Mortal sin and sacraments


A lapsed Catholic friend of mine has recently become interested in returning to the faith as she’s seen me go through the RCIA process and we’ve talked about it. However, she has a question she’s afraid to ask the priest, and so I’m asking here for her.

Due to economic necessity, she’s been pushed into prostitution. It’s not a job she likes or wants to do, but she’s been unable as of yet to find any other job. She wants to leave and will as soon as she finds an out, and she also wants to return to the Church.

Her question is: Given that she doesn’t want to be a prostitute but currently has no other choice, is it considered a mortal sin / would she be able to receive communion after confession?


To my understanding, once sincerely confessed, mortal sins are forgiven and she can receive communion.

Are there services in your area that can help her out? is one in the US.

I will say a prayer for her, and remember her in my prayers as ‘Veronica’.


I’m pretty sure also that she would be good to go once she goes to confession. I will pray for her also. Nice job bringing her back to the church!
And nice job getting her help and not judging. You seem to be truly a practicing Catholic!


Here are some additional resources in the England/London areas:,172/

God bless,


Among Jesus’s early followers were former prostitutes. He is calling her to him --and away from such. In him is true life.

She would need to leave such occupation and repent and confess etc. (go and sin no more…)

Repent…confess all mortal sins …be absolved.


I think that’s what she’s most afraid of. At the moment, there is no end in sight. She’s been looking for a regular job for a very long time now, with no luck. She’s willing to come to mass and not participate in the eucharist if that’s what has to be done, she’s just worried and sad that it might be a long time before she’s able to fully participate again.

So I guess she is/was just holding out some hope that, despite its seriousness, it wouldn’t meet the full criteria of consent because it’s a “choice” made when the only other “choice” is homelessness/food insecurity. So she wanted to be sure, either way.


Thanks for the links. I’ll pass them on.


Not being able to find another job is not an excuse for remaining in a sinful occupation. The longer she remains in this occupation, the greater the risk to her soul. I would hate for some tragedy to befall her before she repents. I can’t judge the state of her soul, but it seems very risky to put off returning to the Church.

I certainly don’t know her personal circumstances and can’t speak to what might mitigate her guilt but I would say that it is not justifiable for her to remain in prostitution until she finds a different job. I think that she needs to stop now. Continuing to work as a prostitute with the expectation that she can confess this later sounds like the sin of presumption to me. Presuming God’s Mercy is a sin against the Holy Spirit and is a mortal sin in itself. Additionally, if she is justifying remaining a prostitute until she finds a different job, then what happens a year from now when she loses her new job? Does she go back to prostitution?

One of the sins I’ve dealt with is overindulging in alcohol, and I finally realized that forming a true spirit of contrition requires a sincere regret for the sin and the firm purpose to never commit the sin again.

I certainly have my own problems and ask for prayers. I will pray for your friend as well.


She is always welcome to come to Mass; anyone can, really. However, we are not receive the Body of Christ unless we have confessed all unconfessed mortal sins and repented, ahead of time. Many people will make a spiritual communion (there are prayers for that…google!) when it’s time for Communion.


I am glad your friend wants to return to the Church and I am glad you are trying to help her.

She doesn’t have to go through RCIA just because she has lapsed. Unless she has not received her first communion or been confirmed, all she would need is to go to confession.


There is always another choice.

Why have you not taken in your friend already into your home?


Wholeheartedly agree.


I’m not in any better position than them.


I don’t think you can argue that she isn’t fully consenting to being in a sinful occupation. Unless she has a pimp who is beating her up or holding a gun to her head, it is fully her choice. Now, she may not have the income she has now. There are still alternatives. If she can’t find a regular full-time job, for example, she could look into being a live in helper for a senior citizen for room and board. She could look for and combine several part time jobs. I know there are agencies which will help women get out of the profession.


I have my answer already, so I’m not really keen to argue. But a) the agencies aren’t calling her back - not even the Catholic ones and b) sure she could combine part time jobs - if she could get one. The problem isn’t that she “could get” another job - it’s that there aren’t any other jobs. When you go four years putting in application after application and volunteering and not even getting any interviews, changing your CV constantly and re-working your cover letters, it is not and will never be full consent and is not an actual choice.

“She may not have the income she has now”? Yeah, you’re right. She’d have zero income. Zero. As it stands, she only works literally just enough to pay the bills and that’s it, and she barely makes that. Some months, she doesn’t make it. Absolutely zero security and a lot of stress for her and her family because she doesn’t want to do this job.

I should probably stop there, as I am already aggravated from earlier today by being once again extremely disappointed by the average lay Catholic’s responses and very judgemental attitude towards poor people and homeless people.


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