Receiving first eucharist before first penance

In my diocese (Rochester NY) there are several parishes that have kids make their First Eucharist before their First Penance. Is this a valid option for a diocese to have? It seems backwards to me since the Church teaches no one can receive Communion with mortal sin. Wouldn’t this be giving a message to the kids that we can go to confession with unconfessed sin?

Yet even though it seems wrong, how come the Eastern Churches give all 3 Sacraments of Initiation( Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation) on the same day to infants? From thereon, they can receive Eucharist for years before they make First Reconciliation. If its not OK in the Latin rite, why is it OK in the Eastern?

No, it is not a valid option.

[quote="CCC #1457]… Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.
[/quote]

I believe it is the parents’ ultimate responsibility to make sure that this happens, so if there is no other way, you can just take your child to confession at the normal time for your parish (or if there is a parish nearby that does it correctly, you might want to take your child to first confession there) sometime before First Communion.

Someone who has just been baptized does not need to go to confession, even if they have attained the age of reason, since baptism washes away ALL sins. This is why people (adults) who are baptized during the Easter Vigil can take communion at the same Mass, without needing a “confession break” even though they won’t have been to confession before (since no sacrament has an effect on someone who has not been baptized).

Of course, infants can’t commit personal sin anyway.

Because the different rites have different rules. In these Churches, I believe children are still supposed to confess their sins once they attain the age of reason, so since you can’t actually commit personal sin before that, it would not be a problem. Anyway, the rules of the Eastern Churches have nothing to do with whether it is allowed in the Latin rite.

–Jen

I am from the same diocese as you.

The diocese is doing a great disservice reversing these two sacraments.

People should be going to confession before recieving communion. That teaching of the church hasn’t changed.

I would step in and try to explain to your children that you need to confess your sins to a priest before you have communion.

First, there is nothing ‘wrong’ about giving all three Sacraments together. If there was something wrong about it, the Church would not do it.

Secondly, a Catholic, of any Rite, cannot recieve the Eucharist if they are in a state of mortal sin. Nothing the Eastern Churches do violates this.

They provide the Holy Eucharist to infants and small children. Since these children are below the age of Reason, they are incabable of sinning. So there is nothing to prevent them from the reception of Holy Eucharist.

Once they achive the age of Reason (generally about 7) they, like all of us, would need to confess their sins and recieve absolution if they have commited grave sin.

That is the exact same standard that Latin Rite Catholics have. If you are about the age of Reason, and you desire to recieve the Holy Eucharist, you need to have recieved absolution.

Of course, many, if not most children, will not have commited grave sin. But there might be some who have it and it would do grave harm to their souls to receive the Eucharist under those conditions. We certainly cannot have their teacher or parents quizzing a child about sins they have, or have not, commited.

The only proper forum is the Confessional; a child should enter the confessional and confess their sins. The priest will then determine the severity of the sin and absolve and give a suitable penance.

This is true and required in every Rite.

BTW, adults who are recived into the Church via Baptism are given Communion that same day. They have no need to go to confession, as all their sins are absolved.

So the focus should be that when someone is admitted to Communion for the first time, that their soul should be free of stain of mortal sin. The Eastern Churches do that, and so do we.

jus to add

the Sacrament of Reconcilliation extends the salvific grace received from Baptism. once someone is Baptized, that person’s sin is washed away by the Baptism. then there comes two issues after Baptism. first is that you can only be Baptized once. second, is that you can commit sin again. hence, the only way to remove the stain of sin from your soul again is through the Sacrament of Reconcilliation

so there is nothing wrong with receiving the Eucharist right after Baptism as ALL your sins are washed away

are the kids in question in the age of reason? perhaps they’re not thus they are not capable of sin. although i find it odd that kids are given First Communion when they are not yet in the age of reason

no it is not permitted in the Latin Rite for children who have reached to age of reason to celebrate first communion without first having the opportunity for sacramental confession. in the Eastern rites before the children reach the age of reason they are receiving the Eucharist in the state of sanctifying grace because they cannot yet knowingly and willingly sin. The practice is once they reach the age of reason that they are instructed and make their first confession, and that thereafter they confess whenever they are conscious of mortal sin, before receiving communion.

the question now is, in the Latin Rite, is there such a thing as First Communion before the age of reason?

at least not now, for one thing the way communion is administered in the west militates against it. Should we, as I hope and pray, return the more ancient practice and come in closer conformity to the East I hope to see restoration of full initiation in infancy at baptism, restoring the original order of the sacraments, as is done now for adults, I hope to see this in my lifetime, or that of my children. Then at last religious education can be what it is meant to be, post-initiation mystagogy, not eternal sacramental preparation.

yeah, it would be nice if the sacaraments of initiation would be given all at the same time, even to infants

=janine7;6574468]In my diocese (Rochester NY) there are several parishes that have kids make their First Eucharist before their First Penance. Is this a valid option for a diocese to have? It seems backwards to me since the Church teaches no one can receive Communion with mortal sin. Wouldn’t this be giving a message to the kids that we can go to confession with unconfessed sin?

Yet even though it seems wrong, how come the Eastern Churches give all 3 Sacraments of Initiation( Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation) on the same day to infants? From thereon, they can receive Eucharist for years before they make First Reconciliation. If its not OK in the Latin rite, why is it OK in the Eastern?

**Can. 910 §1 **The ordinary minister of holy communion is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon.

Can. 913 §1 “For holy communion to be administered to children, it is required that they have sufficient knowledge and be accurately prepared, so that according to their capacity they understand what the mystery of Christ means, and are able to receive the Body of the Lord with faith and devotion.”

**Can. 914 **“It is primarily the duty of parents and of those who take their place, as it is the duty of the parish priest, to ensure that children who have reached the use of reason are properly prepared and, having made their sacramental confession, are nourished by this divine food as soon as possible. It is also the duty of the parish priest to see that children who have not reached the use of reason, or whom he has judged to be insufficiently disposed, do not come to holy communion.”

It would seem to be the desire of the Church Magisterium that Confession precede First Holy Communion.

the bigger text is my emphasis. the Church wants children to be in the age of reason before receiving Holy Communion. age of reason = capacity to sin. therefore confession is required

A parish we used to go to did this. The reasoning was “the kids really couldn’t understand confession”.

So . . . they can understand transubstantiation but not being sorry? :confused:

This is how I received my sacraments back in the early 70’s. But I think by the time my younger brother came along 2 years later, they had “righted” the order.

We received First Communion in 1st grade (I was barely 6) and First Confession in 3rd grade (I was 8). I remember my mom saying that she didn’t think it was supposed to be like that, but they went along. It was something about not wanting our “first experience” with the church to be “negative”.
:shrug:

My three also celebrated the sacraments in that order.

Although, in the parish where we lived, I had to do the preparation for our oldest myself. When she had finished her workbook and seemed properly disposed she met with the pastor who ensured that she knew whom she would be receiving and, although officially that would not happen for another year, he did a question and answer that was ‘confession’, no matter how you look at it, and gave her absolution. It surprised me greatly that he did that, not so much because she hadn’t prepared for confession but because I was sitting there with her at the time.

From the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum:

"[87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.
[footnote 169:

Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 914;

S. Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Declaration, Sanctus Pontifex, diei 24 maii 1973: AAS 65 (1973) p. 410;

S. Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and S. Congregation for the Clergy, Letter to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences. Episcoporum, In quibusdam, 31 March 1977: Enchiridion Documentorum Instaurationis Liturgicae, II, pp. 142-144;

S. Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship and S. Congregation for the Clergy, Response to dubium, 20 May 1977: AAS 69 (1977) p. 427.]"

The full document is at vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html .

Given the incidents you have reported and the responses from others, the only advice that I can give at this point is to write to the diocesan bishop. If the local ordinary does not respond, then, this matter, along with the copies of the correspondence between the bishop and the affected party, needs to be taken to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. This is a serious problem because it violates both canonical and liturgical law.

Unfortunately that would be a dead end in this diocese. :frowning: And from what I hear the CDW is well aware of things here.

In my opinion, some parishes have taken a directive from the diocese and played around with it. The diocese has said that children must be PREPARED for the sacrament of penance before First Communion. They then leave it up to the parents/parish to decide if the child is ready to receive the sacrament. (Now don’t jump on me, I don’t agree with it!)

Fortunately our parish still does things the right way - my son did 1st penance in Feb and will make his 1st communion next week :slight_smile:

I believe, though, that if more people write to the CDWDS and inform them in detail as to what is happening, then it may get something done. If this is a persistent problem, then the CDWDS needs to be made aware of the situation and others that are currently occurring in the diocese in question.

benedictgal -

There are many people in the area who have written and provided Audio/Visual evidence as well. I believe there were even a few of these videos traveling around YouTube at one point.

Unfortunetly this was how it was done when I was a kid…so I had my first communion when I was 7 or so…but then left the church when my mom did…so my first confession was when I was 40…

THAT’s the problem with the order being messed up!

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