How do you confess?


#1

I've recently started my journey toward becoming Catholic, and last night I had one of those middle of the night realizations that causes something that I already knew to seem really real and scary...at some point I have to confess my sins out loud to another person. :eek:

What I'm wondering is this, when you go to confession, how specific are you supposed to be? In my teens and early twenties, let's just say that I "sowed some wild oats" (some oats on more than one occasion). Of course, I use this euphemism because I am feeling ashamed of just how sinful I have been.

I found this list of mortal sins fall under each of the ten commandments. followthissite.com/list-of-sins.php Hypothetically speaking, let's say that I committed 6 of the sins listed under the 5th commandment. When in the confessional, do I say all 6 and give the frequency/time period/situation? (oh goodness, I may be in there a while). Or does a person just say that they have broken the 5th commandment?

Also, I see on this website, that it lists using NFP under the 6th commandment. Is this site a reliable source that I should be using? Isn't NFP permissable?


#2

Yes to the best of your ability you list how many times ect. If you don't know for sure, say it was a long time ago you can generalize by saying, many times, or a couple times or once.

examples:

I was uncharitable many times
I took the lords name in vain regularly
I sinned against chastity once

Are you baptized already? If you are not baptized already your previous sins will be cleansed at baptism and you would start with a clean slate and just confess whatever sins you did since you were baptized.


#3

[quote="Cider, post:2, topic:333426"]
Yes to the best of your ability you list how many times ect. If you don't know for sure, say it was a long time ago you can generalize by saying, many times, or a couple times or once.

examples:

I was uncharitable many times
I took the lords name in vain regularly
I sinned against chastity once

Are you baptized already? If you are not baptized already your previous sins will be cleansed at baptism and you would start with a clean slate and just confess whatever sins you did since you were baptized.

[/quote]

Thank you for the information! Yes, I was baptized when I was 18.


#4

In confession, you do not have to give all the gory details of your sin unless the priest asks for clarification and wants these details (usually they do not).

As you get used to going to confession it is also good to confess the number and kind. While this is not required, it will help both you and your confessor see your progress (or lack thereof) in your spiritual life. :)

example:

" I did ____ three times in thought 2 times in word and once in deed. "


#5

[quote="leamar3, post:1, topic:333426"]

Also, I see on this website, that it lists using NFP under the 6th commandment. Is this site a reliable source that I should be using? Isn't NFP permissable?

[/quote]

NFP is permitted by the Church, so I would be wary of that site.

You can do a google search for "examination of conscience" and find lots of them.


#6

If you know what the specific name of a sin is used it, you don't have to give a description of every action you jsut have to say "I commited x this many of times" If it's a habitual sin that maybe you don't keep track of, then just round it off to the nearest number you can think is right. For sins that you are not sure what they are, I would just try and find the category/ or comandment under which they fall. The Priest will ask you questions if he is unsure of what you're confessing, that's when you can give details. And don't worry, any sins you genuinely forget to confess, believe me I do all the time, are forgiven and absolved.


#7

Welcome home! You'll be in my prayers as you journey home to the Catholic Church.

You should confess how you broke the Fifth Commandment, kind and number to the best of your ability. Just confessing that you killed in some way is just too general.

NFP **can **be a sin if a couple uses NFP to completely avoid being open to the gift of life.

As to how to go to confession, since this is the first time you'll be going I suggest you make an appointment with the priest as this will be, essentially, a general confession; that is, a confession of everything you've done since your baptism. I also suggest you write your confession down so you won't forget anything - I'm not judging you but this is probably going to be a long confession and so it'll be a lot to just remember without such a list.

After you've greeted the priest, make the Sign of the Cross.

It is rare but the priest may have a reading at this point. Probably not, but allow a bit of a pause before proceeding, especially if the priest has a book in his hands.

Say "Bless me Father for I have sinned, this is my first confession"
In subsequent confessions you'd say "Bless me Father for I have sinned, it's been (X weeks/months) since my last confession."

List your sins, kind and number, usually starting with the most serious sins and ending with the venial ones. Your list during your first confession may not be so organized so just get through it - you may want to start with the most embarrassing ones first to get them over with.

When you've finished your confession say, "For these and for all of my sins I am truly sorry."

The priest may advise you and will give you your penance.

Say your Act of Contrition.

The priest will absolve you of all your sins. (This is the best part!)

The priest will dismiss you, respond appropriately.


#8

[quote="agnes_therese, post:5, topic:333426"]
NFP is permitted by the Church, so I would be wary of that site.

You can do a google search for "examination of conscience" and find lots of them.

[/quote]

Considering this is the guy they are telling you to check out on "Have you practiced NFP", I'd say yes, be wary of the site. They could be radical traditionalists. They also seem to promote the "prophecy" of St. Malachy, which has been proven a haux. They also seem to be really into the rapture and the vision at Medjugorje.


#9

[quote="leamar3, post:1, topic:333426"]
I've recently started my journey toward becoming Catholic, and last night I had one of those middle of the night realizations that causes something that I already knew to seem really real and scary...at some point I have to confess my sins out loud to another person. :eek:

What I'm wondering is this, when you go to confession, how specific are you supposed to be? In my teens and early twenties, let's just say that I "sowed some wild oats" (some oats on more than one occasion). Of course, I use this euphemism because I am feeling ashamed of just how sinful I have been.

I found this list of mortal sins fall under each of the ten commandments. followthissite.com/list-of-sins.php Hypothetically speaking, let's say that I committed 6 of the sins listed under the 5th commandment. When in the confessional, do I say all 6 and give the frequency/time period/situation? (oh goodness, I may be in there a while). Or does a person just say that they have broken the 5th commandment?

Also, I see on this website, that it lists using NFP under the 6th commandment. Is this site a reliable source that I should be using? Isn't NFP permissable?

[/quote]

Keep in mind with sins, three conditions must be met in order that they be mortal. From the Catechism: 1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

So, can NFP be a mortal sin? Yep, but it would be so, for example, in a case where the spouses were practicing it to prevent a baby because they were willfully being selfish, not because they had a reason they actually considered serious, they knew that, and decided to purposefully not conceive anyway. However, I don't think most of the time, this would apply to most couples practicing NFP. You can read more here: ewtn.com/expert/answers/nfp_serious_motives.htm

As for confession, it's such a great sacrament! I was gone from the Catholic Church for 15 years and I go to confession all the time now. Yes, that first confession (and even some since then) took a while, but was well worth it to have that weight off my shoulders. Just remember, whatever you're about to tell the priest, he's likely heard it before, and then some. I thought I would get some shocked gasps at the least, but every time I've been, the priest didn't so much as raise an eyebrow at my sins. They do sometimes ask for clarification, but they don't get much into the details, just enough to figure out if you've done anything else serious, or in order to counsel you a bit, which I think is nice. It's like free therapy. :thumbsup:

Welcome to the Church!! :hug1:


#10

Using NFP is not in and of its self a sin. That said, one should always examine why they don't want a child, if it is for less than noble reasons like "but ... I couldn't afford an Audi if I had another child" then it might be best to pray a little more about your reasoning and see if God isn't calling you to have a child.

That said, first question is were you baptized already? If yes, then yes you have to do a good examination of continence and do your best to be prepared for your first confession. Try and get everything at once. If you have not, then you will not be required to confess out loud (indeed you can't be absolved). Water baptism will forgive all your sins. Regardless, you should still practice the examination and cataloging of your sins. This will begin reforming your continence and help draw you to Christ.

As for form, you can probably find it online honestly. But in general

Father forgive me for I have sinned. It has been since my last confession.

Await your priest if he is praying at the time you are finishing speaking, if he's silent you can start listing your sins.

You can either just stop with a pause, or indicate you are done when you have finished. Await the priest.

At this point he may opt to give you some guidance. Listen to his advice, then he will assign a penance, you should complete this ASAP after confession is done.

He will ask you to make an act of contrition, may prayers work here actually but one good one is (from EWTN link below):
O my God,
I am heartily sorry for
having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven,
and the pains of hell;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
and to amend my life.
Amen.
Read more: ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/contrit.htm#ixzz2ZVuLbnjl

At this point he will absolve you, when he says "I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" make the sign of the cross. Your confession is now complete.


#11

Thanks for all of the responses. My mind is starting to ease a bit about this. I really do try to do what is right, but before I had a real relationship with God, I sort of went about life rather willy-nilly.

There is so much I still have to learn. Thank you for the advice on this website.


#12

They will go over it in RCIA, and possibly pass out a booklet to guide you. At least that is my experience. The already baptized in my group made an appointment with the priest for their confession and were encouraged to make a written list of their sins. They didn't just wait in the normal confession line since it is often many years since they were baptized plus you don't want to feel pressure to hurry the first time because a bunch of people are waiting for their turn.


#13

I remember watching my dad after not going to confession for over 20 years…literally transform before my very eyes! I watched over the last several years of life he was on earth change, and change and change and become more aware of himself, his relationship with God and family and his own misery. It was beautiful! And I have to thank God for the gift of confession all the time (also for myself in my use of it! It has helped me tremendously).

I was so blessed, to be with my dad alone next to him when he was in the hospital dying on his bed…to think back…“wow!, what God has done to you through that sacrament dad!”. He died a better, more humble man…and a man who I believed had the right in his mind and heart to die more comfortably and securely knowing he acknowledged himself before God in that sacrament, that he brought all his weaknesses and shortcomings and laid them in his Gods’ lap everytime he used that sacrament and said “I trust in you”.

It’s a beautiful sacrament that permits you to do something beautiful for God… it allows you to offer your heart, your darkest secrets, to kill pride (which is at the center of all your sins) and make you more humble (goodness knows confession is a …humbling experience). Think about it from Gods point of view…yes, it can be VERY uncomfortable in the confessional…but God sees a soul who wants to be united to him that your willing to trust Him to the point of telling all your business to a complete stranger!

So, I just want to give you a small bit of advice…be happy you have the chance to touch the heart of a God you in this physical realm can’t ever really feel, see or touch…accept by doing humble acts like this out of love of him, and trusting him with the love of a spouse.

God bless

Luke 15:7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.


#14

and don't worry.........lol..........those priests have heard everything!


#15

[quote="bzkoss236, post:8, topic:333426"]
Considering this is the guy they are telling you to check out on "Have you practiced NFP", I'd say yes, be wary of the site. They could be radical traditionalists. They also seem to promote the "prophecy" of St. Malachy, which has been proven a haux. They also seem to be really into the rapture and the vision at Medjugorje.

[/quote]

I see you threw Medjugorje in there apparently trying to show your negative attitude towards it? - looks like kind of a potshot there. The Vatican Commission is reviewing these ongoing reported apparitions seriously and they don't make comments such as I have seen from some Church members. To throw it in with the rapture is a serious insult and I might add, a cheap shot as well in my opinion. We all know the rapture is a false teaching. Millions have visitied Medjugorje, numerous vocations and conversions are attributed ot it , you can see much on this at

ministryvalues.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1015&Itemid=214

I think we ought to take the disposition of the Church as we await results of the Commission investigating Medjugorje, including scientific, spritual, physical healing and other, psycological and other.

Peace of Christ be with you all.


#16

Also this amazing testimony from Fr. Scott Adams in Oklahoma

youtube.com/watch?v=NPeWECth6Ao


#17

Remember: one is encouraged to confess even venial sins, just in case one has misjudged one's own culpability.

Also, keep in mind: Not all Catholic parishes are of the Roman Rite. If you happen to wander in to a Byzantine or Ukrainian Catholic parish, even in the US, one may find confessions done at the front of the nave, or at the altar, or at a side table, rather than in a confessional. And in such parishes, the priest place the ends of his stole upon your head, his hands atop them, and you very quietly make your confession with his ear inches away. Corollary - if you see someone with a priest holding a stole on their head, keep your distance, as they're making their confession.


#18

[quote="leamar3, post:1, topic:333426"]
I've recently started my journey toward becoming Catholic, and last night I had one of those middle of the night realizations that causes something that I already knew to seem really real and scary...at some point I have to confess my sins out loud to another person. :eek:

What I'm wondering is this, when you go to confession, how specific are you supposed to be? In my teens and early twenties, let's just say that I "sowed some wild oats" (some oats on more than one occasion). Of course, I use this euphemism because I am feeling ashamed of just how sinful I have been.

I found this list of mortal sins fall under each of the ten commandments. followthissite.com/list-of-sins.php *Hypothetically speaking, let's say that I committed 6 of the sins listed under the 5th commandment. When in the confessional, do I say all 6 and give the frequency/time period/situation? (oh goodness, I may be in there a while). Or does a person just say that they have broken the 5th commandment? *

Also, I see on this website, that it lists using NFP under the 6th commandment. Is this site a reliable source that I should be using? Isn't NFP permissable?

[/quote]

There are a lot of sins contained within each commandment, some of which are mortal, others venial, so, no, you do not just say you have broken the 5th commandment. You need to state clearly each specific mortal sin committed.

If you are, hypothetically speaking, confessing 6 sins that were listed under the 5th commandment, then you must confess each one, stating - as best you can - the frequency of committing each. For example - I committed the sin of drunkenness vwey frequently, about 3 times a week for four or five years; I lost my temper a lot and became physically violent, punching and kicking at times - about once a month for ten years.

You get the idea. When examining your conscience, break your life into sections - what sins do you remember committing from 7 years through 13 or so; what sins between 13 and 19; what sins in your twenties...


#19

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