Can a non-catholic go to Confession


I have read that non-Catholic Christians can receive some Sacraments if they spontaneously ask for them. Does that mean that a validly baptized and catechized non-Catholic Christian can request and receive reconciliation in the Catholic Church?


I had this happen at my church. It was during a penance service for the kids, and some of them brought Protestant friends.

The answer is No. The priest will counsel them and pray with them, but will not grant absolution to anyone not in Full Communion with the Catholic Church.

Except for the Orthodox… The RCC recognizes the Orthodox as having valid priesthood and sacraments, and will administer the sacraments to them on request. (The Orthodox Church normally objects to this practice.)


Can he - Yes.
May he - No

sorry, just a grammar correction.


I’m not catholic and I go to confession all the time. methodists have a way of not discriminating against people stuck in there heads.


this would imply that protestants can not be saved unless they have never committed a mortal sin.


Generally speaking, Protestants confess their sins, mortal or otherwise, directly to God without the intervention of a priest. God is capable of directly forgiving those sins if the person is sincerely repentent.


…and those in RCIA. CA’s How to Become a Catholic states,

Christians coming into the Church should receive the sacrament of reconciliation before their reception into the Church (there is no established point for when they should do this) to ensure that they are in a state of grace when they are received and confirmed. Their formation in the faith should stress that frequent confession is part of Catholic life: “The celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation with candidates for reception into full communion is to be carried out at a time prior to and distinct from the celebration of the rite of reception. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament” (NSC 36).



RCIA candidates and catechumens are in a special category. Having participated in the Rite of Welcome, they are permitted to be married and (if necessary) buried as Catholics. They are also permitted to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, although this is normally postponed until after the Rite of Election when they are presented to the bishop.

Run-of-the-mill non-Catholics who are not formally preparing for reception in the Church are not given the sacraments.



I remember reading years ago that a non Catholic approached Mother Teresa wanting to go to confession. M. T’s response was beautiful and implied that maybe in time God would work it out for such an arrangement. But for now, no.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit