Q. 1. Why is it that young children are required to go to Confession before doing their First Communion if they are under the age of reason. The Church teaches that they are without sin at that age.
A. 1. The reason why the Catholic Church require children under the age of reason to participate in the Sacrament of Confession is to educate them in the practice of penance from an early age. Secondly, this practice brings them to a realization of the importance of the Sacrament of Confession in the life of a Christian.
In 1986, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent a letter to the U.S. bishops. Its content read as follows:
“The basis for this observance of children is not so much the state of sin in which they may be.. but to educate them from a tender age, to the true Christian spirit of penance and conversion, to growth in self-knowledge and self-control, to the just sense of sin, even of venial sin, to the necessity of asking pardon of God and, above all, to a loving and confident abandonment to the mercy of the Lord.”
For this reason, parents are asked to support the Church's approach of educating children at an early age regarding the Sacrament of Confession.