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  #1  
Old Apr 15, '07, 1:03 pm
fdsafdsa fdsafdsa is offline
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Default How to say confession?

Hello, I am new to this forum and not quite sure where to post this, but this seems like a place as good as any. I am writing this because I have been to confession on many occasions when I was a child. When I was a child, confession was a experience for me of just saying a few sins and recieving absolution. It was after all a time of innocence. Then I had a period of where I felt that going to confession was not necessary. Recently since ash wensday I have had a rebirth towards my faith and went to confession, after not having attended in over 2 years. I noticed that I was unsure as to how to confess my sins. I feel very differently since I was a child.

Now you have the context in which I ask my question. My questions are:
1 do you just say your sins and wait for absolution?
2 do you have a dialouge with the priest and ask questions about your faith and life
3 Must I justify the reason why I have committed my sins.
4 Should I describe events in their context, or should I just generalize them ex. I Lied, I stole, etc...
5 Should I sit with the priest and or hide behind the screen
6 Anything others have been currious about

Please feel free to share any insight with me and I plan to discuss this with the priest on my next confession but I want to have varrying opinions from all people.
  #2  
Old Apr 15, '07, 7:36 pm
acadian acadian is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Confession is a wonderful thing.

When you enter the confessional, you can make the sign of the cross (the priest might make it with you). Then I say "Bless me Father, for I have sinned, it's been [however long] since my last confession." "Since then, I've robbed a bank, missed Mass 3 times, and gossiped." When you reach the end of your list, you can say "I am sorry for these and all my sins." That lets the priest know that you are done.

Say your most serious sins first. Get that over with. Last time, I had drew a blank, and after a few seconds of me trying to remember, Father picked up the slack.

Listen to what the priest has to say. He will probably ask you to say an Act of Contrition. If you have one memorized, that is fine. Otherwise you can make up our own. Then he will give you absolution. Make the sign of the cross, tell him "thank you" and hopefully, you will walk out feeling like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

I don't tend to dialogue too much. If I have a specific question, I will ask it, but generally I just state the facts and my priest doesn't tend to give much advice unless I ask. Some priests will. Listen as if that's Jesus speaking to you.

I wouldn't justify the reasons why I committed my sins. You sinned. You offended God, who loves you more than anything. Don't try to rationalize it, unless you think it really makes a difference - ex; "I robbed a bank because I needed money to feed my 8 kids who hadn't eaten in 3 days. or I robbed a bank to support my crack addiction."

I tend to generalize. The priest can always ask questions if he needs more information.

I like to go face to face, but that is purely a personal preference. Many people prefer the anonymity of the screen.
  #3  
Old Apr 15, '07, 7:55 pm
jpjd jpjd is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

I do face-to-face all the time. I say "Bless me Father, I have sinned. It's been x since my last confession." Then I say "I have x number of things to confess." I always do this so that he knows when I'm done.

I rarely give a list. I think it's important for Father to know the context under which the sin occurred. I confess in a conversational manner, but I am concise and brief. I am not there to tell a story, but to confess a sin. For example, I once worked on a project with a fellow parishoner who did not carry his weight and left me doing 90% of the work, and I complained mightly to many other parishoners. Instead of just confessing, "I spoke badly about someone" I explained it to Father just as I explained it here to you, only with a bit more detail. That way he knows the situation under which I sinned.

I realize that giving a list is all that is needed to confess the offense against God, but the reason for giving the context of the sin is that the priest can give me advice on how to avoid or deal with that particular situation of sin.

I do not ask him questions about my faith and life nor does he ask me. Confession is not a counseling or catechizing session.

Once I am done confessing, the priest will address one or more of my sins, and we may have a short dialog. Then he asks me to say an act of contrition. When I am done, he gives me absolution. Then I thank him, and I leave the confessional.

Hope that helps!

Last edited by jpjd; Apr 15, '07 at 8:08 pm.
  #4  
Old Apr 15, '07, 9:00 pm
StAlph StAlph is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

I was given a small pamphlet during my RCIA time from the Knights of Columbus (1990) that has a very nice way of confessing during the Sacrament of Penance:

1. Kneel behind screen or sit across from the priest
2. Make the sign of the cross
3. I confess to Almighty God and to you, Father, that I have sinned. My last confession was ___ weeks (months, years) ago.
--Since then I know of no mortal sins (or) Since then my mortal sins are these (and tell the number of times and important circumstances).
--My venial sins are these: (and tell the sins and number of times) or Since then I know of no venial sins
.

4. This is the part that I find really helps me: My main fault is ____ and I am working to overcome it. In my past life there were sins of ____ for which I am still sorry. For these and all the sins of my past life, I am deeply sorry.
5. Listen to the words of the priest. When invited make the Act of Contrition:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. 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 avoid the occasions of sin.
6. Listen to the words of forgiveness, making the sign of the cross with the priest. If he closes by saying: Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; you should answer: For his mercy endures forever.
7. Thank the priest and then leave the confessional and return to kneel before Christ to thank God for a good confession and His forgiveness. Of course say your penance as soon as possible.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
And a steadfast spirit renew within me
Psalm 51:12
  #5  
Old Apr 16, '07, 11:21 am
fdsafdsa fdsafdsa is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Thanks for the insight, I'm sure attending more confessions on a regular basis will help me find the best method of confessing. I was under a lot of anxiety from not having been to confession, in such a long time, that I found my self afraid of judgement. I now can say that though confession, I feel that, that part of my life is passed and I can go forward and not look back.
  #6  
Old Apr 16, '07, 12:46 pm
Titus Titus is offline
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Smile Re: How to say confession?

Something I am curious about- is the Act of Contrition absolutely necessary?
  #7  
Old Apr 16, '07, 12:57 pm
jpjd jpjd is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Yes.

I got this from a parish website:

"Lastly, for a valid and fruitful absolution of sins in the confessional four elements are required:
1-Contrition – Sorrow [or contrition] is what leads one to the Confessional in the first place. Contrition, in this regard, means wanting to confess one’s sins and be absolved by a priest – wanting the forgiveness that only Christ can give. Contrition is demonstrated outwardly when the penitent recites an act of contrition during confession or immediately after. This act of contrition need not be of a formal kind and any sincere expression of sorrow is adequate.
2-Confession – The penitent must enumerate all of his/her mortal sins in number and kind, so that they can be submitted to the power of the keys. The priest, acting in the very person of Jesus Christ, pronounces his decision of forgiveness or retention of sins, in accord with the power of the Keys.
3-Act of Penance (satisfaction) – The priest imposes a penance during confession and it usually takes the form of prayers to be said by the penitent. Sometimes the priest may impose a pertinent Scripture reading or the performance of a corporal or spiritual work of mercy.
4-Absolution – The form of the sacrament of penance is the sacramental absolution that the priest with the properly given canonical faculty says while making the sign of the Cross. In the Roman Catholic Church the form is “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace and – [here is the essential part of absolution by the priest] – I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The penitent answers, “Amen”.
  #8  
Old Apr 16, '07, 1:20 pm
bilop bilop is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Something I am curious about- is the Act of Contrition absolutely necessary?
No. Priests I've been to don't ask for one.

From what I've read, the only truly necessary part is "I absolve you of your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

Plus, obviously, the contrition of the penitent.

Penance also is not strictly required, and failure to perform penance does not invalidate absolution.
  #9  
Old Apr 16, '07, 2:42 pm
acadian acadian is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titus View Post
Something I am curious about- is the Act of Contrition absolutely necessary?
I have been asked to say it in the confessional, and I have also had priests tell me to say it after I leave the confessional. As it says in jpjd's post, the AoC need not be a formal prayer. It can be something spontaneous that expresses sorrow.
  #10  
Old Apr 16, '07, 5:42 pm
ashleyq1 ashleyq1 is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpjd View Post
I do not ask him questions about my faith and life nor does he ask me. Confession is not a counseling or catechizing session.
I was reading through the entire post and I couldn't help but ask...in confession is it alright to ask a question or two about something you need advice on? I realize it is confession and like you said, not a couseling session but is it wrong or inappropriate to ask a question or two regarding your life or situation you're in for advice? Just curious.
  #11  
Old Apr 16, '07, 7:06 pm
jpjd jpjd is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

I suppose you could try it, but I think it's not appropriate. The confessional is just for confession.

I once called my priest and told him I wanted to discuss something with him confidentially, and could I talk to him in confession. He said he would prefer to have only confessions in the confessional, and that instead, we could have a private meeting that he would keep completely confidential. And that's what we did.
  #12  
Old Apr 16, '07, 7:07 pm
acadian acadian is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleyq1 View Post
in confession is it alright to ask a question or two about something you need advice on?
I've done this before. One of my recent questions was "where does exchanging information about a third party end and gossip begin?" I got quite a lengthy answer on that one. I also remember a relationship issue from long ago - I don't think I asked a question, but the priest questioned whether these people were really my friends. It was a simple question, but one that helped me immensely to deal with the situation.

I'd say in the confessional, keep it short, and keep it simple. But there's nothing wrong with the occasional question. Be considerate of how many people are waiting in line and how much time is left...
  #13  
Old Apr 16, '07, 7:14 pm
ashleyq1 ashleyq1 is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

I would most definitely consider the number of people waiting in line and thanks for the responses. Setting up a confidential appointment does sound like the best thing to do.
  #14  
Old Apr 16, '07, 7:20 pm
Morning_Star15 Morning_Star15 is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleyq1 View Post
I was reading through the entire post and I couldn't help but ask...in confession is it alright to ask a question or two about something you need advice on? I realize it is confession and like you said, not a couseling session but is it wrong or inappropriate to ask a question or two regarding your life or situation you're in for advice? Just curious.
I would consider the length of the Confession line, and also the relevance of what you want advice on to your Confession. For example, if you want advice on how to avoid a particular sin you're confessing, then I think it would be a good time to ask it during Confession. If it's something unrelated, then I would schedule and appointment with the priest. That's just my feeling on the matter.
__________________

"Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum" - 1 Kings 19:10
  #15  
Old Nov 15, '09, 2:40 pm
nessie14 nessie14 is offline
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Default Re: How to say confession?

Whenever I go to confession, I feel as though I'm in the Confessional for about a minute, and everyone else takes about 3-5 minutes, even my brothers who go on the same days I do. I generalize a lot, and it always goes like, "I disobeyed my parents, I was jealous, I was mean to my brothers, and that's all I can remember." Should I be more descriptive? How? The priest doesn't ask anything, but I still feel that it should take a little longer than one minute.
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