Do you have to say this in Confession?


Do you have to say “Bless me father, for I have sinned” when you go to Confession? I usually just start by saying when my last Confession was.

I don’t think it’s required to say it because no priest has ever corrected me.


No, it’s not required for penitents to say that. It’s just considered polite; it’s a way to let the priest know you are there and ready to make your confession, and to ask for his blessing.

HTH. God bless!


I think that sentece come from movies. In my native language the confession start with the sign of The Cross, and then you say: “In the name of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit”.


Excuse me! It did not originate from the movies. Many Catholics, myself included, were taught to begin confession with exactly those words.

To avoid spreading misinformation, please research your material before you post it.
Let me Google that for you: “bless me father for i have sinned”


I am so sorry that I did offend you, I really am. I will try to delete my answer if possible. I hope you will forgive me.


Of course. Let us be at peace.


Yes I remember being taught that as a change in the way one began reconciliation. Before that I think it was a Sign of the Cross out loud since we confessed in “the box” with a screen.


Standard format for confession:

Sign of the Cross (audible)
“Bless me Father for I have sinned”
“My last confession was____ days/weeks/months/years ago”
Confess your sins. Number and kind.
Priest may offer spiritual direction
“Forgive me these and all my sins”
Pray an Act of Contrition
Priest absolves you of your sins
Sign of the Cross with priest (audible)
Priest assigns penance

This is the standard form taught in order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation when preparing children and catechumens. 2nd grade for children and RCIA catechumens.
I hope you find this useful.


Thank you for forgiving me.

This is what I was thaught:
Sign of The Cross:
In the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
May the Lord be in your heart so that you sincerely confess your sins. (The priest says.)
Amen. I did confess my sins xxx month ago last time and I have/have not done my penance.
I confess to God and to you, Fr. that I have commit the following sins…Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

Then the priest give absolution and a penace if needed.
Praise The Lord for He is good.
And His mercy stay for ever.
God has forgiven your sins, Go in His peace.
Thank you Lord.

This is a translation from the form used in my country, but I think I got it right.

Seem like there are at least a few variations in the world. But the form has in my way of thinking little or non relevancy, most important is that we confess our sins to a priest, it is very easy to do so in a prayer, but hard if you tell someone else, in this case the priest.


I was taught this as well.

There are several customs for confessions.

After I confess my sins I add :
“These are my sins and I am sorry for them, and I ask your pardon, if you please”.

One priest who hears my confessions says the following after the absolution and my act of contrition :

“May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, what good you have done or what evil you have suffered be to you for the remission of your sins, growth in grace and the reward of everlasting life. Amen.”


The old rite of confessions, still used in EF parishes and venues, started with this line, as the priest gives a blessing at the start of the confession. This was not carried over into to the OF was it was revised in the early 1970s, but Catholic culture being what it is, aided by secular media culture, kept the expression alive.


Lasting faith, I am sorry that I reacted too strongly. I didn’t stop to think that the form varies around the world.

Chatter163, I appreciate that historical perspective.


There is no prohibition in using the older formulae.

Many people assert the new rituals as if they cancel out the older traditions, nothing could be further from the truth.

Our Church was not founded in 1965, many folks act as if it were.

I agree on not taking any cues from popular media – that would be the WORST place from which to get one’s catechesis !


True enough (I attend an EF parish), but I don’t recall anyone in this thread suggesting as much. :confused:


I guess your statement that the rite of confession was revised in the 1970’s kind of headed in that direction (at least between my ears) . :slight_smile:

I attend EF as well, and have been for about 4 years (couldn’t be happier, BTW).
I guess I have to work on reacting to all the nonsense that has happened (and I have witnessed) within the church over the past 4 decades – it’s a sore spot for sure !


Of course, in the movies all Catholics worship in beautiful, Gothic churches with hundreds of votive candles, nuns wear full habits, and we all sing Gregorian chant. If only that were true!


Yep. And there is ALWAYS a priest already sitting in the Confessional (even though there is no one in line), no matter the time of day! :smiley:


While there is nothing wrong with using the older formula, and it is still commonly taught, it is true that it doesn’t fit as well in the new rite. In the old rite, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…” was followed by a blessing from the priest. In the new rite, the person asks for a blessing, which is not forthcoming.

As far as the original question goes, no, you don’t have to say those words in confession. It is the form commonly taught to Roman Catholics in the U.S. and many other English speaking countries, but it is far from universal or required.

In Spanish speaking countries, the priest begins “Ave Maria purisima” (Hail Mary, most pure) and the penitent replies “Concevida sin pecado” (conceived without sin)

In the Byzantine Catholic church, we begin “I confess to Almightly God, one in the Holy Trinity, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and to you, Father…”

There are many variations, most of which seem language and culture specific.

The important thing is that we go to confession. A feeling of awkwardness, because we don’t think we know the right words to say, the right formula to use, can keep us from confession for years. If you get yourself to confession and ask the priest for help, he will walk you through it.


“In the Name of the Father…” is yes one way to go (my way).


It is OK, no harm done. May God bless your day.

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