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Full Version: Is Confession needed to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday?
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I don’t feel I’m in a state to receive Communion, but regarding ashes: is there any reason why someone couldn’t receive ashes?  I don’t believe there is.

Also, I assume it’s fine to receive ashes and not Communion?
(03-05-2019, 12:51 PM)FultonFan Wrote: [ -> ]I don’t feel I’m in a state to receive Communion, but regarding ashes: is there any reason why someone couldn’t receive ashes?  I don’t believe there is.

Also, I assume it’s fine to receive ashes and not Communion?

Feelings are irrelevant with regard to our ability to receive Holy Communion. A properly formed conscience prompting the heart and the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin.

Receiving ashes and not Holy Communion is fine. Our parish is going to have one Mass tomorrow with the imposition of ashes and one Liturgy of the Word (no Holy Communion) with the imposition of ashes.

Please remember to follow your confessor with regard to what is sin, when you can receive Holy Communion, etc. Smile  God bless you, FultonFan.
Thanks so much.  God bless you too!  Smile
It's my understanding that you don't have to be in the state of grace to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Even non-Catholics can receive them.
Amen to both comments.
(03-05-2019, 03:13 PM)Florus Wrote: [ -> ]It's my understanding that you don't have to be in the state of grace to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. Even non-Catholics can receive them.


To receive a Sacrament of the Living while not in the State of Grace is a grave sin of sacrilege, since these are meant to increase Sanctifying Grace in you by the very Sacrament itself, not due to your devotion (ex opere operato), and lacking such grace, you undermine the very reason for the Sacrament. 

The Sacraments of the Dead (Baptism, Penance and sometimes Extreme Unction) are the way we get the State of Grace back, so clearly can be received without the State of Grace. Extreme Unction removes venial sins and also mortal sins if they cannot be confessed. (with the obligation to confess them later if possible, similar to our obligation to confess forgotten mortal sins)

To receive a Sacramental without the State of Grace is not sinful, but also is not helpful or meritorious in itself. These Sacramentals are meant to help increase grace in your soul and dispose you to graces by increasing your devotion (ex opere operantis). It might be that by receiving ashes and reminding yourself of your corruptible nature you are more inclined to confess. 

While it's no sin to receive ashes even if you're not in the state of grace, I might caution you that there's a danger of treating ashes like a a talisman and like you've ticked off that thing that Catholics do for Lent, rather than receiving them in the correct spirit.

As regards non-Catholics, they should generally not publicly receive Sacramentals which are given to or imposed upon Catholics, but nothing prevents their use of them. Nothing prevents a Protestant using Holy Water, or a blessed Rosary or Scapular, or taking a blessed palm from the extra left out after Mass and this may be a good thing, so long as the object is treated with due respect. The persons should not approach to receive these things or have them imposed.

This is because it is a question of possible scandal and also a possible impediment to their conversion. 

It could be a cause of scandal for others to see someone who is not a member of the Church receiving some blessing or Sacramental. They could as the OP and other might have thought that one needs to be in the State of Grace for the Sacramentals.

It also might be an impediment to the conversion of someone, if they can do all of the same things a Catholic can do except receive the Sacraments. Think of the couple who is known to be on their second marriage, but stays together and lives as brother and sister for their children, but cannot as a result receive Communion or the Sacraments publicly. They are making a great sacrifice to live in the State of Grace and raise their children well, and yet are put publicly on the same level as the Protestant who has not converted.

Other personal sacramentals, like the imposition of the Brown Scapular, are tied to membership in confraternities or associations which cannot admit non-Catholics. A Protestant or could wear a blessed Scapular, but could not be enrolled.

In short, it is generally unfitting that non-Catholics receive the Sacramentals, except perhaps a personal blessing and those meant for Catechumens, even though it is not inherently wrong.

A traditional priest I know well said that he was instructed at his seminary in moral theology that Ashes, Palms and Candles on the various days when these are blessed and given to the faithful should not be given to non-Catholics except perhaps privately. They could take some of these things for themselves afterward, but should not participate as if they were Catholic. If it were not a grave scandal, if they approach however, it might be better to give the thing and then explain afterward, since refusing might cause a worse problem and there is no sacrilege.
This is something that I've wondered about non-Catholics.  I think I am one of only two people in our church who go regularly and are not (yet) Catholic.  The lady normally sits a couple pews ahead of us, and I was thinking of waiting and see what she did, since she's been going longer than me and was apparently around last year when they did the ashes.  I guess I'll have to sit it out this year then. Shrug

~Lily~
If you are a catechumen, I see no possibility of scandal in you receiving the ashes. I think MM was referring to people who are not Catholic and have no intention of converting.
(03-05-2019, 10:13 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]If you are a catechumen, I see no possibility of scandal in you receiving the ashes. I think MM was referring to people who are not Catholic and have no intention of converting.

Catechumens are buried with a full Requiem Mass and the usual rites for Catholics, so a fortiori Catechumens can be admitted to the liturgical processions and receive the Sacramentals which are permitted to them (like ashes).

They are not able to receive some, however. For example, they could not be enrolled in the Scapular until they were baptized or formally entered the Church, since membership in a confraternity is open only to Catholics, since they are not yet Baptized (or have not officially entered the Church) they are not legally considered members of the Church.
(03-05-2019, 10:13 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: [ -> ]If you are a catechumen, I see no possibility of scandal in you receiving the ashes. I think MM was referring to people who are not Catholic and have no intention of converting.

Yes in my initial comment I had in mind those were preparing for baptism.
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