Can a non-Catholic go to confession to a priest?
Interesting enough, many non-Catholics are intrigued by confession and are curious about whether they can receive the same graces as Catholics.
While confession is often looked at suspiciously by many non-Catholics, there exist a good number of non-Catholics who would like to go to confession. These non-Catholics are not actively engaged in the Right of Christian Initiation For Adults program and do not intend (in the near future) to become Catholic.
Besides the many graces received during confession, non-Catholics may be interested in the psychological benefits of telling someone else their sins and the relief they feel when hearing the words of absolution.
However, is it even permissible for a non-Catholic to get in the confessional line and kneel before a priest to receive the sacrament of reconciliation?
The Code of Canon Law is fairly straight-forward about the sacraments of the Catholic Church. While the Church does recognize the baptism of most Christian denominations, the valid performance of the sacrament of confession is only recognized within the confines of the Catholic Church (with the primary exception being the Orthodox Church).
Basically, a Catholic priest can offer absolution to non-Catholic Christians in certain rare cases, such as the danger of death.