So heres the situation, I'm a baptized Christian in the process of becoming Catholic and I've recently found myself in what seems to me to be a somewhat irregular situation regarding the sacrament of confession. At the parish I first started attending the RCIA directors told me that since I was already validly baptized and had made a profession of Catholic faith I could go to confession. I was thrilled. I called up the pastor just to made sure it was ok since as I understand it the order of receiving the sacraments is different for people who weren't raised as Catholics. He seemed kind of surprised (probably because it wasn't immediately before the Easter vigil), but said that it was necessary to confess any mortal sins before receiving the other sacraments. So I made up a list of every sin I could remember commiting since my baptism and made what I believe to be a very thorough confession. He gave me a few words of encouragement, instructions for penance, and absolved me of my sins! It was a wonderful experience and I've gone back several times in the months since then.
Here's where it gets complicated. For unrelated reasons I've decided to start going to another parish and now I'm hearing from these priests (as well as several others that I've spoken to about it) that the sacrament of confession is only for people baptized in the Church or otherwise formally received as Catholics. Who's right?
At what point in the process of reception into the Church is someone obliged to go to confession, before or after confirmation? If it's the later (as I'm now being told) then were my previous confessions at this other parish sacramentally valid? Licit?
Thank you and God Bless.