The Eucharist, Mortal Sin, and Ignorance


I hardly know how to begin. For at least a year or two I’ve mistakenly believed that one is allowed to receive Communion while in the state of mortal sin as long as they were completely repentant and resolved to go to Confession. I always prayed something I had heard somewhere, “Lord, let this Eucharist be not to my judgement or condemnation, but for the healing of my soul and body.” Many priests who had spoken with my mother told her it was better to receive the Eucharist to help fight against the sin than to abstain for long periods of time.

Last night, I went to Mass and received Communion, uncertain whether a sin I’ve been struggling with for years fulfilled all three requirements of mortal sins. Immediately after Mass, I asked the priest to hear my confession. When he was giving me advice afterward, he urged me to go to Confession before receiving Communion, so I looked up the matter in the Catechism, only to realize that it SPECIFICALLY says NOT to receive the Eucharist in a mortally sinful state. I feel sick to my stomach now, and I have so many questions. Did I commit a mortal sin by knowingly receiving the Eucharist in a state of sin? Was the Confession invalid because I hadn’t confessed to that sacrilege? Should I go again before I next receive and make sure to confess all of my sins?

Thank you for your advice, and please pray for me! I can hardly bear to think of what I’ve done.


As long as you have confessed that you received the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin then you are free and clear. If you have not confessed this then make sure to go confess this. Since you did not know then your culpability is lessoned most likely.


Here’s a question for you.

Did you know at the time of your confession that receiving Communion in the state of mortal sin was a sacrilege?


You can not accidentally commit a mortal sin. Whether you knew something or had bad information is between you and God to weigh out. Please talk to a priest you trust, but I’d also suggest trying to find peace.


From what I have read/been told by priests, if you did not confess something because you didn’t realize it was a sin, the confession is still valid. The same goes if you honestly forget something. You should bring it up in confession next time you go, but trust in the mercy of God. To the best of my knowledge, The grace of the sacrament is imparted even if certain sins aren’t confessed, provided that we would have confessed them if we had knowledge of them (Correct me if I’m wrong).


No, I did not. I knew that some people said you shouldn’t do it, but from what priests had told me, I thought that it was just a strict opinion on things, along the lines of women being told to wear head coverings in church, though that isn’t necessary. I didn’t know it was an actual Church teaching until I looked it up in the Catechism.


So if you honestly did not know, then there was the absolution was valid because you did not intentionally leave out anything.

Just mention the bad Communion the next time you go to confession, and this does not mean you need to rush to Confession. Your next normal Confession will do. Not because you’re necessarily guilty of the mortal sin of a sacrilegious Communion (you did not know; full knowledge was missing), but because it is still objectively grave matter and to help foster deeper reverence for the Eucharist. So it is a good thing to confess, even if not strictly necessary.

In the meantime, barring any other mortal sins, you are free to receive Communion.


go to confession. The larger question is, were you aware that your actions were gravely evil? Ignorance is one of the conditions stated in paragraph 1735 of the catechism of the Catholic Church which reduce or nullify one’s culpability for a grave action. This is a statement you must accept as part of the deposit of faith, and such is attested to in Scripture.


By YOUR account {and thanks for sharing it}

It is very doubtful that you met the 2nd and 3 td. Condition for a Mortal sin { knowledge that it WOULD be a Mortal sin & then freely choosing to do it anyway.

You were incorrectly and or incompletely catechized; NOT your fault unless you just didn’t pay attention to what was being taught.

DO go to Confession before receiving Jesus in Holy Communion if your not in the “State of Grace.”

To ease your mind share these events at the start of your next Sacramental Confession;

Pray much and make frequent use of the Sacraments,



May God grant you the healing you need @JudicameDeus .

Please speak about what you have told us with a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation .

Then heed what he says .


This must be really hard. I mean sacrilege, even when commited unwittingly, is sacrilege. And sacrilege is a terrible thing. Just thank God you’re not in a state of sin for this, as you genuinely did not know.


If you didn’t know then there would be no sin. For a sin to be mortal you must know that it is sinful.


Oh absolutely, I agree! I still think the knowledge of that happening to Christ in your body would be a very difficult concept for a faithful Catholic to be aware of. Not sinful though. I’d be furious at not being told: this seems like an educational failure. Not that I’m blaming the OP’s parish: I don’t know the details.


Well, having read the writings of St. John Vianney on how terrible receiving in a state of mortal sin is, and what it does to our Lord, I cannot help but be more than a little worried at the prospect.


You did not know then, I am sorry that no one instructed you. Those who had that responsibility and failed at it will answer to God for those failings. You cannot be guilty of what you did not know.

Now you do know. Move on and make sure that when someone is entrusted to you (when you are a parent, a godparent, a catechist, etc.) that you instruct them :slight_smile:


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