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Beth D. wrote:

Hi guys,

I returned to the Church about 3-4 years ago after being away for many years. After returning to Church, I began to receive the Eucharist after about a month. Now I'm wondering if that was wrong.

I had been to a communal penance service where we were absolved as a group and I thought that was enough. I have also been to Confession but I have never actually confessed to being away from Church for so long. I live in a small town and have always figured that my priest knew this.

  • Do I need to go to Confession and confess this?

Thank you for your time.


  { Is Confession needed if I went to a communal penance service but didn't note leaving the Church? }

John replied:

Hi Beth,

  1. First, communal absolution is only allowed in extreme cases. For example, a bunch of soldiers are about to storm a beachhead and there is no time to hear everyone's individual Confession. Nevertheless, your Confession was valid although illicit.

  2. Second, after receiving communal absolution one needs to go to individual Confession after the crisis is over, if one survives.

  3. Third, if you've been to Confession since then, you've been absolved of all sins prior to that Confession regardless of whether or not you remembered to confess them.

That said, it doesn't sound like your intent was to do something wrong. God looks at the heart.

For starters you came back to Church, so your heart is in the right place.

I would mention it in your next Confession. It's also a pretty good idea to make going to Confession a regular part of your spiritual regiment.

God Bless,

John DiMascio

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