Confess These Sins Before You Receive the Holy Eucharist

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Receiving the Holy Eucharist is a profound and sacred act in the Catholic Church. This sacrament is not just a ritual, but an intimate encounter with Jesus Christ. However, there are guidelines that the Church prescribes about the state one should be in before receiving Holy Communion. One of these guidelines is that one must be free of mortal sin. This article aims to explore what types of sins must be confessed before partaking in this divine feast, based on the teachings of the Church, Scripture, and the Catechism.

What the Church Teaches About Sin

First, let’s clarify what sin is. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), sin is “an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is a failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods” (CCC 1849).

Mortal vs. Venial Sins

The Church identifies two main types of sins: mortal and venial. Mortal sins are serious violations of God’s law that break our friendship with God. The Catechism explains that “for a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: ‘Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent’” (CCC 1857).

Venial sins, on the other hand, do not destroy divine life in the soul, as does mortal sin, but they do weaken it (CCC 1863).

Importance of Confession Before Communion

The Church teaches that if someone is aware of having committed a mortal sin, they must participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist. The Bible supports this in 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, where St. Paul warns, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”

Sins to Confess

Given this background, let’s explore some sins that, if committed, would require confession before receiving the Holy Eucharist.

Sins Against the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments provide a foundational moral code. Violations such as murder, theft, and adultery are grave matters that constitute mortal sins when committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent. These must be confessed before one can partake in the Eucharist.

Sins Against Virtue and Charity

Actions that go against the virtues of faith, hope, and charity may also be mortal sins if they meet the conditions. For example, willful doubt about the faith or deliberate hatred towards one’s neighbor is considered grave matter.

Sexual Sins

The Church teaches that certain sexual sins like fornication, masturbation, and the use of contraception are considered to be grave matter and, if committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent, are mortal sins that need to be confessed before receiving Holy Communion (CCC 2352, 2370).

Sins of Omission

It’s not just what we do, but also what we fail to do, that can be sinful. The Church holds that failing to perform an act required by moral law can also be a mortal sin (CCC 1859).


Causing others to sin through one’s own sinful actions is called scandal, and the Church sees this as a grave offense (CCC 2284).

Frequent Questions on Confession and Holy Communion

What About Forgotten Sins?

If you honestly forget to confess a mortal sin, the Church teaches that your sin is forgiven but must be confessed in your next confession (CCC 1453).

Do I Need to Confess Venial Sins Before Communion?

It’s good to confess venial sins regularly, but the Church teaches that these do not need to be confessed before receiving Communion. The Eucharist itself wipes away venial sins (CCC 1394).

Can I Receive Communion If I Don’t Have Time to Confess?

If you’re conscious of mortal sin and have no opportunity for confession, the Church advises that you make an act of perfect contrition, which is a heartfelt sorrow for sins, with a firm resolution to confess as soon as possible. However, this is not a substitute for sacramental confession and is to be used only in emergency situations (CCC 1452).


Receiving the Holy Eucharist is one of the most profound experiences in Catholic life. However, we must approach it with the reverence and humility it deserves, fully aware of our moral state. Make regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially if you’re aware of having committed a mortal sin, to worthily receive the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). It’s a life-giving sacrament but also demands our sincere introspection and repentance. Amen.

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Note: While content aims to align with Catholic teachings, any inconsistencies or errors are unintended. For precise understanding, always refer to authoritative sources like the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Always double-check any quotes for word-for-word accuracy with the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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