Rite of Election

I’m going to go to the Rite of Election soon, but a question just occured to me that I was sort embarrased to ask the RCIA director in person. I need to go to confession but may not be able to in time for the ritual. Would the rite be invalid if I don’t get a chance to go to confession beforehand? It is not a mass, nor is it a sacrament, but seems to be related to the sacrament of Confirmation, which I’ll recieve on Pentacost.

Thank’s for your time.

No, you would not prepare for the Rite of Election with confession.

If you have not been baptised then you cannot receive the other sacraments. You are not allowed to go to confession until after baptism.

If you have been to confession and are preparing for Eucharist or confirmation then you could choose to go, but it would not be a requirement for this ceremony.

If you have been baptised and are preparing for “Reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church” then for you the ceremony is called something like: “Call to continuing conversion of candidates who are preparing for reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church” (USA RCIA n. 547).

Then it is a case of assessing how these rules apply.
According to “Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church”, n. 9 (also known as RCIA #482, using the USA numbering):
“If the profession of faith and reception take place within Mass, the candidate, according to his or her own conscience, should make a confession of sins beforehand, first informing the confessor that he or she is about to be received into full communion. Any confessor who is lawfully approved may hear the candidates’ confession.”
(From The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 277). Take note that this is talking about the rite of reception, not the rite of election.

The general rule for non-catholic Christians is in the Code of Canon Law, canon 844:
"§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."
(From vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM ).

the rite of election is not a sacrament, it is a rite for those who are not baptized, so in any case they will not be making their first confession until after Easter, since baptism remits all sins, original and actual.

If you have already been baptized and now are becoming Catholic, you should have celebrated the call to continuing conversion, not the rite of election. If a mistake was made it is not your fault. You will be prepared for and make your first confession during Lent, before the Easter sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist because for them, yes, you must be in a state of grace.

I’m only in RCIA for confirmation - I had my first confession and communion when I was about twelve. I didn’t think I was supposed to go to this event until yesterday, but they made it sound like it was connected to Confirmation, and I didn’t know if screwing up this event would ultimately lead to my confirmation being screwed up.

Actually, they kept calling it the “Rite of Election,” but told us that our ritual was different than the one for the unbaptised people. I think they really did mean the “Reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church” ritual, which also doesn’t make sense now that I think about it - I’ve been in full communion with the Catholic church for years, haven’t I?

Confession is not required for this ceremony, but having been to the sacrament before you can choose to go at any time.

The ceremony has two names, depending on whether it is with catechumens (who are preparing for baptism) or not. Without catechumens it is “Rite of Calling the Candidates to Continuing Conversion”. (USA’s RCIA, n. 446).

With catechumens there is a hugh title: “Celebration of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and of the Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates who are Preparing for Confirmation and/or Eucharist or Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church”. (USA’s RCIA, n. 547, from The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 309).

This is not in the Latin original, but has been approved for the USA. Not surprisingly it gets called “the Rite of Election”.

You are actually not in Full communion with the Catholic Church until you complete the Initiation Sacraments, which include Confirmation. It would be best if you went to Confession just before receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a Baptized Catholic who has received First Holy Communion and Reconciliation you do not need to participate in any of the pre-Easter Rites for Catechumens or Candidates. Actually you should not participate in the Rite of Reception either. You should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation period, nothing more, nothing less.

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