Should children go to confession before receiving their first communion?


My parish is offering first communion to my 7 year old this year but doesn’t offer the sacrament of reconciliation until 5th grade.

The Catechism says in paragraph 1457 that children must go to the sacrament of reconciliation before receiving first communion.

Our priest says that can be interpreted differently. Why does our diocese in Mpls/St. Paul do it this way? Should I have my child receive confession first and if so how would I go about it?


Perhaps canon law will help. Code of Canon Law (CIC) states, “It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible” (CIC 914, emphasis added).

This makes sense. Once children “have reached the use of reason” they are capable of committing grave sin. “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to… receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess” (CIC 916).

For more on this see Documents on First Confession/First Communion.

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