Can a non-Catholic Christian go to confession in a Catholic Church?

what would happen if an Evangelical did go? what would the priest say? Would the priest absolve the person of their sins? What penance would be given? Thoughts about this?

I heard this would be a great way to opening the person’s heart to conversion.

No, such as person would not and could not receive absolution. Only once he has made a public profession of faith, denounced his errors, and is conditionally baptized (or possibly baptized outright, depending how he was “baptized” the first time). After he has done this, then he can be admitted to the Sacrament of Penace. If he does not these things, no Priest can give him absolution, since he is an unrepentant state of heresy.

First you would have to tell the priest you are not Catholic.

Then, if you truly had a burning in the heart to confess, the Priest might allow you to confess (or not), although he could not give you absolution because you have not made your profession of faith as a Catholic.

Confession is a Sacrament of the Church. When coming into the Church as a convert, you are admitted to this Sacrament only when the person who is preparing you deems you to be sufficiently prepared and properly disposed.

Let’s hope jmm08 chimes in on this thread. He’s converting, and he did just that: walked into a confessional and “practiced.” He encountered a truly understanding priest who worked with him. It wasn’t a Sacramental confession but it was a very graced experience.

But you’re truly on to something: It’s one of the greatest things about being Catholic!

so- yes. you can go to confession as a catholic (in most cases). you cannot receive absolution, because if you BELIEVE in absolution, you should become catholic.

you can go to confession and confess your sins, and the priest will pray with you and give you counsel.

cool, interesting.

I’ve heard differently from the priest that sits in our RCIA classes. I’m a candidate (baptized previously in an Assembly of God), and have asked this very question. Granted, the response I got was tailored for me, but I think it could apply.

I was told that I was encouraged to go to confession. I asked if I had to be confirmed. I found out that since I had been baptized, I needed to go to confession before confirmation. In essence, a non-Catholic was welcome to attend confession.

I did attend confession, but I wasn’t absolved of any sin (at least no verbal absolution). Regardless, it was very powerful and I felt very relieved to attend.

As I understand it, any evangelical can go to confession. I don’t know if it would be sacramental (mine wasn’t), but does it matter to a non-Catholic? I would agree that only a Catholic can receive the sacrament, but that is not to say that a non-Catholic cannot benefit.

I would say, go to confession. It is more than just spilling your guts. It is an experience.

Suudy

[quote=Suudy]I’ve heard differently from the priest that sits in our RCIA classes. I’m a candidate (baptized previously in an Assembly of God), and have asked this very question. Granted, the response I got was tailored for me, but I think it could apply.

I was told that I was encouraged to go to confession. I asked if I had to be confirmed. I found out that since I had been baptized, I needed to go to confession before confirmation. In essence, a non-Catholic was welcome to attend confession.

I did attend confession, but I wasn’t absolved of any sin (at least no verbal absolution). Regardless, it was very powerful and I felt very relieved to attend.

As I understand it, any evangelical can go to confession. I don’t know if it would be sacramental (mine wasn’t), but does it matter to a non-Catholic? I would agree that only a Catholic can receive the sacrament, but that is not to say that a non-Catholic cannot benefit.

I would say, go to confession. It is more than just spilling your guts. It is an experience.

Suudy
[/quote]

That’s more along the lines of what I was thinking. I think a lot of fears would be dispelled, and the person’s heart may open up.

‘I’ve heard differently from the priest that sits in our RCIA classes.’

how is that different from what we said?

[quote=jeffreedy789]‘I’ve heard differently from the priest that sits in our RCIA classes.’

how is that different from what we said?
[/quote]

It’s not different, basically the same thing

ooooo…k.

Technically (from a Catholic point of view) any Baptized person is a Catholic (whether s/he realizes it or not). Jesus only instituted ONE Christian Baptism (He did not institute one for Catholics and another for protestants). Most protestant Baptisms are recognized as Sacramentally valid by the Catholic Church.

Regarding Confession: there are five components necessary for a any Sacrament to be valid: there must be proper form, matter, minister, intent, and subject. The required “subject” of Confession is a baptized Christian. Since there is only one Baptism (i.e., Catholic Baptism), anyone who is validly Baptized is a suitable subject for the Sacrament. Presuming the other conditions are met, there is no reason why a validly baptized protestant may not receive the Sacramental Grace of Confession. The Church surely has authority to pronounce God’s Grace for schematics and/or heretics!

However, it does beg the question: if a non-Catholic recognizes the authority of the Catholic Church to pronounce (or withold) God’s forgiveness (Matt 16:18), why does this person not convert to the fullness of the Catholic Faith? Can the subject really possess the intent for amendment of life that the Sacrament presupposes if this person rejects the fullness of the Church from which s/he seeks God’s absolution?

For a protestant it isn´t a sacrament but this person could with confessions be opened his heart to Christ and their representant, the Church

DavidFilmer,

Canon law does not stipulate the baptized as proper subjects, but the “Christian faithful”. The Christian faithful are defined by canon law as:

Can. 204 §1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through baptism, have been constituted as the people of God. For this reason, made sharers in their own way in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal function, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each.

§2. This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.

Can. 205 Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.

Can. 206 §1. Catechumens, that is, those who ask by explicit choice under the influence of the Holy Spirit to be incorporated into the Church, are joined to it in a special way. By this same desire, just as by the life of faith, hope, and charity which they lead, they are united with the Church which already cherishes them as its own.

§2. The Church has a special care for catechumens; while it invites them to lead a life of the gospel and introduces them to the celebration of sacred rites, it already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to Christians.

Can. 207 §1. By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in the Church sacred ministers who in law are also called clerics; the other members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.

§2. There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who, through the profession of the evangelical counsels by means of vows or other sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church; although their state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness…

Can. 209 §1. The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion with the Church.

It’s clear that not all baptized people are the Christian faithful.

However, a person who is seeking full communion in the Catholic Church should receive the sacrament prior to making a public profession of faith when that profession takes place in the context of the Mass:

If the profession of faith and reception take place within Mass, the candidate, according to his or her own conscience, should make a confession of sins beforehand, first informing the confessor that he or she is about to be received into full communion. Any confressor wo is lawfully approved may hear the candidate’s confession.

This person got baptized as an infant in a Greek Orthodox Church. Yes, I agree that if they accept the authority of the priest, then they should convert. Problem is with evangelicals they believe everyone has the authority and it’s not exclusive to priests, that it’s about accountability, though as Catholics we realize its much more than simply accountability.

This would be the first logical step toward opening up to the Catholic Church, going to confession, being absolved of your sins in the name of the Trinity!!! what an amazing thing and as Catholics will tell you, what an amazing feeling.

[quote=jeffreedy789]‘I’ve heard differently from the priest that sits in our RCIA classes.’

how is that different from what we said?
[/quote]

I was responding to the original poster. Not the responses. Note the level in the thread list.

Suudy

:you can go to confession as a catholic (in most cases). you cannot receive absolution, because if you BELIEVE in absolution, you should become catholic.:

Why? Obviously from your point of view we should become Catholics anyway. But belief in absolution doesn’t imply this any more than belief in the Trinity or the Real Presence or any other doctrine of the Faith. One can believe that Catholic priests have the power to absolve sins without believing that only they have it. After all, even you guys admit that you share it with the Orthodox.

I did once go to confession in the Catholic Church without telling the priest I was Episcopalian (I didn’t tell him I was a Catholic either–I didn’t tell him anything one way or the other about it). I don’t defend this. At the time it was Holy Saturday and I really wanted confession before Easter, and didn’t know where to get it in ECUSA (I was new to NJ at the time). But that was my own fault. If I’d really made an effort I could have gotten it from an Anglican priest at several points during the preceding weeks. So I think looking back that it was a silly (and somewhat dishonest) thing to do.

Edwin

[quote=Contarini]:you can go to confession as a catholic (in most cases). you cannot receive absolution, because if you BELIEVE in absolution, you should become catholic.:

Why? Obviously from your point of view we should become Catholics anyway. But belief in absolution doesn’t imply this any more than belief in the Trinity or the Real Presence or any other doctrine of the Faith. One can believe that Catholic priests have the power to absolve sins without believing that only they have it. After all, even you guys admit that you share it with the Orthodox.

I did once go to confession in the Catholic Church without telling the priest I was Episcopalian (I didn’t tell him I was a Catholic either–I didn’t tell him anything one way or the other about it). I don’t defend this. At the time it was Holy Saturday and I really wanted confession before Easter, and didn’t know where to get it in ECUSA (I was new to NJ at the time). But that was my own fault. If I’d really made an effort I could have gotten it from an Anglican priest at several points during the preceding weeks. So I think looking back that it was a silly (and somewhat dishonest) thing to do.

Edwin
[/quote]

Edwin – I don’t know where you are in NJ, but when I was an Episcopalian, I went to the same NJ priest for Confession for many years. He is still a good friend. I could put you in touch with him.

Mercy

My young son went to confession as a NON Catholic.

He was in with the priest for almost 1/2 hour. :thumbsup:

When he came out, he was “floating” and had a calm and peaceful smile on his face.

I FORCED myself not to quiz him on the conversation, but I did ask him if he felt better and if he thought talking to the priest helped. He said YES. He said that the priest gave him some things to think about and told son he needed to pray and ask God to help.

Of course he did not receive absolution, but this most wonderful priest gave my son a blessing. :thumbsup:

My son is 11 and still sitting on the fence concerning whether or not he wants to be fully received. This very very positive experince helped him.

God Bless good and caring priests.

[quote=CatholicCrusade]No, such as person would not and could not receive absolution. Only once he has made a public profession of faith, denounced his errors, and is conditionally baptized (or possibly baptized outright, depending how he was “baptized” the first time). After he has done this, then he can be admitted to the Sacrament of Penace. If he does not these things, no Priest can give him absolution, since he is an unrepentant state of heresy.
[/quote]

I’m sorry to say but you are outright wrong. A person (a previously baptised candidate) who’s going to make a profession of faith, getting confirmed and receive first Holy Communion have to be in a state of grace. In order to be in a state of grace you have to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

A non-baptised person will in baptism be cleansed of both original sin and actual sins. That person will make his/her first Confession at a later stage.

Conditionally baptism is not routinely done. It’s only done if the candidate doesn’t have proof of baptism and that there is doubt of the validity of the previous baptism. In such cases the candidate have to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation because if the previous baptism was valid the candidate have commited actual sins.

I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation twice before my reception into the Church. The first time was 6 months prior to my reception and the second time was one week before. I wasn’t required to “denounce my errors” and I was not told that I was in a “unrepentant state of heresy”. It seems that you little to none knowledge about the RCIA process and how a cathehumen/candidate is received into the Church.

CatholicCrusade, I would like to know your sources for the information you have posted.

The last post contradicts much of what has been posted here. So what is it?

Sunniva makes good points. I guess my question is, if a person is a validly baptized Christian and is converting to the Catholic faith, do they have to be baptized Catholic?

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