One of the most stressful moments for baptized Protestants entering into full communion with the Catholic Church is making their first Confession. Unlike Catholics who typically need only to recall sins from a month or so, these baptized adults in RCIA must make a first Confession covering their entire lives—many decades for most. Occasionally, a zealous Protestant arrives in RCIA months before Easter asking the question, “Can I go to Confession now?”
This sets up the question: How early may a baptized candidate go to Confession? Surprisingly, very little is written on this subject. Of course, it may not be too surprising, since very few candidates are begging to go to Confession early. The question is made more difficult, though, because the Church does not specify when a candidate may go to Confession, only that one should.