Non-Catholics and Confession

Can a Non-Catholic go to Confession?

If so what is the best way of going about it?

Will a priest hear a confession but not give absolution?

If not what is the best alternative?


I do not believe a n-C can participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation at a Catholic Church. But that said, can’t you go to your rector and confess your sins? And wouldn’t that be your first alternative?


A non-Catholic will not receive absolution from his/her sin(s).

The only way to be able to receive absolution at Confession is to become Catholic.

A priest will probably be open to meeting with the person and assisting them outside of the confessional rather than during a scheduled Confession time.

Call and make an appointment with a priest in the area.

Welcome and God bless.

In very limited circumstances, yes they can receive the sacrament of reconciliation and be absolved. A perfectly healthy Anglican who walks in off the street, though, you will likely be told no. A more likely scenario is on a deathbed or shortly before joining the Catholic Church.

Here is support for the deathbed scenario. The RCIA scenario is standard practice.

[quote=canon law]Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, §2.
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-
Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
§3. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.
§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.
§5. For the cases mentioned in §§2, 3, and 4, the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops is not to issue general norms except after consultation at least with the local competent authority of the interested non-Catholic Church or community.


Thanks. Good advice, yes, I think I will try this.

But of course as a protestant minister, he believes in going direct to God, and not through a priest. Only a week ago in the sermon he made the point that thanks to the reformation we no longer have to go through intermediaries. As you may of guessed I am skeptical about whether the reformation was such a good thing.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll give it a go when I summon up the courage :slight_smile: May God bless you too.

Thanks also for your comments, Pug :signofcross:

Why not go to a local catholic church and ask to speak with the priest? It neednt be a “confession” per se but you can have all your questions answered.

Confession was never officially abolished by the Anglicans. Besides, the conservative Protestants’ (Anglicans and Lutherans) pastors are supposed to hear confession and give absolution as part of the office of the ordained ministry, and, if need be, to do it in an individual setting.

That was one of the issues I first had when looking into the Catholic Church. My pastor stated very clearly the same thing and I just couldn’t agree with it especially in light of James 5:14-16. So I hiked on over to the nearest rectory and asked the secretary when I could meet with a priest for confession. They asked if I was Catholic and I said, “No, I’m a protestant.” Then they asked “Why?” And I said, “Because I believe in it.” Then they said, “Confession is on Saturdays at 3:30pm in the sanctuary.”

Before Saturday came around, my Catholic friend advised me that confession was only for the faithful, that I shouldn’t go to the booth and that I should meet with the priest first, stating, “Priests aren’t as busy as you think.” Okay, so I grabbed my most trusted accountability partner, and confessed, asking for prayer, because that’s all I had.

I tried to schedule an appointment with the priest, left a message on the answering machine, much like, “Hi, I’m a protestant missionary and am looking to join the Catholic Church. I would like sit down with someone and talk about this.” Never got a call back (for unknown reasons). But now I’ve finally found the man that runs RCIA and have been attending for sometime. It seems that at least in my parish, the two priests are extremely busy and short staffed - unfortunately.


What branch of Anglicanism are you? In Louis Tarsitano’s book, An Outline of An Anglican Life he uses the term Penance, as well as Confession/Absolution and specifically states that it is a sacrament received either through general (corporate) confession/absolution at the beginning of the service, or in private confession, given to a bishop or priest, who then announces absolution.


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