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Are You Holy Enough To Receive Communion?

Catholics: Before going to Mass, take this quiz to avoid repeating the mistakes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi.

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  1. 1. Are you Catholic?

    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Only Catholics can receive Communion!

    All men and women are invited to attend Mass and join Catholics in prayer, but only Catholics can receive Holy Communion. Non-Christians are barred for obvious reasons and Protestants aren't allowed because of their major differences in beliefs, particularly with regards to the nature of the sacraments.

  2. 2. Have you been baptized in the Catholic Church?

    Wikimedia Commons
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You have to be baptized in the Church to receive Communion.

    TRICK QUESTION: If you haven't been baptized in the Catholic Church, you're not technically a Catholic. If you're not a Catholic, you can't receive Communion. Catholics believe that you must receive the sacrament of Baptism before you can receive any of the other six sacraments.

  3. 3. Do you believe that the bread and wine of the Eucharist disappear at the moment of consecration during Mass and LITERALLY become the body and blood of Jesus Christ?

    catholicscomehome.org / Via catholicscomehome.org
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You must believe in Transubstantiation.

    If you don't believe in the literal, physical transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, you're either not a Catholic, or you're a Catholic committing a mortal sin and possibly committing heresy. You cannot receive Communion if you are conscious that you have committed a mortal, or grave, sin.

  4. 4. Barring serious illness or circumstances beyond your control, have you chosen to skip Sunday Mass since the last time you received Communion?

    Wikimedia Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You have to attend Mass every Sunday.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181: "The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin."

  5. 5. Have you obtained an abortion or helped someone obtain an abortion?

    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot willfully obtain an abortion or assist someone in obtaining an abortion.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church is really clear on this: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law...Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life."

  6. 6. Have you chosen to use drugs or abuse alcohol to the point of drunkenness?

    Mario Tama / Getty Images
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot abuse drugs or alcohol.

    Excess of any kind (drinking, tobacco, food) is a sin, as is producing, trafficking and using drugs.

  7. 7. Have you deliberately killed, raped or tortured another person?

    reddit.com
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot kill, rape or torture people.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that murder, rape and torture are all intrinsically evil acts. Regardless of a person's intent, these acts are always mortal sins and a person who commits them will need to repent before they can receive Communion again. After they get out of jail.

  8. 8. Do you masturbate and/or view pornography?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot masturbate or view pornography.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that both masturbation and pornography are "offenses against chastity" and therefore gravely sinful.

  9. 9. Have you had sex with someone to whom you are not married?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot have premarital sex.

    According to the Catechism, ALL sex outside of marriage is "fornication," which is a grave sin and an "offense against chastity." Sex is only sanctioned by the Church within the sacrament of marriage, for the purposes of spiritual union and procreation.

  10. 10. Have you engaged in oral or anal sex?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't have oral or anal sex - even if you're married.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2370: "Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil."

  11. 11. Do you use contraception of any form?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't use contraception.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls contraception "morally unacceptable." Pope John Paul II went into a lot more detail about how this is a sin in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae. Natural methods of birth control (Natural Family Planning) are okay.

  12. 12. Do you support same-sex marriage even though you know that the Church opposes it?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't support same-sex marriage.

    A Vatican memo on same-sex marriage that was published in 2003 states: "In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application."

  13. 13. Are you currently living with a romantic partner that you're not married to?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't live with a romantic partner if you're not married.

    The Catholic Church calls all men and women to live chaste lives and the Catechism states that "The sexual act must take place exclusively within marriage. Outside of marriage it always constitutes a grave sin and excludes one from sacramental communion." It's unlikely that you wouldn't be sleeping with the romantic partner with whom you were living, but even if you weren't, it's still not chaste behavior (according to the Church). The Catechism also forbids "trial marriages."

  14. 14. Do you support the death penalty?

    California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation / Via en.wikipedia.org
    Yes
    No
    My stance on the death penalty does not affect my ability to receive communion.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The Catholic Church is not unilaterally opposed to capital punishment

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2267: "Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor."

  15. 15. Do you support legislation guaranteeing women the ability to have an abortion or advocate for organizations that provide abortions?

    Getty Images
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot support legislation that protects abortion rights or advocate for abortion-providing institutions.

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church considers life from the moment of conception to be a "inalienable right...[that] must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority." In the encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II explained it like this: "Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize...In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it."

  16. 16. Have you married in the Catholic Church, obtained a divorce and then remarried without a decree of annulment from the Church?

    CatholicMatch.com / Via catholicmatch.com
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Without an annulment, you can't divorce, remarry and still receive Communion.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 1650: "Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - 'Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery' the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists."

  17. 17. Do you support embryonic stem-cell research?

    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't support embryonic stem-cell research.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2274-2275: "Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being... It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material."

  18. 18. Have you committed tax evasion or attempted to avoid paying taxes?

    irs.gov / Via irs.gov
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot commit tax evasion.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2409: "The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste."

  19. 19. Have you used a surrogate to carry a child to term, or have you carried a child as a surrogate mother?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot use a surrogate to carry a child to term.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2376: "Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife, by the intrusion of a person other than the couple (donation of sperm or ovum, surrogate uterus), are gravely immoral. These techniques (heterologous artificial insemination and fertilization) infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage. They betray the spouses' right to become a father and a mother only through each other."

  20. 20. Have you willfully wished serious harm on another person?

    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot wish serious harm on others.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2303: "Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm."

  21. 21. Have you conceived a child or helped conceive a child through in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't have anything to do with in vitro fertilization, even if you're married.

    The Catholic Church forbids in vitro fertilization, even in the case of married couples because "[The technologies] dissociate the sexual act from the procreative act. The act which brings the child into existence is no longer an act by which two persons give themselves to one another, but one that "entrusts the life and identity of the embryo into the power of doctors and biologists and establishes the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person."

  22. 22. If you are an employer, do you pay your employees a just wage?

    Via justeconomicswnc.org
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot pay unjust wages.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2409: "Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another."

  23. 23. Have you lied while under oath or committed perjury?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You can't commit perjury.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 2152: "A person commits perjury when he makes a promise under oath with no intention of keeping it, or when after promising on oath he does not keep it. Perjury is a grave lack of respect for the Lord of all speech. Pledging oneself by oath to commit an evil deed is contrary to the holiness of the divine name."

  24. 24. Have you eaten anything in the past hour?

    Shutterstock
    Yes
    No
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    You cannot receive Communion if you've eaten in the last hour.

    Code of Canon Law 919: A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.

Are You Holy Enough To Receive Communion?

You can (probably) receive Communion.
You can (probably) receive Communion.
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You cannot receive Communion.
You cannot receive Communion.
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So that's it? If I passed this quiz, I can receive Communion?

Not exactly. The Church Code of Canon Law says that those who "have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" are not to receive Communion and there are a LOT of grave (or mortal) sins. Catholics are supposed to examine their conscience and consult a priest.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1857: "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."

What does the Church say will happen if I receive Communion anyway?

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1385:

To respond to this invitation [to the Eucharist] we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

Code of Canon Law 916:

A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.

TL;DR: It's a mortal sin, but only if you knowingly receive communion with the full understanding that you shouldn't be participating.

What about freedom of conscience? Aren't I free to make up my own mind about things like abortion and same-sex marriage?

Some Catholic commentators assert that a well-formed conscience and official Catholic teaching may come to opposite conclusions in moral matters. This opinion directly contradicts the Catechism, paragraph 2039: "Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church." A Catholic simply cannot claim to have a well-formed and well-informed conscience if he is ignorant of, misunderstands, or rejects outright God's law and thus commits acts that the Church considers gravely disordered.

Why are Catholics supposed to obey everything the Church says?

Why should we obey these teachings of the Church? Where does the Church get its authority? From Jesus. In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus made Peter the head of his Church — the first Pope. He gave Peter and the Church "the keys to the kingdom of heaven":

"I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

The Church's authority in faith and morals is absolute because Christ's authority is absolute.

Polls say that many American Catholics support same-sex marriage, contraception and other things on this list. Shouldn't someone stop them from receiving Communion?

Technically, the people themselves should refrain from receiving Communion if they're aware that their beliefs render them unable to receive the Eucharist in a state of grace.

Priests can only deny Communion to sinners whose sins are publicly known and politicians with professed beliefs contrary to Catholic teaching certainly fall into that category, as do notorious criminals or couples openly living together out of wedlock. St. Thomas Aquinas explains this in his Summa Theologica:

A distinction must be made among sinners: some are secret; others are notorious, either from evidence of the fact, as public usurers, or public robbers, or from being denounced as evil men by some ecclesiastical or civil tribunal. Therefore Holy Communion ought not to be given to open sinners when they ask for it... But if they be not open sinners, but occult, the Holy Communion should not be denied them if they ask for it. For since every Christian, from the fact that he is baptized, is admitted to the Lord's table, he may not be robbed of his right, except from some open cause.

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