SPLIT: Confession and Mortal Sin

Thanks Brother!!! Hey BROTHER, I want to ask a quick question if I could!!!

I’ve only been Catholic for a year and a half & I have no issue with anything thus far, everything pretty much makes sense. I was curious though. Someone was talking to me about Confession & Eucharist & essentially if you havent been to confession, you cant take the eucharist. MY understanding was if you have committed a MORTAL sin, then yes, to the confessional, and it’s ok to receive the eucharist. If a Venial sin is committed, (7 lesser or deadly, however you want to call it), then the PERFECT thing to do is go to confession, then you can receive the eucharist, BUT if you dont make it to confession, and you DO go to mass, then before mass, make a good act of contrition for your venial sins. Is this true? Can someone shine some light on this? I know Confession is for all sins in a perfect world, if that were the case I’d be in there every week. Is it for the mortal sins, & if you have venial, get those out too? I mean, I got this info from a life long catholic & I have a hard time accepting anything unless I bounce it off a second opinion. THANKS!!!

Your venial sins are forgiven during the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass. You must receive absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for your mortal sins before you receive the Eucharist. In short, you must be in a “State of Grace” in order to receive the Eucharist.

ok, thanx! I sorta had a feeling that’s how it worked, I knew there was a part where we acknowledge we’re sinners at mass, I didn’t know what it was called or why it was so, I just knew vaguely how it worked. THANK YOU!!!

But not too fast, there…you are talking about whether you are in a state of grace with regards to receiving Holy Communion in-between one habitual confession and the next, right? You are not under the impression that you don’t need confession unless you commit a mortal sin, right? Let’s hope not. That is a very widespread myth, and a damaging one.

First off, the precept of the Church requiring no less than annual confession is still in effect. Priests I know say that a better minimum is before Easter and before Christmas…and that is the* minimum*.

More to the point, the Sacrament of Reconciliation has a unique role in formation of the conscience and appreciation of the damage done even by venial sin, particularly habitual venial sin. It is intended to be a source of grace that compliments the graces of the Mass.

It is said more eloquently than I ever could in this exerpt, taken from Benedict XVI’s Apostolic exortation on the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life and mission, Sacramentum Caritatis:

II. The Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Their intrinsic relationship
20. The Synod Fathers rightly stated that a love for the Eucharist leads to a growing appreciation of the sacrament of Reconciliation. (54) Given the connection between these sacraments, an authentic catechesis on the meaning of the Eucharist must include the call to pursue the path of penance (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). We know that the faithful are surrounded by a culture that tends to eliminate the sense of sin (55) and to promote a superficial approach that overlooks the need to be in a state of grace in order to approach sacramental communion worthily. (56) The loss of a consciousness of sin always entails a certain superficiality in the understanding of God’s love. Bringing out the elements within the rite of Mass that express consciousness of personal sin and, at the same time, of God’s mercy, can prove most helpful to the faithful.(57) Furthermore, the relationship between the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation reminds us that sin is never a purely individual affair; it always damages the ecclesial communion that we have entered through Baptism. For this reason, Reconciliation, as the Fathers of the Church would say, is laboriosus quidam baptismus; (58) they thus emphasized that the outcome of the process of conversion is also the restoration of full ecclesial communion, expressed in a return to the Eucharist. (59)
Some pastoral concerns
21. The Synod recalled that Bishops have the pastoral duty of promoting within their Dioceses a reinvigorated catechesis on the conversion born of the Eucharist, and of encouraging frequent confession among the faithful. All priests should dedicate themselves with generosity, commitment and competency to administering the sacrament of Reconciliation. (60) In this regard, it is important that the confessionals in our churches should be clearly visible expressions of the importance of this sacrament. I ask pastors to be vigilant with regard to the celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation, and to limit the practice of general absolution exclusively to the cases permitted, (61) since individual absolution is the only form intended for ordinary use. (62) Given the need to rediscover sacramental forgiveness, there ought to be a Penitentiary in every Diocese. (63) Finally, a balanced and sound practice of gaining indulgences, whether for oneself or for the dead, can be helpful for a renewed appreciation of the relationship between the Eucharist and Reconciliation. By this means the faithful obtain “remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven.” (64) The use of indulgences helps us to understand that by our efforts alone we would be incapable of making reparation for the wrong we have done, and that the sins of each individual harm the whole community. Furthermore, the practice of indulgences, which involves not only the doctrine of Christ’s infinite merits, but also that of the communion of the saints, reminds us “how closely we are united to each other in Christ … and how the supernatural life of each can help others.” (65) Since the conditions for gaining an indulgence include going to confession and receiving sacramental communion, this practice can effectively sustain the faithful on their journey of conversion and in rediscovering the centrality of the Eucharist in the Christian life.

A habit of frequenting the sacrament of Reconciliation, then, is by no means unimportant or peripheral with regards to full participation in the Eucharist, or in the Christian life itself.
(“laboriosus quidam baptismus” translates roughly as “a laborious kind of baptism”)

Yes, you are correct. The penitential Rite of Mass also forgives venial sins.

Right, You’re absolutely right. I understand confession is not JUST for mortal sins. I get that, it was just explained to me that the lesser sins were forgiven at mass at some point that I couldnt remember when I was asking the question, but it’s the penetentiary (spelling?) rite. That is where your venial sins are forgiven? I said before (I think) I whole heartedly agree that confession is an awesome habit to be in, I havent been to confession in OVER a year because I’ve been deployed & havent been to mass in a year. I went to mass this past sunday for the first time in about a year. It felt great to be back into it again. I had no mortal sins to confess or on my conscience, or at all for that matter (I was in Kuwait) and after being home for 2 wks, I finally went. THEN I was scared because I wasnt sure if I should have taken the eucharist or not & that drove me insane. THEN a good friend explained it to me & I felt better. I will go to confession this saturday though. I have a years worth of venial sins to confess. I’m going to have to make a list. LOL Thank you for your insight!

Depends on what you mean by that. Confession of grave sins once a year is still required but there is no canonical requirement to yearly confess venial sins.

Canon 989
After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.

While it is certainly encouraged and recommended to confess venial sins even if there are no mortal sins, there is no annual requirement unless mortal/grave sin has been committed.

I’m just as worried at the thought of stopping in purgatory before getting to heaven, it’s kinda like passing go before getting where you need to be. My take on it is this. I dont see purgatory as anything as negative as others might. I also wonder how long people think a soul may be having those last minute sins purged. Isaiah Ch. 6 has an act of purgatory where the guy is in the temple & the seraphim took a piece of burning ember in tongs, touched it to his lips & said his sins were purged. It was instant. I’ve always looked at purgatory as wiping your feet before entering God’s Kingdom. THIS act in Isaiah was instantaneous, imagine in the spirit rhealm? I dont think souls spend as much time being purified as people popularly believe. If the guy in Isaiah has a history of sin & it’s instantly purged, then well, I guess you know what I’m saying. I’d like to go to heaven without passing go, without collecting $200, without stopping at 7-11 for lottery tickets, a coffee, & a bagel, & final purification…But I dont see it as all bad either. So I have to wipe my feet really quick before walking through the door. I’m not saying that’s ok with me, but I’m just saying, I dont think its as bad as all that. That’s all. I’m not knocking anything, & I’m not saying it’s ok to have a venial sin on ya & you’ll be fine, no, not saying that at all, I’m just saying, if it can happen in an instant in Isaiah, then it can in the spirit world.


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