Help me understand please. With regards to sin

I have a question aimed specifically at Catholics. I would like to know how a person who is not a catholic and therefore can’t take communion or any of the sacraments but wishes to become a catholic or is at least thinking about becoming a catholic. Can be forgiven of their sins. As I understand it, a person’s sins are not forgiven them unless the can take part in the sacraments.

If you could also point me towards a part of the catechism(if it exists) which deals with this dilemma. Because of my misunderstanding ever since I have been thinking about becoming a catholic I feel as though my prayers are not quite as potent. As though there is no point in them because I’m not a catholic, I can’t take part in the sacraments. And so my sins feel as though they are still with me.

There are two options:

  • baptism, if you’ve never been baptized before; that removes all sin
  • confession, after preparing, just before being received into the Church having been validly baptized elsewhere

Both of these remove sins and are open to those who wish to join the Church.

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First one should be baptized. Next, it is possible to receive forgiveness for sins.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. 51

51 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1677.

Also see Jimmy Akin article on it:

From that article is:

[a non-Catholic Christian] … in the process of converting to the Catholic faith. The National Statutes for Catechumenate (passed by the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops November 11, 1986) states:

“36. 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.”

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Thank you this is very helpful.

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I’m pretty sure I know what you meant, but this reads weird in that proximity. Baptism provides forgiveness of sins; no next step required for that. However, because we’re human and likely to sin again after our baptism, at that time later, we have confession as the recourse. That tiny space between the period and N in your two sentences should (hopefully) cover a span of time! :grin:

It does look odd. Venial sin is likely after baptism.

It’s true that forgiveness comes through the Sacraments, but it is also possible “with reference to” the Sacraments. If you are really looking to be baptized, or wish to go to Confession, then God is ready to forgive you “prematurely” so long as you are truly sorry for offending Him by all sin and really wish to sin no more. Then, one must enter into the sacramental order He established, which is a great advantage for us in several ways, like the guarantee that we have been forgiven, the psychological impact, the public acknowledgement of our entrance into the life of grace (in the case of Baptism) and the opportunity to receive counsel and do penance under obedience (in the case of Confession).

You make a sincere act of contrition (sorrow for your sins) and ask God for forgiveness.

The ordinary means is through the sacraments.

That doesn’t mean God can’t or doesn’t work extra-sacramentally.

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