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'Quick Help' Page: Is Perfect Contrition Sufficient For Receiving Holy Communion After Mortal Sin?

 

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Perfect Contrition

Sacramental Confession

Reception of the Holy Eucharist

Receiving Holy Communion

Must Receive Absolution Before Communion

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"Can someone who commits a mortal sin but has perfect contrition receive Holy Communion without Confession?"

 

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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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