To Save a Thousand Souls: Morality Error


Hello all,

I have just finished the work of Fr. Brett A. Brannen for vocations discernment entitled To Save a Thousand Souls. Near the end of the book, something really troubled me. On pages 230-231 where it is talking about the grave mortal sin of masturbation it says:

~Immediately try to make a perfect Act of Contrition [after the sin] …
~Believe that God has truly forgiven the sin of self-abuse as a result of your perfect Act of Contrition and that you are restored to a state of grace, if the sin was mortal.
~Receive Holy Communion with love when attending Mass…even if you have not been able to get to Confession since your sin.

We are NOT supposed to receive the Eucharist after committing a mortal sin because we are NOT in a state of grace after doing so even if we make a perfect act of contrition we should go to confession before receiving the Blessed Sacrament.

Any thoughts???




I was, likewise, under the impression that it was a mortal sin in need of confession to return to a state of grace, not to receive communion in the interim.


Your last statement is correct. After an act of perfect contrition with the intent to get to Confession as soon as possible you may NOT receive Communion until after Confession unless there is some grave reason to do so. I don’t consider stopping masturbation and making an act of perfect contrition a grave reason otherwise everyone who commits any type of mortal sin could use the same argument to receive without Confessing.


That’s what all my usual confessors have said. I know one priest I confessed to that seems to agree with Bannen. I’m more inclined to go with the majority opinion here.


Not sure if you are agreeing with those in the thread or the priest you spoke to.

The Church teaching is clear that you are NOT permitted to receive Communion in such a situation unless there is a grave reason to do so.

CCC 1457 According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” **Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. **Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.


From CCC:

2352 …] To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.


It’s true some of the culpability can be reduced, but anyone who begins to rationalize their sins by thinking “perhaps… yes, perhaps I am addicted, I’m helpless,” plays serious games with the sanctity and future of their soul.


The majority of my confessors.


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