VATICAN CITY (CNS): Catholics must remember that they may not receive Communion if they have committed a serious sin and have not gone to Confession, Pope John Paul II said.
In the year the Church has dedicated to the Eucharist, it is important to remind people of the importance of going to Confession, the Pope said in a message sent from Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.
The Pope’s message, released on March 12, was addressed to priests taking a course at the Apostolic Penitentiary, a Vatican court dealing with matters related to Confession and questions of conscience.
The prayers of the Mass underline the need for “purification and conversion”, he said, citing the initial penitential rite, the sign of peace and the prayers immediately before the reception of the Eucharist.
The Pope said that in an age when people seem to forget about God and ignore the reality of sin priests and religious educators must work even harder to help people understand that Christ is calling them to conversion. The Pope also told the priests that people will not approach them unless they model their lives and behaviour on Christ, “the teacher and pastor, healer of souls and bodies, spiritual guide and just and merciful judge”.