Is it a sin to go to confession when im not officially catholic


#1

Hi,
Id like to hear your opinion on this strange matter. I decided to convert to Catholic faith but im not attending official course for that yet. Ive been baptised in Lutheran Church as a child. I spoke with two catholic priests and one of them allowed me to confess to him and gave me absolution. However, I dont have any contact to this priest and its impossible to find him again. The second one I spoke to later refused to allow my confession because I am not officially Catholic. Which one was right?
I feel i need a confession. Would it be a sin for me to go to large town where noone knows me and just go to confession without telling priest Im not Catholic yet? I agree with much of your teaching and have definitely decided i want to attend catechumenate classes in the future.
Thanks for your answer.


#2

It was no sin on your part, but the priest who gave you absolution was wrong to do so. And you would be wrong, possibly in sin, to go again until you are received into the Church or at least well into your formation as a Catholic.

Sacramental absolution, is, like Catholic Eucharist and the majority of the other sacraments, reserved to Catholics alone. For one thing, one should be properly prepared for the sacrament and catechised as to the requirements and significance before making a confession.

With a very few exceptions, Catholic clergy are only held to have power and authority over Catholics. People of any faith are welcome to confess their sins, if the priest cares to hear them, but priests cannot absolve them except for Catholics, except in very rare circumstances.

I am very sorry that a priest chose to go beyond his office in this regard, but he was wrong to do so.

Do not fear, God knows your desire to be received into the Church and to confess, and will not hold it against you that at present this is not possible for you.


#3

[quote="ladybug25, post:1, topic:315275"]

I decided to convert to Catholic faith but im not attending official course for that yet.

[/quote]

You won't be able to become a Catholic without going through the proper procedures. You cannot recieve the Sacraments simply because you have been baptised (your Lutheran Baptism will certainly be viewed as valid) and you believe in the validity of the Sacraments. Becoming a Catholic is not simply about personal belief and your personal relationship with God.

Speak to the Parish Priest at your local Catholic Church and get the ball rolling regarding becoming a Catholic. Do it without delay, phone him up today and make an appointment with him.

God Bless


#4

Yes, the thing to do is talk to a priest about becoming Catholic. Going to Confession is part of that process, and normally takes place shortly before you are received into the Church.

In general, Protestants can only go to Catholic Confession when they are about to become Catholic, or when they are in danger of death, believe in the sacrament, and cannot go to their own ministers for some reason.

How long it will take to become Catholic, what instructions you will need beforehand, etc., will vary with your personal circumstances and possibly with national or diocesan policies. (Your mileage may vary, depending on where you live.)

If you lived in Rhode Island, for example, any Catholic priest working under the Bishop of Providence could hear your confession and welcome you into the Church today (assuming you were ready). In other places, the priest might ask you to wait until Easter, assuming you're in good health etc.

(For what it's worth, I have fancy degrees and teach seminary courses on confession and ecumenism. So I imagine I know what I'm talking about!)

Go see a priest.

In Christ,
Fr Bernard Mulcahy, OP


#5

It is best if you avoid taking part in Sacraments that are reserved for Catholics.
Pretend there’s a wedding and you weren’t invited, but you just sneak up anyway to
eat the food, drink the wine and take part in the festivities. Is that right or wrong?

When you went to confession the first time, even though it was the wrong thing to do, you personally did not commit a sin, because a priest had given you bad advice and you did not know it was wrong. Like LilyM said, “Sacramental absolution, is, like Catholic Eucharist and the majority of the other sacraments, reserved to Catholics alone.”

As you await being part of the Catholic family, I suggest you research more about the Divine Mercy messages given to St Faustina Kowalska by Jesus Christ.

**On February 22, 1931, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ appeared to this simple nun, bringing with Him a wonderful message of Mercy for all mankind. Saint Faustina tells us in her diary under this date:

“In the evening, when I was in my cell, I became aware of the Lord
Jesus clothed in a white garment. One hand was raised in blessing,
the other was touching the garment at the breast. From the opening
of the garment at the breast there came forth two large rays, one
red and the other pale. In silence I gazed intently at the Lord;
my soul was overwhelmed with fear, but also with great joy. After
a while Jesus said to me, ‘paint an image according to the pattern
you see, with the inscription: Jesus, I trust in You.’”

Some time later, Our Lord again spoke to her:

“The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous;
the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These
two rays issued forth from the depths of My most tender Mercy at
that time when My agonizing Heart was opened by a lance on the
Cross…Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for
the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”**

**Jesus also said:

“You will prepare the world for My final coming.” (Diary 429)

"Speak to the world about My mercy … It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy. (Diary 848)

Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near." (Diary 965).
**

Source: ewtn.com.au/devotionals/mercy/backgr.htm

Jesus taught St Faustina the Divine Mercy Novena and said:

“Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior. Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy . I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy. Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. By this Novena (of Chaplets), I will grant every possible grace to souls.”

The point I am trying to make is, REPENT AND ENTRUST YOURSELF IN THE INFINITE MERCY OF JESUS CHRIST! YOUR SINS WILL BE FORGIVEN:)

When Jesus was dieing a painful death on the cross, there where two thiefs who were crucified next to Him. One thief said to Jesus, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”

But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

As you can see, the good thief entrusted in Jesus’s Divine Mercy and his reward was Salvation.

Don’t commit a sin by going to a “large town where noone knows me and just go to confession without telling priest Im not Catholic yet?” :stuck_out_tongue:


#6

thanks to all of you, now i understand this issue and will definitely talk to a priest :slight_smile:
thx


#7

[quote="ladybug25, post:6, topic:315275"]
thanks to all of you, now i understand this issue and will definitely talk to a priest :)
thx

[/quote]

There are certain conditions under which a non Catholic may confess to a priest and recieve valid absolution. If you are in danger of death you certainly may, you might even be able to recieve communion in that circumstance. But you would have to check this out with some on on the Bishops staff or a canon lawyer.

The fact that you wanted to go to Confession may be a sign of perfect contrition and in that case your sins would be forgiven. Grow in your love for Christ, meditate on his life, suffering, and cruel death and how he did all this to make it possible for even his enemies to be forgiven and be saved. This will help you to be sorry for your sins because they have offended God who loves you so much he was willing to die for you even though you were steeped in sin. His love knows no bounds. Try to reach perfect contrition.

This way you will be morally certain you will be living in the state of grace even before receiving the sacraments....Linus


#8

[quote="LilyM, post:2, topic:315275"]
It was no sin on your part, but the priest who gave you absolution was wrong to do so. And you would be wrong, possibly in sin, to go again until you are received into the Church or at least well into your formation as a Catholic.

Sacramental absolution, is, like Catholic Eucharist and the majority of the other sacraments, reserved to Catholics alone. For one thing, one should be properly prepared for the sacrament and catechised as to the requirements and significance before making a confession.

With a very few exceptions, Catholic clergy are only held to have power and authority over Catholics. People of any faith are welcome to confess their sins, if the priest cares to hear them, but priests cannot absolve them except for Catholics, except in very rare circumstances.

I am very sorry that a priest chose to go beyond his office in this regard, but he was wrong to do so.

Do not fear, God knows your desire to be received into the Church and to confess, and will not hold it against you that at present this is not possible for you.

[/quote]

The priest can use his discretion to absolve any Baptized Christian......as all Baptized Christian share a part in the Church........even if this is not fully realized as of yet.


#9

[quote="UncleBill, post:8, topic:315275"]
The priest can use his discretion to absolve any Baptized Christian......as all Baptized Christian share a part in the Church........even if this is not fully realized as of yet.

[/quote]

This is true, but still does not mean the sacraments (eg Holy Communion or Holy Orders) are open at any old time to anyone of any denomination who wants them.

The discretion in respect of absolution, like the discretion a priest has in some cases to give communion to non-Catholics, is far from absolute, being subject to restrictions under both Canon Law and the guidance Bishops give as to when and how sacraments are to be administered in their diocese.

I would refer you again to Father Bernard's post above.


#10

[quote="ladybug25, post:1, topic:315275"]
Hi,
Id like to hear your opinion on this strange matter. I decided to convert to Catholic faith but im not attending official course for that yet. Ive been baptised in Lutheran Church as a child. I spoke with two catholic priests and one of them allowed me to confess to him and gave me absolution. However, I dont have any contact to this priest and its impossible to find him again. The second one I spoke to later refused to allow my confession because I am not officially Catholic. Which one was right?
I feel i need a confession. Would it be a sin for me to go to large town where noone knows me and just go to confession without telling priest Im not Catholic yet? I agree with much of your teaching and have definitely decided i want to attend catechumenate classes in the future.
Thanks for your answer.

[/quote]

The National Statutes for Catechumenate, U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 11, 1986:36. 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. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament.

Also See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, n. 482. And canon 844 §4, especially: Canon 844 §1 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic ministers, except as provided in §§2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in canon 861 §2.

Canon 844 §2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Canon 844 §3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with the catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.

Canon 844 §4 If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.

Canon 844 §5 In respect of the cases dealt with in §§2, 3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop or the Episcopal Conference is not to issue general norms except after consultation with the competent authority, at least at the local level, of the non-catholic Church or community concerned.


#11

[quote="Vico, post:10, topic:315275"]
The National Statutes for Catechumenate, U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 11, 1986:36. 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. As part of the formation of such candidates, they should be encouraged in the frequent celebration of this sacrament.

Also See Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, n. 482. And canon 844 §4, especially: Canon 844 §1 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic ministers, except as provided in §§2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in canon 861 §2.

Canon 844 §2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Canon 844 §3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with the catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.

Canon 844 §4 If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.

Canon 844 §5 In respect of the cases dealt with in §§2, 3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop or the Episcopal Conference is not to issue general norms except after consultation with the competent authority, at least at the local level, of the non-catholic Church or community concerned.

[/quote]

Thank you. The O.P. might possibly qualify under Canon 844 # 5. But they would have to clear that with the local Ordinary and the Ordinary would have to make known to the clergy what norms are to be followed in specific cases. Linus


#12

For the USA:

Canon 788, §3 - The Catechumenate

Complementary Norm: In accord with canon 788, §3, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the National Statutes for the Catechumenate should govern the catechumenate in the United States.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1986

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Divine Worship), Letter from Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No. 2757/88/4) July 1988

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, July 22, 1988

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/canon-law/complementary-norms/canon-788-3-the-catechumenate.cfm


#13

I had a desire for confession, but didn't do anything about it really until I was partway through RCIA. My previous church did confessions as well, but not in the same way. My husband was surprised that I was allowed to do a confession but I did speak to the pastor ahead of time.


#14

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