What Do You Confess During A Catholic Confession?

Reader Question – I am going through the RCIA course and have to do a confession. I have no idea what to say during confession or what to confess… Can anyone give me some input and an overveiw of the process of a catholic confession?

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21 Responses to “What Do You Confess During A Catholic Confession?”

  • malibu_s says:

    1st of all, examine your conscience (before confession)
    Decide what sins you need to dump. On one hand don’t be scrupulous, on the other hand be as specific as you can.
    Basically what you’ve done that was wrong, and what good you failed to do, and maybe the attitudes behind it all. Don’t just say I am sorry. Be specific without worrying how the priest will react. He’s there to help.
    Just know your sins and be truly sorry for them.
    After confessing the sins, wrap it up by saying, “I’m sorry for any other sins I might have forgotten.”
    When the priest asks you to do so, pray out loud the Act of Forgiveness (sometimes called the Act of Contrition). Some Catholics memorize it. Others, if they are not sure, write it down on a piece of paper and read it; still others make up one by praying from their heart.
    Then the priest will give the Absolution. Open up your self to the power of the Holy Spirit. At the end of the absolution prayer, the priest says “I absolve you from your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, . ..” (You bless yourselves as the priest says these words.)
    It is then that we believ that your sins are forgiven and your soul will be as clean as it was when you were first baptized!
    It feels good to be right with God!
    The priest will give you a penance which is a prayer(s) or maybe a good deed to get you started in living a new life. (You pray that penance after you leave the confessional or reconciliation room.
    Finally spend some time just thanking the Lord for His forgiveness.
    The most important thing is to know your sins and to be truly sorry for them.
    Hey, I wish you the best, son. Welcome aboard! Walk in peace with your Savior!
    Hope this helps.
    Jim

  • Jim from SSI, GA says:

    If you’re in RCIA then hopefully they should give you a bit of a walkthrough before they send you in for confession. If not, just mention to the priest that you’re new at this and he should help walk you through it.
    As for what to confess, that’s something personal that only you can decide. The only advice I can really give you is to think about what things are aggravating your conscience or your mind. Even if it’s not actually a sinful action, telling the priest about any “yucky” things in your life can really help. And (I know, easier said than done) there’s no need to be nervous, because most of these priests have probably heard everything.
    I’m sure your RCIA course will give you more info, but in the meantime, here’s a link that you can check out:
    http://www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php
    Hope this helps!!!

  • meritate says:

    First, God bless you and His peace be with you. It brings so much joy to Christ’s heart when a person embraces the Sacrament of Confession.
    I went through RCIA, too, 4 years ago, and I love seeing new converts.
    Confession isn’t complicated. When you enter the confessional, cross yourself in the name of the Holy Trinity, tell the father how long it’s been since your last confession, and then confess your sins. Afterwards, he may give you some counsel, and will give you a penance. Make sure you complete your penance after the confession, or the confession will not be valid.
    After he gives you a penance, he will ask you to make an Act of Contrition. Then, he will say the prayer that absolves your sins.
    And that’s it!
    Keep in mind that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Many people enter the confessional unsure of what to do, so it’s perfectly okay to ask the priest for help. He is more than used to it and will be glad to.
    God bless.

  • Danny H C.A.B. says:

    Remember, the sacrament is invalid if you purposely leave something out. Tattoomomkc left something out in her answer. Yes, techinically you are only obligated to confess your mortal sins… that is the only way they can be forgiven. But it is also very good to confess even your venial sins (the little stuff). Don’t hold back. Anyone who tells you that you should only confess mortal sins is forgetting something important: the sacramental power of confession. Reconciliation gives us extra grace to help us not sin again!

  • cellos rock! says:

    I went to Catholic school, and so we had to on occasion go to confession with the priests. They’d usually set up a couple of chairs in the library, and we’d have to line up to go talk to some old guy we’d never seen before.
    I always confessed to fighting with my brother – which was true, non-specific, and got me out of there reasonably quickly with a minimum of fuss for both myself and the priest.

  • haysoos2 says:

    You need to reflect upon the ten commandments and determine which of your “big” sins coincide with what God commanded us not to do.
    When you enter the confessional you say “Forgive me Father (that’s God the Father, not the priest you are confessing to) for I have sinned, this is my first confession.”
    Have you taken the Lord’s name in vain? If so confess it. You don’t need an exact number. Coveted? Had an affair? Stolen anything? Murdered someone? All to be confessed. You typically don’t need to give details, just the sin.
    The priest hears your sins, prays with you, gives you a penance and grants absolution. You then say an act of contrition together, you leave the confessional and go do your penance.
    It’s not as scary as it sounds, in fact it’s quite freeing. You’ll learn more about it through RCIA prior to the confession.
    Oh and welcome home!

  • Tattoomo says:

    Well, your RCIA leaders should be able to help you.
    But you need to spend some time examining your conscience. Here is a website that walks you through that process:http://youth.stbrons.com/Prayers/guide_t…
    Here is a website on the form or process you should use in the confessional:http://olbs.homestead.com/confession.htm…
    You should confess your sins. Spend time in prayer before hand and ask God to help you make a good confession. We are to hate our sins because they hurt and offend God. It isn’t about feeling guilty or feeling that you’ve done wrong, but about knowing that you’ve offended the one who loves you perfectly and died for you.

  • Misty says:

    Ask your RCIA teacher to give you a guide to the Examination of Conscience, and a guide for Confessions. They ought to have plenty of them in pamphlet form lying around somewhere.
    Sheesh! I can’t believe you were not prepared for this during the course. I’m sorry to hear how pitiful RCIA instruction can sometimes be.

  • TJ for Catholic Common Sense says:

    Reconciliation is a sacrament meant to be a healing encounter between God and the penitent, and there is no need to worry about exactly what to say or do.
    This is one way how to go to Confession
    • Get yourself ready by making your examination of conscience.
    You enter the confessional. You can choose to talk to the priest face to face or anonymously behind a screen.
    • After the priest greets you with the Sign of the Cross make the Sign of the Cross and say: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (say how long) since my last confession. These are my sins…”
    • Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest. Don’t be embarrassed.
    • When you are done listing your sins please say: “…I am sorry for these sins and all the sins I can’t remember.”
    • Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him. Then make an Act of Contrition for your sins:
    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.
    Amen.
    • The priest will then conclude with the words: “Your sins are truly forgiven, Go in Peace”. You respond: “Thanks be to God.”
    • Perform your penance as soon as possible.
    For more information, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1422 and following: http://www.nccbuscc.org/catechism/text/p…
    With love in Christ.

  • imacatho says:

    You are supposed to list your sins. Of course everyone gives a shortened version.
    You begin with “Bless me Father for I have sinned this is my first confession. (later times you just say how long it’s been).
    The point of confession is to make you think about how you live. The priest can’t forgive you because god already did. It’s more like therapy in a box.
    Then the Priest gives you penance to do. Most of the time it’s prayers.. sometimes it’s acts.
    It’s not that bad.. I used to wait for Father Kenny he gave light penance. His line was LONG.

  • Siver C says:

    Be yourself….confess those things that you know are on your heart and then do a thorough examination of conscience as outlined in the catechism
    see link for a better guidehttp://www.beginningcatholic.com/catholi…
    *** It isn’t punishment nor should it be looked at as such. It is healthy and helpful for us to confess our sins one to another to avoid falling again. In order to turn away fully from sin…we acknowledge and face those things that we need to change about ourselves. Our priest is our spiritual guide not God. He listens to us and when we fall away he guides us back to the flock. Our priest is the human leader of the flock .

  • blueeyed girl says:

    Don’t worry about confessing to the priest. If you confess to Jesus he will forgive you – but it’s more important to know that you are born again. Unless you’re born-again, all the Catholic work you put in all your life will not mean a thing. Think about it…why did Jesus die anyway and raise himself from the dead? To free you and forgive you of your sins, to give you new life. If you trust in Him you are already forgiven, friend. Check out my web page on this topic that has Scriptural evidence for what I am saying….

  • Greg C says:

    You’re wasting your time. No MORTAL man can absolve you of sin. A priest does not represent the God of the Bible. you should only confess to Jesus. Please wake up.

  • Thela Hun Ginjeet says:

    The goal of confession is to clear a guilty conscience through repentance. Just think of something in the past that you know you should not have done, even an emotion or reaction that was uncalled for

  • amabO says:

    you confess everything you’ve done wrong.

  • Karenita EWTN ((Allecat)) says:

    When I was 9 I said that “I hit my brother in the face”. Every time.

  • emilybeth! o(≧∀≦)o says:

    Here is a very interesting article to consider WITH your bible. I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. Very good information….
    Confession of Sins—Is Something Amiss?
    “CONFESSION is a spiritual cleansing, a way to start again, a way to wipe the slate clean. I love going to Confession, telling the priest my sins, having him forgive me and the euphoria that follows.” So says one devout Catholic.—Bless Me, Father, for I Have Sinned.
    According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, “to the priest alone Christ gave or deputed the power of binding and loosing, of forgiving and retaining” sins. The same reference work says that regular confession is meant “to restore the holiness of life forfeited by grievous sin and . . . to purify one’s conscience.” Yet, the moral climate in many lands shows that regular confession does not cause many who practice it to “turn away from what is bad, and do what is good.” (Psalm 34:14) So is something amiss?
    Just a Ritual?
    Confession may begin as a mere ritual. In Ireland, first confession comes immediately before first Communion. And is it any surprise that a seven-year-old girl would think more about the pretty, miniature bride’s dress she will wear than about ‘restoring the holiness of life forfeited by grievous sin’?
    “The thing that excited me the most was the dress, besides getting money from my relatives,” admits Ramona, who made her first confession when she was seven. “Among all the girls I knew,” she goes on, “there was no spiritual feeling. None of us even thought about God at the time.”
    In fact, obliging young children to confess sins regularly can lead to mechanical recitation. “I just used the same lines over and over again,” says Michael, who also began the practice of confession as a seven-year-old.
    Comments of some Catholics quoted in the book Bless Me, Father, for I Have Sinned show that confession had little spiritual value for them even after they got older. “Confession teaches you to lie, because there are some things you just can’t bring yourself to tell the priest,” admitted one person. Lack of consistency among priests might be exploited for minimum penance. Some searched for a “good” confessor to get the counsel they wanted to hear. “After shopping around for three months, I found my confessor. I see him every month, face-to-face in the reconciliation room, and he’s terrific,” said one young woman. “If you were smart, you found a priest who was deaf and spoke no English except the words ‘three Hail Marys,’” said another Catholic.
    Evidently, then, something is amiss with confession as practiced by certain people. But the Bible indicates that there is a need to confess sins, for it says: “No one who conceals his sins will prosper, whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.”—Proverbs 28:13, The New Jerusalem Bible.

  • Spreading Good News! says:

    That is taught in RCIA.
    You confess to the priest your sins…..but you can confess to God directly.
    Then the priest gives you penance to do….but you don’t have to do that either, because Jesus took the punishment for you.

  • FROG E says:

    Catholics confess their sins. (To a priest)
    No offense but God already knows your sins, why should the priest?

  • garrett says:

    @ FROG E the priest is not there to learn about your sins he is a body form of GOD when you are at confession spiritually it is only you and God and yes God knows your sins but you are not informing Him you are confessing to him

  • garrett says:

    @ FROG E the priest is not there to learn about your sins he is a body form of GOD when you are at confession spiritually it is only you and God and yes God knows your sins but you are not informing Him you are confessing to him

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