Receive Communion...confess later?


Salve, everyone! This is my first post on this Forum - - - so I’ll jump right in.

This past Saturday, at Confession, I briefly mentioned to the priest (one to whom I’ve never confessed before) that, while in a state of mortal sin, I naturally abstain from taking the Sacred Elements at Mass. He told me that the Church has provided the option that those who, while nonetheless in a state of mortal sin, intend to go to Confession ASAP can receive the Elements at Mass. He added that although the Church provides this option, some people choose not to take advantage of it because they feel it’s wrong.

Well, I suppose I fit into that category, at least until further notice and edification. I have never heard that anyone can commune while in a state of mortal sin, regardless of whether he intends to confess ASAP. I’ve always understood that Christ our God cannot co-mingle with mortal sin, and that this is the reason those in mortal sin abstain from Communion. Of course the scriptural references come into play concerning the damage to the souls of those who commune unworthily - - - but this was shocking to me to hear from a priest. I asked him to clarify the matter in hope that I misunderstood him (he was an African priest with a heavy accent) and he repeated it once more.

So, is this a legitimate practice? I’ve studied Catholicism for years, and I’ve never heard of this option. What do y’all think?

Thanks and God bless,


Perhaps the priest was confused. Here’s what the Church teaches…

  1. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Holy Communion

Catechism 1415: Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance

  1. …even if he experiences deep contrition.

Catechism 1457: Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.

  1. However, in case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution.

Catechism 1483: In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent’s confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.

Further reading :
Who Can Receive Holy Communion?

Various articles:

General Absolution:

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