First confession and what to confess


If I put this in the wrong place, feel free to move it.

I’m currently in the process of joining the Catholic Church and first confession is coming up, I was talking to my mom, a Baptist about it…and I’m really nervous about it, because…I’ve talked about my sins to anyone, I’ve never had to admit them to anyone. I know the priest probably hears stuff all the time…but I’m just nervous about it, mostly because I was in a relationship (long distance) with another girl, and we never did anything physically, but we did say some stuff over the phone, she did send me a picture once…I mean we were very sexual, we just couldn’t actually do anything, but if we were to ever get alone time at ones house…we probably would have.

My mom doesn’t know about that, she just knows that I was in a long distance relationship with another girl and she doesn’t see why it should be mentioned because as far as she knows it was just a crush. However, if I don’t mention it, I feel like I’m lying.

Is it necessary to mention it? And how far into detail would I have to go? The paper the teacher gave me says don’t be general, but don’t go into too much detail…so what’s the happy medium?


I understand where you are coming from.

First off let me say congrats on joining the Catholic Church!
Secondly, unless you have been to it a billion time, confession is always a nervous time. But just remember they have already heard your sins hundreds if not thousands of time over, we are all sinners!

It sounds like this relationship you had probably involved some immoral picture and/or talking. This is a sin, so yes it will have to be confessed and yes you will have to tell the number of times.

I hope this helps, if there are any other questions you have feel free to pm me.

God Bless,


You’ve probably already heard this, but confessing the number and kind of sins doesn’t mean, “I’ve committed that sin 37.8 times.” (Unless you have that sort of memory, in which case, feel free!)

It’s usual to say things like “once a week for maybe three months,” or “only once or twice,” or “I was doing that several times a day for years and years, and it’s still a habit for me.”

Also, don’t confess stuff that other people did to you that was sinful, unless you were cooperating or responding. “I hit my brother whenever he makes me mad, and I need to stop that” as opposed to “My brother makes me mad, and he won’t stop!”

So in this case, it would be something like, “I let this girl send me porn pictures, and I made immoral use of them.” There are other code words like “sexual impurity” if you’re embarrassed to say “masturbation,” but basically be clinical about it and don’t go into great detail. Expressions like “First base” or “petting” are plenty of detail, frankly.

Father just needs to know what neighborhood you’re sinning in. He doesn’t need to know the location of every blade of grass.

You may want to look around for examinations of sin designed for getting ready for Confession.


Actually such is only for when one does not know the number of times. One is obliged to give the actual number of times for mortal sins… If one examines and does not know such - one may then approximate according to what one knows. (Unless there is some other exceptional reason).

…though there are some “wording” that does that without using the clinical terms - but one needs to take care…it needs to get to the kind. (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers)]]

One may search his site there too for “first confession” I recall he has done various posts of the years…or “convert” etc.


I just say the sin…number of times, generally don´t get into detail any more. If a priest wants to know, he´ll ask.

So, I´ll say…this sin…estimate…round off…because I honestly normally don´t remember.

You can list venial sins, if you have time, but you don´t need to do the number with venial sins.

Insofar as what to say…I think it would be impure thoughts or impure desires…towards same sex.

…estimate number of times…
…answer questions if asked.

The End. :wink:

I can typically do a regular confession in about 5 min., and yet be quite through. I go with a sheet of paper. I focus on MY sins…not explanations, etc.

One priest someone on CAF was once talking about was looking at a huge line for confession, and he advised to be brief and be gone! lol It’s my experience, priests don´t often need the details, or want them.

One priest leveled with me, said he was working 14 hr. days. So, I’ve begun doing short confessions, and the priests and parishioners all seem to appreciate that. I’ve been complimented by priests on my thoroughness AND brevity.

Being you´re new to this, I´d expect it to run longer.

Examination of conscience help us. I used to look at the 10 commandments, say to myself…I haven´t killed, …stolen, etc.

However, under the commandment not to kill, they put…even saying harmful things to someone…hating, I think. Under “stealing”…it would be also not to take credit for an idea that´s not your own, cheating on income tax, not returning something you borrowed, etc.

Keep in mind you´re not telling anything a priest hasn´t heard many times, before.

Do your best, and then let it rest. Don´t be troubled, or it pretty much defeats the purpose.


There is good advice in the previous answers., but I will add something.

Go on the internet and search for “examination of conscience”; you will get listings of various sins. Most likely there will be a number of them which do not apply to you; but it will help you get focused, and avoid “spilling the beans” to your mother - who may have more of a clue now than you might think. You ;might wish to curtail that conversation.
God bless!


You need to mention it to the priest. You don’t need to mention it to your mother.


I found my first confession extremely nerve racking but when it came to it I was very honest and told Fr. the truth, it was a good experience to get things off my chest.


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