Question on Priests and Mortal Sin


I have had a serious moral dilemma that I have been unable to attain adequate guidance. My question is two-fold: If a priest commits a moral wrong, in the form of a mortal sin, against members of his congregation, and then refuses to seek forgiveness and go through the full sacraments, particularly Reconciliation, is the priest improperly and immorally dispensing the Holy Eucharist? Are they in essence acting out as illegitimate priests?

My second question: Do Bishops and the hierarchical leaders of the Church have a moral obligation to the Church and to the faithful followers, to correct priests if those priests have committed a mortal sin (the destruction of 3 simple believers faith). If the Bishops/higher leaders do not do so, are they and the priest committing a mortal sin, and another sin in the form of sacrilege.


I really need guidance.


Let me find the reference, but as long as the priest intends to do what the Church intends to do, the Mass and the Eucharist are valid and licit.

Second, even if you know of the priest committing grave acts, you don’t know if the conditions were met for mortal sin or not. Next, he could have confessed without your knowledge. These matters are best left to the Lord.

If, however, the priest has committed a crime against you or yours, file charges, just as you would on anyone else.



The mass and the Eucharist are valid; however, the priest might be compounding his own problems in the form of profaning the sacrament by receiving it in a state of mortal sin. That’s his problem not the congregations.

As to the Bishop, he should correct the errant priest; however, should he fail to do so it’s difficult to definitively say if he’s committed a mortal sin as we don’t know all the details. In theory, I suppose it’s possible.


According to Canon Law, a priest can be in a state of mortal sin and, if required to celebrate Mass but without opportunity for confession, make an Act of Perfect Contrition and celebrate anyway without fear.

I also would ask that you don’t presume it’s mortal sin nor that the priest hasn’t confessed. You can’t read the heart or mind of another person, nor are you in a position, unless you are beside them 24 hours a day (which I’m sure you’re not) to know that they’ve not confessed.


Sacraments from an unworthy priest are valid. St. Augustine fought against the heresy of Donatism which taught that they weren’t. Also it would lead to a total lack of ability to know if the sacraments one received were valid or not if one followed the Donatist tack. :slight_smile:


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