Confession / Act of Contrition.... Who are we kidding?

After confessing our sins, we say an Act of Contrition.
We tell God that we are going to stop sinning when we know darn well that it’s not true no matter how sorry we really are. Who are we kidding?


Yourself, maybe the priest, but certainly not God.

Hence the problem! For most people the sin of say… shoplifting or cheating on a school test is probably quite easy to not do again. But there are many other sins that aren’t easily stopped.

I don’t know anyone who says they WILL stop sinning.

When I make an act of contrition I say that I promise to do my best not to sin again or put myself near occasion of sin.

You’re not kidding anyone. You’re just making a commitment to do your best. None of us is perfect, we sin every day pretty much so if it was that literal…!

Hopefully when you say the Act of Contrition you have the intention of avoiding sin. Saying the Act of Contrition while fully intending to sin again is basically lying to God.

This is different from saying it while truly wanting to avoid the sin, but falling into sin again later. All we need to be truly contrite is the desire to avoid the sin.

Your not kidding God! If you really do not feel any detest and disgust for the things you have confessed and truly do not want God to help you to never commit them again, then maybe you shouldn’t be there in Confession yet.

… and, doesn’t this make the confession invalid, too?

Yep, sure does.

Obviously we cannot deceive God.

We can be disgusted and hate our sins and still commit them. No better example of this is in the area of personal sexual sins. My point is that we as Catholics are put in the impossible position of telling God that we “won’t do it again”… When we know that we probably will…* eventually*.

Basically, I look at it this way. God doesn’t require that we be successful, only that we be honest in our attempts. He knows temptation is very powerful to us, and a concerted effort on our part illustrates to Him that we care for Him enough to try.

I can’t remember which of the Saints said something similar, was it St. Faustina, St. Therese of Liseaux, or Mother Theresa? That God didn’t require success, only sincerity of heart. … or something along those lines…

Anyone remember? :hmmm:

I think we all get your point. I understand your concern. The point of the answers your seeing is that we, as Catholics, are not put in the position of saying we won’t do it again. The Lord simply wants us to express, sincerely, a desire and intent to do our best to avoid doing it again. He knows our hearts. He knows our weaknesses. And, indeed, in most cases, so does our priest. If we confess our sins and truly desire to avoid the occasion of sin in the future, we find the need to confess that particular sin to be less and less frequent over time. He (God) will help us learn ways to overcome those sins we truly desire to avoid.

Does that clarify it a bit?

Then you are also kidding yourself. Even those personal sexual sins can be overcome. Just because you are human, you still have the choice to sin again. Just because you have urges does not mean we must act on our urges.

Sexual sins are NOT impossible to overcome. There are many, many people here on the forum who have stood firm with God and conquered sexual sins.

That is why we say the act of Contrition. We believe that with the garce of God and our shame in committing sin, we will try our best to overcome and avoid. It is possible and achievable and we must believe that for the confession to be valid.

I think everybody’s points are well-taken. What the OP may be referring to (it used to bother me, too) is the absolute nature of the wording in the phrase, "I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace to sin no more…"

In that case, one will have reached spiritual perfection, should that be one’s last confession. I wish it would say something like “to avoid all sin with all my efforts and the help of your grace…”

I think that’s the realism that the OP is talking about. (Right?)

What’s it? I make up my act of contrition, different each time, during or before my confession. Sometimes related to my confessed sins. If you want particular words, use those.

I know that I have confessed some sins and, with the help of God’s grace, I have not recommitted them (although I have struggled at times). I have also confessed sins and gone out and, against my desire, committed them again. Bad habits are hard to break like good habits are hard to form. But I continue to confess, and try.

The words I say are, “I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more and avoid whatever leads me to sin.”

Every time I say those words I truly mean them. I always intend to avoid sin. I intend it every second of my life. I’m human and I fail. When I do, I pick myself up and try again. If you don’t intend it, you should say something else.

It’s important to remember that you can use whatever act of contrition you like as long as it is sincere. If stating the above makes you feel like you’re lying, say something else.

Not to have faith in God’s power to heal us of our sinfulness is, in itself, a sin against hope.

Wrong. We do not promise to stop sinning. What we do is firmly resolve to stop sinning. Big difference. And that’s not kidding God; one can indeed genuinely firmly resolve to stop sinning, even though you know full well that you will most likely sin again. That’s why we resolve, with God’s grace, never on our own.

You may or may not … admitting the weakness in the confessional is a good way to start, you don’t think God knows how weak.

No one said it was easy … we do thinks because we are weak … no one will overcome serious personal habitual sin … overnight … but you can really want to.

Read C.S. Lewis’s book, The Great Divource, there is character who carries something like a demon around … afraid or unwilling to get rid of it … the situation you describe is similiar.

**** I don’t think it is about kidding God when we say the Act of Contrition after confessing our sins to a priest, God knows our hearts and knows when we are truly being sincere. Jesus after all is the true Priest who recognizes our faults and knows we are prone to sin whether we mean to do it or not, the fact we recognize is makes us better and not makes us seem like cowards. After all we are human, God was not kidding when he created us.:blush:

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