Not baptized, do I have to do first confession?

Hi All,

I really want to join the Catholic Church officially, but I am nervous about confessing everything that happened in my life prior to being drawn to God.

My question is, since I’m not baptized, do I have to do a first confession of all my life’s sins? I’ve heard that baptism washes away all of those sins, and then you just start anew with any sins after baptism. I heard that first confession is only for those who were baptized previously and covers their sins since they were baptized. Is that correct?

Thanks in advance.

Yes, baptism washes away all your sins. See CCC #1263.

Confession is what you do when you sin (and for all of us it will be a when) after you are baptized.

If you have never been baptized you DO NOT have to go to confession. Until you sin mortally after baptism of course.

Until you are baptized, you cannot receive communion. Since Baptism washes away sins, I would get baptized before I received any other sacrament. To get baptized, you need to go through RCIA and any other requirements that your parish lays out for initiation into the sacraments.

I just want to reassure you that confession (reconciliation) is not a punishment but more like a gift.

I say this because I was baptized and had my first communion but was never confirmed. I left the church when I was a teen. Now 22-23 years later I came back to the church-on Ash Wed. I had to have my first confession in order to take the sacrament of communion again. I was terrified! That’s a whole lot of years to remember…:frowning: It turned out to be a complete blessing!

So, please don’t be scared of confession (reconciliation) down the road. I found it to me so much different then I thought.

God Bless!

The good news: you don’t have to confess (right away) because Baptism takes care of that.

The better news: confession will not be as bad as you think it will be! I had embarrassing things to confess my first time, and it really was not as big a deal as I was making it out to be in my head.

God bless your journey. :slight_smile:

Not only do you not need to confess the sins of your life prior to your baptism…
…but you are unable to take advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation prior to baptism.

Of course in asking for baptism you will promise to reject whatever you might have done in the past which is counter to God’s way.

Thank you everyone for your replies. I am relieved to find out I don’t have to list do a first confession. While I am with God now, I did leave a very rough life before.

I am considering signing up for RCIA in a couple of days. Now it seems much easier, and I feel truly blessed to have found the Catholic church. I will be looking forward to confession and all the other sacraments after baptism.


Sort of, you still need to spend some time reflecting on those past sins, resolve to not commit them again and be truly sorry for them. Your Baptism at the Easter Vigil will wash them away.

Since attending the Church for the past half year, I have been repenting daily for the sins I committed previously. I realize that I lived a bad existence, and am sometimes appalled at the things I did in the past. I can’t wait until baptism to have them washed away. Since it will be a year from now, I know I will be thinking on this quite a bit.

Last night I had a dream where I was begging forgiveness, and God answered me. He said that he could not rescue me in the place I was in right now. I woke up startled and haunted and could not sleep for hours. So, it’s always on my mind.

Call the parish and speak to the priest. Since you are not baptized, you do need to go through RCIA, but the priest should be able to help you with your concerns about your past life in the meantime.

Just an added footnote regarding Baptism. Not only are your sins forgiven, but all temporal punishment due to your sins are also washed away. What a gift Christ gave us!

Continue to pray. I find asking our Lady for protection from the Evil One is very helpful. Pray a Hail Mary or better yet, start praying a Rosary. A wonderful way to keep evil at bay! :smiley: Don’t be too concerned with your dream. You are on the right path. Remember, the devil does not want you walking this path. You may find talking to your priest about how you feel very beneficial.

Since it seems that you now Believe in Jesus of Nazareth and desire to enter the Catholic Church…first step is to pray …and and turn to him…and enter into the catechumenate repenting and believing …learning his teachings and begin to follow him heading towards Baptism when all those sins will be washed away and you will become a Christian…a NEW CREATION …you will then be in Christ and a son of light!

A little prayer…

Jesus Christ I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you.

It’s very common for people in RCIA to have freaky dreams. Partly that’s human nature, because they’re going through big changes; and sometimes, it’s spiritual warfare against them.

Trust in Jesus’ power to save, and don’t believe any temptations to despair.

Thanks, I get to sign up for RCIA this month. I’m very excited about it.

I am praying every day. I do the Rosary on Sundays, although I don’t know all of it yet. It’s the first time in my life that I have really felt that I am keeping the devil at bay. I can see certain patterns in my mind that try to draw me back into my old ways, and I assume that is Satan’s influence. At those times, I do pray for protection. I didn’t even really know how to pray for protection so I just started saying that I believe in Jesus Christ and seek his protection. It seems to work. The darkness passes. Thank you for being so supportive.

Thank you for the prayer. Yes, I jumped at the opportunity to do the Why Catholic course and that has helped me quite a bit. I pray each day, multiple times a day. I seem to already be moving on the path. It’s exciting.

I think you hit the nail on the head. I was in despair. Now I feel new hope. It’s funny how I’ve alerady opened up to others in new ways.

Catholic seeker, this is wonderful! So glad you have found your way to Christ and his Church. It will not be always easy to walk this path but so, so worth it. Just keep praying and seek the company of like-minded people who can help you grow in faith. Talk to a priest about your concerns. You’ll see, God’s love and mery are endless and so wonderful.

I was received into the church when I turned 17 and can say with confidence that it was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

God bless you!

“Happy are you who believe!” (cf. 1 Pet 2:7). Let us turn to Jesus! He alone is the way that leads to eternal happiness, the truth who satisfies the deepest longings of every heart, and the life who brings ever new joy and hope, to us and to our world. Amen."

Pope Benedict XVI Homily Yankee Stadium April 2008

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit