A Good Confession | EWTN (2022)

CALIFORNIA YOUTH GRATEFUL TO THE POPE 350 7th Avenue, Suite 116 San Francisco, CA 94118

California Youth Grateful to the Pope has given permission to reprint the following pamphlet. Copies can be obtained by writing to the address above.


A Gift to the Holy Father on His Visit to California September 1987


It was with great joy that I received the news that the Irish Bishops had asked all the faithful to go to Confession as part of a great spiritual preparation for my visit to Ireland. You could not have given me a greater gift. And if today there is someone who is still hesitating, for one reason or another, please remember this: the person who knows how to acknowledge the truth of guilt, and asks Christ for forgiveness, enhances his own human dignity and manifests spiritual greatness.

Because of Christ's love and mercy, there is no sin that is too great to be forgiven; there is no sinner who will be rejected. Every person who repents will be received by Jesus Christ with forgiveness and immense love.

Pope John Paul II Ireland, September 29, 1979

(Video) Making a Good Confession



1. Examine Our Conscience 2. Be Sorry For Our Sins 3. Make A Firm Purpose Of Amendment 4. Confess Our Sins To A Priest 5. Perform Our Penance

For an examination of conscience, go to main menu, select "F" and downloadthe file "CONFESS.1".


(The following questions are adapted from "The Rites of the Catholic Church, Rite of Penance, Appendix III")

(Begin by praying to God for his light and grace)

Some preliminary questions

* Am I determined to courageously call good and evil by their proper name? Do I sincerely want to be set free from sin, to turn again to God, to begin a new life, and to enter into a deeper friendship with God through this confession?

* In past confessions, did I forget to mention, or deliberately conceal, any grave sins?

* Have I received Holy Communion while conscious of having committed a mortal sin but not having gone to confession?

(Video) Padre Pio's Secret to a Good Confession.

* Did I perform the penance I was given in my last confession? Did I make reparation for any injury to others? Have I been sincere in my efforts to lead a better life in keeping with the Gospel?

Questions related to the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart."

* Is my heart set on God, so that I really love him above all things and am faithful to his commandments, as a child loves and obeys its father? Or am I more concerned about the things of this world? Have I a right intention in what I do, seeking above all to fulfill the will of God?

* God spoke to us in his Son. Is my faith in God firm and secure? Am I wholehearted in accepting the Church's teaching? Have I been careful to grow in my understanding of the faith, to hear God's word, to study the doctrine of the Church, to avoid dangers to faith? Have I been strong and fearless in professing my faith in God and the Church? Am I consistent with the faith in public and private life?

* Have I prayed morning and evening? When I pray, do I really raise my mind and heart to God or is it a matter of words only? Do I offer God my difficulties, my joys, and my sorrows? Do I turn to God in time of temptation? Do I thank him often for his many favors?

* Do I have love and reverence for God's name? Have I offended him by blasphemy, swearing falsely, or taking his name in vain? Have I shown disrespect for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints?

* Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days--or caused others to do so-- through my own fault? Have I participated in Mass with attention and devotion? Have I fulfilled the precept of annual confession and of communion during the Easter season?

* Are there "false gods" in my life: superstition, spiritism or other occult practices; money or other things, human ambitions or even persons that mean more to me than God does?

Questions related to the commandment of a right love of self and the love of neighbor: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself"

* Where is my life leading me? Is the hope of eternal life my inspiration? Am I really trying to grow in a spiritual life through prayer, reading the word of God and meditating on it, receiving the sacraments, self-denial and acceptance of the sorrows and disappointments of life for the love of Christ? Have I kept the precept of fasting and abstinence? Have I strived to control my vices, my bad inclinations and passions, e.g. envy, love of food and drink? Have I fought especially against self-love or have I been proud and boastful, thinking myself better in the sight of God and despising others as less important than myself? Have I imposed my own will on others, without respecting their freedom and rights?

* What use have I made of time, of health and strength, of the gifts God has given me, like the talents of the Gospel? Do I use them for the glory of God and the good of others and my true good? Do I use them fully, or have I been lazy and too much given to leisure?

(Video) How to Make a Good Confession ~ Fr Ripperger

* Do I have a genuine love for my neighbors? Or do I use others for my own ends, or do to them what I would not want done to myself? Have I given grave scandal by my words or actions?

* In my family life, have I contributed to the well-being and happiness of the others by patience and genuine love? Have I been obedient to parents, showing them proper respect and giving them help in their spiritual and material needs? Have I been careful to give a Christian upbringing to my children, and to help them by good example and by exercising authority as a parent? Have I been faithful to my husband (wife) in my heart and in my relations with others?

* Do I share my possessions with the less fortunate? Do I do my best to help the victims of oppression, misfortune, and poverty? Or do I look down on my neighbor, especially the poor, the sick, the elderly, strangers, and people of other races?

* Does my life reflect the mission I received in confirmation? Do I share in the apostolic and charitable works of the Church and in the life of my parish? Have I helped to meet the needs of the Church and of the world and prayed for them: for unity in the Church, for the spread of the Gospel among nations, for peace and justice, etc.?

* Am I concerned for the good and prosperity of the human community in which I live, or do I spend my life caring only for myself? Do I share to the best of my ability in the work of promoting justice, morality, harmony, and love in human relations? Have I done my duty as a citizen? Have I paid my taxes?

* In my work or profession am I just, hardworking, honest, serving society out of love of others? Have I paid a fair wage to my employees? Have I been faithful to my promises and contracts?

* Have I obeyed legitimate authority and given it due respect?

* If I am in a position of responsibility or authority, do I use this for my own advantage or for the good of others, in a spirit of service?

* Have I done violence to others by damage to life or limb, reputation, honor or material possessions? Have I been responsible for advising an abortion or procuring one? Have I been involved in permitting or encouraging the breakdown of matrimony and its integrity through artificial fertilization? Have I kept up hatred for others? Am I estranged from others through quarrels, enmity, insults, anger? Have I been guilty of refusing to testify to the innocence of another because of selfishness?

* Have I kept my senses and my whole body pure and chaste as a temple of the Holy Spirit, consecrated for resurrection and glory, and in order to have the self-mastery and selfless love required to live out my vocation in life? Have I dishonored my body by fornication, impurity, unworthy conversation or thoughts, evil desires, or actions? Have I given in to sensuality? Have I indulged in reading, conversation, shows, and entertainments that offend against Christian and human decency? Have I encouraged others to sin by my own failure to maintain these standards? Have I been faithful to the moral law in my married life? Am I guilty of the sin of contraception?

* Have I been truthful and fair, or have I injured others by deceit, calumny, detraction, rash judgment, or violation of a secret?

(Video) How To Make A Good Confession - 10 Tips From A Priest

* Have I stolen the property of others? Have I desired it unjustly and inordinately? Have I damaged it? Have I made restitution of other people's property and made good their loss?

* If I have been injured, have I been ready to make peace for the love of Christ and to forgive, or do I harbor hatred and the desire for revenge?


True sorrow for sins includes the firm resolve not to sin again and to avoid the near occasions of sin. The Christian vocation, however, is essentially a call to growth, in fact, to holiness itself. Our purpose of amendment should include a resolve to advance, not only to avoid sin. It is very appropriate to make resolutions to pray more, to study or work better, to do more for others, God and the Church.

Some typical resolutions of spiritual growth:

- Make a daily examination of conscience. - Read and reflect on Scripture for 5 minutes each day. - Study a book of Christian Doctrine for one-half hour each week. - Strive to have more order in the way I work or study. - Smile more around the home. - Get to know better the people I study, work and socialize with. - Perform one act of self-denial each day for the love of God. - Spend some time each week doing some act of service to those most in need. - Attend Mass one extra day during the week. - Go to confession once a month.


O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.

CALIFORNIA YOUTH GRATEFUL TO THE POPE 350 7th Avenue, Suite 116 San Francisco, CA 94118

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(Video) How to get Better at Confession? w/ Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P.

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What is an example of a good confession? ›

O My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with the help of your grace, to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

What are good confession questions? ›

Do I speak about the Faith, the Church, the saints, or sacred things with irreverence, hatred or defiance? Do I watch television or movies, or listen to music that treats God, the Church, the saints, or sacred things irreverently? Have I used vulgar, suggestive, or obscene speech? Do I behave disrespectfully in Church?

What are the qualities of a good confession? ›

Qualities of a Good Confession
  • Complete Sincerity and Openness Even the holiest and wisest confessor cannot forcibly pour into the soul what he desires if it is not sincere and open. ...
  • Humility A soul does not benefit as it should from the sacrament of confession if it is not humble.

What to say when your confessing your sins? ›

When you finish confessing your sins, say: “…and I am truly sorry for all my sins.” 6. The priest will then give you some words of advice and/or encouragement to help you become a better person and a more faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

How do you start your confession? ›

Confession begins with the (1) Sign of the Cross and the penitent greeting the priest with the words, (2) “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ….” (weeks, months, years). The penitent (3) confesses sins to the priest, who stands in the name of Christ and the Church.

What is effective confession? ›

A good confession is the fruit of prayer to God, begging the grace to want to change, to want to leave our sins behind, to want to hand our sins to God and never seek to take them back.

What sins Cannot be forgiven in confession? ›

The unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy includes ridicule and attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil.

What is the most common false confession? ›

Coerced-compliant false confessions are the most common type of false confession.

What is the most important part of confession? ›

The essential parts are that you confess your sins (especially any serious, grave or mortal sins) and the priest speaks the words of absolution over you. Next, the penitent makes the sign of the cross, which the priest may make also. For some reason, it seems many people don't know to make the sign of the cross.

Why is it important to make a good confession? ›

Confession is an important step to seeking forgiveness for your sins. It is also a beautiful opportunity to strengthen your connection with God and receive His graces through the sacraments. Receiving God's graces helps us to lead a more holy life.

Why is confession so important? ›

Christ gives us the Sacrament of Confession where we have to confess our sins to a Priest who is standing in for Christ. (in persona Christi) By confessing our sins we come to terms with what we did and it does remind us of our weakness and God's grace.

How do you confess seriously? ›

24 September 2019.
  1. Consider explaining the story of how you came to love this person. Say something true, and honest, and sweet. Make it unique, and make them feel special.
  2. Say it casually or earnestly, depending on your comfort level. Make sure that this person knows you're serious.

How do I confess my sins to God? ›

Pray. You confess sin to God through prayer, but you can also pray for the courage to confess to another person, and ask Him to help you see any other things you need to confess (Psalm 139:23-24).

Can I just confess my sins to God? ›

You can confess your sins directly to God. You do not need to confess to a pastor, priest, or spiritual leader to be forgiven.

What is the first thing you say before confession? ›

Confess Your Sins to the Priest

The priest should welcome you kindly and warmly. Make the Sign of the Cross, and say these words: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession.

What do I say in confession? ›

Confession: Confess all your sins to the priest. If you are unsure what to say, ask the priest for help. When you are finished, conclude with these or similar words: “I am sorry for these and all my sins.” Penance: The priest will propose an act of penance.

What is the true meaning of confession? ›

: to disclose one's faults. specifically : to unburden one's sins or the state of one's conscience to God or to a priest. : to hear a confession. : admit, own. confess to a crime.

What are the 2 unforgivable sins? ›

— J.F.D. Rev. Graham: Only one sin that can't be forgiven is on God's list — and that is the sin of rejecting Him and refusing His offer of forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ. This alone is the unforgivable sin, because it means we are saying that the Holy Spirit's witness about Jesus is a lie (see Luke 12:10).

Are there 3 unforgivable sins? ›

A: There are many sins recounted in the Hebrew Bible but none are ever called unforgivable sins.

What are the three unforgivable sins Catholic? ›

“The sins against the Holy Ghost are commonly said to be six: despair, presumption, impenitence, obstinacy, resisting truth, and envy of another's spiritual welfare.” Clearly, all of them are rooted in hardness of heart without any indication that the person desires to amend his or her life.

Why do innocent people confess? ›

To conclude an overwhelming interrogation session: Some innocent people confess to appease an aggressive investigator, desperate to put an end to a grueling interrogation. These are sometimes called compliant false confessions. For the attention: Others confess voluntarily to attract attention and gain popularity.

Can a confession be rejected? ›

He may deny to have made the statement at all or he may say that he made that statement due to undue influence of the police. In this case the confession made by the accused to the magistrate before the trial begins is called retracted confession.

What makes a confession inadmissible? ›


What three main things actually happens in a confession? ›

The Catholic Church teaches that sacramental confession requires three "acts" on the part of the penitent: contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), disclosure of the sins (the 'confession'), and satisfaction (the 'penance', i.e. doing something to make amends for the sins).

What are three things that happen after you make a good confession? ›

11 Things That Happen When You Commit To Going To Confession Regularly
  • You Gain a Healthy Knowledge of Your Sin. ...
  • You Can Begin to Forgive Others – Especially Deep Wounds. ...
  • You Become More Patient with Yourself. ...
  • You Start to Seek Integrity in All You Do (i.e Life Isn't About Just “Not Sinning”)

What is the value of confession? ›

Man has instinctual need to confess that which he perceives to be a wrong or an offense against himself, against fellowman, or against God. It is believed that man's sense of wholeness and integrity and his sense of community are impaired if wrongs are not confessed.

How does confession bring us closer to God? ›

Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are brought back into union with God. Our sins separate and damage our relationship with our Lord, and it is through this most powerful sacrament that our relationship with the Lord is repaired and strengthened.

Why does God want us to confess? ›

Jesus covers our sins fully by his blood. We can never fully right our wrongs. We need God's grace, so God invites us to confession reminding us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

How often should I confess my sins? ›

A recommended frequency, based on the teachings of past popes and canon law, is between once a month and once a week. This practice "was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit", according to Pius XII.

How do you get the truth out of someone? ›

Play Good Cop
  1. Be reassuring. Let them know what they did is understandable. ...
  2. Minimize consequences. What will happen if they confess?
  3. The release. Explain that after divulging information, they will come out better—either be a better person, have a better outcome, or just feel relieved.
  4. Show agreeability.

Can you confess by praying? ›

A prayer of confession is a way for us to acknowledge and repent from our sins. Through prayers of confession, we come clean with God about our mistakes and need for God's grace, preparing our hearts to be cleansed by Christ's sacrifice and transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Can we be forgiven without confession? ›

Sacramental confession is normatively required for the forgiveness of mortal sins; it is not absolutely required. What this means is that, in extraordinary circumstances, mortal sins can be forgiven outside of sacramental confession.

How Will God forgive us when we confess our sins? ›

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Should I tell everyone my sins? ›

Answer: The first thing to say is that confession is a normal part of a healthy Christian life. The Apostle John says, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). John wrote these words to Christians.

Can I confess without a priest? ›

' Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, 'Afterward I will go to confession. ' You will return to God's grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God's forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.

Can you repent for other people's sins? ›

I can declare the truth regarding our transgressions, renounce them, and cry out to God on behalf of the people as a whole. But I cannot “repent” for what anyone else has done, but only for what I have done and then pray that God's Spirit would awaken others to likewise repent of their own sins.

What is an example of a confession prayer? ›

Almighty God, we acknowledge and confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed; we have not loved you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. Deepen within us our sorrow for the wrong we have done, and the good we have left undone.

What do you say first in confession? ›

Confess your sins to a priest

Begin by making the sign of the cross, saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (length of time) since my last confession, and these are my sins.” Then tell the priest all your sins, their type and how often you've committed each one.

How do you confess your sins to prayer? ›

God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen. Merciful God, you pardon all who truly repent and turn to you. We humbly confess our sins and ask your mercy.

What are the three parts of confession? ›

The Catholic Church teaches that sacramental confession requires three "acts" on the part of the penitent: contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), disclosure of the sins (the 'confession'), and satisfaction (the 'penance', i.e. doing something to make amends for the sins).

What are the three types of confessions? ›

The Different Types of False Confession
  • Voluntary False Confessions. Kassin and Wrightsman33 initially defined a voluntary false confession as one that is offered in the absence of police interrogation. ...
  • Compliant False Confessions. ...
  • Persuaded False Confessions.

How detailed do you have to be in confession? ›

Answer: The basic norm for confessing grave sins is that we should be sorry for all of our grave sins without exception. For this reason the Church asks us to confess grave or mortal sins “by number and kind.” This just means “what and how many times” you did what you did.

What are words for confession? ›

Synonyms of confession
  • admission.
  • acknowledgment.
  • avowal.
  • assertion.
  • insistence.
  • declaration.
  • self-confession.
  • acknowledgement.


1. Andrew Peterson - The Good Confession
(Centricity Music)
2. 5 Steps to a Good Confession
(Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh)
3. How to Make a Good Confession w/ Mattie Harte
(Pints With Aquinas)
4. Catholic Confession Revealed: Watch Before Going
(Catholic Minute - Catholic speaker Ken Yasinski)
5. An Examination of Conscience | How to Make a Good Confession
(Catholic Crusade Ministries)
6. Making a Good Confession (Examining Your Conscience)
(Breaking In The Habit)

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