Baptism or confession, which comes first?

hey everyone, quick question here…

i’m going through RCIA and reading and studying on my own and was under the impression that baptism is the entrance way into the Sacraments of the Church…Meaning, it’s the first step…

now, some in my RCIA have not yet been baptized and will receive it during the Easter Vigil prior to Confirmation and Eucharist…

today, our RCIA facilitator explained that we will all take our first Confession / Reconciliation prior to the Easter Vigil (and prior to Baptism for those unBaptized in the class)…

i am now very confused because i know the CCC teaches that Baptism removes a person’s sins to date…so why is Confession / Reconciliation necessary before one is Baptized? i totally get why the already Baptized go to confession prior to receiving the Sacraments but do the unBaptized need to?? and if they do, why?

i asked these same questions of my facilitator who said it’s always done this way, everyone goes to Confession prior to Easter Vigil regardless of whether or not they’ve been Baptized, but he would speak to the head of the RCIA group for a clarification…

thanks for your help

Baptism is ALWAYS the first sacrament received. Those who are unbaptized should not, and cannot, celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation. If the priest knows they are not baptized, he likewise can’t absolve them. It’s not a matter of simply following rules either. The recipient of the sacrament must be baptized for it to have any effect.

Your RCIA director is seriously misinformed.

You need to bring this to the attention of your pastor immediately.

No, the unbaptized do NOT go to confession prior to Easter Vigil.

It is appropriate for the catechumens to go through the process of reconciliation, either before or after Easter Vigil to understand how to go to confession after they are baptized. A mock confession, where they go through the process, get famliar with the confessional, etc, but don’t actually confess any sins would be appropriate.

I am not RC so cannot really answer you but I do hope that you get a better response than the cop out answer given because there is more to it than just being always done this way. You might get confused here though and if you do I would advised you to contact the priest and disucss it with him because as you say the reply wasn’t that helpful. I can only assume no one has asked him that question before or he is particularly thoughtless and not thought out the why’s.

Baptism does wash out past sins but it is different to sins we commit each day. confession deals with the sins we kind of choose to commit every day of our lives. Roman Catholics believe that the confessional is the best way forward for these types of sins. Baptism wipes out past sins not the future ones we commit ourselves… But I wouldn’t want to say any more in case I give a different take on it to what is the official RC line. You are asked to do confession before a baptism because as adults you are old enough to know the difference from right from wrong and you want to stay close to God. Baptism asks you to renounce the devil and by already being forgiven of your sins in confession you are able to renounce the devil with a clear conscious heart! With affirmity. With authority that Jesus is With you and The Devil knows this now:)

I hope someone will give you more reasoning

thanks for all your answers!

! my hope is that the process is just as you speak of, 1ke, that the catechumens’ participation is as a learning experience and not the actual Sacrament.

i will update this thread when i’ve heard from the RCIA director…

Hmmmm… I’m not sure why everyone is having to go to confession even if they’ve not been baptized yet. When I was in RCIA, myself and another friend were unbaptized and we were definitely not allowed to go to confession before baptism. :shrug:

i have been given a clarification by the RCIA director. our facilitator today was wrong; candidates will go to Confession / Reconciliation prior to Easter Vigil, catechumens will not.



thanks for your responses

The theological explanation is because baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. Penance is for the reconciliation between the sinner and God (and God’s Church) for not acting in accord with the life of the baptized.

Thus, those to be baptized will have all their sins literally and sacramentally washed away in baptism - no need for confession besides the general confessions found in the scrutinizes and the baptismal promises ("Do you reject Satan and all his works?)

Baptism is thus a sacrament of healing as well as initiation (so don’t get me started at the practice of dividing the sacraments into categories of initiation v. healing v. vocation when baptism and eucharist fit all three categories!).

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