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The Confiteor and forgiveness of Mortal Sin
Question from Joan M on 11/10/2000:

Father, I am quoting from an email I received from my son, and I would like your comments - "in some discussions being held here, some of the 'guys' are stating that they, personally, believe that the 'I confess' that is said at Mass could wipe away ALL their sins - mortal and venial - and thus if one committed a mortal sin, after saying the "I confess" could receive Holy Communion. Kindly see if you could find something substantial that would explain the church's view and put my mind at ease. "

I am CERTAIN that this is not the case. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraphs 1395 and 1457 address the need to go to Confession prior to receiving Holy Communion.

But nowhere have I found anything that states that the Confiteor actually forgives even venial sin, let alone mortal sin! I know that receiving Holy Communion in a state of Mortal Sin is a sacrilege.

Father, where can I find something which will help my son convince these young men that they are wrong?

Joan

Answer by Fr.Stephen F. Torraco on 11/10/2000:

As indicated by paragraphs 1434-1439 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, venial sins are forgiven in a variety of ways, including the Confiteor. However, mortal sins must be confessed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as indicated in paragraph 1456.

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