When you receive the Eucharist you affirm that you are in a state of grace, reconciled with God and the Church. Since the Sacrament of Confession provides that reconciliation, so if you are in a state of mortal sin you must abstain from receiving the Eucharist until you go to Confession. A mortal sin consists of a serious action through which a person turns away from God’s law and charity, fully understands it is wrong and chooses to commit it freely.
If you have committed venial sins, you may still receive the Eucharist at Mass. Venial sins are sins which wound our relationship with God, but consist of less serious matters than mortal sins or are performed without full knowledge or consent. Penitents are encouraged to confess venial sins regularly, however, since the repetition of these sins often lead to more serious sin.
Any of these is fine. The Rite itself uses the words Penance and Reconciliation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes the sacrament is known by many names:
“…the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin.”
“…the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner’s personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.”
“…the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a ‘confession’ —acknowledgment and praise— of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man.”
“…the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent ‘pardon and peace.’”
“…the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the love of God who reconciles: ‘Be reconciled to God.’ He who lives by God’s merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord’s call: ‘Go; first be reconciled to your brother.’” (Catechism 1423-1424)
If you are civilly divorced and have not remarried or were validly married after receiving a declaration of nullity for your prior marriage, you may participate in the Sacrament. If you have remarried outside of the Church or have questions about your situation, we encourage you to speak with your parish priest. Another excellent resource is a brochure published by Our Sunday Visitor, called “What the Church Teaches: Annulments,” available in the literature racks of many churches.
No sin is bigger than God’s mercy. If you have been involved in abortion in any way, we invite you to come home. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:29).
Take the first step and contact us today. Our trained staff is ready to help you begin your journey with information on the healing process as well as referral to a priest sensitive to your needs. This Lent, make peace with your past.
The Light is On for You is a particular Lenten initiative, but parishes offer Confession regularly throughout the year and you are encouraged to go monthly.
...please visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
If you have suffered from a past decision, like abortion, or currently struggling with same-sex attraction, pornography or sexual addiction, you can find mercy and healing by participating in one of these Diocesan ministries. Click below for more details: