Reception of the Holy Eucharist
Receiving Holy Communion
Must Receive Absolution Before Communion
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Question / Issue:
"Can someone who
commits a mortal sin but has perfect contrition receive Holy Communion without
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
Even with perfect contrition, one who has committed a
mortal sin must have a sacramental Confession before partaking of the
Holy Eucharist. According to the Council of Trent...
"If it is unbeseeming for any one to approach to any of the
sacred functions, unless he approach holily; assuredly, the more the holiness
and divinity of this heavenly sacrament are understood by a Christian, the more
diligently ought he to give heed that he approach not to receive it but with
great reverence and holiness, especially as we read in the Apostle those words
full of terror; He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
judgment to himself. Wherefore, he who would communicate, ought to recall to
mind the precept of the Apostle; Let a man prove himself. Now ecclesiastical
usage declares that necessary proof to be, that no one, conscious to himself
of mortal sin, how contrite soever he may seem to himself, ought to approach to
the sacred Eucharist without previous sacramental confession. This the holy
Synod hath decreed is to be invariably observed by all Christians, even by
those priests on whom it may be incumbent by their office to celebrate, provided
the opportunity of a confessor do not fail them; but if, in an urgent necessity,
a priest should celebrate without previous confession, let him confess as soon
as possible." (Council of Trent, Thirteenth Session, Chapter 7) [emphasis added]
"Can. 11. If
anyone says that faith alone is sufficient preparation for receiving the
sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist: let him be anathema. And that so great a
Sacrament may not be unworthily received, and therefore unto death and
condemnation, this holy Council ordains and declares that sacramental
confession must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is
burdened by mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. If
anyone moreover teaches the contrary or preaches or obstinately asserts, or even
publicly by disputation shall presume to defend the contrary, by that fact
itself he is excommunicated" (Council of Trent, Denzinger #893) [emphasis added]
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