Why does Baptism remit ALL temporal punishment but Confession doesn't?


Baptism is for unbelievers converting to Christianity. Confession is for baptized Christians who seek forgiveness for the sins they committed after their Baptism.

Baptism forgives all sin and remits all their punishment. To put it simply, if you die right after your baptism (barring any sin committed after that), you go straight to heaven without dropping by purgatory. This is much like the grace given to the repentant thief who was crucified with Jesus.

I have read that temporal punishment for sin may still remain after Confession. One reason is the penitent’s contrition may not have been perfect and that the soul still needs to be purified from attachment to sin.

But why is it that Baptism purifies the soul completely? Is it because our sins are rendered more serious because Baptism has already endowed us with much assistance by the Holy Spirit to keep us away from sin?

I understand, though, that a plenary indulgence can have the same effect on a penitent. But it is still dependent on the penitent not having an attachment to sin.

What’s the difference between Baptism and confession, or the soul of a catechumen and an already baptized soul, that the latter is encouraged to have a share in atoning for his/her own sins?


Baptism is for believers…or the children of believers…

Such is the nature of Baptism. One is a new creation in Christ. See the Catechism for details.

The nature of Confession is restorative of the Grace of Baptism etc but yes temporal punishment can remain and often will. But it is a very very great gift - and brings us back closer to our moment of baptism. Renewing us in grace.




I had a case in RCIA where a woman who had married outside the Faith wished to return. At that point her husband, who had never been baptized, decided to become Catholic. She jested that it was unfair that she had confess all those years and that he got a free pass.


What about a person before baptism and still hasn’t given up some sin. I actually know of a person who was studying to be baptized and was still heavily into smoking weed.
If he is still doing this at the time of his baptism, then would that still be removed because isn’t sorrow mean stopping?


St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in Summa Theologica:
Whether it is Necessary to have Contrition for Each Mortal Sin?

Reply to Objection 3: Baptism acts in virtue of Christ’s merit, Who had infinite power for the blotting out of all sins; and so for all sins one Baptism suffices. But in contrition, in addition to the merit of Christ, an act of ours is requisite, which must, therefore, correspond to each sin, since it has not infinite power for contrition.

It may also be replied that Baptism is a spiritual generation; whereas Penance, as regards contrition and its other parts, is a kind of spiritual healing by way of some alteration. Now it is evident in the generation of a body, accompanied by corruption of another body, that all the accidents contrary to the thing generated, and which were the accidents of the thing corrupted, are removed by the one generation: whereas in alteration, only that accident is removed which was contrary to the accident which is the term of the alteration. In like manner, one Baptism blots out all sins together and introduces a new life; whereas Penance does not blot out each sin, unless it be directed to each. For this reason it is necessary to be contrite for, and to confess each sin.


True, but confession can be the first step toward full remission of temporal punishment.


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