If already going to hell due to mortal sin, why avoid communion?


#1

The Catholic Church teaches that if you’ve sinned mortally, you’re going to hell. It also teaches that if you are in a state of mortal sin (and thus going to hell), you should also not take communion because you’ll… also go to hell.

If a person is already going to hell due to not being in a state of grace, then why any concern at all over receiving communion in this state if you’re already going to hell due to being in a state of mortal sin? Is there some sort of double-hell that the church is trying to help people avoid?

The reason I’m asking is because sometimes I think I might be in a state of mortal sin, but I’m honestly not entirely sure. In order to avoid eating or drinking judgement upon myself (1Cor11:29), I avoid communion entirely. This causes me to miss communion all. the. time. Like seriously I’ll end up not taking communion sometimes 7-8 weeks in a row, which is a total bummer.

I started wondering well what’s the point? If I’m not in a state of mortal sin, then it sucks to be missing communion. And if I am in a state of mortal sin, then I’m going to hell anyway, so why avoid taking communion?

EDIT: I’ve posted background on my situation and why this is so frustrating to me below here:


#2

Generally the type of people to care about a mortal sin don’t want to commit another mortal sin.

Talk to your Priest on the requirements for a mortal sin, and ask for him to help you understand them.


#3

Mortal sin isn’t permanent. You can go to Confession. Unrepented mortal sin does lead to hell. But nobody goes to hell while they’re still alive and have a chance to repent.

-Fr ACEGC


#4

Don’t just think in terms of death, but also life. :sunglasses: It is not about death. Repent and live.

Maybe you would repent of the one sin, but if you keep piling on, who knows if you’ll repent of them all? Sin tends to drag one down and lead to more sin.


#6

Thanks for your response, but I’m afraid I’m looking for more information (maybe @edward_george1 can offer further advice based on the details I’m providing below?

I have talked to my priest, which as been 2 different priests at 2 different parishes in 2 different countries. I do understand the 3 qualifications for a sin to be considered mortal, and due to the addictive nature of my sin (and thus not meeting the “deliberate and complete consent” part), priest #1 recommended to me that it isn’t a mortal sin, and, although not ideal, to accept communion and continue going to confession regularly.

Then I moved to another country and went to confession and the priest there gave me a very stern brow beating and said I must absolutely never accept communion after committing said sin under any condition. Being a genuinely God-fearing guy, this terrified me and so I stopped receiving communion regularly because I’m still regularly committing this sin (which I very much hate and try my best to not do).

So now I’m fairly stuck. As I mentioned, I sometimes miss receiving communion several months in a row even with my regular weekly confession because the sin and the confession and communion don’t always line up correctly.

It’s now officially unclear whether I can accept communion or not in this state (one priest said yes, the other said no). I don’t want to be displeasing to God so I take the safe route of not accepting communion whenever I’ve committed this sin (which again is pretty much all the time).

But this still doesn’t answer my question of, why should I avoid communion if I’m unsure? If I’m in a state of mortal sin, i’m going to hell anyway so who cares about eating judgement upon myself if I’m already going to hell? And if it’s not a mortal sin, I’m missing out on communion constantly.

I’m in no way wanting to be displeasing to God, I just don’t understand why this teaching is a thing. I feel like it’s the only thing that’s preventing me from confidently being able to accept communion with God (which is what I want with all my heart) and I’m not sure what to do in regards to receiving communion or not.


#7

I’m not trying to blame the church for anything. I’m just frustrated with myself and my own sin, and with not being able to understand this teaching and why it would ever need to exist in the first place.


#8

If a person in a state of mortal sin repents, then the merit is restored that was had before, however many temporal punishments and temporal consequences remain from those sins. If a person avoids additional mortal sins before repenting, then it reduces the temporal punishment or temporal consequences that remain and means less satisfaction (penance) is necessary. If there is not final repentance so that condemnation results, then there are less demerits and thus less eternal suffering.


#9

I’m really sorry to hear that. It does sound incredibly difficult, and in your shoes I wouldn’t know what to do either.

I’m hoping you get some good advice here.


#10

Thanks brother, really appreciate your kind words. I’m going to continue trying my hardest. I’m just hitting a wall after dealing with this for like 30 years and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get out of this trench. It’s just very frustrating.


#11

I’ve thought about this before also, if someone goes to hell for 1 mortal sin, would it matter if this person had 30? My guess is somehow yes it would be worse, more painful hell or something?

But more importantly, mortal sin hurts Jesus, why would we want to continue to hurt Jesus?


#12

I agree completely and would never want to hurt my Lord and savior. I’m just so tired of not feeling like I’m able to accept communion constantly (and this is more than just pure scrupulosity due to the sin involved, although scrupulosity might be part of it).


#13

If you are having trouble receiving very often, is your mortal sin habitual? If so, this could mitigate it to venial sin, but I would talk with a Priest on it. Jesus isn’t out to say “ha gotcha!”

I’ve had priests tell me that even in a grave sin, a person can show they don’t want to do it if they resist or stop very quickly. But that was the advice they told me based on my situation


#14

Yes, it’s interesting you brought this up because that’s what priest #1 told me, and therefore permitted me to receive communion under the circumstances after knowing me and my situation for a couple years.

But the priest #2 sorta pulled the carpet out from under that when he said “absolutely not!” and gave me such severe fear/doubt that I stopped receiving again. Hence my dilemma.

In case anyone worries that I’m using “addiction” as an excuse to continue sinning, that’s very much not the case. Whenever there is an addiction, out of love of God it’s the responsibility of the addicted to seek help, and I have done so on many occasions, seeking not only medical help, but also support groups, etc. Nothing so far has helped, but I’m still trying my best.


#15

You haven’t posted enough yet for us to determine if you’re scrupulous, but:

Unfortunately, the problem here was you asking two priests, and if you happen to be scrupulous, we would have told you outright that this was a mistake.

Even if you turn out to be not scrupulous, you should have determined which priest you trust and ask him, and that should have been the ONLY priest you should have asked, and you should have followed ONLY his advice, regardless of which priest this was. Again, without admitting that you’re scrupulous (and you might be), this is beheaviour we keep telling people that is very spiritually damaging and why priest-hopping is a very bad idea.

As it stands now, because of what you did, you are in a dilemma. I would therefore advise you to believe and follow priest #1, and presume, when you are “not sure” that you are NOT in a state of mortal sin, and receive, and refrain ONLY when you are 100% certain you have met all three conditions for mortal sin. And then you find your trusted priest and confide ONLY in him without double-guessing. Because if you’re not already scrupulous, I assure you, you will become scrupulous in the very near future if you keep this up.

I will ping Fr Edward, who has already replied above, to vet my response. And further, Fr. Edward is a trusted and trained priest in this kind of situation. Follow his advice. @edward_george1


#16

Actually, no she doesn’t. She teaches that, if one mortally sins, they would go to Hell if they died before repenting of that sin. the Church doesn’t pigeonhole people like that. There is confession for a reason; there is the opportunity to return to a state of grace.


#17

My priest told me a similar thing. It’s not like habit can make it so you never mortally sin, it’s still possible. There have been times I’ve received since the sin might be habitual and my priest said I can receive. But there has been 1 time I didn’t receive because I felt I didn’t do a good enough job fighting habit in that particular situation, meaning I felt I did consent beyond just it being habit. So it’s not a ‘get out of jail free’ card


#18

And that’s exactly what I mean. You didn’t receive because you were sure. In case of the “not sure” especially for people feeling such anxiety as the OP, I would always direct them to the lesser burden, and to ALWAYS follow his confessor’s advice.

The problem was that he priest-hopped, and that was the trigger. He should have believed priest #1 and should never have asked the question again, except to priest #1 who, by his own admission, has known him and his situation for at least a couple of years.

I apply the same principles to myself. If I am “not sure”, I receive. At my next confession, I present the circumstance to Father for judgment and mention that I received. Not as a confession of a bad communion but to just give the lay of the land. Most often, I have not been judged wrong. If I am sure, I also receive, but that’s because I’ve already rushed to Confession prior.


#23

Because you don’t want to insult Jesus.


#24

Thanks so much for your responses. I’ll explain a bit more to hopefully clarify the circumstances a bit more.

Here’s the general timeline (which all happened over quite a few years) leading up to where I am now:

  1. I developed a severe addiction
  2. I was receiving communion because at the time I wasn’t aware of the mortal-sin
  3. I became aware of the mortal sin and stopped accepting communion out of fear of further judgement. Due to the repetitive nature of the sin, this means I was very rarely able to accept communion.
  4. I spoke to priest #1 about my situation after not being able to receive communion for many weeks and he recommended that due to the circumstances I continue receiving communion, which I did and was very much relieved.
  5. I had to move to another country for work and so I began attending a new church in this new country (I was not attempting to priest-hop, but rather had to start going to a new parish due to the trans-country move)
  6. I started going to confession at the new parish to priest #2
  7. One week I began feeling guilty of not doing a good enough job in fighting this habit (as @GospelOfMatthew also mentioned experiencing) and I confessed sorrow for “any time which I may have accepted communion unworthily”
  8. The priest asked for clarification on what I meant by this and I explained that sometimes I commit a certain sin before receiving communion
  9. He became very stern with me and said I should never do this. I didn’t explain the situation of what priest #1 had told me before since I was so upset at the time and felt that God was telling me in that moment that I had been mistaken or deceived, and that what priest #1 had told me previously must not have been correct.
  10. I’m back at #3 on this list and unsure of what to do

#25

So the issue seems to be if what you are doing, in thought or act, is voluntary or not. There are two items in the Catechism to study:

1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.

2352 … To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.


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