Taking the Eucharist in an Unclean State: What is this "Classified" As?


#1

I'm fairly certain that many a Catholic over the years has probably slipped up and taken the Eucharist even when they knew they were in a state of mortal sin. I have done it for a variety of reasons. I may have simply been afraid to go to confession, been embarrassed to skip communion, been unable to attend confession for some reason, or I may have been filled with such a desire to have the Eucharist that I ignored my conscience and ate of the sacrament anyway. I am aware that at all of these times I committed a terrible act of disrespect and that God is unhappy with me for it.

However, I have never been clear on what exactly this act "is". I have never heard of it called a mortal sin, even though on occasion I have confessed it at reconciliation. Is this sacrilege something you confess? Is it something god cannot forgive?

To broaden the discussion a bit, to what extent is a priest held responsible for it? I would be willing to bet that there are times where a priest needs to go to confession, but it's not as if he can simply skip mass on the excuse that he is unclean and unable to have the Eucharist.


#2

[quote="PrincepsAuguste, post:1, topic:292881"]
I'm fairly certain that many a Catholic over the years has probably slipped up and taken the Eucharist even when they knew they were in a state of mortal sin. I have done it for a variety of reasons. I may have simply been afraid to go to confession, been embarrassed to skip communion, been unable to attend confession for some reason, or I may have been filled with such a desire to have the Eucharist that I ignored my conscience and ate of the sacrament anyway. I am aware that at all of these times I committed a terrible act of disrespect and that God is unhappy with me for it.

However, I have never been clear on what exactly this act "is". I have never heard of it called a mortal sin, even though on occasion I have confessed it at reconciliation. Is this sacrilege something you confess? Is it something god cannot forgive?

To broaden the discussion a bit, to what extent is a priest held responsible for it? I would be willing to bet that there are times where a priest needs to go to confession, but it's not as if he can simply skip mass on the excuse that he is unclean and unable to have the Eucharist.

[/quote]

Yes, receiving the Eucharist unworthily (ie, in a state of mortal sin) is another mortal sin. You can be forgiven it, like any mortal sin, by going to confession.


#3

...a terribly grave sin.

From Catholic.com - catholic.com/tracts/who-can-receive-communion

Catholics and Communion

The Church sets out specific guidelines regarding how we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord's body and blood in Communion. To receive Communion worthily, you must be in a state of grace, have made a good confession since your last mortal sin, believe in transubstantiation, observe the Eucharistic fast, and, finally, not be under an ecclesiastical censure such as excommunication.

First, you must be in a state of grace. "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" (1 Cor. 11:27—28). This is an absolute requirement which can never be dispensed.

To receive the Eucharist without sanctifying grace in your soul [size=]*profanes the Eucharist in the most grievous manner. *[/size]

Out of habit and out of fear of what those around them will think if they do not receive Communion, some Catholics, in a state of mortal sin, choose to go forward and offend God rather than stay in the pew while others receive the Eucharist...

Read full - catholic.com/tracts/who-can-receive-communion


#4

As already stated, it is a grave or mortal sin.

Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

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.

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

Deus benedicat


#5

I have done it for a variety of reasons. I may have simply been afraid to go to confession, been embarrassed to skip communion, been unable to attend confession for some reason, or I may have been filled with such a desire to have the Eucharist that I ignored my conscience and ate of the sacrament anyway.

Somehow along my journey, I either missed, overlooked, or forgot about receiving the Eucharist in an unclean state. So for YEARS I went up routinely and was ignorant that my actions were wrong. Once I understood it to be sinful, I stopped, and confessed.

Fortunately, I read the NT and researched some of the things (like this) and figured out some of my shortcomings. I am confident that through God's graces, I received a higher level of maturity and understanding. That sent me back to the confessional booth, about three years ago. As a regular sinner :(, I am a regular confessor :) Thank you Lord for this wonderful gift.

Now just last Sunday--having missed confession on Saturday morning--I refrained from Holy Communion. My son said "Dad, aren't you coming?" and by my silence, he understood that I was not. He was "embarrassed" for me. He's only 16.


#6

[quote="fastenatingguy, post:5, topic:292881"]
I refrained from Holy Communion. My son said "Dad, aren't you coming?" and by my silence, he understood that I was not. He was "embarrassed" for me. He's only 16.

[/quote]

Then he is misunderstanding. He should be joyful that his father has such honor and reverence for the body of Christ. His father is leading by example, a very good example.

No one should be embarrassed when refraining from communion when in a state of mortal sin.
I hold people who refrain for this reason in high regard, knowing that they are honoring God rather than their own ego's. (as long as they are running back to the Lord in confession/reconciliation, ASAP!)

It is the people who knowingly desecrate the precious body of Christ through receiving Him in a state of mortal sin who should be embarrassed. And if we know of anyone who is doing so then it is our responsibility (for the sake of their eternal soul) to tell them of the gravity of their actions, and also pray for their eternal soul since what they are doing is extremely dangerous (sinning directly against Christ's own body).


#7

[quote="Nigel7, post:6, topic:292881"]
Then he is misunderstanding.

You are correct. He doesn't have the depth of understanding. That could be understood more fully as maturity, or a gift, or something else.

He is working on it (I am too). Unfortunately, although he attends a Catholic High School, I am afraid that he is the rule, not the exception. He had two school buddies stay overnight Saturday. I asked them if they would attend Mass with us. One said he would go later, and then other said that he only went to Mass at school convocations. :(

[/quote]


#8

It was always my understanding that receiving Holy Eucharist while aware of being in the state of mortal sin is a sacrilege.


#9

Just a few thoughts.

It is up to the confessor, to the confessor only, to judge whether it is a sacrilege, a mortal sin, or no sin at all if a certain soul has preferred to receive the Beloved rather than to reject Him, especially if this soul was touched by the words that Christ just said:

take this, all of you

I am not justifying a behavior: we must be obedient to the least command of the Church, Bride of Christ, on these matters. But to judge and condemn someone is not up to us.

@PrincepsAuguste: no, God is not unhappy with you. I can tell you at least this much. He may not be pleased for an act of disobedience to His mystical Bride, especially because if it is repeated in time it may be disrispectful to the Bride... but your uniting yourself to Him is not a sign of disrespect, but of love and of faith in His real presence...when you receive the Eucharist, no matter what, He rejoices of an infinite joy, so great that if you only had a slight awareness of His happiness at that moment, you'd literally die of joy.

Now others keep talking about state of mortal sin (and that's a no-no, if you are in a state of mortal sin it is your utmost duty to confess as soon as possible).

You, on the other hand, were worried about "unclean state". But you should not worry, because the Church has been very clear on this:

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.

If you have sinned mortally, then you must confess. If you are not conscious of mortal sin, no matter what you can go ahead and receive Him, if He allows it, of course.

The priest is an entirely different issue. A priest is so much above a lay faithful that St. Francis of Assisi once said:

If I were to encounter an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee, first to the priest, then to the angel.

Nobody should therefore dare to compare his actions with those of a priest. Besides, we are but miserable sinners begging for mercy, while the priest is acting in persona Christi, that is, Christ Himself is celebrating the Holy Mass.


#10

I just thought that I’d add something to the discussion there may be other reasons that an adult does not receive the Eucharist besides not being in the state of grace. I did not receive the Eucharist at Mass today. I am not in the state of mortal sin. Some reasons that a person may choose not to receive could be that he is feeling a bit nauseous or have another medical reason or perhaps already received at an earlier Mass. I almost went forward today for fear of what “people may think” then I realized probably no one gave me a thought. :shrug: :)


#11

That's a good point about feeling self-conscious Annie, but as I am almost always at mass with my parents and siblings it is a little different. I imagine it would play out something like this:

Family gets up to go to communion, middle son remains seated.

FATHER: What's the matter? Aren't you going?

SON: No, I'm not ready right now.

FATHER: What do you mean?

(At this point people are wondering why my dad is standing up talking to me during communion)

SON: Well we're not supposed to go if we have mortal sins on our conscience, so I'm going to stay here.

I guess that's the part I'm most worried about. I don't want to talk about my sins with my parents. I like to leave that stuff for the priest's ears.


#12

[quote="PrincepsAuguste, post:11, topic:292881"]
That's a good point about feeling self-conscious Annie, but as I am almost always at mass with my parents and siblings it is a little different. I imagine it would play out something like this:

Family gets up to go to communion, middle son remains seated.

FATHER: What's the matter? Aren't you going?

SON: No, I'm not ready right now.

FATHER: What do you mean?

(At this point people are wondering why my dad is standing up talking to me during communion)

SON: Well we're not supposed to go if we have mortal sins on our conscience, so I'm going to stay here.

I guess that's the part I'm most worried about. I don't want to talk about my sins with my parents. I like to leave that stuff for the priest's ears.

[/quote]

Eat some food right before Mass, and say that, and say you were very hungry. Seriously.


#13

[quote="superamazingman, post:12, topic:292881"]
Eat some food right before Mass, and say that, and say you were very hungry. Seriously.

[/quote]

:eek:


#14

So the dad is going to Communion but doesn't know about proper disposition etc.? Unlikely!

If the father asks why you are not going, you are entirely free to either not provide an answer or to say that you are not going period. In this case, while you may not give false witness to him, he is not entitled to know the truth. The mystical union is between the Bride and the Bridegroom. When you confess, you are not talking to a priest, because he is acting in persona Christi: you are talking to Christ, the divine Bridegroom...it is a reconciliation between the Spouses that is taking place, that they may be reunited in Communion once again!

In the spiritual life, things are very profound and we ought to remember that with Confirmation we become adult Christians, regardless of our age.


#15

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