How do I confess my sins?

Hi all,
This feels like a silly question but I am struggling to find the answer and confession would be a lot easier for me if I felt I knew how to do it correctly.

I know the overall process of reconciliation but I’m still confused about how exactly to confess my sins. I feel like I’m always talking too long explaining myself but that’s not really necessary, right? What do I say, “I’ve committed the sin of ___” “I did/failed to do ____?” Or “At work/home/school, I’ve been struggling with ____ because of ____” ?

I seem to also be struggling in how to word this question so I hope that makes sense. Thank you!

You enter the confessional (I recommend one with a screen for comfort, but it’s your call.)

You say ‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned, it has been x time since my last confession.’

‘Since then, I have sinned against x through y z times,

against x through y z times,

against x through y z times,

and against x through y z times,’

(or a similar formula, you can write this on a sheet of paper)

‘For all these sins, and all those I cannot remember, I beg the forgiveness of God.’

Now say the act:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.


My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christsuffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.


O my God, I am sorry for my sins because I have offended you. I know I should love you above all things. Help me to do penance, to do better, and to avoid anything that might lead me to sin. Amen.

Father will give you a penance, absolution, and maybe even advice (:scream:.) He may ask you some questions about your sins. Answer them truthfully. If you think them irrelevant, tell him, but try not to be unkind.

You have now been absolved.

For an example:

‘Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been five weeks since my last confession. Since then, I have sinned against chastity through adultery five times, against charity by extortion nine times, and against temperance by drunkenness twice. I also lied and cursed. For all these sins, and all those I cannot remember, I beg the forgiveness of God.’

Father will speak and petition yoh to begin the act. You will say the act and be absolved.

WARNING: Don’t be surprised if Father begins the words of absolution as you say the act.

You need not state the virtue you sinned against, though I personally find it good practice.

God Bless!

I usually just say “I did X” or “I’ve been struggling with/ having a problem with issue Y”.

If you have to get into the causes “because of” then make it really short and simple. The priest doesn’t want to hear a lengthy explanation and there may be others waiting to confess.
My “because of” has usually been something like “I had a recent death in the family and I have a huge amount of tasks to deal with because of that, on top of my grief, so I’ve been struggling with the sin of despair and not having confidence in God.”

Or something like, “I’ve been generally having a problem with impatience with people I deal with at work. I haven’t always said something out loud, but I have uncharitable thoughts when they interfere with my getting things done.”

In my experience, the priests usually aren’t that interested in “how many times” for these kinds of sins. None of them have ever asked me “how many times”.

Whenever I have been confused or nervous in the confessional, I ask the priest for help, and they’ve always been glad to do this. A couple parishes I’ve gone to have very helpful pamphlets that are small enough to put into a wallet or purse, too. :slight_smile:



Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare oneself with an examination of conscience, which involves reflecting prayerfully on one’s thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins.

There are various types of examinations of conscience but regardless of which one you use to prepare yourself for the Sacrament it should be rooted in Scripture; particularly, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes. Below are a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the Sacrament.

Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching I En Español

Examination of Conscience for Children

Examination of Conscience for Young Adults

Examination of Conscience for Single People

Examination of Conscience for Married Persons

The basic requirement for a good confession is to have the intention of returning to God like the “prodigal son” and to acknowledge our sins with true sorrow before the priest.

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This is very helpful! I know what I want to confess each time I’m just struggling with how to word it so thinking of that as a formula will make it easier to get out! Thank you!

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No problem! Good luck with your next confession. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards. I mean, don’t we all?

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Thank you! This is very helpful as well. Sometimes I’m nervous to add a “because of” because I don’t want to come across as trying to justify the sin. These are good examples of when a because may or may not be necessary!

This is all very new to me as an young adult who just entered the church so it’s still a bit of a foreign concept and I get so nervous about doing it “wrong”

I don’t usually add a “because of”. Only when it’s really needed for background. I was mentioning about the death partly also because I have often been in tears in the confessional or had things to confess directly related to the death. It has now been a few months so I have recently stopped mentioning the death.

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