Aggie Catholic Guide to Confession — St. Mary's Catholic Center (2022)

Aggie Catholic Guide to Confession — St. Mary's Catholic Center (1)

What to do

Preparing Well

Act of Contrition

Examination of Conscience

Getting more out of your confession

(Video) Let's Talk About Contraception - St. Mary's Catholic Center

What to do

  1. Say “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [this long] since my last Confession.”

  2. Confess your sins. The priest is there to help you and may ask some questions to guide you through the sacrament.

  3. Listen to the counsel and penance the priest gives. Tell him if you do not understand or cannot complete the penance.

  4. Pray an act of contrition. If the priest does not ask you to do so, pray it outside. You can find examples below.

  5. Receive absolution. The priest blesses you as he says the prayer of absolution, which frees you from your sins.

  6. Complete your penance. If you cannot do the penance right away, do so as soon as possible.

Preparing well for confession

Come, Holy Spirit. Enlighten my mind that I may know the sins I ought to confess, and grant me the grace to confess them fully, humbly, and with a contrite heart. Help me to resolve firmly not to commit them again. Amen.

After praying for God’s help to make a good Confession, seek to cooperate with His grace by examining your conscience. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I confessed?” and, “What are the sins I have committed since then?” As you examine your conscience, remember the following:

Number and kind

In order to receive more fully God’s mercy and to express our repentance, the Church asks that we confess all our mortal sins (see below). We do this by stating the kind of sin committed and how many times to the best of our ability. For example, “I missed Sunday Mass twice, and I have engaged in lustful kissing about every other day,” is better than, “I have not been going to Church as I should, and I have been impure.”

Mortal vs venial sins

A mortal sin breaks our relationship with God. A sin is mortal when the act committed is grave and when we did so with full knowledge and deliberate consent. If any of these conditions are not present, then the sin committed was venial. Venial sins hurt our relationship with God and, when left unrepented, they dispose us to commit mortal sin.

(Video) Practice First Confession

Aggie Catholic Guide to Confession — St. Mary's Catholic Center (2)

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner.”


“O my God, I’m sorry for my sins with all of 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 intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.”

The priest will then absolve you from your sins. He may conclude the Confession with the words, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” The response is, “His mercy endures forever.”

Questions for an Examination of Conscience


  • Have I taken the Lord’s name in vain?

    (Video) Advent Examination of Conscience

  • Have I missed Mass on a Sunday or on Holy Days of Obligation?

  • Have I arrived at Mass late or left early?

  • Have I received Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?

  • Have I failed to go to Confession at least once a year?

  • Have I failed to tithe?

  • Have I used horoscopes, fortune telling, or other occult/superstitious practices?

  • Have I denied teachings of the Church?

  • Have I failed to defend or stand up for the faith?

  • Have I failed to pray?

  • Have I deliberately omitted a mortal sin in a previous Confession?


  • Have I drank underage?

  • Have I gotten drunk?

  • Have I used marijuana or other drugs?

  • Have I driven under the influence?

  • Have I eaten too much?

  • Have I spent an excessive amount of time on entertainment - social media, video games, YouTube, Netflix, or the internet?

  • Have I failed to make a sacrifice on Fridays during the year?

  • Have I eaten meat on Fridays in Lent? Have I failed to fast on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday?

  • Have I spent money frivolously?

  • Have I used profane words or excessive/biting sarcasm?


  • Have I looked at arousing images or pornography?

  • Have I intentionally consented to impure thoughts or fantasies?

  • Have I masturbated?

  • Have I dressed immodestly?

  • Have I engaged in impure conversation?

  • Have I shared impure photos via texting or social media?

  • Have I engaged in lustful touching/kissing?

  • Have I had sex outside of marriage?

  • Have I engaged in any sexual acts with a member of the same sex?

    (Video) Making a Good Confession

  • Have I used contraception? Were they abortifacients (IUDs, the morning after pill, etc.)?


  • Have I cheated on assignments or tests?

  • Have I neglected my responsibilities or studies?

  • Have I disrespected professors or those in authority?

  • Have I dishonored my parents?

  • Have I gossiped? Have I lied?

  • Have I envied/disdained others’ goods?

  • Have I made condemning criticisms or rash judgments?

  • Have I stolen? Have I returned it or tried to make up for it?

  • Have I received pay for work that I did not do?

  • Have I hurt someone in speech or deed?

  • Have I committed or helped someone to commit an abortion?

Getting more out of your confession

When someone comes to the sacrament of Confession, we know that God is already at work in their life - even before the forgiveness takes place. Conversion is a work of the grace of God, who makes our hearts return to Him. In Confession, He rejoices to welcome you back home (see Luke 15). After Confession, He wants to bring that work to fulfillment through a life of true peace, joy, freedom, and love. Follow these tips to cooperate with His work and get more out of your Confession.

  1. Examine your conscience daily. Before going to bed, briefly recall the past day. Thank God for the good you have done, ask forgiveness for the wrong, and seek His grace to do better tomorrow.

  2. Go to Confession monthly. While the minimum requirement for a practicing Catholic is to go once a year, confessing once or twice a month helps us to form our conscience, overcome our sins, and grow in God’s grace. If you feel that you need to go more often, discuss this with the priest.

  3. Seek a more perfect contrition. Contrition is a sorrow of soul for the sins committed, and it includes the firm resolution to sin no more. Aim towards a more perfect contrition, making love of God the motive for your sorrow and resolve rather than fear of hell or a desire for relief from the feelings of guilt and shame.

  4. Make concrete resolutions to amend your life. The firm resolution to sin no more includes taking concrete steps to avoid sin and practice virtue. Consider these or similar resolutions: establishing a prayer routine, making a balanced/disciplined schedule of study, work, and leisure, installing pornography filters on your devices, or making a plan with your significant other about boundaries and curfew.

  5. Evangelize. Share the peace and joy that you receive from Confession by encouraging others to go as well. Perhaps consider inviting a friend to come with you.

  6. Deepen your relationship with God. The peace and joy of a deep spiritual life causes everything else, including temptation, to pale in comparison. Growing in your spiritual life through daily prayer will bear great fruit in your moral life.

  7. Add to your examination of conscience a “particular examen.” Examining the past day with a focus on a particular virtue that you want to develop is a great way to respond to struggles with a particular vice or sin.

  8. Make fasting and sacrifice a regular spiritual practice. Fasting and sacrifice atone for sin, strengthen us against temptation, and honor the Passion of Christ. Take up the Friday penance and other regular sacrifices out of love for the Lord.

    (Video) Going to Confession for the First Time in a Long Time

  9. Practice devotions and acts of reparation. Spiritual practices such as the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and devotions to the Sacred Heart are great examples of devotion and reparation. These help us to express more genuinely our sorrow for sin and receive more fruitfully the grace we need to fulfill our resolutions of amendment.

  10. Make the most out of your time in line. Capitalize on the time waiting in line for Confession by preparing well, making good resolutions to overcome the sins committed, and praying - read the Bible, pray the rosary, write in a journal, etc.


Can I do my confession online? ›

You don't need to hold confession at church, for instance, but confession does need to be heard by an ordained priest. Theologian George Worgul, Jr. says technology can and should be used to deliver sacraments.

Is there a Catholic confession app? ›

The Confession App prepares you in a gentle and comforting way for the Catholic sacrament of Confession (Reconciliation). A grace emphasized introduction section helps you understand the place and history of the Sacrament of Confession. In the preparation section, you make your way through the some guidance questions.

How do you schedule a confession? ›

Visit your church during a designated confession time or call your priest to schedule a private confession. Enter the confessional and make the sign of the cross. Say, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [this long] since my last confession."

What do you say to start a Catholic 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.

Can I take notes to confession? ›

Some also bring written notes with them. The only potential problem with that is that the light is often low in traditional confessionals, and this sometimes makes reading a written text difficult. The point, however, is that you ought not be anxious about bringing some form of written reminder with you to confession.

What do you say when your at confession? ›

This prayer is short and simple: 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.

Can Catholic priests tell confessions to the police? ›

Under Roman Catholic law, it is forbidden for a priest to disclose information — under any circumstances — obtained in the form of religious confession. If a priest breaks what's called "the sacred seal of confession," he will be subject to excommunication from the church.

What is the number one Catholic App? ›

Laudate is the #1 Catholic app today. This app provides daily readings, prayers, and liturgical calendar access. It also includes a variety of other resources, such as a directory of Catholic churches and schools. Download Laudate here.

What are the six steps of confession? ›

  • 6 STEPS FOR A GOOD CONFESSION. Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession. ...
  • Examination of Conscience.
  • Become sorry for your sins. For sins to be forgiven, the penitent must possess contrition for his/her sins. ...
  • Confess your sins to a priest.

What are the 3 requirements of confession? ›

Requirements of a Confession
  • It must be voluntary. ...
  • The confession must be made by the party to be affected by it. ...
  • The confession must be to another person.

What should you do before going to confession? ›

Before Confession Be truly sorry for your sins. Pray to the Holy Spirit to help you make a good confession: Prayer to the Holy Spirit Come, Holy Spirit, and help me to know how much God loves me and wants to forgive me. Help me to see and to love the goodness God has placed in me and in others.

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 should I confess at my first confession? ›

Tell all your sins openly and honestly, including the number of times each sin was committed. Then, listen to the priest and follow his instructions. You may also ask any questions about the Faith or how to grow in holiness. Pray the Act of Contrition when the priest tells you.

Do you say act of contrition out loud during confession? ›

Saying the act aloud helps a priest know you are contrite or disposed to receive the sacrament, but he may not need to hear it in order to know you are truly sorry for your sins. He may instruct you to say the act of contrition after you have left the confessional or not say it at all.

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 are mortal sins for confession? ›

Finally, the capital sins are also considered grave matter. These sins are vices and are defined as contrary to the Christian virtues of holiness. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (acedia).

How do you say a good confession? ›

Tell the priest the specific kind of sins you have committed and, to the best of your ability, how many times you have committed them since your last good confession. Avoid generalizations and inform the priest of any relevant circumstances in which your sins were committed.

What is the prayer said before confession? ›

Prayer Before Confession

Come Holy Spirit, into my soul. Enlighten my mind that I may know the sins I ought to confess, and grant me your grace to confess them fully, humbly, and with a contrite heart. Help me to firmly resolve not to commit them again.

What are examples of sins? ›

The seven 'deadly sins'
  • Sloth. One example of sloth is plagiarism. ...
  • Gluttony. While alcohol and substance abuse issues among students receive much attention, less attention is paid to such problems among faculty, said Franke. ...
  • Lust. ...
  • Greed. ...
  • Pride. ...
  • Envy. ...
  • Wrath.
1 Dec 2013

What is an example of confession? ›

Example Sentences

He confessed after being questioned for many hours. He willingly confessed his crime. I have to confess that I was afraid at first. I confessed my sins to the priest.

What happens if a priest breaks the seal of confession? ›

Any priest who breaks the seal of confession is subject to the church's most severe penalty — automatic excommunication, revocable only by the Pope. The idea is that people will feel free to confess sins without fear.

Can a priest use a confession against you? ›

Any person who overhears a confession is likewise bound by the seal. Priests may not reveal what they have learned during confession to anyone, even under the threat of their own death or that of others.

What happens if you confess a crime to a Catholic priest? ›

“If someone confesses an intention to commit a crime, the priest [likely will try to] dissuade the penitent from carrying out the crime, but he may not divulge what he is told during confession.” Breaking the “seal of the confessional,” Dodge emphasizes, results in automatic excommunication for the priest involved.

Which Bible is the Catholic one? ›

The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (NRSV-CE) is a Bible translation approved for use by the Catholic Church, receiving the imprimatur of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1991.

Who is the highest ranking Catholic in the United States? ›

William Levada
His Eminence William Joseph Levada
OrdinationDecember 20, 1961 by Martin John O'Connor
ConsecrationMay 12, 1983 by Timothy Manning
Created cardinalMarch 24, 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI
RankCardinal deacon (2006–2016) Cardinal priest (2016–2019)
16 more rows

Who is the highest ranking Catholic? ›

The Supreme Pontiff (the Pope) is a local ordinary for the whole Catholic Church. In Eastern Catholic Churches, Patriarchs, major archbishops, and metropolitans have ordinary power of governance for the whole territory of their respective autonomous particular churches.

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 are the fruits of a good 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.

How many times a year should a Catholic go to confession? ›

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that one must confess serious sins at least once a year (CCC 1457). One can commit a serious sin without it being a mortal sin.

What are the 4 types of false 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.

What are three mortal sin requirements? ›

For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must exist at the same time.
  • It must be of a grave matter;
  • It must be committed with full knowledge that it is a mortal sin;
  • It must be committed with full consent. [ Full consent means to do it "voluntarily."] ( C.C.C. # 1857)

When should you not go to confession? ›

We shouldn't go to Confession only when we are conscious of mortal sin, but also when we are trying to uproot venial sins from our lives. Collectively, the two types of sin are known as "actual sin," to distinguish them from original sin, that sin which we inherited from Adam and Eve.

Can I confess my sins directly 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.

Can you go to confession without communion? ›

You don't need to receive Holy Communion when attending Mass, which is why going to confession is not a “strict” requirement for basic attendance. Furthermore, if you are only conscience of venial sins on your soul, you are permitted to receive Holy Communion, even if you don't go to confession.

Do you say the Act of Contrition before or after your sins? ›

The Act of Contrition is a powerful prayer of penance that is prayed after confessing one's sins to a priest in confession. After making an act of contrition, the priest will grant absolution to the penitent, absolving him/her of their sins by the grace of God.

What happens if I forget my act of contrition? ›

But if you do not know an Act of Contrition by memory, you can always express your sorrow and firm purpose of amendment in your own words, ask the priest to help you, or pray, “Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner who loves you!”

Can a Catholic be forgiven without confession? ›

Answer: 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 do you say a perfect act of contrition? ›

Act of Contrition: “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.

Can confession be done 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.”

Is it a mortal sin to miss online mass? ›

All of the commandments of God are serious matter, so to deliberately miss Mass on Sunday — without a just reason — would objectively be considered a mortal sin.

What makes a confession legal? ›

A confession is considered voluntary when made of the free will and accord of the accused, without fear or threat of harm and without hope or promise of benefit, reward, or immunity. Confessions generally include details of the crime.

Can you be convicted on confession alone? ›

A general criminal law principle known as the corpus delicti rule provides that a confession, standing alone, isn't enough for a conviction. With its design of preventing wrongful convictions, the rule implicitly acknowledges the phenomenon of false confessions.

What sins Cannot be forgiven by a priest? ›

And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come." The same idea that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable is found in Luke 12:10 and Mark 3:29.

How often should a Catholic go to confession? ›

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.

What are the 3 conditions necessary for mortal sin? ›

Three conditions must together be met for a sin to be mortal: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent." The sin against the Holy Ghost and the sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance are considered especially serious.

Does watching Mass on TV count? ›

Watching Mass on TV is not the same as attending Mass and does not fulfill someone's Sunday/holy day obligation. However, if someone is unable to attend Mass, then there is no obligation to attend Mass.

What are the 5 mortal sins? ›

Finally, the capital sins are also considered grave matter. These sins are vices and are defined as contrary to the Christian virtues of holiness. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth (acedia).

What are some examples of false confession? ›

One of the most well-known false confession cases is the NY Central Park Jogger case. In 1989, a female jogger was found brutally attacked and raped in Central Park. The crime caused an uproar in New York City and police were under pressure to find those responsible.

What makes a confession invalid in court? ›

A confession can serve as powerful evidence of a suspect's guilt, but criminal defendants have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. An involuntary confession that was coerced by a police officer cannot be used against a defendant in court, regardless of whether it was true.

What is an illegal confession? ›

A false confession is an admission of guilt for a crime which the individual did not commit. Although such confessions seem counterintuitive, they can be made voluntarily, perhaps to protect a third party, or induced through coercive interrogation techniques.

What percentage of confessions are false? ›

While the notion that someone would confess to a crime he or she did not commit may seem counterintuitive to casual observers, the reality is that false confessions occur regularly. According to the Innocence Project, of the 258 DNA exonerations they have handled to date, 25% have involved a false confession.


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