baptized adult not yet confirmed- can I receive holy communion before my scheduled confirmation?

This is for a friend. As a boy his mom baptized him Catholic, but she never followed through with his confirmation. Now, as a 38 yr. old man, he wishes to be confirmed. He started the process through my local parishes RCIA program. The director, who IMHO isn’t very strong when it comes to True teachings of the Church, simply told him it was OK to receive communion but recommended he wait until after his confirmation so that receiving Christ’s body and blood will be more special.
Was this a sound recommendation? My Holy Spirit internal meter says no, but as a newly baptized Catholic myself and a very fallible man, I thought to seek the knowledge of CAF members.

Typically adults are confirmed and receive their First Communion at the same Mass. If he wants to do something different, he should speak with his pastor. If the pastor makes an exception, he should receive preparation for both confession and communion.

ordinarily Catholic adults or youth who reach confirmation age without having made first communion are prepared for both sacraments together. There is no reason however, if their formation is structured so they prepare for first communion, (preceded of course by first confession) first, then go on to complete confirmation preparation that they cannot receive communion sooner. This is something to work out with the director and the pastor. For instance, quite often our adult confirmation candidates are also having marriages convalidated. So that they can receive communion as soon as that happens, we make sure they are prepared for first confession communion to coincide with the marriage. They continue their formation because the timing of the actual sacrament of confirmation varies with the Bishop’s schedule, and there is no reason to hold them back.

Did he make his first communion as a child and just wasn’t confirmed? Or was he just baptized and never went any further?

I was baptized in the Catholic church as a baby, but I did not make my first communion as a child. When my husband (a cradle Catholic) and I decided to come back to the Catholic church, I had to go through RCIA first. I didn’t have to go through all the different scrutinies and the Rite of Sending, etc, but I had my first Communion and confirmation at the same time at the Easter Vigil.

As did my husband…he had to wait until Confirmation for his first communion as well. I think the OP’s friend should wait for confirmation. It’s important that he understand first communion and is prepared for it. From the sounds of things…it doesn’t sound like he is…

I am an RCIA team member and, as I understand it, if he is a baptized Catholic who understands the faith and is prepared to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist he is not required to wait until he is confirmed.

Once he is prepared he can go to Confession without special permission.

He would have to be approved by the pastor before receiving his first Communion. The priest would make sure he is well disposed and understands and accepts the faith. The priest would do that by an interview with him or by the recommendation of the RCIA team. Also I think the date is entered into the parish records.

Baptized Christians who are coming into the Church do receive Confirmation and First Communion at the same time.

Non-baptized persons receive Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the same time.

thank you for the thoughtful responses, but can anyone refer to church doctrine like the Catechism?

If I gather right from the opinions expresses so far, it is up to the parish priest whether or not my friend can partake. But are we sure about this? Any canon laws regarding it?

At my suggestion, he has gone to confession on a few occasions now, and understands that in order to receive the body of Christ one must be in a state of grace, free from the stain of mortal sin. But possibly he must first undergo an official “first confession” according to a previous post?

On a side note, my own RCIA instruction failed to mention the above teaching regarding mortal sin and the Eucharist. Instead they focused only on ceremony- “bow before receiving in the hand- cross your hands this way- say Amen before consuming- go back to your pew and remain standing (kneeling is not our local custom), etc.” I had to force a question about receiving in the mouth and about kneeling afterwards. One would think an instructor would cover all aspects of the Eucharist, including its history. Also, I brought the matter about mortal sin up later as a neophyte during a meeting with all the other neophytes a month or so after baptism, and most were shocked to hear that, thinking instead that everyone should freely take the Lord’s body whenever possible. I found that to be a serious fault of the RCIA program and its instructors- imagine, such an important aspect of our faith, and letting newbies who don’t know better go forward at the risk of committing grave sins everytime they receive the Eucharist, AND yet thinking they are receiving His infinite grace by partaking.

So please understand my hesitancy to accept common opinions, even those from RCIA teachers. My RCIA also failed to impart upon our class one of the most important teaching tools in the last 50 years- The Catechism of the Catholic Church. My local parish is pretty progressive, and it seems that the Truth isn’t always revealed- sometimes deliberately for fear of “scaring” people away. It seems that the modern church often likes to focus on all things that feel good, that don’t challenge, offend, or draw away from what is perceived as “love” Matters of the sacred and holy and just just seem too stoic and stuffy and scary.

I guess what I’m saying is that I love all my brothers and sisters, but am very skeptical
when it comes to common advice and so I really only 100% trust what the Holy See has to say when it comes to important Church teachings, which I regard this to be. Maybe I’m wrong in this, maybe too stubborn, but it is the way I am. And yes, I see the irony in wanting only answers from the Magesterium yet I’m appealing to CAF members! Unfortunately I havent yet mastered using the index of the Catecism nor can I seem to get straight answers from the clergy themselves, so i’m a bit stuck and hoping the wise apologists come out on this one. I’m sure thousands of others out there might have a similar situation? I can see parents these days insisting on a baptism since “it seems right”, is a nice thing to do, a beautiful ceremony afterall, extra supernatural insurance should something happen to the young child, etc.- but then the parents don’t follow through with the hard work of actually raising a child in the faith- which is exactly what happened to my dear friend.

Any help is greatly appreciated.


First and foremost your spiritual meter was correct. If he has been baptized as a Cathoic he has a right to the other Sacraments by virtue of this baptism.

He does not have to wait to make a first confession as he has already been going to Confessions, again by virtue of his baptism into the Catholic Church.

He can and should take Eucharist even before His Confirmation.

K I am going to be quoting and putting a bunch of quotes in this post, so I apologize for its length. It is kinda late at night, so please excuse me if I sound like I am rambling lol.

First let’s go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Paragraph 1213 - Holy Baptism is the bais of the whole Christina life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, AND THE DOOR WHICH GIVES ACCESS TO THE OTHER SACRAMENTS. [theres more to this, but am only quoting the part which bears revelancy to this question.]

Paragraph 1269 - [Note I am quoting one sentence from it for sake of brevity] THe baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: TO RECEIVE THE SACRAMENTS, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of te Church.

K Let’s hit some of Code of Canon Law

This is a good one. I finally found it, Praise God.

Canon 912 - ANY baptized person who is not prohibited by law CAN and MUST BE admitted to Holy Communion

[Here’s the commentary under this canon]

Eligible baptized persons may and MUST [empahsis theirs] be admitted to the Eucharist becuase they HAVE a right to the sacrament in accord with canon 213.

Canon 213 - The Christain faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God AND the Sacraments.

[Here’s the commentary under this canon]

All Christains have a right to receive help form the spiritual goods of the Church. This right is ROOTED in baptism; it is not a priviledge granted by church authorties but a claim rooted in the action of Christ that empowers Christains to seek the services of the sacred pastors.

I hope this helps. Sometimes I think that the RCIA program creates more headaches than it solves [and yes I may get a whole lot of heated replies to this one.] I went through RICA myself. The RCIA program is good, where it falls short is when priests or RCIA directors try to make all circumstances and situation fall under the same categories and do not take into account individual needs or circumstances. Thankfully, the RCIA programs that I have been involved in or with do work with people. However there are some who are just sticklers to the RCIA program and do not and are not open to exceptions, of which I believe your friend is.

Little One0307

This is the first right mentioned for a lay persons and all Christins in Lumen Gentium 37, a conciliar statement that is the source for many of the rights in this title. Both De Pupulo Dei [c. 24 Paragraph 1] and the Lex Ecclesie Fundamentalis considered it a fundamental right for all Christinas.

[It goes on for quite awhile, I resume.]

Moreover, access to the sacraments cannot be denied someone in full communion without serious cause and due process of law [talking about interdicts and excommunications here, which do not apply to your friend.]

What you want is not the Catechism or Canon Law, but the ritual text for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This is where the situation for baptized but uncatechized adults is discussed.

Excerpts from Preparation of Uncatechized Adults for Confirmation and Eucharist:

  1. The following pastoral guidelines concern adults who were baptized as infants either as Roman Catholics or as members of another Christian community but did not receive further catechetical formation nor, consequently, the sacraments of confirmation and eucharist. [snip]

  2. The high point of their entire formation will normally be the Easter Vigil. At that time they will make a profession of the faith in which they were baptized, receive the sacrament of confirmation, and take part in the eucharist. If, because neither the bishop nor another authorized minister is present, confirmation cannot be given at the Easter Vigil it is to be celebrated as soon as possible and, if this can be arranged, during the Easter season.

To address this statement, “Eligible baptized persons may and MUST [emphasis theirs] be admitted to the Eucharist because they HAVE a right to the sacrament in accord with canon 213.” I believe it is the duty of the bishop (in our rite), which he delegates to the pastor, to determine when a person is sufficiently prepared and therefore ‘eligible’ to begin receiving the Eucharist.

The fact that this is ordinarily done during the Easter vigil doesn’t preclude it being done at other times. If the person is prepared now he wouldn’t have to wait until next year unless the bishop requires it.

The key would be to be FULLY prepared…and most people are not. It is up to the pastor to decide. The OP’s friend should talk to his priest.

I would have to disagree based on the CCC and the Code of Canon Law.

Secondly, if he had been already receiving Communion then there is really no reason to bar him from it. And the original post said that the RCIA director said it was ok to take Communion, and “recommended” he not. If he had already, again, receiving Communion it would be ridiculous to follow this reccomendation.

And I did go through the RCIA program. However I did not receive Confirmation after my Baptism, several years passed by, but I still received Communion. Nowhere does it say you are required to be confirmed to receive Holy Communion, if that is a requirement, then there’s several Catholics in trouble.

Little One0307

Yes there is a reason…some people receive communion not knowing any better…mostly as Protestants before conversion. I would disagree that they should continue that practice. Especially if they have only been baptized Catholic but have not been fully taught the knowledge of the CC. If they do not FULLY know what they are doing then YES there is EVERY reason for them not to continue.

As previously stated…this should go through NOT the RCIA director…but the Priest, who can understand the full circumstances better then anyone on CAF.

Yes…Catholics (some) do receive communion before confirmation…but that is typically after instruction on first Holy communion. For example…baptized Catholic…attending CCD classes…preperations for First Holy Communion…First Holy Communion…and then confimation later on.

One does not just (AND SHOULD NOT) start receiveing communion without any instruction.

Ahhh you last sentence puts it very succintly. THanks for helping me to clear this up. Appreciate it.

God Bless.

Little One0307

I was baptized, made my 1st comunion but not confirmation. I want to come back to the church, can I have comunion or do I have to wait and go though steps. I read all of the above, but got confused.

Go talk to your priest, he will guide you.

First communion for Latin Catholics is about age 8 and you should have learned about the sacrament of Penance. So if you are absolved of all mortal sins, you may receive the Holy Eucharist. Otherwise, receive the sacrament of Penance first.

And as 1ke said, talk with your priest.

Coming back to the Church is always possible, but may be easier with support and guidance. Your priest can provide that (or tell you about the resources available in your parish). He can help you with Reconciliation and Communion and also help you prepare to receive the sacrament of Confirmation if you’d like.

The correct interpretation of the Code quoted above is that the baptized Catholic in this case can not be barred from receiving Communion. He has a right to it. He does not have to confer with a priest first before receiving.

Now comes a different question: should he? Yes, he should, especially if he lacks sufficient catechesis regarding the Eucharist. If that’s the case then a good recommendation is not to receive until catechized. If he’s with the other candidates for the sacraments in the RCIA (the unbaptized and the non-Catholic Christians), then he has two choices: 1) start receiving whenever he wants, especially if he feels he is now sufficiently catechized, which can be made a big deal of or not or be done on a special day (e.g., Corpus Christ) or not; or, 2) wait until Confirmation and receive his First Communion then.

NOTE: this is a year and a half old thread. I have notified the Mod.

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