Can a Catholic Candidate go to confession



I am trying to be patient waiting for the Easter Vigil, but I really feel like I want to go to Confession.

It would be my first confession, and I know I could prepare properly for it. The priest at my parish told us to just keep a journal of our sins in our past and pray for forgiveness and prepare our souls for the Sacrament during lent.

Is there anything prohibiting a candidate from going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation??

I am validly baptized in an evangelical church.


Bring the matter to your Priest personally in terms of yourself-- one does receive this Sacrament prior to formal reception -usually just prior --but one may seek sooner.


This is something that needs to be done under the guidance of your pastor since you are not yet in full communion. If you are already validly baptized there is no reason that you cannot be brought into full communion when you are ready. Easter Vigil is the time at which catechumens are baptized. You are not a catechumen.

Make an appointment to talk to your pastor.




Oh how I wish more parishes would do that.

To the OP I agree with previous posts about talking with your pastor. When I was in RCIA I made my first confession in early December after meeting with the pastor. He was unfortunately not willing to receive my profession of faith before Easter.


As a former Evangelical you are technically not supposed to be in RCIA. They’re supposed to deal with people who are already Christians on a case by case basis.


I go to a small parish, so it’s not going to happen.


So, I love the parish and the RCIA program and group. We are about 60/40 candidates to catechumens.

My director of faith formation was a well learned Protestant pastor who converted a few years ago. Although they acknowledged at the time he could have taught RCIA they had him go through to “absorb the catholic culture and learn the practice”. I see wisdom on this, but also of course frustration.

So I am not sure he would like me to skip ahead but I know it’s ultimately up to the pastor.

I will have to talk to him about it. I know you can’t be confirmed during lent. What about during advent? I may be running out of liturgical calendar time?


I made my first Confession (officially) in October, was baptized in October (the next day) and received Communion the following day, on Sunday (in October). I was 9 years old at the time, attending my second year of Catholic School with Catechism classes and had never been baptized. However, I had started going to Confession at age 5 in kindergarten, when I attended Mass each morning on my way to Public School! I know of a number of non-Catholics who also go to Confession periodically, as they appreciate the privacy and the fact that anything said cannot ever be revealed to anyone. Depends on your Priest. Don’t think there is anything in Canon Law forbidding you to go to Confession, but since you are in RCIA, it would be best to tell your Priest you feel the need to go to Confession now, rather than wait so many months! Confirmation could be done outside of Easter Vigil, but the other Candidates might feel hurt that you “jumped” ahead of them. That depends upon your Bishop, not just the Priest in your Parish, as the Bishop grants permission for the Priest to Confirm when the Bishop can’t be there. Since you are already Baptized, I see no obstacle to receiving the Graces of Confession, provided your Priest is willing. Not sure why he wouldn’t be, unless he simply wouldn’t want you to inform the other members of the RCIA class, which would be reasonable of him.

P.S. I was raised in a Protestant family with a Great-Aunt who taught me about the Catholic Church, and taught me the Catholic prayers from age 2 onward. Gave me my first Rosary when I entered Kindergarten at age 4 1/2 and taught me how to say the prayers (but not the Mysteries at that age).


How could you have gone to confession if you weren’t baptized? An unbaptized person cannot receive absolution.

Also, it is the pastor’s responsibility to confirm candidates, not the bishop. A pastor is granted universal faculty to confirm candidates and catechumens.


I went to Confession because the older children did. The Priest knew I was not Catholic, but also knew I had been taught the Catholic Faith. I doubt he knew I hadn’t been Baptized when I was 5 years old, don’t think he even asked, but he knew I was a very small child! (This was in the 1940’s, and we still had the Confessionals (the big box) and couldn’t be seen very well)

As for my Confession and Baptism, that was over 60 years ago – maybe I was Baptized first, then Confession - don’t remember the details, except I do remember the Baptism and also remember my First Communion very well. Since I was in my second year of Catholic School, and came from a Protestant family (Mother consented to my Baptism & conversion), the Sisters and the Priest (as well as the Bishop – the school was across the street from the Bishop’s residence and the Cathedral) – I was also allowed to go to the beautiful First Communion Ceremony with other students the following May. This was in 1950. Also, since I lived with my Grandparents until I was 8 y.o., I don’t think my Mother (or the Priest) was sure whether I had ever been baptized as a Protestant. I wouldn’t put it past that old Great-Aunt of mine to have Baptized me secretly at home without telling my Protestant Grandma (who was her sister & didn’t like the Catholic Church, but allowed her sister to teach me anyway!)

Don’t know if the Absolution was given or not (at age 5 or even 9) I now no longer remember, but I do know I BELIEVED that my sins were forgiven, even when I was 5 years old! My Great Aunt taught me very well.:slight_smile:


By the way, the faculty to perform Confirmations is GRANTED BY THE BISHOP, who can also disallow it, simply by appearing at that Mass and doing it himself. It is allowed because there are so many Confirmations at Easter, that the Bishop can’t make it to all of them, although our Bishop goes to dozens each year, and not just at Easter. He was at a Confirmation Mass just last month!

As for a non-baptized person receiving Absolution from a Priest – does your Priest ask for your Baptismal Certificate prior to hearing your Confession? I think the Absolution would depend upon the faith of the person confessing, but perhaps there is a Canon Law forbidding Absolution, even to the dying, unless the Priest can be sure the person is Baptized???


I don’t know of any law prohibiting confirmation during advent, though many priest might wish to wait until afterwards. I actually switched parishes/RCIA programs during Advent and was received during the 6 weeks of ordinary time between Ephiphany and Ash Wednesday in 2007.


It’s been 12 months and you have another 6? And you are a baptized Christian. More RCIA madness. It is all too common. Making grown people , who are fully willing to be accepted into the Church wait for months. The process is more important than the soul. Talk to your pastor and express your desire to go to confession, if he refuses go to another priest. Keep trying until one says yes.



We had many candidates AND catechumens in our RCIA class. Why is she technically not supposed to be in RCIA?
We had many who were baptized Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Evangelical and they all had to wait until the Easter Vigil just like everyone else.

I was at a retreat once where a lady was in RCIA but wanted to go to confession on this retreat (it was several months before Easter) and the priest at the retreat got permission from her pastor and the bishop of the diocese.

Long story short- talk to your priest.

But don’t get discouraged if he does not approve your confession to be heard early. God knows your desire for forgiveness and He will guide the perfect timing. There may be a reason He wants you to wait.


Can. 991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite.

To the OP, you are a validly baptized person: ie a member of the Christian faithful. You do not have to wait, until an arbitrary chosen time before the Easter Vigil to go to confession. It cannot legitimately be denied to you. Go to confession. Try to deal with it wisely through your pastor, but if it doesn’t work, go somewhere else.

To others: please tell me if I am misinterpretting this clearly written canon.i


I truly understand the challenge of waiting and frustration with feeling like the process is bureaucratic and not considerate of the individual’s journey.

BUT, I believe that RCIA is structured this way because it is not uncommon for people to elect to go through the classes for two rounds to be sure that they are making the right decision. Because it is a big decision! The biggest decision beyond just your life, but your afterlife as well.
If they join late in the season, then it is not until next Easter that they are confirmed. And this is sometimes a painful wait to witness others receiving Jesus (some who don’t even know what is really going on) while you patiently wait.

But this is just like the wait that is practiced before a wedding. The couple practices abstinence sometimes during a LOOONG engagement. And then after the wedding, they are able to consummate their vows knowing that it was all worth the wait.

And how much more important is the experience of Communion with our Lord?

RCIA is not an altar call. It is a true lifelong commitment that shouldn’t be just hastily sped up because someone presents themselves as sincere. The RED at the parish I was confirmed in (in 2005) said that it was not uncommon for people to leave the Church after a hasty confirmation process even though they seemed serious about the commitment.


DevoutRabbit, you make some good points, however I cannot totally agree you.

First of all RCIA is a rite defined for catechumens, not Christians. It is applied to non-Catholic Christians, and that is fine to a certain extent. But there should be obvious accommodations, and a earlier confession is certainly one if them.

While a catechumen, who dies suddenly, can be forgiven their sins through a baptism of desire; the closest thing we know of for a baptized christian is am act of perfect contrition, generally a difficult spiritual step to take. Now we should all trust in God’s mercy, we should not be presumptuous of that mercy outside the sacramental life He gave us.

The canon law seems very clear to me that a member of the Christian faithful has a right to confession.

The church obviously does not require a baptized non-catholic Christian to come into full communion before confession, as common RCIA practice is for candidates to go to confession a week or two before the Easter vigil. This is an arbitrary timeframe, and there is no reason while someone should have to wait months for confession if he truly understands and desires the sacrament.

Finally, I fully accept your statement that many people drift from the faith a short time after being confirmed. I have heard that it is likely around 50%. Between my wife and I, we were personally sponsors to three friends who went through RCIA, unfortunately 2 out of 3 of those people left the faith afterwards.
But my conclusion of this is opposite from yours, in my opinion, the church needs to use this fact and reevaluate the entire RCIA process. I realize people who go through it and stick with the faith are very reluctant to admit this: but if a large percentage of people do not stay with the faith after an entire RCIA process, it needs to be overhauled. It does n not work. Instead, people involved with the RCIA process seem to bury their head in the sand and ignore the results.



I agree with you. And, yes, a baptized Christian is able to go to confession.

I’m just trying to encourage those who are becoming discouraged waiting and trying to say that all this waiting will not be in vain and God will bless them through their suffering.

There has to be a way to make the process thorough enough to equal the gravity of the commitment you are making (like marriage prep) but accommodating to different people’s journeys so as not to be too burdensome. That is a very hard judgment to make and I pray for anyone attempting to make improvements for RCIA. I can see why they try to stick as much as possible to a standardization.

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