"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned"

“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned”

I have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation many times, and I have never said this. Yet I see these guides for Reconciliation that say that this should be part of the confession.

Any thoughts?

No - for one thing most of us, myself included, in fact say ‘BLESS me Father’.

For another if my priests are in a real hurry they may simply begin for themselves by asking how long it’s been since my last confession.

Or they may begin with a little prayer of their own - ‘May God be in your heart to help you make a good confession’ or something to that effect. After which you can simply begin by telling them how long ago your last confession was.

It’s a good idea to have a standard formula of your own by which you go through confession, since nerves or slips of the brain can sometimes get the best of any of us. But the wording isn’t the important thing as long as you include the essential information - how long it’s been since your last confession, your mortal sins by kind and number, and any circumstances relevant to the seriousness of the sin or the advice and/or penance the priest may give.

Personally, it makes more sense to me to say “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” since I’m there asking for forgiveness, so that’s why I say this line. But why say “Bless me”? Is this more correct to say, and what’s the reasoning behind asking for a blessing during this Sacrament? :confused:

Well, receiving forgiveness and absolution is certainly a blessing for me! THAT is the blessing that I want my confessor to bless me with :getholy: :slight_smile:

We have said “Bless me Father…” for centuries. It’s tradition.

Besides, we are in fact asking for a blessing and absolution.

I always begin, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been X many weeks since my last confession.”

In this case, the guidelines are just that — not an official required formula, but words to aid the penitent, help him get started. What is necessary for the sacrament is contrition (sorrow for sins and purpose of amendment), confession of sins to the priest, the priest’s words of absolution, and the penitent’s fulfillment of the penance assigned by the priest.

God is the one that forgives, so I’m not so sure “Forgive me, Father…” fits in with that. And, of course, you know that Protestants often accuse us of seeking forgiveness from man when the only one that can forgive our sins is God.

My routine is to follow the traditional formula, with a slightly different phrase:

“Bless me, Father, for I am a sinner.”

Hmm, I’ve gone twice now, and both times the priest said something to the effect, “Have a seat. Tell me what brings you here?” So I told them. The informality startled me, but, now looking back on the experience I liked it that way.

I was never taught to say that when I made my first Confession. My kids weren’t either. In fact, I had never even heard of the phrase until I was an adult.

Actually it is God who is forgives you. The priest ministers the sacrament to you.

I’ve always used, “Bless Me Father for I confess to Almighty God, and to you father, that I have sinned, these are my sins.”


This thread caught my eye because I remember this priest telling us don’t come to him and say “bless me Father” I’m not going to bless you, say “forgive me Father” that’s what you are coming to confession for, forgiveness. Personally, I do find it odd to say “bless me” so I never have. But that’s just me. :o

That’s pretty much what it’s been like for me as well.

I always say “bless me” - I hate the informal psychoanalysis sessions that some priests turn the confessional into. It totally throws me off and makes me very uncomfortable.


It’s traditional to say Bless Me… I always say it. My kids weren’t instructed to though. It’s usually in movies and on tv that I’ve seen the “Forgive Me…”.

And if the priest gives you a blessing, isn’t it actually God who blesses you? After all, the priest says at the end of Mass “And may **Almighty God **bless you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. He doesn’t say “**I **bless you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”.

In the sacrament of reconciliation, however, the priest says “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

“‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21–23).

Pax Tecum,



Isn’t absolution forgiveness? If it is, then the priest is saying “I forgive you…”, in which case it would make sense to say “Forgive me, Father…” at the beginning of the confession, wouldn’t it?

(Ab = from; solvere = to free)

Absolution is the remission of sin, or of the punishment due to sin, granted by the Church.

God forgives our sin, as soon as you ask for it.

However,(to simplify) payment for the offense is still due. The Sacrament of Penance, removes the payment due.

An analogy would be, a child breaks a window. He knows he did wrong, and goes to his father to confess his offense and ask for forgiveness. The father forgives the child, but the window still must be repaired.

So it is when we sin. We damage not only our soul, but the Church as well. We confess to God our sin and ask for forgiveness, but the damage remains. Through the grace we receive through Sacrament of Penance, the damage is removed, absolved.


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