RCIA 482: Making a Confession

img_6803RCIA 482 makes a strange distinction. But before we get to that, I want to clear up something I saw elsewhere on the internet about non-Catholics not being able to make a confession of sins. Certainly, the elect are ineligible to confess. And besides, they have the benefit of the scrutinies as well as being able to experience the forgiveness of sins in baptism.

The Church clearly expects candidates for full communion to celebrate the sacrament of Penance:

482. 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 candidate’s confession.

It’s curious that this confession “should” take place if the candidate is to receive Communion. One would think that for the conferral of Confirmation, one would also have had serious sins forgiven.

RCIA 482 makes sure we know this isn’t a “practice” confession or a “non-sacramental” event. Note the two important phrases:

– according to his or her own conscience

– should make a confession

Any confessors out there who have advice about the ideal thoroughness of this adult’s first confession? I’m pretty sure the “pick one sin you want to work on” approach is eliminated from the get-go.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in post-conciliar liturgy documents, RCIA, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to RCIA 482: Making a Confession

  1. Tony Barr says:

    Life, according to John Henry Newman, is larger than logic. Which means expect anomalies. In this case, both confirmation and eucharist, especially the latter (a qualitative anomaly?) would dispense of the need of personal confession of sin (a collective plural rather than an individual selection).

    But I tend to think that the first confession of any adult ‘convert’ would be a completely different experience from that of a practiced confession. It would involve a convergeance of life styles, where the former order has not so much passed away as having beeg integrated into the new order. As a ‘confession’ of sin, it would not involve a list of naughties but rather the embrace of a future journey of ‘goodies’.

    Or am i being too facile here?

  2. Shannon says:

    Check canon law for the requirements for marriage: candidates “should be” confirmed, but it’s not an actual requirement. Confirmation gets shoved aside and, although we say it’s an initiation sacrament, we certainly don’t treat it that way.

  3. FrMichael says:

    At some parishes, first confessions have been conducted with the parish’s communal Lenten reconciliation service, at others, its own service. I have helped at some small parishes where it is a scheduled one-on-one time with a priest, so outside priests not connected with the parish are brought him to help the skittish candidates. These latter confessions can become very detailed, very lengthy general confessions.

    In my experience the determining factor of the quality of the Sacrament of Reconciliation lies not in the RCIA team or candidates themselves but the parish priests and their attitide toward the sacrament. This exhibits itself in how well they catechize the candidates and what they arrange to meet the needs of the RCIA.

    IMHO Confession, along with Holy Orders, is a sacrament that requires a priest to conduct the catechesis with the candidates as opposed to a lay catechist.

    As an aside, changed computers months ago and forgot to bookmark your blog. Now I feel like I have to make up for lost time!

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