Going into confession with a list?


Ok…so I’m rather new to Catholicism. I had my first confession and communion when i was about 7, but my parents and I both dropped off the faith shortly after that, and I came back to it about six months ago.
A couple months ago I had my first confession in several years. Beforehand, I wrote down a list of everything I could remember doing and brought it into the confessional with me.
After that i didn’t go to confession for a few months. I just went last week, and again I brought in a list with me of everything I could remember doing wrong.

Is this wrong to do? That first time last week I was so nervous, I know that if I hadn’t brought in a list I would have forgotten everything right off and probably confessed one thing of the long list I had (as it was, I forgot about half - the room was so dark I couldn’t read much). But maybe knowing that I had a written list left me to prepare myself less for confession. I was still so nervous, though - the confession I went to several months ago was in a rather large sized, brightly lit confessional in a huge cathedral - the one I went to last week, I knew it would be small and dark but it still overwhelmed me and I freaked out.

I guess when I get more used to going to confession I will stop bringing in written lists, I will probably just write them up and try to remember what’s on them. But for now, is it wrong to bring them in? Does it do anything to lessen the significance of the confessional?


some people recommend it, altough i would suggest you write it in code, so if you lose it nobody can know what your sins are.


Not a bad idea. Good for you. God bless


Take your list. And confess more regularly, so that you won’t need it (I hope :D)


There is no rule against it. Just be sure to destroy the list afterwards.


Destroy the list? Just out of curiosity - how crucial is that? For instance, if I didn’t mind so much people knowing my sins, would it be a necessity to destroy it?
I mean, I don’t really want people seeing it, but I didn’t destroy the list because I wanted to be able to refer back to it and re-confess my sins, and keep in mind not to make the same mistakes again.


I go with a list. That way, I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything, and I don’t want to. I’ve watched others preparing for confession, seen that I’m not the only one who goes in with a list. I think it makes it much more efficient, quicker, in a more deliberate, thoughtful, and organized fashion.

If others are more comfortable “winging it”, that’s up to them. It’s not who I am, so I don’t try to. I wouldn’t be happy just trying to ad lib. If people can do it successfully, more power to them. I think I could get nervous, forget, just me.

Now, there are several ways to handle the list situation. I like to write my sins down the old fashioned way with pencil/pen and paper.

However, we’ve had more modern confessions who prefer using their cell phones. They write out the list, press delete, and it can light up in the dark! So, there are all kinds of ways to go about this, not just one.

Whatever you decide…to “wing it” with no list, do a cell phone list or paper, I wish you luck!


Oh…it’s definitely not wrong, and in no way diminishes your confession, to bring a list.


It is up to you, however, why did God put our faces at the front of our head? Was is simply so we could eat without making a mess, or so we could look and walk forwards? We might remember past sins, but surely this should be in the positive context of remembering the stone we stumbled on and looking out for other stones and stumbling blocks to avoid.

Retaining the list will concentrate the mind on past sins and take it away from the possibility of future or different sins, weaknesses and failings. It is a poor guide to spiritual development, or our journey in faith, and leeches away the peace and joy of forgiveness. Once a sin is confessed absolution received and penance completed, we move forward in hope. There are dangers in keeping the lists e.g becoming obsessed, self-absorbed or paralyzed in past sins leading to despair, instead of growing in faith and love.

These are just some of my thoughts.


If you have a smartphone there are confession apps available that are very helpful. I use the app “Mea Culpa”. It has a very through Examen and breaks sins into categories of venial/ mortal, lets you make a list of your sins, and tracks the date of your last confession. And it is password protected for your privacy.


I think having a list is a good idea. It is easy to forget something.


There is an app for android called Laudette, that has a check off examination of conscience that you could use.

It’s easy, and covers everything.


I would destroy the list. I had one in my wallet years ago that someone found and it was rather embarassing, even though he only managed to see the Act of Contrition on the other side. I now make a new one for each confession. Keeping one around to use again in my mind sort of defeats the purpose of confession.


I am glad to see that bringing a list is allowed. I was baptized in my first year in college and I’m in RCIA working towards that first confession.

Since baptism, I have had three years in college, nine years in the military (I was a sailor!), and seven years of married life (tame, by comparison). Yeah, I’m going to NEED that list!

How many hours does a priest work in a day? I know they don’t get overtime…:eek:


I always use a list. I begin making my new list right after confession (sigh). I write them down during my examination of conscience. I take it in with me, it makes my confession faster and more efficacious. I do rewrite the list grouping my sins with the most troublesome first before each confession every month.

We are fortunate that one Sunday each month our priest has a three hour afternoon confession scheduled. When he has a priest friend visit, he has him provide a Sunday afternoon confession too so that parishioners can confess to a stranger if they are embarrassed to confess to their pastor.

I think it is nerve racking to try to confess in the 20-30 minutes available before Holy Mass, I save that for emergency confessions of mortal sins.


I go to confession weekly, have been doing so for years, and I bring a list written in a blank book with me every time. I keep my lists in the book. I use them to help me with my examinations of conscience and to help me review the progress I have (or have not) made. The only sin-lists I’ve destroyed are (1) the 13-page list I used when I made a general confession and (2) the few lists written on paper, not in the book, on those occasions I did not have access to the book when preparing for confession.

There’s nothing wrong with using a list or keeping your list and using lists does not make your confession any less valid or effective.


That’s what I do, then afterwards when I come home, I ritually burn the
list, not that it has any real significance, just my own personal ways. :slight_smile:


LOL…this is going to be me as well. 46 years: i may need to make a couple of appointments to give the priest a break :o


Love it. YES!


My confessor is okay with the list, however I know he isn’t particularly pleased with the forklift I need to bring the list to the confessional!:smiley:

Seriously, your list is fine!

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