At what age should a child receive the sacrament of penance?

The Church believes that a child reaches the age of reason by the age of seven. Children who have reached the age of reason should be prepared for and receive Communion, preceded by sacramental confession.


How often should Catholics receive the sacrament of penance?

Individuals who have attained the age of reason, usually the age of seven, are bound to confess serious sins at least once a year. In addition, the frequent and careful celebration of this sacrament very useful as a remedy for venial sin. It is recommended that Reconciliation Services, consisting of the Rite of Reconciliation with individual confession and absolution, be celebrated in the parish during the Advent and Lenten seasons. Parishioners are encouraged to attend these services and to avail themselves of the opportunity to confess serious sins at that time.


I have not been to Church or Confession for quite a while. I’m nervous about going to Confession. What advice do you have?

First, be comfortable. I know that our priests would be very willing to speak with you. Perhaps the first contact with your local parish may be an informal meeting with the pastor. You don’t need to start right off with Confession. A simple and low-key conversation with the parish priest would be the best way to begin. Then, after a time of reacquaintance, the sacrament of Penance would be celebrated.

A Reconciliation Service may either be face-to-face or the penitent may be behind a screen for confidentiality.


Where is the proper place for the celebration of the sacrament of penance?

The parish church is the proper place for the celebration of the sacrament. The Reconciliation Room or Confessional is to be in a visible location within the church and should allow for face-to-face confessions or anonymous confessions with the use of a fixed screen or grille. The choice of face to face or anonymous confession is made by the penitent.


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