receiving communion

Is it wrong to go to mass and not receive communion when not in mortal sins?

It`s not a sin.
Why miss out, though?
Do you have a problem with the priest…or…?

Absolutely not. It’s actually a venial sin to receive communion, that while not in the state of mortal sin, one receives without the proper inner disposition such as receiving communion out of habit of merely being at Mass, not preparing properly prior to reception, etc.

My confessor actually gave me kind lecture that one should not keep receiving communion at every Mass if they’re not serious about not committing venial sins, as we’re only required to receive once a year. And no, he wasn’t mistaking venial sins for moral sins. He meant it.

… Why would you not be serious about not committing venial sins?

Yes, it is wrong. Why miss out on it?

It’s not sinful, but I agree with those who ask why you wouldn’t want to.

Sounds like Jansenism to me.

What a shame such attitudes aren’t dead yet. The Church has been trying so hard to stop people from thinking this way ever since Saint Pius X promoted more regular reception of Holy Communion. Every one of us needs the Holy Eucharist - the very center of Christian life and worship - to grow in holiness.

No, it’s not wrong. There are many reasons one might not choose to receive.

not having kept the fast
feeling ill
being too distracted
caring for a fussy infant in the narthex
having other duties at Mass (I have had this happen when I was “in charge” of a group of children)
already received twice that day
crying too hard to go up for Communion :frowning:

Frequent reception of Communion is encouraged but there is no rule or even an expectation by the Church that everyone will receive at every Mass.

just don’t miss out the opportunity!!! Jesus is right there!!

It’s not. What my confessor was referring to was completely in line with what Saint Pius X stated on the subject.

Accordingly, the Sacred Congregation of the Council, in a Plenary Session held on December 16,1905, submitted this matter to a very careful study, and after sedulously examining the reasons adduced on either side, determined and declared as follows:

  1. Frequent and daily Communion, as a practice most earnestly desired by Christ our Lord and by the Catholic Church, should be open to all the faithful, of whatever rank and condition of life; so that no one who is in the state of grace, and who approaches the Holy Table with a right and devout intention (recta piaque mente) can be prohibited therefrom.

2. A right intention consists in this: that he who approaches the Holy Table should do so, not out of routine, or vain glory, or human respect, but that he wish to please God, to be more closely united with Him by charity, and to have recourse to this divine remedy for his weakness and defects.

3. Although it is especially fitting that those who receive Communion frequently or daily should be free from venial sins, at least from such as are fully deliberate, and from any affection thereto, nevertheless, it is sufficient that they be free from mortal sin, with the purpose of never sinning in the future; and if they have this sincere purpose, it is impossible by that daily communicants should gradually free themselves even from venial sins, and from all affection thereto.

  1. Since, however, the Sacraments of the New Law, though they produce their effect ex opere operato, nevertheless, produce a great effect in proportion as the dispositions of the recipient are better, therefore,** one should take care that Holy Communion be preceded by careful preparation, and followed by an appropriate thanksgiving, according to each one’s strength, circumstances and duties.**

**5. That the practice of frequent and daily Communion may be carried out with greater prudence and more fruitful merit, the confessor’s advice should be asked. ** Confessors, however, must take care not to dissuade anyone from frequent or daily Communion, provided he is found to be in a state of grace and approaches with a right intention.

Keep in mind that many children have been taught that unless you committed a serious sin like murdering someone or adultery, you receive communion when you go to Mass. I don’'t think we can ignore the fact that Confession lines and times it’s offered are down, the committing of grave sins are up exponentially from what they used to be, yet hardly anyone stays back from communion anymore. I think there is a very casual and lax attitude that is creeping in with regards to communion reception and that if people were really honest with themselves, would realize that perhaps they don’t have a proper intention and disposition towards reception.

I know for myself, personally, after being told this (I had very poor formation for communion reception and thought that if you were at Mass, fasted 1 hour before communion, and weren’t in the state of mortal sin, you automatically went up for communion) I was quite ashamed and took a good hard look at myself inside and realize that a) If the thought of staying back from receiving communion made me worried what people would think of me, I was receiving out of human respect, b) if I was just going up to receive communion because I was at Mass and had the bare requirements and nothing else, I was receiving in vain, etc. Long story short, I started making more devout and fruitful communion receptions almost daily.

You make a good point with some of those - not having kept the fast, already received twice, etc.

But why should illness, distraction, or crying keep one from receiving?

I do not want to contradict you there, since I obviously wasn’t there and have no idea what your confessor said exactly. It would be foolish and rather arrogant of me to judge what I didn’t even hear!

The things you’ve said, though, are a different matter. One can put himself/herself in a right disposition through prayerful, reverent participation in the Mass. Your statements furthermore were vague enough that some poor, impressionable reader of this thread might leave with the impression that a certain emotional - rather than spiritual - disposition is required to receive Holy Communion reverently. This is just not the case - and I know you weren’t saying it was, but seriously, re-read your initial contribution to this thread: it’s so vague that its advice is probably not useful… although the scrupulous might seize upon it as a motive for refraining from receiving the Holy Eucharist unnecessarily.

Here I wholeheartedly 100% agree with you. :slight_smile: I do find it very problematic, and disturbingly so, that children are essentially taught this. I too see the distressing trends that you identified, and we must indeed work toward changing them.

Remember, though, the question here concerns a person who is not conscious of unconfessed grave sin. That is what seems to be in dispute here. I don’t think anyone in this thread would disagree with your above comments concerning confession lines, grave sins, etc.

That’s wonderful. And I do partially agree with you: we should never receive out of habit or entitlement; every reception should be devout, humble, and grateful. And it’s true that we shouldn’t care what others around us think.

I still maintain, however, that it’s deeply problematic to deny that someone assisting at Mass, who has kept the fast and is not conscious of unconfessed grave sin, should receive Holy Communion, period. Saint Pius X even said, in the quotes you provided, that it is indeed “sufficient” for the communicant to be free of mortal sin.

Illness - without being too graphic, there are times one is not sure he/she can keep anything “down” such as during early pregnancy.

Distraction - if you are not able to put yourself in a proper frame of mind to ready yourself for the Sacrament, you might choose not to receive.

Crying - this happened to me, in fact. I was at a Mass where some teens were being so disrespectful, I just started to weep. It would have been hard to go up for Communion without calling attention to myself so I decided to stay in my seat.

Note: I am not saying that any of these are reasons why someone **should **not receive Communion on any given Sunday (or other day) but that they are reasons someone might choose not to receive on that day.

That does not make sense to me. You are saying the priest told you that you are committing a venial sin by the act of receiving but we know the act of receiving removes venial sins. Is the venial sin committed a nano second before it is removed or what?

Yes, great point.

Committed a nano second before still leaves the temporal effects that will be removed in this life or in purgatory. SO there are consequences, they’re just not mortal.

The venial sinful part came from the moral theology book I have.

“Whoever communicates in conscious mortal sin commits a sacrilege. --He commits a venial sin and is deprived of many graces who receives from some slightly sinful motive (vanity, human respect) or is voluntarily distracted while receiving.”

This is the same Moral Theology book used at the seminary my confessor attended.

Reception of communion only removes venial sins if the person is properly disposed interiorly when receiving.

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