What should I confess?


I have been away from the church for 35 years. The past 13 years I have been a faithful member of a Brethren church. I was admitted after a baptism in a stream, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I have lived the past 13 years believing that my sins have been washed away in baptism. As I contemplate a return to the church I had to wonder exactly what I would need to confess. Only those things since my Brethren baptism? Or go back to those sins that I believed had been washed away many years ago?


From your post I assume that you were baptized Catholic earlier in your life (prior to your so-called “baptism” in a stream). There is only ONE baptism. If you were baptized in the Catholic Church earlier in your life, your Brethren baptism was NOT a baptism, since baptism places an indelible mark on your soul and can not be repeated. So if this is what happened, your second “baptism” was not a baptism at all; you just got wet.

What you need to confess are any serious sins you committed since your last good, complete confession in the Catholic Church (or all the serious sins committed since your first (and only real) baptism if you have never been to confession.

Of course, you would want to confess leaving the Catholic Church, joining another church, and being away from Mass and the sacraments for 35 years, along with any other serious sins you have committed.

Do not fear; God is waiting to receive you back with open arms. He is full of mercy! I hope the Sacrament of Confession will be a source of joy for you, and that you will take advantage of it often.

God bless you!


as far as I know the Brethren have valid baptism so yes all sins of your past life up until then were indeed washed away in baptism. If you now wish to become Catholic, during the course of your preparation for confirmation and Eucharist you will also be prepared for your first confession, and you will confess all serious sins after baptism.

I am not clear from OP if you were baptized Catholic previously. If so, the Brethren baptism had no effect, so if you wish to return to the Catholic Church, you simply confess all sins of your past life, since your last valid confession, and may return to the Eucharist. If you have never been confirmed this would be a great time to complete your Christian initiation. Welcome Home.


In her profile she describes herself as ex-Catholic, so I assume she had already been baptized. Therefore the Brethren baptism would not be valid.


I would basically ask the Priest what you’ve asked us. He can pretty much guild you thru this and Welcome Back by the way!


Not if she was Baptised before. Sounds like she was Catholic, left to join the Brethren, who attempted to baptize her again.

Alexandra, here’s a pretty thorough examination of conscience you may find helpful. I had to confess 31 years worth myself just over a year ago.

Examination of Conscience (PDF)


You’re right I was baptized Catholic (even though the priest forgot to record it), had first confession - father mumbled and I couldn’t understand him. I asked him to repeat himself and he kept getting louder but no clearer. I finally gave up, said “Thank you Father”, and went to the pew and prayed that I’m sorry I didn’t hear what Father gave me so I just said a bunch of prayers. I had first communion, I suppose - they ran out of hosts so I didn’t even really GET communion.

I found that site with the Examination of Conscience and was going through it. That’s when I wondered if the other baptism made a difference. The list was so long :eek:


Once you’ve been baptized, another attempt at baptism won’t wipe away sins. You need confession for that.

Yes, that list is long, and I know someone who just printed it, checked the ones that applied and took the whole list with them into the confessional for their first confession in 19 years. :wink:


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