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Catholic Essentials
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Easter Duty

Definition: "The obligation to receive Holy Communion at least at Easter time......Annual confession is usually made at the same time" (Definition from A Catholic Dictionary, 1951)

Note the Church also requires one must be in the state of grace (no mortal sin) when receiving Holy Communion. This is why the Sacrament of Confession is also utilized at the same time.

Catholic Church Teaching on Easter Duty:

  • "Paschal Tide is the period during which every member of the faithful who has attained the year of discretion is bound by the positive law of the Church to receive Holy Communion (Easter duty). During the early Middle Ages from the time of the Synod of Agde (508), it was customary to receive Holy Communion at least three times a year -- Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. A positive precept was issued by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and confirmed by the Council of Trent (Sess. XIII, can. ix). According to these decrees the faithful of either sex, after coming to the age of discretion, must receive at least at Easter the Sacrament of the Eucharist (unless by the advice of the parish priest they abstain for a while). Otherwise during life they are to be prevented from entering the church and when dead are to be denied Christian burial."
    Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917, Paschal Tide
  • "Lest any be kept away from Communion by the fear that the requisite preparation is too hard and laborious, the faithful are frequently to be reminded that they are all bound to receive the Holy Eucharist. Furthermore, the Church has decreed that whoever neglects to approach Holy Communion once a year, at Easter, is liable to sentence of excommunication." Catechism of Council of Trent - The Sacraments - The Eucharist

Catholic Church Teaching on being in the state of grace when receiving Holy Communion:

  • "We should, in the next place, carefully examine whether our consciences be defiled by mortal sin, which has to be repented of, in order that it may be blotted out before Communion by the remedy of contrition and confession. The Council of Trent has defined that no one conscious of mortal sin and having an opportunity of going to confession, however contrite he may deem himself, is to approach the Holy Eucharist until he has been purified by sacramental confession." Catechism of Council of Trent - The Sacraments - The Eucharist
  • "It is as impossible for the soul in the state of mortal sin to receive this Heavenly Bread with profit, as it is for a corpse to assimilate food and drink" Catholic Encyclopedia, 1917, The Blessed Eucharist as a Sacrament
  • "The Apostle says (1 Cor. 11:29): "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself." Now the gloss says on this passage: "He eats and drinks unworthily who is in sin, or who handles it irreverently." Therefore, if anyone, while in mortal sin, receives this sacrament, he purchases damnation, by sinning mortally".

    Further on we also read, "And therefore it is manifest that whoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, is guilty of lying to this sacrament, and consequently of sacrilege, because he profanes the sacrament: and therefore he sins mortally" Summa Theologica, Whether the sinner sins in receiving Christ's body sacramentally?


ALL Catholics must receive Holy Communion at least once per year, and when doing so, he or she must be in the state of grace, which can be obtained by making a good confession. To believe otherwise is not Catholic.




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