I know alot of churches are doing it this way ( my son feels he should make his penance before 1st communion) Is there an informal way to do it that would make him feel better is it is appropropriate) He is 9 ( he knows I go to penance regulaly when I have something bad on my conscience before I can go to communion)
So in your parish, they do First Communion this year and First Confession next year?
The kids should be given the opportunity to go to confession before they receive communion. I would most definitely give your son the opportunity to go to confession before his first communion, especially since he is expressing the desire to do so. I would make sure that he understands why we go to confession as well as the basics of how to go about it and then take him.
First penance does not (and perhaps more properly should be stated as should not) be a formal event … you simply go (the only difference being that the penitent would say “this is my first confession” rather than “it has been (however long) since my last confession”).
In any case, yes, penance absolutely SHOULD precede First Communion, and as a parent you have every right to prep your own child for confession and take him when he knows how to (and why).
I voted for the second only because strictly speaking, first confession isn’t necessary for first communion-at least for kids. I had in mind the Eastern Catholic discipline, but then the more I think about it, it makes sense to do first confession first. But, again, I would say that it is not absolutely necessary. But, if your child wants to go to confession, then I see no reason why your child should not go to confession first.
I would pick option #3, find a parish that does it right and receive the sacraments there. I’m not sure where it is written, but I’m pretty sure that it is in some Church document somewhere, that first penance is to come before first communion. I am very skeptical of any church that does it backwards. In my experience those churches that put penance after the eucharist perpetuate a distorted understanding about the nature of sin and even about the real presence and I would be concerned about all the other messages my kids would be getting there. Of course I can’t tell if that is a problem at your church.
If going to another church is not an option, then I would definitely seek out an opportunity to go to confession first. I wouldn’t just do it in a vacuum though. If your kids take religious ed classes during the 1st penance year, it is going to come up. Also, I’m not sure what the reaction of a priest will be to a small child making their first confession on a Saturday afternoon. The sacraments need to be prepared for, and I just don’t know if they will automatically be ok with hearing a first confession in that way. I would definitely discuss this with the priest who you would like to hear your child’s first confession first. BTW, have you prepared your child to receive the sacrament of penance? If not, you really should do that as well (I’ve done this for my kids and can reccomend a few resources to choose from that would make it pretty easy).
You would certainly be free to prepare your child and provide an opportunity for him to receive the Sacrament on Penance before his First Communion. Check Ignatius Press for materials for both of you. If your own pastor or associate pastor is reluctant, call another parish. At age nine, your son has definitely reached the “age of reason”.
[quote=Code of Canon Law, #914]It is the responsibility, in the first place, of parents and those who take the place of parents as well as of the pastor to see that children who have reached the use of reason are correctly prepared and are nourished by the divine food as early as possible, preceded by sacramental confession; it is also for the pastor to be vigilant lest any children come to the Holy Banquet who have not reached the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed.
[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1457]According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
It’s not optional. Whether or nor your son feels he should go to confession first, he MUST go to confession first, according to the Catechism.
You must have raised him right, that he wants to do what he is supposed to do, without even knowing it is a requirement.
If he feels he needs a confession, he should be allowed to confess his sins. Taking communion in a state of mortal sin is in itself a mortal sin. So the priest is going to put souls in danger because communion is supposed to be first? I don’t think that’s a good idea. Maybe most kids don’t need it yet because they haven’t committed mortal sin, but those that have need confession.
again there can be no personal opinion on a matter of canon law, so there can be no poll.
1st communion for the baptized MUST be preceded by sacramental confession.
protest to your bishop if the pastor is not following the law. If doesn’t back you up, take your child to confession after you have prepared him. It is your responsibility as a CAtholic parent.
Wow, there it is in black and white, so to speak. Thank you for posting this. I assume that the OP is a Latin Catholic.
While the Catechism is certainly helpful, it is more of a teaching document than a regulatory one. This is what Redemptionis Sacramentum states:
[87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.
This is a serious abuse and should be rectified as soon as possible.
In the parish where I received my sacraments, I had first communion in first grade and first reconciliation in fourth! At the time, I didn’t know any different. Knowing what I know now, I’m amazed that parishes still allow the sacraments to be given in this order. It’s very important for someone who receives communion to understand the significance of going to confession first. I would definitely say something about it if I were you. As a Catholic parent, you should do your best to educate your children on the requirements of the church.
Oops. In my previous post, I meant to quote the section of Canon Law, and not the Catechism. Mea Culpa:o
I think the kids should be given an opportunity to go to Confession before Communion… what if they have something on their conscience?
St. Paul teaches so well in 1 Corinthians 11 that we are to discern our worthiness to receive the Eucharist before we do so. How can children truly learn to discern their worthiness unless they first learn to examine their consciences and confess their sins?
It befuddles me that priests are still ignoring what the Church’s shepherds have been instructing.
May I ask why it shouldn’t be a formal thing? Both my children attend Catholic school, and we had a nice family prayer service which preceded their first confession. Their actual confession was in the confessional.