If a Priest knew/thought someone was in mortal sin is he obligated to deny the Eucharist to them


#1

So if a Priest saw someone commit a grave sin right before Mass and then (the Priest knows they haven’t been to Confession) the person goes up for the reception of the Eucharist should he/can he deny them? Or what if a Priest just thought that someone was in mortal sin (lets say he had good reason to think it) then cpuld he/should he deny them? Thanks!


#2

I don’t think so, not with *just *the information given, but you would need someone proficient in canon law to correctly answer the question. There are laws and rules that pertain to this. You don’t seem to be describing an excommunicated person or someone obstinately persisting in manifest grave sin or some type of scandal situation. I understand the “manifest” thing to involve public unworthiness, but I am no expert.

You seem to be describing something visible only to the priest, that he saw happen once, and even then the priest might have doubts or not know the intent of the person, since he only just saw it happen.

Here is one thing I dug up for you that is a type of situation where denial might happen. It is about divorced and remarried people and communion, which is something the priest might have knowledge of. That might give you an idea of the thought process involved.

vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/intrptxt/documents/rc_pc_intrptxt_doc_20000706_declaration_en.html


#3

Thinking someone was in mortal sin would not be sufficient grounds for denying communion. If he KNEW for certain i.e. saw it with his own eyes, yes, he would be obligated to refuse communion, but also to council the person before mass that he or she needed reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist.


#4

I was once told a priest cannot deny someone communion without the permission of the Bishop.

Can someone clarify this? It made no sense to me.


#5

If a priest is 100% sure then I believe he shouldn’t give the person Holy Communion. His job is to save souls and according to the Bible receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin would basically cost someone their soul unless of course they go to confession.


#6

[quote="MaryT777, post:4, topic:331312"]
I was once told a priest cannot deny someone communion without the permission of the Bishop.

Can someone clarify this? It made no sense to me.

[/quote]

My limited understanding of canon law is that priests may withhold for just cause.

I believe that such a case made the news lately about a priest withholding communion to a visitor who professed living in an immoral condition at a funeral Mass.


#7

I know of no rule requiring all priests to get the permission of their bishop before denying communion. Priests have to be responsive to canon law, and it says:
CIC 915. Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
A priest would need to respond to this law if it someone obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin presented themselves in his communion line. However, I can imagine an individual bishop giving a priest direction about this.


#8

[quote="Bayoubeefmaster, post:5, topic:331312"]
If a priest is 100% sure then I believe he shouldn't give the person Holy Communion. His job is to save souls and according to the Bible receiving Communion in a state of mortal sin would basically cost someone their soul unless of course they go to confession.

[/quote]

Even if the priest is gifted with this special type of knowledge, there is the responsibility toward the good name of an individual (reputation). If the sin is hidden, and not known by anyone but the priest and the sinner, denying communion could cause quite a harm to the good name of the individual.

That is, I suspect, why the canon I quoted talks about "manifest" sin.

I offer another link that some might find helpful. Near the bottom are comments about denying communion. The top is more about an individual deciding to go to communion or not.


#9

[quote="Pug, post:7, topic:331312"]
I know of no rule requiring all priests to get the permission of their bishop before denying communion. Priests have to be responsive to canon law, and it says:
CIC 915. Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
A priest would need to respond to this law if it someone obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin presented themselves in his communion line. However, I can imagine an individual bishop giving a priest direction about this.

[/quote]

However, this does not seem to cover those in a state of mortal sin without either of these penalties attached.


#10

[quote="MaeganFlinchum1, post:1, topic:331312"]
So if a Priest saw someone commit a grave sin right before Mass and then (the Priest knows they haven't been to Confession) the person goes up for the reception of the Eucharist should he/can he deny them? Or what if a Priest just thought that someone was in mortal sin (lets say he had good reason to think it) then cpuld he/should he deny them? Thanks!

[/quote]

Canon 915 was already quoted, so I won't bother. But I will add one little bit of clarification onto that: the reason Canon 915 is there is for the avoidance of scandal among the faithful.

For example, if a notorious abortionist approached to receive communion, that would be an example. In other areas, if known members of the Mafia approached. And so on. Canon 915 has been used as a rationale behind banning vocal, outspoken pro-abortion, pro-homosexual politicians from receiving. Rainbow Sash people are generally banned per Canon 915.

All these people are public, notorious sinners who have not repented.

Let us say the priest knew that a man was committing adultery against his wife. This had been going on for a long time...and, in fact, was fairly common knowledge in the parish. That, in of itself, (IMHO) would not be grounds for not admitting him to communion...in as much as, for what we know, he may have dumped his floozy and gone to confession the night before.

However, if he was going all around the town bragging about flaunting God's law. Daring the Church to say anything about it. Throwing it in everybody's faces. It may scandalize the faithful to see him receive. It is likely that the priest would have grounds to apply Canon 915 in that case (the difference being an occult sin versus a very public one).


#11

[quote="markomalley, post:10, topic:331312"]
Canon 915 was already quoted, so I won't bother. But I will add one little bit of clarification onto that: the reason Canon 915 is there is for the avoidance of scandal among the faithful.

For example, if a notorious abortionist approached to receive communion, that would be an example. In other areas, if known members of the Mafia approached. And so on. Canon 915 has been used as a rationale behind banning vocal, outspoken pro-abortion, pro-homosexual politicians from receiving. Rainbow Sash people are generally banned per Canon 915.

All these people are public, notorious sinners who have not repented.

Let us say the priest knew that a man was committing adultery against his wife. This had been going on for a long time...and, in fact, was fairly common knowledge in the parish. That, in of itself, (IMHO) would not be grounds for not admitting him to communion...in as much as, for what we know, he may have dumped his floozy and gone to confession the night before.

However, if he was going all around the town bragging about flaunting God's law. Daring the Church to say anything about it. Throwing it in everybody's faces. It may scandalize the faithful to see him receive. It is likely that the priest would have grounds to apply Canon 915 in that case (the difference being an occult sin versus a very public one).

[/quote]

This is the answer i needed thanks!


#12

[quote="thistle, post:9, topic:331312"]
However, this does not seem to cover those in a state of mortal sin without either of these penalties attached.

[/quote]

Perhaps I don't understand your point. Or perhaps we read it differently.

I read the canon as:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted
and others
are not to be admitted to holy communion.

I see two people, those with legal penalties, and these others who are not in the first category. Both types are not to be admitted. The second type is precisely defined, of course, and does not include every person who has done something grave.

I agree with markomally that scandal to the faithful is an important consideration with this canon.


#13

[quote="Pug, post:12, topic:331312"]
Perhaps I don't understand your point. Or perhaps we read it differently.

I read the canon as:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted
and others
are not to be admitted to holy communion.

I see two people, those with legal penalties, and these others who are not in the first category. Both types are not to be admitted. The second type is precisely defined, of course, and does not include every person who has done something grave.

I agree with markomally that scandal to the faithful is an important consideration with this canon.

[/quote]

You are correct. I misread the canon.


#14

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