How do we know that we must go to confession before receiving communion


So this is what I found 1 Corinthians 27-29. But this shows more of a self examination and the need for knowing what Jesus death means. Is there other scriptures to back up the need for confession? Thank you!


Hi Lenny,

I believe that this is the only text that refers specifically to the Eucharist. Canon Law has put this obligation in the following text :

Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.



Matt 5:23-24 are worth taking a look at as well. The “brother” is the Church, in this case.

The idea is that we do not receive Communion with the Church and with Christ before reconciling with them (if we have sinned against them in a serious way). We see this in other relationships as well. If a married couple are in a fight, they need to reconcile before they are going to engage in the marital act again. The reconciliation must always come before the intimacy.

Hope that helps!


Hello Lenny.

This is something very basic and you should’ve learned *all about it *before you made your First Holy Communion by age 7 if your parents allowed for you to receive a proper Catholic Education and saw to it that you did learn what you were supposed to know as a child. If you became Catholic as an adult, you should’ve been instructed in the first few weeks of your RCIA classes about how to tell the difference between mortal and venial sins and when to go to Confession and how to make a good Examination of Conscience. Unfortunately some having their own ideas about the Sacrament of Confession fail consistently to teach what is necessary so as to alter the actual practices of many through the years. This has happened and it was deliberate. Those poor wretches. Pity them they are sheep without a Shepard.

But these are simply my opinions and I’m not an expert on much but bagels and cream cheese.



I am not talking about confession, I understand the need for that, I’m trying to find bible scriptures that show that confession is needed before communion. The fact that confession is needed is obvious according to the Bible and Church tradition. I have very spiritual and intelligent teachers during my time in RCIA thank you very much. :slight_smile:


Hi Lenny,

Excuse the double post, but just to clarify - you are asking for a Scriptural basis for why we need to go to confession before communion IF we have sinned mortally, correct?

Just wanted to make sure you weren’t implying someone must go to confession before communion every time! :smiley:


Hello Lenny.

Thanks for the reply. I’ll admit it: now you’ve got me confused. You say you accept the Church’s Tradition and the Bible on the question of Confession BEFORE Communion, so what more could there be? Are you specifically asking for Biblical proof that it (Confession) must be made BEFORE Communion, because I don’t think you’re going to find it specifically spelled out that way in the Scriptures. In which case you’re asking for something else than just a simple explanation.

Let me ask, do you specifically need to the word BEFORE found in the Scriptures to validate an argument? Help us out here. I’m sure I’m not the only one befuddled.


P.S. I’m sure hoping this doesn’t go the way of the “until” type of arguments as in “…he had no relations with her *until *she was delivered of her Son…”


My rule is: when in doubt, confess.



**“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” 1 Cor. 11:27.

  • Probably what you’re mostly looking for, so I bolded it. **

In the same reasoning, this was written about the fall of Jerusalem’s temple, used as a first catechism in A.D. 70 to teach new Christians:

The Didache

“Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure” (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).

Source & A good article on this topic:

Though I’m quickly typing (gotta run), I hope that helps.


Seems like everyone is taught differently here. How much money can one steal and still be able to call it a venial sin? What about gossiping, which eventually ruins some one’s good name? What about cheating?

I was taught at 7 if I lie I should confess it. If I disobey my parent, that too. When I grow older, how should I believe anyone fresh out of RCIA classes that those really aren’t mortal sins?


It is not necessary to go to Confession every time one intends to receive Communion.

For example, in the Eastern Orthodox, communion is given to infants. I don’t know if there was ever a time when it was allowed in the Western Church.

The only time we “must go to confession before receiving communion” is when we are in the state of mortal sin.

Or are you asking about the Church regulation that says children should make their First Confession before receiving their First Holy Communion?


Scripture in the NT says we must be worthy to receive. The Church, which wrote the NT, tells us the best way of doing that.


This is interesting since some Orthodox, as well as other groups, regard communion without confession a decadent practice.


Try this page on that same site:

(Scroll down to section 2 – 2**.The Tradition, the Liturgy and the Sense of the Sacred ** )


So I take it confessions are heard from younger than 7 yrs old ? :confused:


Jesus commissioned The Apostles as leaders of the Church and gave them all authority.
He said “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me.” What The Church proclaims is binding, it is from Christ,


I don’t know what age the Orthodox consider a person ready for Confession, but whatever it is, that would no doubt be the age when they might regulate the need to go to Confession before Communion. Prior to that age the requirement for Confession would not apply - that is, for those younger than that age Confession would not be required before receiving Communion.

BTW, I have no idea whether Communion can be given regularly to a baby until they reach the age of reason - or whether it’s a one time occurrence at the time of Baptism and would not be given again until after the child makes his first Confession. Maybe there are some Orthodox on the forum that could help us out with info on the topic.


The gravity of a sin often depends on circumstances. For example, stealing $100 from a rich person may not even be noticed–the rich person could certainly afford it. However, take $100 from a poor, homeless person, and it has much more serious effect on the person. Even it it’s the same person, circumstances may make a difference: steal the $1000 a person needed to pay real estate taxes, and the person may end up homeless; steal $1000 from the same person a day later, and the person cannot repay their hospital bill in a timely manner, and have to work out a payment plan. Still burdensome, but not so devastating.

However, a more fundamental question is what is mortal sin and what is not. Mortal sin has three requirements:

  1. Serious (grave) matter,
  2. Full knowledge, and
  3. Full consent of the will.
    All such sins must be confessed in confession.

Sins that lack one or more of these requirements are not mortal but venial sins. They may be forgiven in other manners, but may also be confessed in confession. When in doubt, it is best to confess such sins; the practice of confessing all sins a person is aware of is a good one–then there is no need to worry and judge about degree and all the rest.

So, your practice of confessing all lies is worthy, if not precisely required–most lies tend to lack serious matter, although they may reveal some deeper, more serious problem, especially in a close relationship. For example, lies to a spouse may contribute to disrespect and reflect a more serious problem in the relationship that needs to be addressed. In my experience, spouses will say that the hurt and betrayal of the lies was equal to the betrayal of the adultery.


If one wants to find out how deep the devastation was, shouldn’t he ask the victim instead of the stealer, who will no doubt rationalize his actions in some way? Americans seem to be quite good at rationalization. Maybe it’s the court system and all its technicalities, I don’t know. Even the comic Fr. Sarducci in one of his skits mentioned how some people have learned to “weasel and maneuver” their way in the confessional. Maybe to heaven as well?

FWIW, someone stole my bike several years ago and I very devastated since I had spent a lot of effort into making it safe to ride for myself. Sure I could have bought a new one but in many ways it was irreplaceable. Maybe not so much to the stealer.


This is why the requirement is not just concerning “mortal” sin, but “grave” sin. It helps avoid that rationalization by removing the most subjective parts of what makes a sin mortal, and only looks to what is grave matter.

Also, I suspect that it’s not just Americans who are masters of rationalization. I suspect all human beings are good at it. . . . :shrug:

Still, faced with, not a human judge but a divine judge, who knows exactly what each person did, and their motives–do we really expect we can weasel our way into heaven? It’s not primarily about keeping the laws and rules, but about a relationship, and specifically about learning to love. Can we weasel our way into being a loving person? Because that’s what it takes in the end.

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