Confession primer?

Can anyone recommend an easy to understand guide to confession. I am a convert and confession is something I struggle with. Part of the problem is that we only have confession here on Saturdays before Mass and I bring my adult daughter to Mass with me and she is
in a wheelchair which makes a logistical problem and I can’t leave her alone. I need to make an appt for a confession somewhere other than the confessional, but even with that difficulty solved I would still have a problem. Does anyone use a guide that is easy to understand and perhaps gives examples of the sins that one can confess? Thank you.

Yes at Catholic Answers:

I do not use a guide but there is an adult guide there which is good.

Dear Joan,

Many churches have printed brochures with what is called an Examination of Conscience. You can also find some online (such as this one from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune). Usually these are based on the Ten Commandments. They are not exhaustive, but list some of the main sins associated with the Ten (some more thoroughly than others), and help jog the memory.

Personally I like the ones that list both mortal and venial sins (and imperfections, which do not need to be confessed), such as the one by Fr. Robert Altier. You can get that one from Leaflet Missal for around a dollar.

Note that we are only obliged to confess mortal (serious and deliberate) sins in kind and number; but it is still a good idea to confess venial sins to grow in perfection. (But if there is a long line, it is probably best to keep it down to two or three venial sins.)

If you find one, great. But, you don’t need one.


Your confessor will walk you thru.

I remember my first confession. I was 56 years old! I had a lot on my mind and my heart, and just went blanked the minute I sat down.

My confessor gently guided me from the Sign of the Cross thru the Act of Contrition.

He has been my confessor and spiritual director ever since.

Peace and all good!

Thanks for the replies. I have a question about the the examination of conscience from St Charles Borromeo Church. It is very good but it says being mad at God is a sin. I understand that continual anger at God would be sinful but I was told that God was able to “take” our anger at Him and we could bring it to him in prayer so we can allow Him to transform it, or at least understand how to deal with it.

Here is a free examination of conscience from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Hi Joan,

Welcome to the forum. :slight_smile:

If you have a Catholic book store in your area, you should be able to get an Examination of Conscience booklet there, too. They might even have other books about confession, too. Or, if they don’t, they could probably order them for you.

Here is what I have used. It helped me. It is quite thorough, it includes an act of contrition, and an example of the confession narrative, if you will, (how to start out, what to say,etc)

I hope this helps . Two years ago I made a confession after 30+ years away from the Church.

This would be a good question to bring up with your confessor.

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