Can I confess yet or is it too early?

I’m going through RCIA, and won’t be confirmed until Easter Vigil. But I am already baptized from another church. I feel that I really could benefit from beginning to confess already, although I’ve still got all of Lent ahead and even though I’m not confirmed and it seems the graces of the sacraments are for Catholics.

Can I begin going to Confession regularly right away at this point, and just make sure to be in a state of grace for my first Communion, or would I have to repeat my first confession (and all in between) if I do it too early? If I begin now, will my Confessions and the Absolutions be equally sacramental and valid to that of an already confirmed Catholic?

If anyone has any official links about this, I could really use that too…I just don’t want to end up having to repeat my first confession, or have it count less, but I really want to start confessing ASAP (even though I’m scared, I just feel like it will help), if it won’t cause a setback of any kind.

Ask your parish priest if you can make an appointment outside of regular confession hours and go ahead with it now. Every Catholic is supposed to confess at least once during Lent also, so you will have another confession in less than one month if he allows you to confess “early.”

It will be coming up in about a month anyway with your whole class. He may want you to wait if will be lengthy because many parishes bring in a large number of priests for that special occasion of many adult 1st confessions since they take longer than usual. We have some folks who take about 10 minutes and others who can be in there for almost an hour depending on if they need more counsel/guidance/comfort or whatever.

I had to wait for the group when I was in RCIA and it was very hard. I wanted to go in September and I waited until Lent! I offered up my continued suffering and desire in reparation for my sins and for the souls in Purgatory. It really helped to go to regular adoration before the Blessed Sacrament every week while I waited.

I am a 62 year old RCIA Candidate, baptized Church of England in 1944. I will also be confirmed at the Easter Vigil. Last Wednesday I did a one hour confession with a Catholic Priest, by appointment. All went well. And all sins up to that point in time were absolved, and there were some serious ones.

The Priest assured me that since I had already, in my heart, decided to get confirmed, all sins were absolved.:thumbsup:

I will probably need a second one before the Vigil to cover any sins AFTER 14 February, although hopefully just some minor venial sins.

My confession could take a while. But Lent starts tomorrow, which is really the main reason I think it might be okay to start going now, in the next few days. I would want to make an appointment with a priest I have not met before, just for my first confession, because it will be so hard anyway without the priest being someone I know too well. I know that could make it harder to get a special appointment, since the priest will not really know me.

Even if the Priest does know you, think about doing it with him anyway.

According to “Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church”, n. 9 (also known as RCIA #482, using the USA numbering):
“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 confessor who is lawfully approved may hear the candidates’ confession.”
(From The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 277).

The general rule for non-catholic Christians is in the Code of Canon Law, canon 844:
§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.
§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.
§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community."
(From ).

If the above cases are considered not to apply, another approach would be to have the Rite of Reception earlier. This could be discussed with the priest, along the lines of “The rite is so arranged that no greater burden than necessary (see Acts 15:28) is required for the establishment of communion and unity.” (RCIA #473, USA numbering). A delay in reception means a burden, because of the difficulty of me receiving the sacrament of reconciliation.

Do most Catholics in modern times confess in the booth or face to face? Also, when during Lent do most candidates/elect give their first confession?

I’m petrified of giving my first. I’m almost afraid that the priest would kick me out of RCIA after hearing my long list! I’ve done things that I’m very ashamed for and some things that I never speak of, even to close friends. I’m very reticent to pour my dark past out in front of a priest. I realize the inherent benefit of confession, but it’s going to be difficult for me. I hope we have more than 10 minutes because it could take awhile to hear mine.

When I did my first confession on 14 February, it was by appointment. One hour face to face. I also had that shame of what I had to admit (PM me). But it went well. The Priest understood (and Priests have heard it ALL) and was supportive.

Just do it, OK?

  1. Catholics may always choose the anonymous confession. It is the norm, I believe. IMHO it’s much better than face to face and reminds the person that it’s not a mere counselling session, but a sacrament.

  2. Don’t know the answer to that one, but my guess would be during Lent.

  3. If the priest ever revealed part of your confession, he would be suspended and defrocked, I imagine. The Seal of the Confessional for Confessors is inviolable.

  4. Pour your heart out. Remember it’s really God who’s listening, the priest is just to represent him.

Thanks for the advice. I’m definitely committed to following through with it and it’s not like I need to talk with him about someone that I’ve buried in my back yard or anything of that nature, but it’s still difficult for me to discuss with someone all the bad things that I’ve done in my life. I think it’s that singular vulnerability and fear of judgement from another human being. Growing up as a Protestant, the whole idea of confession to another person as a needed sacrament of the Church is very alien to me which proabably compounds my apprehension. Ah well, I’ll get through it. Thanks though.

**That’s a very common issue for converts from Protestant denominations, and for Protestants in general, including my Dad: they say, ‘You don’t have a direct line to God- you need a priest?’ So you’re not alone. But the priest represents Christ as an *alter Christus *in the Mass and Confession. **
God Bless. **

You’re going to be presented to the Bishop this weekend, and he’s going to enroll you the Call to Full Communion.

As soon as you are enrolled in the Call to Full Communion by the Bishop, you can start going to Confession.

Make sure the first time you go that the priest knows that this is your First Confession, and that you are going to be received into the Church at Easter time. :slight_smile:

I had my first confession about three weeks ago and unfortiently it wasn’t a good experience. I was ten minutes in and just getting into it when the priest, who’d been very uninterested, cut me short, absolved me and asked for the next person! I know my sins are forgiven but still it didn’t feel quite right. I’m planning on going a second time tomorrow so hopefully it’ll be a better experience, even if the level of grace bestowed is the same.

For anyone preparing for their first confession though all I’ll say is put together in your mind the key things you have to say and you’ll find that you’ll probably end up with ten times as much in your head before you get round to confessing. Also I went to exposition beforehand which helped me greatly.

Candidates do - Elect do not. Elect wait until after they have been Baptized. Baptism washes away all sins committed up to that moment.

I’m petrified of giving my first. I’m almost afraid that the priest would kick me out of RCIA after hearing my long list! I’ve done things that I’m very ashamed for and some things that I never speak of, even to close friends. I’m very reticent to pour my dark past out in front of a priest. I realize the inherent benefit of confession, but it’s going to be difficult for me. I hope we have more than 10 minutes because it could take awhile to hear mine.

Your RCIA leaders already have a plan in place for you. They’re waiting before they tell you all this stuff, because they don’t want to confuse you with too much information all at once. Just follow their advice - and if it’s getting really close to Easter and they haven’t said anything yet, be sure to ask, and make sure that you didn’t miss something - but I’m sure you’ll be just fine. :slight_smile:

Go to a priest who knows that it’s going to be your First Confession, and is set up to take care of you properly. Don’t just “spring” your First Confession on a random priest - that usually doesn’t go very well, as you noticed.

By the way. We confess our sins once a year. It is not required that this be done in Lent:

CCC 2042

The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year.”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.

Although it is recommended by many spiritual directors that you confess once a month. Thus you will always have a confession in Lent, Advent, Easter and sometimes in Christmas season.

First Confession for converts is always in Lent, though - that’s what the person was referring to.

I am one of the instructors for RCIA in my parish. We combine Catachumens and Candidates into one class because we have small groups. Catachumens are to be baptized and do not go to confession until after the Easter Vigil. Candidates go on the afternoon of the day we hold our retreat. Usually during lent. They sometimes go with fear and trembling, but without exception they come out smiling and joyous. They often say it was one of the best experiences of their life up to that point. Make that appointment and go even if you know the priest. They will not think less of you for your sins and will probably admire your courage.:slight_smile:

On the other hand, it takes a good deal of humility to face the priest and confess one’s sins; something that many people in their pride choose not to do. The choice is theirs; but it should never be done because of pride.

As to counseling, I have had more problems with people going into confessionals (the “2 box” kind") and spending 10 or 15 minutes getting their counseling, than I have ever had with those who go in face to face.

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