Why Baptism Must Come Before Confession

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Full Question

Is someone who has not yet been baptized allowed to go to confession?


The Code of Canon Law:

Can. 842 §1. A person who has not received baptism cannot be admitted validly to the other sacraments.

Can. 959 In the sacrament of penance the faithful who confess their sins to a legitimate minister, are sorry for them, and intend to reform themselves obtain from God through the absolution imparted by the same minister forgiveness for the sins they have committed after baptism and, at the same, time are reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by sinning (emphasis added).

The Baltimore Catechism:

Q. 637. Can a person ever receive any of the other sacraments without first receiving baptism?

A. A person can never receive any of the other sacraments without first receiving baptism, because baptism makes us members of Christ’s Church, and unless we are members of his Church we cannot receive his sacraments.

Baptism is the first sacrament of the Christian life. It brings forgiveness for all sins received prior to the baptism and imparts new life to the recipient. Confession is the sacrament for forgiveness of sins committed after baptism and restores the recipient to the state of grace received at baptism.

By Fr. Charles Grondin


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Catholics understand that the default destination for those who are not baptised is Hell, right? Aborted, miscarried and stillborn babies, by default go to Hell. That’s how important splashing a little water on one’s head is to the Church. No water, no salvation. And an omniscient god, knows before conception even takes place, that he will be sending these unbaptized souls to Hell… Cool beans. Let’s worship that god! He’s insane.
    The Church may allow you to believe in “Limbo” a suburb of Hell where the flames aren’t as high, I suppose, but this is not official Church dogma. They will also allow you to “hope” that the god you worship isn’t a complete monster, and hope that he will save these unbaptized souls, but the catechism is clear that the Church knows of no way to salvation outside of baptism. You aren’t allowed to have faith in a just and fair god – you aren’t allowed to pretend to know things you don’t know – you may only “hope” this.
    The default condition is clear. If you don’t get that splash of water, you’re going to one of the four Hells – probably Gehenna (Jerusalem town dump. Don’t fret. It’s been closed for a very long time!).

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