Nothing unclean in God's presence


I’ve heard it said that nothing unclean can enter heaven nor be in God’s presence. How are we then able to receive the Eucharist? Even if we have one venile sin we would be unclean. So how is it we are able to come in contact with God?


Because in the Penitential Rite of the Mass, our venial sins are forgiven.

(The Penitential Rite does not absolve us of mortal sins however. That is why, if you have a mortal sin you should not receive the Eucharist.)


What if someone there at Mass (say a teenager) and not paying attention. Thinking about the game later that day instead of their sins during the penitential rite, then they go to Communion?


Good point, however, venial sins weaken our relationship with God, they don’t severe it like mortal sins do. We can still receive the Eucharist.

I must emphasize though, that although we will still receive the grace from the sacrament of the Eucharist, it is not as fully as when we are properly disposed. (i.e., paying attention to the Mass and being contrite about our venial sins).


Thanks. I get what your saying. I have a hard time at Mass, as does my wife. We have 6 children 10 and under and we seem to spend all the Mass correcting them and it is very difficult to pay attention. I doubt we are getting much grace from Mass.


How can you doubt?

Where is there a listing of who gets what graces and what they have to do to get them???


I would say that the fact that you are there with 6 kids period gives you ALOT of grace for your sacrifice. I think God is thrilled that you are making the effort to be there (even if you spend most of your time running crying babies in and out of church). :wink:


When we [Catholics] speak of nothing unclean in heaven or in God’s presence, we refer to the Beatific Vision which is attained only after death. The Eucharist is the closest union we can have with Christ this side of death but it is not the Beatific Vision when we will know as we are known and love as we are loved.

That Christ would entrust Himself to us through Eucharist despite our wretched condition is a sign both of His merciful love and His profound desire for our perfection.



In addition to the penitential right, the kyrie eleison part of the mass (Lord have mercy), as well as the reception of the Eucharist itself remit venial sins. So by no means should venial sins keep us from receiving the Host. (Though I’m not sure of the actual receiving of the Eucharist remitting venial sins, I’ve heard of it but I can’t cite any sources sorry! so don’t quote me on that one)


Just a point of clarification: The Kyrie IS part of the Penitential Rite. A lot of people mistakenly think the Penitential Rite = just the I Confess.

In fact, the Penitential Rite can be:

(1) the I Confess followed by the Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy);

or it can be:
(2) Minister: (The priest prays a short, spontaneous invocation): Lord, have mercy.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.
Minister: (Second invocation): Christ, have mercy.
Congregation: Christ, have mercy.
Minister: (Third invocation): Lord, have mercy.
Congregation: Lord, have mercy.

(Or it can be a 3rd option but it’s infrequently used.)

The Penitential Rite always concludes:
Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
Congregation: Amen.


Thanks for the info, I must admit I’m just a returning parishioner so I’m rusty in the particulars of the mass. (I’m working on it though :thumbsup: ) Does anyone know whether reception of the Eucharist also remits venial sin though? I’m still curious about that.


In addition to the work done in the Penitential Rite?


I guess it wouldn’t make sense but what about if a person who is ill or dying is given the Eucharist by an administering priest does that forgive venial sin?


The first part is correct. Nothing unclean can enter Heaven.

The second part is wrong. Jesus ate with the sinners, didn’t He?


Earth =! Heaven.


The mass is as close to heaven as it gets on Earth, therefore his question is well founded, its the degree of the sacred is what he is trying to say, and since the Eucharist IS the presence of God, you cannot receive of it being unclean. Thus the penitential rite and confession.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit