Who Can Take Part in Communion?–Psalm 15

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Who Can Take Part in Communion?–Psalm 15

Lord, who may abide in your tent?
    Who may dwell on Your Holy Mountain?

Whoever walks without blame,
    doing what is right,
    speaking truth from the heart;
Who does not slander with his tongue,
    does no harm to a friend,
    never defames a neighbor;
Who disdains the wicked,
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
    Who keeps an oath despite the cost,
     lends no money at interest,
    accepts no bribe against the innocent.

Whoever acts like this
    shall never be shaken.


Who Can Take Part in Communion?–Psalm 15

Psalm 15 reports of an Israelite wishing to be admitted inside the Temple Court, asking a Temple official what conduct is appropriate to enter inside God’s precinct (Tent; Holy Mountain). The Word of God, working through the psalmist, lists eleven base criteria — all of which point to the Commandments — either in a general or specific way. The Catholic Church uses this list as a general roadmap in regards to participation with communion.

This psalm is essentially a call to examine our conscience before receiving Holy Communion (the Eucharist). If we are guilty of serious or mortal sin, we must first receive the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) before receiving it. Furthermore, it is best to seek forgiveness of lesser or venial sins as well. While they do not bar us from the Eucharistic table per se, it is a way to overcome anger, pride, and resentment which create small barriers to receiving the fullness of grace offered in the Holy Eucharist (St. John Paul II, General Audience, Feb. 4, 2004).


*On the eleven criteria mentioned above, note the emphasis on virtues relating to one’s neighbor.

*Lending money in the Old Testament was often seen as assistance to the poor in their distress, not as an investment; making money off the poor by charging interest was thus forbidden (Ex 22:24; Lv25:36; Dt 23:20).


Who cannot take communion?

According to the Church, anyone who is conscious of having committed a mortal sin, and has not been to confession, generally cannot receive Holy Communion.

What is a Mortal Sin?

A mortal sin is the gravest kind of sin because it threatens the soul with eternal damnation unless absolved before death through confession or penitence. It is defined as a grave action that is committed in full knowledge of its gravity and with the full consent of the will. Such sin cuts the sinner off from receiving God’s sanctifying grace until it is repented of, usually in the confessional with a Priest. Examples of a mortal sin are (but not limited to): murder, rape, incest, perjury adultery, lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, anger, envy and pride.

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