25 years since my last confession....

I am a cradle Catholic trying to make my way back to the Church. I have been on this forum site for a while thinking it would bring me back because I have always “felt” Catholic but have not practiced. I have even reponded to different threads to make me feel like a better Catholic. Yada yada yada, anyway.
I need to go to confession but am, quite frankly, scared. I am trying to talk myself out of it. I have been confessing directly to God, hard to explain here, but feel like something is missing. It has been so long since I have felt like a good Catholic boy it is almost like it is too late to come back. I don’t even know where to start. I was hoping some of you all could offer words of encouragement. I could use some help.

It is never too late…

Make an appointment with the priest. Talk to him, tell him what is going on. Let him know before hand that you also want to make a Confession.

Believe me, he has heard it all. He most likely knows someone that has been gone from the Church longer than you. He knows someone that has done worse things than you. He wants to hear from you.

Make the call today, go to Mass tomorrow.

GO BACK! My husband recently went to his first confession in FORTY-FIVE years. He also had been confessing directly to God. The priest was very kind and welcomed him back. He basically told the priest that if there was a command against it, he had broken it and maybe he was past hope. The priest told him to remember the power of God to forgive and gave him absolution and a pennance. I’m sure you will find your priest will welcome you back with open arms.

Here is what Jesus would say to you:

Luke 15:4-7 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders , rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven :dancing: over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”

Incidentally, I’m becoming Catholic and will have my first confession on Holy Saturday! :clapping:

Please, make an appointment. It’s tough, but worth it. I was away from confession for 6 years, still attending church and all that, but I didn’t feel a need for confession. Last summer, God gave me a huge shove and I realized I needed to go to confession. It took me a month to work up the nerve to ask my priest for an appointment. Finally I did, was absolutely terrified, but I did it anyway and am so glad I did. I’ve been to confession twice since then, more than in the entire rest of my life.

So, some of us have been where you are. Make an appointment with your priest and let him know it’s been a long time for you. He’ll help walk you through it. I bet he’ll be happy you’re there!

Something I did was to write down a list of my sins to confess. I didn’t take it with me into the confessional, but it helped me to focus on what to confess.

Please, heed to urging of God and get to confession as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. I’m so happy that you’re returning to the Church!

God love you! Just DO it! Take the advice above; talk to a priest. Maybe take some time – a couple of weeks – to make a profound examination of conscience. The day you walk into that confessional will be the BEST day of your life.

I work closely with a hospital chaplain. His very favorite thing in the world is hearing the confession of someone who has been away from the Church for decades. Priests have very tender and generous hearts for the sheep who come back to the fold.

Go to confession today. So you’ll be ready to start a great Lent on Wed. You’ll have the best Easter ever!

Hello TAB,

you know it’s the right thing to do. Don’t let the devil put you off and
he’ll do all he can to prevent you going.

Jesus’ heart is burning with love and mercy for you! He wants to pour
our His mercy upon you.

If you make a sincere and honest confession, you can be sure He
will grant you a plenitude of graces. You’ll come out of that confessional with a big wide grin on your face.

God bless,


Several years ago, I went back to confession after about ten years away from the Church. My heart was pounding when I entered that confessional!

Like one of the previous respondants, I had committed lots (and lots) of sins. But the experience was…WOW! I felt as if my soul had been through the washer, clean as a whistle.

Just remember a couple of things. First, be sure that the priest has heard what you are about to confess about a thousand times before. Its got to be impossible to shock a priest in confession. Also, know that he is going to be thrilled and personally encouraged that you have come home.

Second, I don’t want to discourage you, but be aware that all those bad habits we build up over the years are going to be hard to reform. IT WILL HAPPEN, but you have to stick with it. You will probably find (if you are like me) that you have to go to confession every week or two with the same sins we’ve been committing for years, because they are a habit. With perseverance, your soul will habituate itself to God’s will, and it will become more natural to act in accordance to His will.

Joy to you, and God Bless! Be not afraid!

[quote=TAB19]I am a cradle Catholic trying to make my way back to the Church. I have been on this forum site for a while thinking it would bring me back because I have always “felt” Catholic but have not practiced. I have even reponded to different threads to make me feel like a better Catholic. Yada yada yada, anyway.
I need to go to confession but am, quite frankly, scared. I am trying to talk myself out of it. I have been confessing directly to God, hard to explain here, but feel like something is missing. It has been so long since I have felt like a good Catholic boy it is almost like it is too late to come back. I don’t even know where to start. I was hoping some of you all could offer words of encouragement. I could use some help.

TAB, you just described me. I am a cradle Catholic, too. I spent nearly 30 years without the sacrament of Confession. Even after coming back to the Church and attending Mass regularly for several years, I could not bring myself to go to Confession. I knew for a long time that I needed Confession, but I could not overcome my fear. I don’t even know what I was afraid of, just that it was a scary thought to go back to Confession after so many years. This past Advent, my parish held it’s semi-annual parish mission (they have one before Christmas and before Easter), and I just knew that I HAD to go. I know for a fact that it was not of my own volition, I just knew deep within that now was the time to return to the Sacraments. I attended the mission, and went for my first Confession in nearly 30 years. I was so apprehensive I just knew everyone around me could see it. I have no idea how long I was in the confessional, but when I came out I could not understand why I had waited so long. The reaction of the priest who heard my confession was a tremendous comfort. He was not scornful, or angry, or anything of the sort. He smiled and said, “Welcome home!” I will never forget that. I can’t tell you that going back is not a daunting prospect, but it most certainly is not a frightening thing anymore for me. I still have the issue of pride and shame to overcome, but the fear of the priest’s reaction is not even a thought anymore. I can only encourage you to go to Confession and find out for yourself just how wonderful an experience it is to be free of that huge burden that you have been carrying for 25 years. And it is almost indescribable the feeling I had when I was finally able to receive the Eucharist after waiting for nearly 30 years. Keep that in mind as you prepare for Confession. Ask the Holy Spirit for the strength to make it to the confessional, and pray for spiritual communion until the day you are prepared to receive the Eucharist again. You are in my prayers.

Welcome Home Tab,

How wonderful that you are on the verge of returning full force to the Church in time for Lent! The most amazing thing about submitting to the Church and accepting the sacraments is that even if we go in not realizing the actual graces that we are to receive, there are times when God gives us the Grace of actually feeling the weight being lifted from our shoulders. I know I have experienced this on a couple of occations and it is a wonderful feeling to know, to absolutely KNOW that God has forgiven you. But be forewarned, this feeling is not guarenteed. The forgiveness is there even if you remain uncertain.

God is truly wonderful and he provided the sacraments for our benefit. Accept His gifts and follow His commands as best you can.

God Bless,


I was in the exact same spot as Tab19 was. Because I was fearful of walking into some sort of Modernist flim flam that would frighten me as much as the new Mass does, I went to a nearby SSPX chapel. It was just like confession is supposed to be.

I recommend that you consider the same course.

Dominus tecum.


I was away for approx 25 years, so I went to a neighboring Parish to say my confession (much of which has subsequently been disclosed to my Pastor, through Spiritual Direction). The neighboring parish is NOT as faithful to the Magisterium as my parish (IMHO), but I know their sacraments are valid.

I would NOT recommend going to a congregation known to be in schism with the Church. I would never risk having my confession be invalid, especially the one which matters as much as one covering a great many years.


It’s scary going back to confession after many years. I know from experience. But, like others have said, you can’t possibly shock a priest.

Be very specific about your sins. Don’t gloss them over by saying, “I’ve broken most of the Commandments.” That won’t do. You remember the big ones anyway. Get them out and done with. It’s cleansing.

And just think. Once you’re done with confessing 25 years of sins, your future confessions will be a piece of cake. :smiley:

And I would agree with the poster who suggested avoiding SSPX chapels. At least until they are reconciled with Rome, their confessions may very well be invalid.

When I went through RCIA they told us that we didn’t have to go to confession because it is just about impossible to commit a mortal sin. So I received Confirmation and Communion without having confessed and it just didn’t feel right. I was embarrased and didn’t know what to do and this went on for about 17 years. We moved to another diocese and I knew in my heart that I had to come clean. I made an appointment with our priest to go to confession. Boy, was I nervous. But he was very understanding and helpful and am I ever glad I finally got the courage to confess the many sins of my life and start over with a clean slate.

I waited 30 years (and I wasn’t a saint during that time) so I know exactly what you mean. I went because I knew that it was God’s will that I go, in order that I might face all of those reasons I didn’t want to go. God is very wise about human nature. :slight_smile:

I bawled through the whole thing, and when I was done the priest smiled and said “There is great rejoicing in heaven today.” I sure wasn’t expecting that reply!

Submit to God’s will. He has the medicine of eternal life, and it’s free. All He asks in return, in the words of C.S. Lewis, is ‘All’. Your confession will be the first step to ‘All’, though you probably won’t get there in this life. In the meantime, He will give you ‘All’ as well, and the discomfort of your confession is a small price to pay for God’s ‘All’. Just go and do it. God’s mercy is greater than your sin. God bless!

Hi Tab, Know this, someone,somewhere is praying for you to renew your life as a catholic and confession is that step. 25 years for me too. Step one, get a good guide for making a good confession, you can find them here on this web sight, or someplace in the church you are at or want to attend. Really be honest with this and contemplate what you know of your life, heh you can even write a cheat sheet if you wish. Second, pray, ask the holy spirit to guide you, you WILL NOT be denied, keep praying. Third make an appointment with a priest, tell him you need to make a good confession, probably a hint to him that it has been some time!! Find yourself a copy of an act of contrition, bring it with you. You do not have to memorize it just pull it out of your pocket when the time comes, I promise the he won’t care if you are reading it…Did I mention pray?? I can only speak of my own experience but I know for me it is way easier to speak face to face than behind a screen. And I knew this priest, he was incredible. First thing he did after I told him it had been 25 years was to say “You?” then a smile, and he told me that he had been praying this lent for the conversion of sinners in his parish. Asked the Lord to give strength to those that needed to confess, he told me he had just finished that prayer when his phone rang and it was me making an appointment, last thing he said was “you just made my lent”(that was last year) By the way did I mention Prayer!!! Like i said someone somewhere is praying for you,and that someone now includes me. May the Holy Spirit guide you and bring you peace in this process. I can honestly tell you I was not nervous at all once I knew what I had to do was the right thing to do. The Holy Spirit is amazing in what he will do, you only need ask. God Bless you on your journey, may it be a short one!!!

It was about 8 years for me that I was away from this wonderful sacrament. I knew I need to go, but it took me months to work up the courage to go. I researched. I looked to see if I could email a confession. Or mabyte confession by internet bulletin board. I tried to find any loophole that I could. I knew it was pride that was keeping me away. And while I didn’t learn much in my religion classes in the 70’s, I remembered something about pride being a ‘deadly sin’. Finally I drove by some evangelical church that had on its marquis “humble yourself before God”. That is was finally made up my mind and I knew what I needed to do.

I’d examined my conscience. I knew what the “big ones” were, and they fit pretty neatly into categories that I could remember. I finally made up my mind to go. I knew a priest who was kind and gentle and decided to go before one of his daily Masses. I could hardly sleep the night before - not from fear, but from excitement. I looked at it as a personal meeting with Jesus. Yes, the priest was there in his place, but Jesus was there, too.

It didn’t take me long, but the feeling of relief and love was overwhelming. To me it was like someone wrapping a warm blanket - fresh from the dryer - around you. I walked on air for probably a week.

Subsequent confessions haven’t been as much of a relief, but that’s OK, too.

Go ahead - go. I remember being very appreciative that the priest who heard my confession didn’t gasp or act surprised in any way when I told him my sins. I’m sure they weren’t very original.

Go for it - there will be much rejoicing in heaven.

Editing to add: one site that was helpful to me was www.cmonback.com. I especially liked the intro and the reconciliation page.

God bless you. I made my first confession at 19 (since I’m a convert). Oh, I was so nervous and afraid. Would the priest judge me? Would he scold me or refuse to forgive me? … When I went to confession, I found the most loving voice on the on other side of the confessional. I could sense Christ’s love and forgiveness in the priest’s voice. Previously (because I was so nervous), I wrote a list of all my sins. Not required, but I just thought it would help me to state them if I read them to the priest with a repentant heart. The priest was patient and so kind. After it was over… I felt so relieved that I was forgiven and that my past sins were indeed past sins. I just want to let you know, that it’s okay. I know it can be intimidating after so many years, but try not to be too afraid because Christ is there waiting for you with open arms. Okay? God bless you.

Please go. I left the church for twenty years and when I came back I went to confession but didn’t confess everytrhing because I was scared after another six years of this I finally found I felt worse not going than going !
I cried through it all as well!
After I can’t describe how I felt it was like being in Heaven with Jesus. Now I love to go. I know people who go a couple of times a year and say they don’t like it, I think they need to embrace it.
I am just going to Sunday mass ( 11AM in England) so will offer my communion for you.

[quote=TAB19]I am a cradle Catholic trying to make my way back to the Church. I I need to go to confession but am, quite frankly, scared. I am trying to talk myself out of it. I.

you are responding to the promptings of grace, your baptism is “kicking in” and you are cooperating, yeah! It is the deceiver who is trying to talk you out of it. Just do it. Walk in, tell the priest your story, give him the high points (the mortal sins) and whatever else you remember. The absolution and grace of the sacrament will give you an immense push to go the rest of the way on your journey.

If the priest thinks you need more time or an “out of the box” discussion on aspects of your life and faith that need attention, he might also suggest you make another appointment with him. Go the priest stands “in the person of Christ” in that confessional so you ARE confessing directly to Jesus and it is Jesus who absolves you. He is the one and only high Priest, and the priest you will meet is is representative. so get to confession know and make his day, priests live for these opportunities.

Spend the time between now and the time you can get to confession (make an appointment Monday morning if you can’t go today) praying and examining your conscience. We are certainly all praying for you, so if your memory suddenly becomes very sharp, you will know why. Welcome Home. Oh all that noise you hear is the rejoicing of the 99 over the 1 who was found, we are a noisy crowd.

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