As a Catholic I hear often the importance of Holy Communion (which I totally agree with)but there is one caveat that our ordain ministers don’t mention is that the Sacrament of Penance must be done first. Therefore, their should be a line going out to the parking lot before Mass. I have to admit that I feel guilty in receiving Communion if I have not gone to confession. So I believe there should be emphasis, by our priest, on confession before receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord.
First of all, you should never EVER receive the Eucharist if you haven’t gone to confession before receiving it. Receiving Christ precious body and blood with mortal sins still on your soul is considered sacrilege and is itself a mortal sin. Die with one mortal sin on your soul you go to hell, confess so you don’t go to hell and so that you can receive the Eucharist purely.
Second of all, you’re right. Priest’s need to put an emphasis on it! Seriously, like only 10 people in my whole parish go to confession weekly… it’s sad. Maybe you can talk to your priest, and maybe you can convince him to mention it in a homily of his.
Confession is necessary if one has committed a mortal sin. Venial sins can be forgiven in other ways. It is not necessary to go to confession before every reception of Holy Communion though frequent use of the sacrament is encouraged.
Sus - [edited] your answer is too complacent for me.
I would be in favour of receiving Our Lord once or twice a month in between times go to Confession and do Penance. I have done the afore-mention what great joy it brought in receiving Our Lord.
Actually, the answer is in accordance with Church teaching, despite your personal opinion on the matter. You are, of course, free to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as you wish; it is not, however, up to you to make up the rules.
It is not necessary to go to Confession before each reception of Holy Communion. It is only necessary when one is aware of mortal sin. Pope St. Pius X encouraged frequent Communion in 1905:
…after receiving Holy Communion, what we really are saying is this:
“I believe that the Catholic Church is the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church started by Jesus Christ. I believe that the Lord is really and truly present in the Eucharist. I believe in everything the Church teaches, even on those hot-button social issues like abortion, contraception, and homosexuality. I agree that I am in communion with the Church. I agree that I am not cohabiting with my spouse prior to marriage, that I am not divorced and remarried without a declaration of nullity, and that I have not committed a mortal sin since my last confession. I agree that I have not violated any of the precepts of the Church, including participating in Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation and going to confession at least once per year. I agree that I have kept the Eucharistic fast.”
I’m probably forgetting a few things, too. Point is, just two things on that list break the whole thing for a lot of people (according to polls, anyway): the use of artificial contraception, and the belief in the Real Presence. This should mean that many people aren’t going up and receiving every Mass, but unfortunately, close to 100% usually do.
Now, I’d imagine that parish priests know this, and would like to address it. However, they know that there would be parishioners who would not return to that parish because the pastor there is “too mean”. That would, of course, mean that those people would be walking away from the Church and thus lessening their chances of being revitalized by the Holy Spirit significantly. It would also mean that the number of volunteers in the parish would inevitably be lessened, along with the amount of donations. So, obviously, any attempts to address this problem would have to be done with a significant amount of tact (except in more conservative parishes, where the parishioners are more likely to fulfill the criteria to properly receive our Lord anyway).
What can be done to address this, if anything?
While frequent confession is certainly admirable, it is not strictly necessary. I go to confession weekly, but I also attend daily Mass and receive at each one (unless I am conscious of mortal sin or haven’t met all the criteria).
If you want to only receive directly after going to confession, you are certainly free to do that. However, the two sacraments are not necessarily linked that way. If someone IS CONSCIOUS OF MORTAL SIN, they must go to confession (and they must go at least once a year).
Also, it’s not in any way required for people to receive at every Mass. It is encouraged if there is nothing stopping them, but not required.
What works for you may not work for someone else. Finding the balance between being too lax and too scrupulous is often difficult.