"General" confession


#1

I recently heard someone speaking about the sacrament of penance and making a "general" confession? Apparently in a general confession one essentially recounts one's entire life as best as one can?

I must confess (no pun intended) that I had never heard of this before? Can someone please shed some light about exactly what a general confession is and perhaps shed some more light on this for me? Is it necessary to do this? I would imagine if one were to make such a confession one would probably need to make a special appointment with a priest?

I hope the teminology I posted "general confession" is correct as that is what I believe they were calling it?

Can someone please shed some light on this aspect of this sacrament for me?

Thanks


#2

Yes, it is a general confession of sins that one committed throughout his or her lifetime. (Note: All mortal sins must be confessed)

If someone has scrupulosity (such as myself), General confessions are not recommended. (At least according to a book about the sacraments I read).


#3

I've heard of this being done, though I don't know that it is mentioned in Canon Law or anything.

Strictly speaking, it is not necessary in the sense that not every Catholic needs to do it in the same way that every Catholic needs to be baptized and go to Confession regularly.

I know some find it to be a worthwhile experience. You definitely would need to make an appointment as it can take a long time. As RileyG said, it is not recommended for those suffering from scrupulosity.

Again, it's not something a Catholic has to do. Those sins have all already been forgiven through your regular reception of the Sacrament. But if you feel like it is something you would want to do, just ask your priest about it.

It escapes me whether or not that's the best term to use for it. Just don't confuse it with "general absolution" which is not the same thing at all. (General absolution refers to situations where a priest would grant general absolution to a group or people without hearing everyone's individual confession, such as on a boat that is sinking or a plane that is crashing.)


#4

Yes, a "General Confession" is one where a person recounts all one's sins from the age of reason to the present. It is NOT necessary to do this and is definitely not recommended for the scrupulous. St. Francis de Sales recommended it in his "Introduction to the Devout Life" (Ch 6). It is recommended for those entering into a new phase of their spiritual lives, such as just before marriage or ordination, or upon the advice of their spiritual director. I made a general confession just before I was received into the Lay Order of Carmelites.

Yes, to do a general confession you'll want to make an appointment with a priest because it should take an hour or so. This is not something to do at the regular Saturday afternoon confessions. Also, as you can imagine, it is not to be undertaken lightly and involves a great deal of prayerful preparation.

It has really made a difference for me. First of all, I confessed some sins I had forgotten (some because I had been so ashamed of I had buried them) and now I know ALL my sins have been forgiven. Second, I approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with much more reverence and respect now, knowing how deep and wide is the ocean of God's Mercy.


#5

This is a practice that can be very useful. Yes, you need a special appointment of at least one hour.

A suggested way to prepare for it is in intervals of 7 years - first analyze your sins from age 7 to age 14, then from age 14 to age 21, and so forth.

Obviously all confessed sins are already absolved. However, a general confession is an old and respectable practice and can bring us many benefits. Do talk about this possibility with your confessor :slight_smile:


#6

[quote="Mary_Ellen, post:4, topic:329292"]
Yes, a "General Confession" is one where a person recounts all one's sins from the age of reason to the present. It is NOT necessary to do this and is definitely not recommended for the scrupulous. St. Francis de Sales recommended it in his "Introduction to the Devout Life" (Ch 6). It is recommended for those entering into a new phase of their spiritual lives, such as just before marriage or ordination, or upon the advice of their spiritual director. I made a general confession just before I was received into the Lay Order of Carmelites.

Yes, to do a general confession you'll want to make an appointment with a priest because it should take an hour or so. This is not something to do at the regular Saturday afternoon confessions. Also, as you can imagine, it is not to be undertaken lightly and involves a great deal of prayerful preparation.

It has really made a difference for me. First of all, I confessed some sins I had forgotten (some because I had been so ashamed of I had buried them) and now I know ALL my sins have been forgiven. Second, I approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with much more reverence and respect now, knowing how deep and wide is the ocean of God's Mercy.

[/quote]

This was almost exactly what I would have written. I have only done two General Confessions, once when I was brought into the Church, and once when I got a new spiritual advisor. Though not necessary, it is definitely helpful when getting a new spiritual advisor so he can assist you with some of the habitual sins you have fallen into.

But as others have said, please please make an appointment if you plan on doing this. Otherwise, you will add one more sin to the people lined up behind you waiting to get into the Confessional. :D


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.