Receiving Communion while living in grave sin

OK so I’m sure this is a touchy subject for some.

I have a friend that will be getting married to a man outside the church this year. My friend is CAtholic. Her fiance is not. They would be getting married in the church but he cannot get an annullment because he has been married like 5 or 6 times already.

So I understand the church’s teaching of do not receive communion while living in mortal sin. And obviously it is not for me or anyone else to judge whether one is living in mortal sin or not because we do not know one’s heart.

But this case intrigues me. There has always been a part of me that thinks that one should be able to receive communion even in mortal sin. That receiving the body of Christ is a very healing thing. We are all sinners and can receive the Lord with venial sins so why not mortal sins?

Well we were at this girl’s sister’s house this weekend and this topic came up. We all realize the church teaching but here is a twist! This girl’s uncle happens to be a bishop and he advised the family to allow her to take communion because it is the only time she will be able to receive the presence of the Lord!. This made me take a step back for several reasons. One, we also receive the lord in the word of God. Two, it surprised me that a bishop would tell someone it was OK to receive Eucharist while living in mortal sin.

So this was either told to them b/c he is torn on the subject or b/c he has compassion for a family member.

It is such a hard issue for me to grasp. Was the woman at the well not living in mortal sin? She received Christ. I don’t know. I see both sides of the coin on this topic and am hoping that maybe there is something I am missing or others that have felt the same way in the past.

… I await responses.

A person who has committed mortal sin, and no longer is in a state of grace, has willfully, purposefully, and decidedly rejected God. They have placed their own will above His, and reject friendship with Him.

Attempting to enjoy connection, or “communion”, with God, without repenting and correcting our ways is lying. We are stating that we will NOT obey our Creator’s will and wishes, and we know better, while at the same time DEMAND that He conform to us.

It is an utter blasphemy.

Your example of the woman at the well, what did she do? She went and proclaimed about Jesus, and she didn’t argue with Him when He called her out for her sinful ways. She acknowledged her sins to Him. So be careful when using situations like this. We can’t overlook that Jesus demanded that people turn away from their sins and repent. He didn’t remain with those that rejected Him, and even instructed His disciples to leave people who reject Him (even shaking the dust from their shoes as a show of condemnation on them).

As to the point about the bishop, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a bishop who opposed Church teaching or led the flock astray. It’s been happening quite a lot the last 50 years. But since this information is second or third-hand info, it’s best to refrain from commenting too much.

Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27

The purpose of Communion is an actual union with God. Mortal sin is a total rejection of God. How can one receive Christ while at the same time rejecting Him? It’s like saying you want to unite God to sin.

Taking Christ in the Eucharist while in a state of total rejection is like inviting Jesus into your home and then whacking Him over the head.

“Receiving Communion while living in grave sin”


This is quite literally the worst sin we could commit. Knowingly receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is sacrilege. The worst kind of sacrilege.

For someone who is manifest in grave sin, making spiritual communions while getting their situation straightened out will be far more effective than profaning the Body and Blood of our Lord. FAR more effective.

The sinful woman received the equivalent of the Sacrament of Penance. There’s a reason why Baptism and Penance are called “sacraments of the dead”, while the others are called “sacraments of the living”.

People also should not receive Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, or Anointing of the Sick* unless they have been to confession and are in a state of grace.

*-If the person is near death and unable to speak, Anointing of the Sick can forgive sins. But then, and ONLY then, should it be received if the person is not in a state of grace.

Well, first of all, you didn’t hear the Bishop say this, so it’s possible (a) he was misunderstood, or (b) they heard what they wanted to hear.

But – is it possible that he said she should receive Communion at the wedding? You quote him as saying “it is the only time she will be able to receive the presence of the Lord!” Sounds like he might be saying that she could receive then, but once they start living as man and wife, she won’t be able to because of the invalid marriage.

Just a thought.

I always try to keep it simple. Its Gods Church, and His rule is, no communion after your obvious transgression of His law. So while indeed you may go and in fact are required to, so too the further contemplation about this entire state of grace and communion with God. Just my non dogmatic view. :wink:

Regarding what the Bishop said or didn’t say…Pope Francis supposedly told a divorced and remarried Argentine woman that she could receive Holy Communion. He was most certainly not speaking ex cathedra. He wasn’t even speaking publicly at all. Any member of the clergy (Bishop, Priest, Deacon) can give a private opinion all they want…but if it contradicts the actual infallible dogma of the Church, you’d be wise to go with the latter.

I’m looking more for biblical context of why it is ok to receive communion with venial sin and not mortal sin and who decides what is a grave matter.

And I wouldn’t call mortal sin a TOTAL rejection of God.

This is true but we are pretty close with this family and they seemed pretty certain on what the bishop said.

But – is it possible that he said she should receive Communion at the wedding? You quote him as saying “it is the only time she will be able to receive the presence of the Lord!” Sounds like he might be saying that she could receive then, but once they start living as man and wife, she won’t be able to because of the invalid marriage.

Just a thought.
by only time he was referring to communion in general. And they are already living together

God your conscience and its formation through the Church ultimately these factor into who decides what is grave.

You mean why are your mortal sins not forgiven at the mass without confession and your venial are?

Why is it okay to receive Holy Communion after having committed venial sin, but not mortal sin? Because the Church says so.

Who decides what is grave matter? The Church does, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

You may not like this answer…but it is the correct one. If you believe that Jesus gave Peter the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and gave him the power to bind and loose, then you have to accept any infallibly defined dogma of the Church without question. There really is no room for debate on these things. The Church, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, as was promised to the Apostles, and has been passed down via laying on of hands from the apostolic age to the present day, decides these matters. There have been many questions that have come up over the years - the Arian heresy, the Reformation, and even now with both groups like the SSPX and sedevacantists, as well as liberal/cafeteria Catholics who think things like contraception and abortion are okay…but what the Church says is FINAL (at least when it comes to infallible dogma, not simply off-the-cuff private opinions).

Jesus Christ promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. If even one official dogma of the Church was wrong in the eyes of God, that would mean that the gates of Hell prevailed. Trust in what the Catechism says. Trust in what the scriptures say, as they are ALL inspired (2 Tim 3:16).

Trust in God, and trust in His Holy Church. You will not be led astray, even if you don’t understand the reason why a particular teaching is what it is. Human intellect will NEVER, EVER catch up to God. Don’t believe me? Try wrapping your head around things like the Trinity or transubstantiation. Won’t happen.

I think you are correct. That is the way I read it.

Pretty much also though receiving Christ in the Eucharist forgives venial sins. “As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins” (CCC 1394).

Perhaps, what the Bishop meant was that she should go to confession* before* receiving Communion, prior to the wedding, because after the wedding, she will never be able to receive Communion in the Catholic Church, again. But, even that’s questionable. Because even if she went to confession, it would likely be invalid. If she had no intention of avoiding that sin in the future, her confession and absolution would be a mockery to that Sacrament. Either way, receiving Communion in that situation would be even more serious.

From the Catechism on ‘living together before marriage’: (all emphasis mine)
**2390 In a so-called free union, a man and a woman refuse to give juridical and public form to a liaison involving sexual intimacy.

*The expression “free union” is fallacious: what can “union” mean when the partners make no commitment to one another, each exhibiting a lack of trust in the other, in himself, or in the future?
The expression covers a number of different situations: concubinage, rejection of marriage as such, or inability to make long-term commitments.183 All these situations offend against the dignity of marriage; they destroy the very idea of the family; they weaken the sense of fidelity. They are contrary to the moral law. The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion.**"
From the Catechism on Communion:
"1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."218 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion."

There are so many things that make this whole situation so sad. One of the saddest parts (outside of the Bishop’s alleged remarks), is that someone would throw away their Catholic Faith to marry anyone that has such a fickle history in regards to sanctity of marriage. :frowning:

Exactly. Why is this the case? It certainly doesn’t say so in scripture. Which brings me back to my point from my last post: Peter had the power to bind and loose as the first Pope (Mt 16:19), and that power is passed on through apostolic succession (2 Tim 1:6, Acts 1:26). In Acts 15, Peter unilaterally decided that circumcision for converts would not be necessary. That had absolutely no basis in scripture! BUT, since he was the Pope, and had the gift of the Holy Spirit guiding him to help keep the Church away from heresy, he could do that! So, too, has every other Pope had that power.

The gates of Hell will NOT prevail against the Church. Jesus said so himself (Mt 16:18). That can mean two things and two things ONLY:

either a) our Lord is a liar, or b) what the Church teaches in its official teachings in the Catechism is absolutely, 100% true, since the Holy Spirit guides the Church always.

You decide for yourself which one is more likely.

Your friend is getting herself into a real mess. 27 years ago I married a divorced Catholic in a Protestant ceremony. I was not Catholic and didn’t have much of a background in Christianity period, so I didn’t realize how bad it was at the time. We were married for 10 years before my husband got an annulment, and then we married in the Catholic Church. That was nearly 17 years ago. I am most grateful to God for the way He has worked things out, but if I could go back in time I certainly would have done things differently. It’s difficult enough to go through the annulment process for ONE previous marriage…but for FIVE OR SIX? Yikes. Not only that, but you begin to wonder about someone who has been married five or six times…as in “What is wrong with HIM?” Warn your friend and pray for her…storm heaven in fact. And HOW IN THE WORLD are they getting married in the Catholic Church without annulment? I can’t imagine how it would be valid and it sounds like sacrilige in itself. Have nothing to do with this.

1 John 5:16-17 (RSV): “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is a sin which is not mortal.”

Not to be too blunt about it, but where is your authority to declare such a thing? You might want to consider that you’ve lost touch with the enormity of sin, and how heinous it truly is. Remember the first command, to love God with all our heart, soul, and effort.

And sin works on people similar to how you’ve described it. Satan seduced Adam and Eve by tempting them. He didn’t say to them they were totally rejecting God. He said similar language to yours, that you aren’t TOTALLY rejecting God. And yet, wishing our own will over His will is rejecting Him.

Each of our venial sins is a whip mark on the Body of Christ at His scourging. Our mortal sins are the nails driven through His hands and feet, and the lance piercing His heart. Our current society downplays and tries to minimize our sins so that we can justify our bad behaviors and not amend our ways. Don’t fall for the deception.

This is all true and I believe this. But I’m looking for more of an answer than because the church says so. That doesn’t play well in discussion.

Oh believe me, her friends and family have let her know that we don’t think this is a good idea.

And sorry if I mispoke but they are not getting married in the church.

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