Confession before Baptisim


Hello all,

I am coming to the end of my RCIA course and will be received in the church this Easter. I just have one question, the parish priest has asked candidates to attend confession before the Easter vigil. However, I thought you could only receive this after baptism and 2) baptism washes away all sins.

Is this perhaps only for those who are only being confirmed?

Many thanks in advance for any help.


You are correct on both counts. Because Baptism is the gateway to all the other sacraments, you cannot be validly absolved or receive the other sacraments until after you’re baptized.

And yes, Baptism washes away all sin: original, venial, mortal, as well as any temporal punishment due to them. If you were to be baptized and die right away, you zip straight to heaven, 100% assured.


Usually RCIA groups include both those who are already baptized (candidates) and those who seek baptism (catechumens). Candidates go to confession before receiving confirmation and communion; catechumens receive all of their sacraments at the Easter Vigil.


Wonderful post as usual! Thanks for posting this clarification for the OP!


You aren’t a candidate (already baptized): you are a catechuman.


Baptism is the key to all other sacraments, so yes, you cannot receive Confession before Baptism. Baptism does indeed wash away all previous sins, in addition to original sin (the fall from grace that came about because of the sin of Adam and Eve). However, although you cannot receive Confession, you would certainly be most welcome to simply go to speak to the priest, if there’s something about which you would like counsel.


Hmmm - I think everyone is presuming you are already baptized.

If you are (and assuming it is one of the Protestant churches in which you were baptized), then you will not be baptized at Easter, but will make a Profession of Faith (fairly short).

And if you are, then you will be asked to go to Reconciliation prior to Holy Saturday Night.

At the mass, you will make your Profession of Faith, then be Confirmed, and then make your First communion.

If, for some reason, you are not able to show proof of baptism but are sure you were baptized, you may be given a conditional baptism. We confess one baptism; a conditional baptism is occasionally done when one has no proof of the prior baptism, and if this is your circumstance, then the best answers explaining it will be from your pastor.

And if you were never baptized, then you will not go to Reconciliation first; but be baptized at the Mass, then Confirmed, etc.

Welcome to the Church!

As to recognized baptisms, most Protestant church baptisms are recognized; a few that are not: Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witness, LDS. There are a few others.


the parish priest has asked candidates to attend confession before the Easter vigil.

Candidate = baptized.

Catechuman = non-baptized


Having taught RCIA for over 15 years, I sorta had that part figured out…:shrug:

And in the 15+ years, having met both candidates and catechumens, and found after careful explanations that midway there still occasionally was confusion, I tend to revert to “starting all over” with an explanation.:rolleyes:


Hopefully it didn’t take that long :eek:


Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults ( one of the very few items I do not take with me on vacation :D). However I am almost positive that in several places it uses the term “candidates for baptism” which obviously can lead to some confusion.

Nonetheless, as has been explained above, “candidates for full reception into the Church,” that is, those already baptized, are expected to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (“go to confession”) prior to their reception into the Church whether this occurs at the Easter Vigil or at some other time while catechumens, those who are unbaptized, do not and in fact cannot receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to their baptism.

Not adding to or contradicting any of the previous posters here, just pointing out that in conversation our use of terms is sometimes less than precise.


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