“Ask a Priest: What Needs to Be Confessed Before Baptism?”

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Q: What does a 7-year-old or adult have to confess, right before a priest will baptize them? – J.S.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: A person who isn’t baptized cannot receive the sacrament of confession. A person must be baptized to be able to receive the other sacraments. Baptism, in any case, remits all sins.

It is possible that an adult catechumen might desire to prepare for baptism by unburdening his conscience in a confession-like dialogue with a priest.

A priest may accept such a dialogue as a pastoral measure. But he should make clear that it is not the sacrament of reconciliation, and that absolution will not follow the conversation.

I hope this helps.


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  1. Baptism is the grace that results from God’s ONLY Divine Son . . . opening up gates of heaven by his work on the cross. He died for ‘all sin’ (past, present, future aka ETERNALLY) and BY FAITH in God’s work… ALL who come to the blessed water of Baptism…enter into the DIVINE LIFE of God’s ONLY son again. Original sin washed clean OF SOUL… with just a bit of weakness of LOVE of God remaining (concupiscence).

    Such weakness purged and purified in the Sacrament of the Eucharist taken in, when confessing that weakness in Sacrament of Reconciliation. (as the Spirit of God, HOLY SPIRIT, shows it to us… via gifts of the Holy Spirit received in Sacrament of Confirmation… entering to an adulthood of faith practice)

    Gifts of the Holy Spirit: knowledge, understanding, counsel, wisdom OF GOD and piety, fortitude, and ‘fear’ aka respect for God… in human us.

    Salvation is a ‘process’ not a once and done event. Our cooperation with God’s sanctifying and actual graces.

  2. Cooperation AFTER the Sacrament of Baptism which brings SOUL into the Divine life. (we now in the world but NOT of the world) The working out of our salvation, is to be penitent (sorrowful) Judeo Christians who purge ‘the self’ of those weaknesses we have as the humans we are (concupiscence) we PURGE as the Holy Spirit shows us our weaknesses, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation speaking it aloud t the ministerial priest hearing ‘IN CHRIST’ . . . who absolves in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit. (come 7x 70x) After purging, we then receive the sanctification (purifying) of our sins… giving them to Christ at the consecration of blessing of bread . . . growing us in HOLINESS (sanctified) with CHRIST our life. (a lifetime process is salvation) That’s to be penitent, purging, and purifying CHRISTian. Then we LIVE THE FAITH in daily actions. (growing in moral virtue) Also said as the dogmatic (teachings of Christ) indicative bringing the moral imperative. (virtue aka fruit of Christ’s spirit)

    NOT a hair on our head will be harmed . . . who reside IN CHRIST here on earth. (the DEVIL will never win)

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