My priest said I could receive Holy Communion in a state of contrition

I went to confession before Mass today with this retired priest who was going to do Mass.

Well, I had a few Mortal sins to confess and I did confess and received absolution and penance.

However, during the confession, this priest told me if I say an act of contrition if I didn’t have enough time for confession, I can receive communion to help strength my battle against sin.

I think “State of Contrition” is an unofficial state, I think. State of Grace and State of Mortal sin. I was in a State of Mortal sin (But contrite) and he said I could receive communion if I didn’t make it confession. (But Like I said, I did receive absolution for my sin before Mass.)

Is this true, could I do that in a State of Contrition?
Do Note Please, that I am a devout and good Catholic with good standing with my prayer life and the Church. Thank you. (Sometimes we fail though.)

I’ve had a couple priests tell me a similar thing. But honestly, if I am conscious of a mortal sin that I have not been sacramentally absolved of in confession, I would rather not go to receive Jesus. Until you get a more authoritative answer to this question, I would suggest never receive Communion when you are conscious of mortal sin until you have confessed and been sacramentally absolved. To do so just kind of muddies the waters. If it were ok to do so simply because of true contrition then you could just put off confession for as long as you could. I also think that not receiving Communion until you get to confession is a good motivation to go to confession as soon as possible. If you practice abstaining from Communion whenever conscious of mortal sin on your soul, it also acts as a deterrent from future mortal sins because you know that if you commit them you will be separating yourself from the graces of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

I wonder if what the good priest meant was if it happens again and you have a contrite heart to ahead and receive the Holy Sacrament and then go to confession when you next are able to.

What the person confessing thinks is a mortal sin, and what the priest judges to be a mortal sin may be different.

The OP may have confessed X thinking it was a mortal sin.

The priest may believe that as told to him X was not a mortal sin, and that the OP does not need to avoid receiving communion after committing X.

I don’t know what better authority you can get for an answer than the priest you confessed your sins to?

Also, a priest may do this with the intention of you making a confession as your time allows during the next week.

One of the priests I confessed to advised that if I needed confession and he wasn’t there (he was the only one hearing confessions on Sunday at that parish) that I should do spiritual communion instead.

Yes, if you confess to God with perfect contrition, and intention to have a personal confession ASAP, then it is possible to receive. But be careful because you must be certain not commit sacrilege.

Baltimore Catechism No. 3:

Q. 764. How many kinds of contrition are there?
A. There are two kinds of contrition; perfect contrition and imperfect contrition.
Q. 765. What is perfect contrition?
A. Perfect contrition is that which fills us with sorrow and hatred for sin, because it offends God, who is infinitely good in Himself and worthy of all love.
Q. 766. When will perfect contrition obtain pardon for mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance?
A. Perfect contrition will obtain pardon for mortal sin without the Sacrament of Penance when we cannot go to confession, but with the perfect contrition we must have the intention of going to confession as soon as possible, if we again have the opportunity.
Q. 767. What is imperfect contrition?
A. Imperfect contrition is that by which we hate what offends God because by it we lose heaven and deserve hell; or because sin is so hateful in itself.
Q. 768. What other name is given to imperfect contrition and why is it called imperfect?
A. Imperfect contrition is called attrition. It is called imperfect only because it is less perfect than the highest grade of contrition by which we are sorry for sin out of pure love of God’s own goodness and without any consideration of what befalls ourselves.
Q. 769. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy confession?
A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we should endeavor to have perfect contrition.
Q. 770. What do you mean by a firm purpose of sinning no more?
A. By a firm purpose of sinning no more I mean a fixed resolve not only to avoid all mortal sin, but also its near occasions.
Q. 771. What do you mean by the near occasions of sin?
A. By the near occasions of sin I mean all the persons, places and things that may easily lead us into sin.
Q. 772. Why are we bound to avoid occasions of sin?
A. We are bound to avoid occasions of sin because Our Lord has said: “He who loves the danger will perish in it”; and as we are bound to avoid the loss of our souls, so we are bound to avoid the danger of their loss. The occasion is the cause of sin, and you cannot take away the evil without removing its cause.
Q. 773. Is a person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, rightly disposed for confession?
A. A person who is determined to avoid the sin, but who is unwilling to give up its near occasion when it is possible to do so, is not rightly disposed for confession, and he will not be absolved if he makes known to the priest the true state of his conscience.

Vico, where does it say you can receive?

Q. 901. What is necessary to make a good Communion?
A. To make a good Communion it is necessary to be in the state of sanctifying grace and to fast according to the laws of the Church.

Latin Canon Law: Can. 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to 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 resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.
But you should read this canon law commentary:Grave reasons for going to communion without confessing include danger of death and serious embarrassment if Communion is not taken. Lack of opportunity to confess includes absence of a confessor, inability to approach the confessor at a scheduled time for the sacrament, and the availability only of a confessor who is known personally and who cannot be approached without embarrassment. (1111)

Serious embarrassment? Interesting. Thanks.

You are welcome. I was surprised when I read that the first time.

Thanks for posting, Vico.

I see it says in the link, that this is the “new commentary”. Frankly I am speechless. This definitely goes against what I’ve been taught.

I mean, why can’t one make a spiritual communion?

Jimmy Akin explores that some at this link:

So if one can apply this “embarrassment” principle where everyone is expected to receive, such as in an English Mass, how can one justify this at, say a Polish or Spanish Mass, where no more than 50% receive? (I hear even some married couples don’t receive at some of these Masses after having sex. It just doesn’t feel right, I guess.)

It shocks me too.

However, confession is still required for the plenary indulgence, I’m almost sure.

I think it should be rare, but that is just my personal opinion.

Yes, plenary take confession within about 20 days before or after the indulgenced act.

That is not correct. You must be in a state of grace to receive Communion.
Making an act of perfect contrition (and how could anyone be sure they achieved that) is conditional upon getting to Confession as soon as possible and would forgive your sins and save you if you died before getting to Confession. However, under normal circumstances (e.g. no serious reason like danger of death) it does not mean you may receive Communion before absolution is given to you by a priest.
Remember, you are not obliged to receive every time you attend Mass.

I assume you realise that this canon applies to priests and not the laity. It is only priests who celebrate Mass. The laity participates in the Mass.

I thought that as well. But it is more than an embarrassment if the priest doesn’t communicate; the Mass is invalid.

It also applies to those that do not celebrate Mass. If you inspect the prior 1917 law you can see the origin of it.1917 CIC Canon 807 A priest conscious of having committed a mortal sin, even though he considers himself to have true contrition, may not celebrate Holy Mass without first availing himself of sacramental confession; if, in the absence of a confessor and in a case of necessity, and after having made a perfect act of contrition, he has indeed celebrated, he will go to sacramental confession as soon as possible.
[LEFT]1917 CIC Canon 856[/LEFT]
Anyone having a mortal sin weighing on his conscience must not receive Holy Communion without first having recourse to sacramental confession, even though he considers himself to have true contrition; in the case of necessity and in the absence of a confessor, he must first make a perfect act of contrition.

Don’t get me wrong. I agree that anyone who is in a state of mortal sin must not receive Communion even though they have made an act of perfect contrition unless there is a serious reason to receive, and that certainly does not apply in the normal course of things.

However, Can 916 is directed to priests and not the laity. The laity do not celebrate Mass. Only priests celebrate Mass.

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