a sacrilege

I agree. It profanes an ancient institution.

What about my other point: can Communion serve as an act of penitence or reconciliation, if the person is indeed repentant?

I believe saying a perfect and sincere act of contrition before communion would be pleasing to God.
If someone doesn’t care nor isn’t sorry for sins against each other, or aren’t even bothered about being at mass in the first place, they aren’t spiritually in a good place, but being there and taking part, they may receive grace from God to help them.:slight_smile:

Confession is a sacrament of its own. It cannot be substituted. If you are in mortal sin DO NOT go to communion. Even an act of contrition will not suffice.

We all know that, McCartney, but does the sin negate the act of communion with God? That’s really what I’m asking.
After all, it is still a person taking the body, soul, divinity and humanity of Christ into his/her mouth. Nothing actually stops them.
There must be a teaching on this.

Also, is there any church teaching on your other idea that confession is the only act of reconciliation? (I mean, I’m willing to believe you, but there must be a definitive position on this).

Confession is the only act of reconciliation except in the time of death when God in his infinite mercy may forgive without confession. That however, is not my department and I cannot give you any ruling on it.

Recieving Communion while not in state of grace is in itself another mortal sin. It can not be viewed as part of an act of contrition if you are not in a state of grace. As for a perfect act of contrition before Communion, you cannot be sure that your personal act of contrition was indeed perfect. So by taking Communion after this you are in effect taking a gamble with the state of your immortal soul. Is that really a wise thing to do? Why not simply miss Communion and get to Confession ASAP?

Receiving Communion while not in a state of grace is always wrong and is a gravely sinful. If you’ve done this the confess it to a priest at Confession.

This is something I have never read before. (I’m not been confrontational here, and genuinely want to find out some more about this).

It might even be the stimulus for a separate thread.

I know God can do anything, but does He reserve the right to forgive someone at the time of death without confession? I imagine this refers to those who simply cannot get there in time; when the Priest turns up 5 minutes too late; perhaps for death-bed conversions.

This would *seem *to negate many teachings on judgement, heaven, purgatory and hell. After all, if God chooses to forgive some, then why not all?

We have been warned in scripture that we must receive the Lord’s body worthily–and that “to eat the Lord’s body unworthily is to eat it unto condemnation”. Thus, any person who is in the state of mortal sin and still partakes of communion without going to confession first, now has a second mortal sin–and a big one at that–to go to confession for.

The host is consecrated through the priest. If a minister gives a Chocolate Labrador a host, then the Labrador has received the body, blood, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Although having a dog receive isn’t as bad as having a person in mortal sin receive - one who possesses supernatural depravity - this would be sacrilege.

There are zero graces to receiving Christ while in a state of mortal sin. It would just be incurring an additional sin that is a grave matter. In this case, the act of penance would be to abstain in spite of the desire to receive, which would incur special graces for the person.

I know many catholic people who are divorced by the civil courts and are in relationships with either separated, divorced, or widowed people. They continue to take the eucharist. I have already made aware one of these people that church counsels, if not FORBIDS, this. I am not sure how to approach this issue anymore. As far as I am concerned, adultery is a mortal sin. But who am I to judge the hearts of men/women.

Hello Hansard.

Receiving the Eucharist as an act of penance is laudable but only if it is done in a state of grace. Unconfessed mortal sin cannot be relieved by the Sacrament of Eucharist. It must first be relieved in the Confessional by the Sacrament of Confession and your assigned penance must be completed before you are freed to receive the Eucharist. Do not fool yourself about this. No one can receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin and be forgiven by receiving the Eucharist. If you do, you eat and drink condemnation unto yourself and become responsible to the Blood of the Lamb as the Scriptures state.


A person at the time of death could make an act of perfect confession and be forgiven.

As to God choosing to forgive some and not others, God is free to do whatever He wishes for whatever reasons he wishes.

Why did He choose the Hebrews as His people and not any other tribe of people that inhabited the Earth? Was that fair on them?

Did Saul deserve to be converted on the road to Damascus, considering how he persecuted Christians? What then about the others who were equally undeserving, but were not called to conversion? Was that too not unfair?

Why does God call some people back from a life of wickedness today to be saved through conversion experiences, and not others? Is that not unfair on those who have not been so dramatically called back?

God does not operate within our human understanding or within the modern constraints of what we deem to be fair or unfair. Whatever God does, He does for the good, whether it appears that way to us or not.

There is a point where it does more harm than good to receive.

Not to be confused with attending Mass, though, which is always good.

There are a goodly number of people who are willing, ready and able to tell those people the rules (and often to assure those sinners that they are on the road to Hell). Many, if not most of those ready willing and able are not capable to doing so in a charitable manner; the net result may be that the sinners quit receiving the Eucharist; but also react with such anger that they do not darken the door of the parish again.

One of the more interesting scenes in the New Testament is the one of the woman caught in adultery. There is no question, from the reading, that she was an adulterer. There is much speculation as to what Christ wrote in the dirt (my favorite is that He started listing the sins of those who were going to stone her to death).

At the end, after everyone else has slunk off, He says to her the He does not condemn her either, and to go and sin no more. One could presume that she was repentant, but there is no dialogue concerning that; Christ simply says, “I do not condemn you either”.

There is no clear way to approach people who have gone through a divorce, and without obtaining a decree of nullity, start a relationship with someone else. We do not know their level of catechesis; and often we do not know the exact details of a lot of information about them. They need to reconcile with the Church; and I would submit that we have at least as great a duty to not drive them away from the Church as we do to protect the Eucharist (in my opinion, a greater duty).

The first issue we need to deal with is out own sinfulness.

The second is that we need to be charitable in anything we say or do with these people.

Or maybe I should say, the third thing; the second would be to pray, constantly, for them (by name, if possible) that they be reconciled with Christ and the Church. I am not unaware of the issue, having been involved in RCIA for 15+ years. I also have dealt directly with the issue in a program for returning Catholics; one couple asked specifically the question; and then got mad with the answer (seeking an annulment). Back they went to a more liberal Protestant group. I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the results, and questioned what I could have done differently. Probably nothing, but that didn’t make me feel better.

That is a very good post otjm, and full of good Christian charity

However, in this part:

you have left off part of the sentence, he actually said , “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again”.

This is indeed the issue, “go and do not sin again”. Christ commanded the woman to go and not repeat her sin. That part of the sentence is why divorced and remarried couples are not permitted to receive Communion, because by intending to remain in their relationship they are, when going to receive Communion, intending afterwards to return to their sin.

It is indeed a difficult issue, and we do not want to drive anyone away from the Church, but truth is truth and we owe it to them and to the Church to be honest with people. Delivering messages that seem to criticise people’s way of life is often difficult. It is indeed very hard to deliver such messages, while at the same time appearing charitable. It would take a very special person to be able to do that.

The church teaches that Catholics should attend confession at least once a year. If in mortal sin one should attend confession.

How many Catholics, possibly, think that once a year is ok? Even if they have committed mortal sin? Look at the list of mortal sins…there are many, most of which we all fall into at one time or another, maybe not even realising it.

“An act of perfect contrition obtains pardon for sins at once, even before they are confessed, because it proceeds from love of God, which cannot co-exist with sin…” (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

While it is true that the intention to confess must also be present, this is a moral necessity, not an absolute necessity . I won’t add further detail here, however, for the sake of brevity.

The OP is all about whether reception of the Eucharist
cancels Mortal sin.
Nevertheless, VENIAL sins are washed away by the
person receiving the Eucharist!
For a sin to be Mortal ALL THREE of the following
must be fulfilled:

  1. It is a grave sin.
  2. One knows that it is a grave sin.
  3. One has freedom to choose and
    is not forced to commit it.
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