Unconfirmed Adult desires the Eucharist:

So, my sister was baptized as a child with the Trinitarian formula although not in a Catholic Church. She has been through most of an RCIA course, but left because a) my family moved, b) she had medical problems necessitating hospitalization (she’s better now) and c) she’s a bit socially anxious in large groups and d) she felt as if she wasn’t getting anything out of them.

Although she hasn’t been through “formal catechesis” I would hazard a guess that she knows a great deal more about the Faith than many cradle Catholics who have received all three Sacraments of Initiation and then promptly forgot all of it. She attends Adoration frequently, catechizes herself on the words of the saints (St. Rose, St. Therese of Liseux, are some of her favourites, writing-wise), knows exactly what the Real Presence is, and greatly desires to receive her Lord.

She is planning on giving her first Confession tomorrow. She does not want any ceremony recognizing her or anything for “Yay, it’s your First Holy Communion, yay!” She’s been attending Mass (veiled, I might add) faithfully for a year and a half-ish and just receiving a blessing. She fasts, prays the Rosary, and generally lives a faithful and devout life. So, would she be able to receive tomorrow even though she is not confirmed, but seeking, obviously, the end goal of Confirmation?

According to Canon 912, I feel like she can, provided she is absolved. (baptized, state of grace, knows what the Real Presence is). Can someone (preferably a member of the clergy if any of you are awake at this hour) just fact-check me before I send my poor sister off to eat judgment onto herself???

I think that, unless you’ve gone through Seminary, you’re putting both of your souls in danger. Have her talk to a priest, any priest. But a priest. He will give an answer that you can trust. Not the internet, and not you. :nope:

:eek: Well. That’s not quite the answer I was hoping for. And no, I’ve not gone through seminary, I’ve mostly just been consulting Canon Law and the CCC. And the example of young children who are baptized, then receive their First Communion, and then do not receive Confirmation until years later (Latin Rite here). All of these seem to add up to the picture that the Church does not require Confirmation in order to receive. Can you show me something that would suggest that? In the absence of a priest for the moment (or at least for the next few hours), I figured Canon Law and the CCC were the next-best thing. I’m no canon lawyer, true, but 912 seems relatively clear.

Edited to Add: Well, actually, this post from Catholic Answers staff (many of whom are clergy) seems to suggest that:

  1. her informal instruction is sufficient. “Under canon law, you as an adult do not need to undergo formal instruction in order to make your first confession or First Communion”
  2. she is properly disposed. “You must know, understand, and accept the Church’s teachings concerning confession and the Holy Eucharist. Because you will have learned and accepted the Church’s teaching concerning the Eucharist, you can begin going to Communion like any other Catholic. No special permission is necessary.”
  3. Confirmation is not necessary. “You do not need to receive confirmation before beginning to go to confession and beginning to receive the Eucharist. Nothing in canon law requires that, and you may begin practicing those parts of a Catholic’s sacramental life as soon as you have understood and accepted the Church’s teachings concerning them.”

Everything that you have written is true and correct, but you have forgotten one thing. It is the responsibilty of the pastor to assertain that a person is properly prepared to receive the sacraments. Our Lord gave authority in the Church to the pope and bishops, who share it with their collaborators in the vineyard of Christ, the priests, right down to our own pastor in our own parish. As Catholics we respect this authority, given to these men by the sacrament of Holy Orders, as having come from Christ, Himself, even though we may have more theological education. If your sister wants to become a member of the Catholic Church, she should go to the local parish, speak to the pastor, and follow his instructions. He may or he may not want her to complete the RCIA program. Since she is a baptized Christian already, that is his call. Our Lord will be pleased with her when she submits herself to the authority of His Church as He desires. Her patience and humiity will undoubtably be rewarded with many blessings. If FrDavid is reading this, perhaps he would care to comment.

Deep down Im sure you already know the answer, no?
You compare it to children’s first Holy Communion, but we both know that in order to CELEBRATE (yes celebrate as there has to be a seremony when recieveing our Lord for the very first time) this very special occation they must go to Cathece for 6-8 months beforehand to learn about the faith and especially the Eucharist.
So to compare such things are just like comparing birds to fish.

There is more to it.
A non catholic has never been in ful communion with the church so she/he will have to be confirmed in order to recieve.
At confirmation one does state that one believe in everything that the church teaches, preaches and believes.
Without this commitment one haven’t surrendered oneself to the church yet and are therefor unable to recieve.
The confession are for Catholics only you know?
In order to reconcile with our Lord we need to reconcile with his holy church first that’s why non Catholics can’t get absolution in a catholic confessional.

So if your sister plans to go into the confessional and “steal” an absolution I find that very disturbing.
Also it’s a grave vialation to the father sitting in the confessional being lured.

She is free however to go to counselling with a priest until she is ready to join the church.

You don’t say that she’s been received into the Church yet; in fact, you said she’s been through “most of RCIA,” which makes it sound as though she hasn’t been.

She needs to discuss this with a priest. And I hope that the priest to whom she’ll be confessing is aware of her status with the Church, whatever that may be. This isn’t something for her to decide on her own, nor for you to decide for her.

Only her pastor can apply the canons your reference to her situation, not you and not she.

If she is receiving first reconciliation, she must be working with a priet already and must be close to being received into the Church and completing the sacraments of initiation. she should discuss this with the priest preparing her.

If she is simply taking it upon herself to go to confession, then she needs to rethink that plan. She is not a Catholic, and therefore should not do so except under direction of the pastor.

Bottom line-- she needs to go talk to the pastor.

Until this is sorted out and she is properly received into the Church, she can offer her great desire to receive our Lord in the blessed sacrament as an sacrifice to repair for the sins of the world, and especially those committed against this most august sacrament. She will gain great merit for herself and this world who is so desperate for prayers.

It’s the same as 2 people who are in love and have to wait until they come before family, friends and the Church, to commit their lives to each other before they can be intimate as husband and wife. Those who wait until the proper time honor God. This is what we are called to do as Catholics.

This. One million times this. She needs to talk to the pastor.

Thanks everyone for you firm, but loving responses. :blush: I wasn’t trying (at least, not consciously) force her down any sort of abnormal path into reception into the Church, except insofar as any sort of ceremony might scare her. I ask here only because I was acting as her sponsor through her RCIA courses while she was taking them, that’s all. I figured that was a sponsorly thing to do.

Goodness, really? :eek: Well, now I feel like an idiot, and a poor sponsor to boot. Well, I’m glad I asked before we went to Mass, although I guess the priest would have just told her the same thing. Well, uh, I’m glad there are other people who know more than me. A little disappointed in myself that I had gotten her somewhat exciting for the possibility, but nevermind, that’s my own issue to take to said confessional. It’s just that she’s been too scared to so much as talk to a priest since her own interior conversion nearly a year and a half ago.

Ah well. Well, uhm, can she go into said confessional booth and ask the priest for next steps, without trying to receive absolution, or would some time before/after/not-while-he’s-hearing-confessions be better? -slump-

Thanks for whacking me into shape, team.

Don’t take it too hard. :o

The main point that I think emerges here is that our faith is not only a private faith. Of course, there are private things and we are to have a personal relationship with Jesus. But that’s not all there is to it. The Church community is a key part of it.

That’s why we cannot just take it upon ourselves to go to our First Confession or First Communion. We need to work with the Church (and the representative in this case would be the pastor).

If your sister just walked into the confessional and started confessing, the priest would not necessarily realize that she had not yet been received into the Church. But your sister can certainly make clear that she has never been before and then do what he asks her to do.

All this doesn’t mean that your sister will have to do all of her preparation in a large group setting. In light of her previous formation, she might request Confirmation (and First Reconciliation and First Communion) sooner than next Easter Vigil. Then it would be the pastor’s call what to do.

That’s why I always recommend simply meeting with the pastor and laying all one’s cards on the table. She can give him the whole history. She can let him know what she wants and what her concerns are. He will be able to take it from there.

We are all always learning more and more about our wonderful faith. It’s all good. :slight_smile:

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