I was in two civil marriages that ended in divorce. I read that I can not take communion until I go to confession. Well I did go to confession after several years of living in sin. But its was very difficult for me to pinpoint specific sins so my sin to confess was that I was not living a good Christian life. The priest told me that my sins were forgiven. In my heart I feel that ALL my sins were resolved at that point. But do I have to go and confess the two marriages and divorces specifically before and receive communion again?
Your question is important, but there is only one good answer you will find here, and I’m sure many will reiterate it…but unfortunately many may not:
Talk to a parish priest or you parish pastor…
Don’t hang on any answers you hear on this page from CAF members, regardless of which side of the issue they fall on!
Ive been taking communion this whole. I honestly didnt know until last night. Is that bad?
I don’t think that we can really give you a good answer here. This is probably something best discussed with your priest. There are simply a lot of details (intents and such) involved.
That said, as a general rule, assuming your intention at the time of your confession was pure, then the absolution was valid and you are fine. However if there are issues that still trouble you and you feel you should confess them specifically, then by all means do so.
Just to share a bit of my own personal journey…I came back to the Church in 2007. At that time, like you, I made a somewhat perfunctory confession. Partly it was because there were so many things, over so many years that there was no way to enumerate them all. Father was perfectly fine with this - yet it troubled me.
So - after a few weeks I sat down and wrote out what I wanted to say. I used the seven deadly sins as a “template” to understand what I had done and what really serious sins I had been living in. I took this with me to confession and read it to father. He commented that it was obvious that I had given this some considerable thought. I agreed that I had. He then gave me absolution.
Afterward it was as if a great weight had been lifted. I took the sheet home and burned it, just because I wanted to - it was symbolic to me.
Of course I am still a sinner…but I am trying to get better…
I was taught to confess " in kind and number of times for each sin". However, take the advise of the others here and talk to your pastor. As they say “let in all hang out”
Father Serpa usually says, although your sins were forgiven, if you remember a biggie you forgot to confess, you should do it at your next confession for repentance sake. Having two civil marriages seem to fit the bill if you knew they were sins. If not, them they weren’t mortal. You have fixed the problem by divorcing. Speak to you priest and you will be a lot happier.
I think you’ll find that there are several one here who have travelled the same journey as yourself, me included. It’s virtually impossible to remember all the sins one has committed when returning to the church after many years and the hardest thing of all can be forgiving yourself.
I just kept returning to Confession as sins occurred to me but even now I remember sins which I have not specifically confessed. When I raised this with a Jesuit priest once in Confession he advised me to put them from my mind as they were forgiven
Wow my return to the faith was mysterious I will admit that. After I learned that I may have been receiving communion with an unworthy state I was petrified! As a Catholic and Christian My faith has never been stronger, For the first time in my life I can Actually feel the Presence of God in the Church. So I decided to go to church about 30 min early to spend some time in personal adoration before mass. I prayed on it while in church and was afraid that I had committing an atrocity while receiving communion. Then I don’t know if it was a sign or divine message but I began reading the missalette. I then was reading the Table of Contents when I saw “The way to receive Communion” or something to that effect. Then I read it plain as day…That you can not receive communion while knowingly be in sin. I was relieved since I didn’t know that I was in sin until last night. I decided to not partake in communion until I spoke with a priest, in which I was able to, briefly and he confirmed what I read.
He said that it was okay because I had not left the sins out intentionally, but now that I remember and know them. I should confess them. and I will. I think I will follow JRKH’s advice and write them down as I remember them.
Thanks Every one,.
Yes - this is what we are all taught and certainly this is fine when we are talking about regular confession…but when one has been away from the Church for Thirty-five Years kind and number is rather overwhelming. This is a big reason why I liked the “Seven Deadly Sins” as a template.
By using the Seven deadly sins, I really had only committed each one once…I simply had continued in that one sin for a very long time. For example, my sinful pride kept me from returning to Church…the sin of Lust was my constant companion…Gluttony…yep in all it’s appetites…and so on…
As I examined my life against these it became crystal clear how one had led to others. Yes there were many discreet acts (too numerous to really count) but these were all simply symptoms of the real, deeper and more dangerous “root cause”.
Anyway - I don’t mean to derail the thread, but wanted to share why I chose to do what I did, and I believe it can be of help to others who, like the OP, are returning to Church after a long absence.
As long as you did not intentionally hold any grave sin back, with the intent of making amends. ALL those sins are forgiven. period.
When the priests absolves you, you are absolved from ALL your sins, not some, but ALL. God takes those sins and destroys them.
the EFFECTS of the sins stay.
Go in peace.
Communion is not permitted for a Catholic that married civilly while a Catholic, without approval of the Church, and that is living as though validly married. St. Pope John Paul II wrote in* Familiaris Consortio*:
Catholics in Civil Marriages
The aim of pastoral action will be to make these people understand the need for consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess, and to try to do everything possible to induce them to regularize their situation in the light of Christian principle. While treating them with great charity and bringing them into the life of the respective communities, the pastors of the Church will regrettably not be able to admit them to the sacraments.
Divorced and Remarried Catholics
However, the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.
Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children’s upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they “take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”(180)
It is not bad, but you are in error. Now that you know marriage outside of the Church is a mortal sin, go back to confession and confess it, before you receive communion again.
Please re-read the OP’s several posts again.
two marriages, both resulting in divorce.
no mention of a current marriage.
a mortal sin requires three things: the matter must be serious (it was); the person must know that it was serious (one of the posts said “I didn’t know it was a sin until last night”.)
Therefore it was not a mortal sin for them as the second element was lacking.
Further, in the same post, the OP said the pastor confirmed this.
We all try to help in these threads; but we don’t help someone who is not particularly knowledgeable about the Faith, when we offer incorrect advice. In fact, we can cause harm. I am sure you meant no harm whatsoever, but your advice presumed facts not in evidence; indeed it was contrary to the given facts.
That is atechnical answer to a non-question. The OP said (in the piece you quoted) that they were divorced from the marriages. Thus they are not in a civil marriage.
They also did not say they were remarried after two civil marriages and divorces, so the latter part of your note, while technically accurate, is not applicable.
The question is “do I have to go and confess the two marriages and divorces specifically before and receive communion again?”. I can not say there was mortal sin even though there was objective grave sin. My hope is that the OP can understand the issues better to answer that question.
What was posted has to do with what the civil marriages and divorce are for a Catholic:
*][in]consistency between their choice of life and the faith that they profess
*]error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.