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Holy Communion without Confession

Q. I am a 79-year-old Catholic who doesn’t believe in the Sacrament of Penance. I notice that most people don’t go to Confession these days, and yet the great majority of Catholics receive holy Communion whenever they attend Mass. To me, that is a mortal sin. Why do they do that?

A. The Catholic Church teaches that a person conscious of having committed a mortal sin must confess it before he or she receives Holy Communion (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1457).

How can you be sure that most Catholics who receive Holy Communion regularly are guilty of mortal sins that they have not confessed? The Catechism also teaches: “Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ, and progress in the life of the Spirit” (1458).

According to Mark Twain, there is nothing quite so enjoyable as examining the consciences of other people. But there is also nothing more futile than that. Jesus’ command to recognize the beam in one’s own eye before worrying about the splinter in someone else’s is addressed to each of us (Mt 7:3).

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5 thoughts on “Holy Communion without Confession”

  1. It is true that the catechism says….
    But teaching is the responsibility of the priest to communicate the teaching of the church.
    I am sorry for myself because I would never receive without prior confession when I was hearing about sin by the pastor. Lately I receive without prior confession because the Eucharist is abused.
    Pray for me

  2. I’m a Protestant and we believe we should confess our sins to God before communion. Most times I’ve taken it in church the pastor will reiterate this and give everyone a chance to pray silently and ask God to forgive us before partaking.

  3. just a christian girl

    We confess our sins to God and trust that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins….

  4. A humble Catholic

    We are forgiven of venial sins three times during the mass: at the beginning of mass with the penitential rite which is a part of the introductory Rite of the Mass which happens before the Liturgy of the Word, also when we pray the second is the Our Father, in which we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses.” and the third is immediately before Communion when we pray: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof…”.

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