Bless me Father for I have sinned


Why do we say this in the confessional? I was asked this question and do not really know the answer.

Thanks and God bless,


If you are very familiar with Catholic prayer books they have at least a zillion prayers for every occasion. This was a part of the formula prayer used before Vatican II in going to confession. Today some still use it and some free lance. The basic outward requirements for confession are telling ones sins in kind and number, expressing sorrow for them, and being absolved. Most everything else is optional, although it is thought to be a venial sin not to do the penance if one is assigned.

I always used the formula because blessings are good to get, the priest does not have to ask how long since last confession or for an act of contrition.


We go to confession when we are less than pure. This is the time when we need blessings the most.


Not to mention that confessing and receiving absolution is in and of itself a ‘blessing’, which is provided to you by the priest.


I am nervous, but also interested here.

The posts here seem to indicate there is a difference in how one can approach the priest for confession?

Why? What has changed about sin? I think to myself.
Then, I realize I am not thinking it out all the way.

Can anyone elaborate? If there is a good reason why we should not say the same words of the martyrs before us, then I guess I can understand a change if I understand the reason of it.


Remember not all the saints and martyrs experienced confession the way we do today - or the way we did immediately pre-Vatican 2.

In the early church, confession was public for one thing :eek: :blush: and penances usually involved a certain number of days/months/years of fasting and suchlike.

Then again there are different approaches to things like frequency of confession. Should one confess once and once only in one’s lifetime, as many of the Saints and martyrs did in these early days? Or just once a year before yearly reception of communion as did St Joan of Arc? Weekly to monthly as St Padre Pio advocated? Several times a week as did Blessed Mother Teresa?

Who dare say that one or another of these was incorrect in their approach? The moral is, we can’t say that there was only ONE way the saints and martyrs before us approached the sacrament of confession.

The form of confession, like the form of many of the sacraments, is a matter of discipline which can and does change, rather than a matter of dogma.


That makes sense LilyM, thank you!:slight_smile:

Now, I am just confused about how does one know if they are going often enough (yes, I have read about examination of conscience) often/not that much- is there is a better rule to follow?
Keeping in mind the same rules apply with mortal/venial sin and why.I am confusing myself here. :blush:


The obvious rule is to go ASAP if you commit any mortal sin (yes, this means going every day if you sin mortally daily and have access to daily confession).

Otherwise the most commonly-advised rule of thumb is once a month. If you’re struggling with a particular habitual sin which is NOT mortal it is a benefit to go more often - fortnightly or even weekly.


This is good to know. If you are in a habitual state of venial sin, for a long time- does that become mortal in and of itself?:frowning:


No. Although it weakens your soul, making it more difficult to resist mortal sin.

Just like a weakened immune system will not in and of itself kill you, but it can let in nasty bacterial and viral infections that might.


How does public confession affect the seal of confession with regards to priestly secrecy? Is the seal of confession a Church applied discipline or is it a dogmatic constitution?


Also many used to confess by basically saying the entire Confiteor. So they’d say:

“Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last good confession. I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin…etc. that I have sinned [confession of particular sins].”

I think it’s good to say: “I confess to Almighty God and to you Father that I have sinned [confession of particular sins].” It keeps in mind that you’re confessing to God as well as to his representative on earth.

As well as to end: “For these and any other sins I may not know to confess especially all the sins of my past life [and maybe some particular past sins].”

Just some thoughts!

Pax Christi tecum.


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