Do you have to wait to be confirmed to take Communion as an adult?

I’m 20 and just started RCIA at the beginning of September (although I have been knowing i wanted to become Catholic since last March). Recently, I went on one of those collegiate retreats and they had a moment where they asked all the retreat attendants to go to confession.
I explained to my group leader that I was only in RCIA, and I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to go to confession until right before I got confirmed.
The group leader said it was fine, and I explained it to the priest whenever I got there too, who also said it was fine.
And I know I can’t take Communion, but at this point it makes me wonder why. I’ve been Baptized, I’ve gone to confession, I fully believe in the Catholic church. If I had come to these conclusions only a few years earlier, i could’ve not had to go through RCIA and taken communion before being confirmed.

I understand the merits of waiting. And I am guessing it’s probably different when your under 18 because there’s an assumption you were raised in a Catholic household and thus received further instruction? But I don’t really understand why someone who has partaken in many of the other sacraments and fully believes in the truths of the Eucharist cannot partake

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Because once you make your Profession of Faith, you can never leave the Catholic Church, whether you like it or not. Because it’s a very big decision with a lot of responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and because it’s important you know exactly what you’re getting into, what we believe, and that you have plenty of time to back out if you don’t want to, so you don’t feel pressured.


Does that mean once you’ve had Communion you can never leave the Catholic church? Or once you’ve been confirmed?

Once you’ve been made a member of the Church, whether by baptism at a Catholic Church or the Profession of Faith you’ll make at Easter Vigil with the other Confirmandi, you’re Catholic for good.


Yes, i guess the part I just don’t understand is why kids are allowed to take communion before confirmation but adults aren’t, most specifically in situations like my own where I’ve already been baptized and had first confession. But I guess maybe that’s just one of the things about the process I have to accept.

Those children are Catholics being raised by Catholic parents. They can’t receive communion without making their First Confession either. They may receive communion and you cannot, but they’re also bound to canon law, and you’re not.


Although there is today an effort to restore the sacramental order to the original order (baptism, confirmation, eucharist), only some bishops have implemented it. Pope St. Pius X lowered the age of first Communion to the age of reason but did not lower the age of confirmation at the same time.


I think this is actually a good answer. A baptized convert isn’t bound by canon law until they are they are received into the Church (typically through Confirmation). But a Catholic child is bound by Canon Law from their baptism.

Additionally, the TRADITIONAL order is to receive Confirmation before First Communion.

Children receiving First Communion around 2nd grade is actually a relatively new thing. It used to be closer to 12, once the kid learned all of their Catechism.

There are some bishops who are starting to promote a return to the traditional order of the Sacraments, which has always been maintained in Eastern Catholic Churches and for converts in the Latin Church.

God Bless


Not necessarily; if you had been born into a Catholic family this might be the case, but converts of an age that decide for themselves (in your words, “come to these conclusions”) go through RCIA. Such was the case of the 7-ish year old girl in my daughter’s class a couple of years ago. She went through RCIA(RCIC?) but any younger and (1) she wouldn’t have made the decision for herself at all and (2) she wouldn’t have been permitted to receive the Eucharist anyway due to age. This girl is now confirmed, years ahead of her peers.

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That may be the case with your group but it is not universal.

When I went through RCIA our group had Confession the day before we became Catholics and then as Catholics at that Mass we received Communion.
We were not confirmed until 6 months later.

Yeah. It is odd that at 20 this is the rule but at 16 it wouldn’t be.

Actually, it is reception into the Catholic Church that binds one canonically, which precedes confirmation.

One could be received into the Church and be confirmed at a later time. One could received communion and confession in the meantime.

This was true for Scott Hahn.

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Canon law has some specific instructions for when a non-Catholic can receive the sacraments of confession, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick.

It is possible, though not common, to be received into the Church and begin receiving communion and confession and receive confirmation at a later time.

That is not what the current Rite calls for, so it is the exception not the rule. The current Rite calls for reception into the Church, confirmation, then communion and all in the context of a single mass.

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Congratulations on your journey. There is joy in heaven because of your conversion! Being Catholic requires a certain degree of obedience. Even when we don’t fully understand.


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Thanks for the clarification, I edited my post

If you are validly baptized, have been to Confession, not living in a state of sin, make an appointment with Father to discuss reception of Communion.

Yah even if you leave the Church and go to some quasi group like if the Mormons feed you their nonsense and you go get baptized by them, you’re still Catholic except you are now in a serious state of sin. It is better you not have become Catholic than become it and then apostasize.

I’ve never heard this before. It is entirely possible that an adult would have never been confirmed — perhaps spiritual instruction fell by the wayside somewhere in their youth, after their first communion, and they just never got around to it. Confirmation is not necessary for salvation (though it is very, very helpful). Does the Church have some sort of “cut-off age” and after that, you may not receive the Eucharist unless you are confirmed first? If so, where is this indicated in Canon Law?

Many times I have witnessed Byzantine Catholic infants, just month or so in age, receive the Holy Mysteries of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Chrismation, and Communion) at once, in the same Divine Liturgy. Infants not required to wait for the age of reason since the sacramental discipline emphases the mystic distribution of spiritual nourishment. Even in the Latin Church, up to the tenth century, the new born normally received in one kind – the Blood or Christ – but infants could receive in both kinds, and that norm continued until the end of the eleventh century when the practice of giving the Blood of Christ was curtailed to avoid spilling it. (See Migna (ed.), Patrologia Latina 161, 94 – Bishop Ivo Carnotensis).

While you are waiting, there is great merit to your obedience on the matter. You can have a spiritual communion, and ask pardon for all those who go to receive and are doing so unworthily. Your humility and obedience is a great witness to those around you.

There was a time when I was able to go to daily mass in the morning and there was 2 sisters who grew up Lutheran, who were there. Did not miss a morning. They remained kneeling when others went up, they had tears. It was very sobering to me, to be reminded of what an incomprehensible gift the Eucharist was and how very blessed I was that I could receive. They had husbands and children who were not Catholic. They had some tough days ahead of them. It was a time of great graces for them as they waited to become members of the church. Like an engaged couple, the promise of love is there, but waiting for their wedding day.

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