My husband and I were both raised Baptist (although my husband was baptized in the catholic church as an infant per his grandparents request). Anyway, we have been going to rcia and will be confirmed this Saturday Easter vigil. Saturday morning though we both need to go to our first confessions. I must admit, I don't really know what to expect (although we shaved talked a bit about it in class) and I am extremely nervous! There are some things that I have done that I never knew, before looking into the catholic church, that we're wrong! Those particular sins are really embarrassing for me to have to confess, especially to a man, and I'm kind of freaking out! How specific do you have to be with confession, like do you actually name the specific sin or just a category that it falls under? I had more questions but I've forgotten by now, will ask when they come back to mind.
I did my first confession about 3 years ago and I had A LOT to be ashamed and embarrassed about. My priest told me that he has heard it all before and it is really no big deal. He is more interested in getting you ready for the Eucharist. So my advise is just to go in there and lay it all out and then you will realize there was nothing too worry about all along.
I had my first confession a couple months ago. I had a lot to be nervous about, but he made me really comfortable. I was able to sit down and for the first few mintues we just talked. He used to be a Navy Chaplin, he said that he has heard it all, a few times. They aren't judgemental. We started with the first commandment and he asked me a few questions. I would tell him yes or no. If I answered yes he would want me to explain. By the end of the confession I felt like I was speaking with a good friend. Afterwards we were both walking to our cars and he was telling me jokes. lol. It was like we didn't talk about all the sinful things I have done.
I can say that a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. They are just people too and I'm sure they struggle with sin just like us laypeople. Confession isn't a bad thing. :) <3
I agree completely with the first two responses. Just go ahead and make the confession, follow the priest’s instructions, and don’t be afraid of anything - especially don’t be too ashamed to mention anything.
Learning what needs to be confessed and what doesn’t takes practice. You are not expected to know all that in your first confession. Just confess with sincerity and openness and don’t hold back anything which you know, or suspect, needs to be confessed.
The simplest and most practical guidance I have heard is “When in doubt, confess it”. That way we may end up confessing things which don’t need strictly to be confessed, but it is the easiest way for us to make a good confession and walk out with complete peace of mind. But, that is only my recommendation - the Church certainly does not insist on it.
On the question of how specific to be, then Specific Confessions [Jimmy Akin] may be interesting and/or helpful. If you find it so, then use it, but we are not expected to know this in order to make a good confession.
We are expected–to the best of our reasonable ability–to confess our mortal sins in number (how many times you did it) and kind. Kind is where the question of specificity comes in, and the rule is that we are to confess specifically enough that anything that affects the species of the sin is mentioned
For example, saying “I committed a sexual sin” would cover only the genus of the act but does not address the species of sexual sin that has been committed. One would thus need to say “I committed adultery” or “I committed fornication” or “I committed a homosexual act” or “I committed masturbation”…
Of course, the above applies to mortal sins only. Venial sins are not strictly required to be confessed, so the amount of detail is entirely optional.
Welcome to the family, Gianna!
I work with re-verts . . adults who come back to the Faith after years away and they have similar concerns. Usually, I suggest they just ask the priest for help. Remember, the priest is on your side! He is not there to condemn you but to give you peace thru forgiveness. He wants what is best for you - as any loving Father does! It is totally ok to walk in and say, "Father, this is my first time and I am terribly nervous. Will you please help me make a good confession?"
I will be praying for you! And, I'm so excited for you and your husband! Congratulations!!!
Thank you guys!