If someone doesn’t know if they are out of Grace, but thinks they very well might be in a state of mortal sin, receives the Eucharist, have they done something of grave matter?
It’s hard to “quantify” the conscience so precisely. If a person has good reason to believe they are in mortal sin, then it may well be an additional mortal sin to receive the Eucharist. If a person is truly “unsure,” then it might not be as grave.
When it comes to sacrilege I would take the most concervative approach. If one believes they are in a state of moral sin and chooses to forgo receiving the Eucharist they have not committed a sin. On the other hand, receiving the Eucharist while knowingly in a state of mortal sin is grave matter. Even if you somehow find later on that you were in a state of grace the indifference to commiting sacrilege could be grave matter in of itself.
The foregoing assumes that the person does not suffer from scruples and therefore cannot readily distinguish if they may be in the state of grace. In those cases they should listen to the advice of their confessor.
The question is as to whether it is of grave matter to receive the Eucharist while thinking you are most likely in mortal sin, but do not know for sure.
Also, someone without scruples can become confused about their level of culpability regarding a sin.
Really what you describe gets too close to legalism for me. I was 99% sure I was not in a state of grace, but just perhaps I wasn’t. If you are indifferent to the potential of commiting sacrilege that in of itself is a problem. We are not just required to be in a state of grace, but also properly disposed to receive. If you think you have a high chance of being in a state of mortal sin and potentially commiting sacrilege then I would question if you are properly disposed to receive the Eucharist. The moral culpability is very much tied to your perception of weather you believe you are in a state of grace. If it’s 50/50 it’s a judgement call, but if it’s 90/10 towards not being in a state of grace it doesn’t make sense to risk commiting sacrilege.
The wording in canon law is merely “conscious of grave sin” (c916). It is not really framed with regard to probabilities. Any individual with doubts about this should discuss with their confessor and ask for a direct instruction for how to deal with this, if it happens with any frequency.
Since there is no requirement to receive Eucharist, one can take the more conservative approach for any one-off cases, and wait until they have gone to confession.
When in doubt be safe and don’t receive. Not only would you have the mortal sin to confess you would also have the sin of receiving communion to confess.
Just go to confession as soon as you can and tell the priest.
Truly, when is anyone of us in such a state of grace that we are “worthy” to receive Christ? We dare to receive the Eucharist because Jesus calls us to him. If someone truly believes that Jesus is present and he is calling him or her, who is qualified to stop them. I was taught by several priests that as a believer, you always approach and receive Jesus in the sacraments. You make an act of true contrition and visit a priest for confession as soon as possible, but you never refuse Christ’s invitation.
I truly doubt that someone who takes the effort to go to mass and truly believes in the divine presence would be in a state of mortal sin. They might not be as good as they should, but then who among us is? If one goes to confession on a regular bases, or when he feels the need to refresh his relationship with God, there should never be a reason to not go to communion.
I am very interested to see what the bishops will decide on the synod on the family in regards to divorced people and the sacrament. This decision will certainly bring a new perspective on this issue.
I am not “indifferent to committing sacrilege,” as it is something I would really rather not do and would never do intentionally; I’d just feel strange about not receiving during the Mass unless I knew for sure that I should not. Also, I thought that true sacrilege had to be intentional and if you’re not quite sure you’re committing it and don’t really want to, I wouldn’t call that intentional.
Someone with scruples should not be talking to us. They should talk to their priest or spiritual director and obey them strictly.
I do not have scruples. I never said that I did.
I never heard this before. Our priest said he sees so many going to communion each week we must never sin, as a way to encourage us to go to confession more often. He sees so little go to confession but receive communion, it must be a concern to him.
Anyone in a state of mortal sin is forbidden to receive Communion. That is an infallible teaching of the Church and can never be changed.
The Church also teaches that while a divorce in itself is not a sin remarrying would be a sin of grave matter (without an annulment). That will not change either.
A person who gets divorced and remarried without an annulment is in a state of mortal sin.
If such a relationship is not broken up or alternatively the couple do not agree to live a life of continence they will remain in a state of mortal sin and will not be allowed to receive Communion.