Re-Baptism or Confession for Returning Apostate?

(Maybe this belongs in a different category, but here goes)

As I may have alluded to in other posts, I have had-at best- a checkered history with regard to religion. At one point, I did go through RCIA classes and converted to Catholicism- but some years later converted to Islam but have since rejected it. I am drawn to ‘return home’ to the Church, but I’m finding differing opinions on how to proceed. Some say I have to go back through RCIA and be re-baptized, and some say all I need to is go to Confession and repent my sins. Finding articles that indicate a second baptism is ‘illegal’, I’m inclined to believe that Confession is the way to go. If anyone is up on Canon Law and can comment, I’d be most interested in your opinion.

You absolutely don’t need to be re-Baptized.

Have you been Confirmed?


This was already dealt with long ago. Do read about the Donatists.


As HopkinsReb, said, you definitely don’t need to be re-baptized. Catholics believe baptism can only be done once and that it leaves an indelible mark on you.

So, if you’re thinking to return, Confession should be an early priority and you don’t need to wait on anything to do it, so long as you’re ready.

Have you been Confirmed and received First Communion?


Call you pastor and make an appointment for Confession. It is that simple.


Yes, Confirmation and First Communion are a go. I work at a Catholic hospital, and the Church I went to back in the day is still going strong so I shouldn’t have any problems finding a Priest!

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Welcome back to the church! You do not need to be re-baptized, The Catholic church believes Baptism can only be done once. You need to go to Confession.


I don’t want names but who would say such a thing?

Illegal and invalid. No priest would ever do it.

It is.






As a practical matter, some parishes do place reverts in RCIA classes, especially if there is a concern about their initial catechesis. But you would not need to be rebaptized in any case.

Again, talk to your pastor.


Welcome back, John. I’ll be praying for you as you make that Confession. Angels are rejoicing at your decision to return!


@acanonlawyer - I suspect it was less-informed denizens of the Catholic sections on reddit suggesting re-baptism. Lots of off-the-wall answers there. Something told me I should have posted here first!

I have 20+ years of heretical thought to reconcile one way or another, so I’m expecting a lot of headaches and angst along the way to ‘recovery’.

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I don’t know who would say that.

This was settled in the 2nd century. There’s no such thing as re-baptism.

This is correct. Make an appointment and talk to your priest.


Parishes have no authority to do so.

A fully initiated Catholic should not and cannot be made to go to RCIA for catechesis.


Welcome Back, John!


If you have already received First Communiom and Confirmation in the Catholic faith then literally all you need to do to come back to the Church is Confession.

It may be prudent to schedule an appointment for it since you’ve been away so long, but Confess and come back, if you’re ready.

Oh, and you can attend mass without going to confession first. You just should not receive communion until you confess and are absolved.


Set up an appointment and talk with the Priest. He will guide you correctly.


I don’t know that it was a requirement. I doubt it, knowing the parish. Unfortunately I know a lot of parishes don’t have very many options for adult catechesis, which leads to catechumens, candidates, and reverts (especially those who were never confirmed) being all put in the same program.

But I mostly wanted to mention it as a possible source of confusion. Baptism can never be redone, and it would be an extremely serious error to do so.

It seems thankfully that OP has only run into ill informed internet folk! @John_the_Blind , I’m all too familiar with reddit, and the catholic groups there can be a bit “more Catholic than the Pope.”

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Bless you, John, and welcome back! Meet with your priest right away, so you can go forward as quickly as possible. There are so many wonderful books to read that will help to solidify your thoughts and to strengthen your faith during this stirring time for you. Spending time with Jesus in Adoration will nourish your heart and soul, as well as bring you confidence and peace. Best wishes to you!


I think you are missing my point. A fully initiated Catholic who has been away from the faith doesn’t go to class. So, it’s not about options.

If a Catholic asks for adult catechesis, that is a different story.

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