What happens when you're unable to go to confession?


#1

If a person is in the state of mortal sin and they go to church fully intent to make a good confession but, for some reason, the priest isn’t there, is that person able to receive communion at Mass? It’s my understanding that if the person were to die, God would forgive them knowing that they had truly intended to confess and were unable to through no fault of their own, but what about going to communion?


#2

Best to wait until you can get to confession. Perhaps ask the priest after Mass for an appointment.

We don’t need to receive communion at every Mass we attend. Even though you are repentant of your sin and fully intend to confess, you should wait until you *have *confessed before receiving Holy Communion again.

Offer up this sacrifice in reperation for your sins.:gopray2:


#3

I needed to attend confession today, but got a little overzealous on CAF and missed. So tomorrow I will go to the inner city Polish parish which has confession prior to all Sunday Masses. I got that hint from CAF. It is also appropriate for many Latino parishes! :wink:


#4

I would abstain from receiving Him for I believe it is written in the Catechism that if someone is not in the state of grace they shall not receive until they have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation (unless near death or something). I am pulling that from memory, though, so it may be incorrect. I leave it up to others to correct me.:slight_smile:


#5

No.


#6

You have raised two issues.

  1. If you die before getting to Confession you would only be forgiven if you had made an act of perfect contrition before dying. If you had made only an act of imperfect contrition then your sins would not be forgiven.

  2. You would not be allowed to receive Communion (even if you made an act of perfect contrition).


#7

How do you know that? Isn’t it presumptuous to speak for the mind of God?


#8

That is the Church teaching.

CCC 1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

CCC 1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.


#9

I am very tired of the opinion that the love, mercy and judgement of God is as precise as a mathematical equation, or that every action is a simple if/then result.

The catechism is helpful for general understanding but does not claim or even attempt to go the whole distance in the mystery of salvation.


#10

Not everyone claims that. God’s love and mercy are beyond our understanding, and to say they are infinite is a limitation, rather we may say they are truly ineffable.

Nevertheless, we know certain things - truths that the Magisterium has studied in centuries of work and that has kindly summarized for us in what we know as the Catechism. We can find in the Catechism the basic teachings that will allow us to grasp the mystery of salvation.

We know, then, that the Sacrament of Reconciliation was instituted by Christ for a reason. The Lord had already instructed us to ask the Father to forgive us our trespasses. If this prayer would remit our mortal sins, then Christ would not have given His Church an additional Sacrament, nor would he have given His apostles the authority to remit and not remit sins - each of us would have been able to obtain our own absolution.

Clearly, it is not so.

Even St. Paul, in the very early days, answers that if one is conscious of mortal sin, then one is not properly disposed to receive the Bread of Life, and if one does so anyways, then one is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of Christ - words of St. Paul.

If it is evident that the mystery of salvation is not fully revealed to us, how can we know what God would do if a person in a state of mortal sin would die? Is that not entirely up to the soul and the merciful Lord? If the soul has willfully rejected God and lost sanctifying grace, it is possible that our merciful Lord will be willing to forgive her, however the question is whether the soul would be willing to accept such forgiveness. If the soul had repented, we can presume she was touched by actual grace, and that fills us of a blessed hope that she will not reject the Lord but may have to undergo the purification of Purgatory.

Holy Communion is Christ that gives Himself. Nobody, even if one just confessed a second before receiving the Blessed Sacrament, is worthy of receiving the Eucharist. In this humble knowledge, we try to maintain the best possible disposition, and certainly receiving the Lord while in a state of mortal sin is far from being the best possible disposition. We will then abstain, pray the Lord to mercifully grant us a spiritual communion, and remember that “men live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”.


#11

Well, we know for sure that anyone who dies in a state of mortal sin goes immediately to Hell. There is no second chance after death to repent.
We know that imperfect contrition does not forgive mortal sins.

These are Church teachings backed by the full authority of God who said he would be bound by them.

What we don’t know is the state of someone’s soul at death. Only God knows that.


#12

CCC 1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

Doesn’t this negate your second point?


#13

Making an act of perfect contrition forgives sins so that a person would be saved if they die prior to getting to Confession. However, while still alive it does not permit them to receive Communion until after they have been absolved by a priest at Confession.


#14

Can you show me where that is specified, either in the catechism or code of canon law? All I see here is that an act of perfect contrition forgives mortal sin providing you have the intention of making a sacramental confession asap. If your mortal sin is forgiven, why would you not be able to receive?

I’m don’t mean to be argumentative, but the catechism says we are not to receive while in a state of mortal sin. If that sin has been forgiven, through the act of perfect contrition, how are we not in a state of grace at that point?


#15

[quote="BcuzISaidSo, post:14, topic:297189"]
Can you show me where that is specified, either in the catechism or code of canon law? All I see here is that an act of perfect contrition forgives mortal sin providing you have the intention of making a sacramental confession asap. If your mortal sin is forgiven, why would you not be able to receive?

I'm don't mean to be argumentative, but the catechism says we are not to receive while in a state of mortal sin. If that sin has been forgiven, through the act of perfect contrition, how are we not in a state of grace at that point?

[/quote]

The act of perfect contrition is conditional upon the intent to get to Confession as soon as possible. This means if you are still alive it is completed by confession to a priest and receiving absolution, or it is completed if you die before getting to Confession and you would be saved.
If you make an act of perfect contrition without the firm intent to go to Confession as soon as possible or you subsequently decide not to go to Confession as soon as possible then there is no forgiveness of mortal sin because the act of perfect contrition is invalid.


#16

Because we cannot know if our contrition was perfect. It would also be a sin of pride to assume that I am so good that my contrition was perfect.

CCC 1457 clearly states:

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.57

57 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1647; 1661; CIC, can. 916; CCEO, can. 711.


#17

I agree with that.


#18

Interesting. I have always understood it to be unrepentant mortal sin that endangers one with hell fire. I’ve have also never seen that the Church says that committing any particular sin sends one “immediately to Hell.”

But can’t we say that someone who committed a mortal sin, with imperfect contrition who dies in a car accident on their way to confession “goes immediately to Hell?” That is what you say above, isn’t it?


#19

Regarding your two points:

CCC 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

Anyone who is in a state of mortal sin and makes an act of imperfect contrition (which does NOT forgive mortal sins) and dies immediately dies in a state of mortal sin. We can say objectively that such a person would go immediately to Hell but we cannot apply this to a particular person because we don’t know the state of any specific invididual’s soul at death.

For example, I do not know the state of Joe’s soul when he died so I can’t say he went to Hell. What I can say is that if Joe died in a state of mortal sin then he went to Hell.


#20

Once again, the catechism deals here in generalities which may be true for some but not others. Note that the classic thought was that people who committed suicide were condemned for the murder of themselves. Yet, what does the catechism say about suicide now?

“Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.”

It isn’t so cut and dry.


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