How often do you go to confession? Is the eucharist different?


I’m asking out of curiosity… my husband grew up catholic and was never expected to go to confession, after he went prior to confirmation (communion?).

Personally, do you think this makes a difference in how people perceive/ benefit from the eucharist? Is there a direct connection between not going to confession, and not ‘believing in’ or ‘experiencing Christ in’ the eucharist?

Do parishes which do not encourage confession have higher attrition rates?

I would think this makes a big difference in how you benefit or perceive the Eucharist. There is a cleansing of the mind and soul when you’ve confessed your sins and you are more open to receiving fully the body and blood of Christ, imho. After confession, I more fully embrace the Eucharist.

First, all Catholics are expected to go to Confession once a year. Of course in reality many don’t, but thats the expectation.

Is there a difference? If you can appreciate the Eucharist and know that you receive Christ so worthily, then yes. If you can’t tell the difference or you don’t feel anything, then you probably shouldn’t be receiving. It means your faith is not where it should be.

The real problem with your husband, and many other Catholics in our country, is that they were totally undercatechised. I would say the problem began some time ago, but really “took root” after Vatican II. So many Catholics don’t really know their Catholic faith past a kindergarten level.

That being said, Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa of Calcutta went to Confession weekly. Does anyone think they’re better than either one of those folks? Not me!

I go at least monthly, sometimes more often. I’ve gone twice in the past three weeks because I needed to. If we commit a mortal sin, and we die unrepentant (for Catholics, that normatively means going to Sacramental confession!), we go to hell. Confession is very necessary!

With regard to the Holy Eucharist, Confession prepares us better. If we understand that it really is Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, one has to wonder why, when we receive it, that we aren’t all totally changed and converted. The reason is that we only receive according to our disposition at the time. If we’re just going through the motions, we get very little compared to when we receive well disposed.

I would say that whoever was in charge of the spiritual formation of your husband when he was younger did not properly teach him that all Catholics are expected to go to confession and receive holy communion at least once a year during Easter. Although, it is much more beneficial for reasons of self knowledge and humility if you go once a month.

Yes, it does make a difference how people perceive/benefit from receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s like a woman who owns a home and is expecting an important guest over for the evening. She would clean her house meticulously so as to show respect and dignity to her friend/guest. If you didn’t clean your house and had the guest over, you might feel pretty embarrassed or shamed to show you have such a dirty unorganized house. If you don’t feel this way, then you must not think that the guest is very important! It is exactly the same with going to confession and receiving the holy Eucharist. If your not going to confession to “clean your house” you must not think Christ is very important when you receive him.

If you do insist that you think he is important when you receive him, but refuse to go to confession, then you are lying to yourself because the Church that Jesus founded and gave the Key’s to the Kingdom of heaven to, requires that you go to confession at least once a year. Jesus instituted the sacrament of confession when he told the apostles whatever you bind on earth you bind in heaven and whatever you loose on earth you loose in heaven. When you go to confession you are putting yourself in a humble position before Christ, admitting that you are not perfect, and asking for forgiveness. If you don’t do this you are only deceiving yourself and *making * yourself feel something when you receive communion. Only Christ knows each heart inside and out and we have to act like he is real or soon we will fool ourselves to believe that he is not.

Personally, whenever I go to confession, I feel as if a lead weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It may be hard at first to put yourself in that situation, but after you’re done you feel like you’re on cloud nine! Even if you don’t feel an emotional/spiritual response, it’s comforting to know for sure that God has forgiven your sins through those he has ordained to do so. And if you’re not comfortable with having to tell your sins face to face to another human, then when you go make sure to stay behind the screen so the priest can’t see you. God can see you through and through where ever you go. Then when you receive the living God into your “home” you feel happy and at peace that your “home” is presentable and welcoming.

To answer your last question about attrition, only God knows if a heart is truly contrite or only partially contrite. You can go to confession with only attrition in mind and still be forgiven. However, it is much more beneficial to be sorry for your sins because of your love for God rather than only fear of Hell or punishment. I would think that parishes that don’t encourage confession would have higher rates of attrition because its members wouldn’t take the sacrament as serious and understand it for its healing value. Again, only God truly knows each person’s heart so it would be hard to answer that question. :smiley:

God Bless You! Keep asking questions! :thumbsup:

thank you, thank you!

I’ll be discussing this with my husband!

I go to confession every month or two, sometimes more often. But I am not typical among the people I know, as far as I can tell.

I think that the Eucharist and Confession are intertwined. The closer you get to Jesus in the Eucharist, the more you desire for your soul to be a welcoming place for Him. The more you go to confession and the more you are in the presence of the Eucharist, the more you see the things you do that are offensive to God, and the more you want to be reconciled…

My parish doesn’t do a lot to encourage confessions. We have confession for 30 minutes on Saturday afternoons, and for about 10 minutes before daily Mass 4 days a week. I seldom have to wait when I go, or feel rushed because there is a line.

I believe that there is a direct correlation between not believing in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and not going to confession, for if you truly believed that Jesus was present in the Holy Eucharist, body, blood, soul and divinity, you would go to confession often, probably every week so as to keep one’s soul in a state of grace for receiving Holy Communion.

One is only obliged to go to Confession when one has a mortal sin to confess. However, it is like going to the dentist.

One is only obliged to go to the dentist when one has a rotten tooth to be dug out. However if one goes more frequently and corrects all the little problems one will probably not have a rotten tooth.

The same with Confession. If one goes regularly and confesses the venial sins, one holds to a better course and probably won’t commit a mortal sin.

There are differing opinions on how often one should go. My former pastor taught our RCIA people that one should go something between weekly and quarterly. More frequently than weekly one may become scrupulous. It is difficult to keep track of ones sins for more that three months. Personally, I find that more frequently than monthly it tends to be come a routine. I am going through the motions without a true repentance. Less frequently than monthly I tend to forget my resolve to do better.

I used to go to confession 3 or so times a year whether I needed it or not, or when/if I committed a mortal sin. Now I go every one to three weeks. The closer you get to Jesus, the better you want to be so you go to confession more. Receiving Him in the Eucharist was always good, now it’s even better.

At times I think I want/need to go to confession but I can’t really think of how I’ve sinned, I think I try to live the best I can. But if I sit down with a notebook and ask the Holy Spirit to show me where I’ve failed and need to improve I’m amazed. Sometimes I say, “I didn’t really want to work on that thing right now, Lord.” or “Oh…, I forgot about that.” or “I never thought about it that way before.”

Yeah, sometimes I have to confess something I’ve had to many times before but if I’m sorry and I want to do better I don’t think it becomes routine. And if there’s there’s something I need to change I need that sacramental grace.

Of course it makes a huge difference! It’s like putting clean clothes onto a smelly sweaty body that you haven’t bothered to wash first, as opposed to putting them onto a freshly showered, clean, sweet-smelling body.

It surprises some people that this is, indeed, the teaching of the Church.

See Canon Law 989, I believe. or use the search button in Ask An Apologist.

It’s not a blanket requirement go once a year, regardless of how brief resumes of the Catechism say it is.

Hmm! Thank you for clarifying this for everyone. I know that you are required to receive Holy Communion at least once a year so I assumed that you had to go to confession once a year as well. I looked it up and I believe you are correct that you are only required to go to confession if you have committed a mortal sin.

AlwaysAsking: Please disregard my statement that Catholics are required to go to confession at least once a year. I myself was misinformed. lol :smiley:

However, without frequent reception of Holy Communion (which gives you grace to help you not sin) and confession, it is a lot harder to not commit serious sins thus making it more likely that you need to go to confession before receiving Christ during Easter if this is what you choose to do.

No harm, no foul. :wink:

Baptised at 2 months old, I later attended Catechism classes (CCD) and received the other sacraments through confirmation at age 14, there there were more catechism classes after that. I had the Baltimore Catechism training initially for communion, penance, and confirmation. I learned that the Church fosters our good through:

  1. The seven sacraments (Baptism, Penance, Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick) and the liturgy (Mass).
  2. The precepts of the Church, which are six obligations. The precepts include the annual eucharist and confession (if any mortal sins), marriage only with Church approval, and observing holy days and fasts, and making contributions to the Church.
  3. Indulgences which are for reparation of sins already forgiven. These are of four forms: prayer, charitable works, abstention, and public witness of the faith. Plenary indulgences require sacramental confession (+/- ~20 days) with perfect contrition and communion in addition to the indulgenced act. Frequent confession is encouraged through the faithful’s desire to make reparation for sins.

I don’t know of parishes which do not encourage confession.

Confession makes a difference in how people benefit from the eucharist because without it they may not be properly disposed to receive it. (Approach with the fear of God.) The Church teaches that we are to be free of mortal (serious) sins to receive the eucharist. It is true, one can make a non-sacramental confession with perfect contrition prior to receiving the eucharist, but should then ASAP receive the sacrament of penance. This practice is not encouraged due to the possibility of imperfect contrition, and not having received absolution.

I think if one does not believe in the presence of Christ in the eucharist, they may see communion as a ritual only, in which case they may see no need for confession. It means they deny the faith.

The last pope that was a saint–St. Pius X went to confession daily.

Is it possible to go to confession daily without being scrupulous?

Yes, examples:

Day 1: Father, I waited too long to change the channel when the love scene started.
Day 2: I raised my voice in irritation to a remark my wife said.
Day 3: I made a pig of myself at the luncheon, and people noticed too.
Day 4: I wanted to look attractive, but I went too far, when I noticed so many staring at me at the party.
Day 5: I was feeling bad, but could still work, yet I exaggerated and I said I couldn’t get out of bed.
Day 6: I was picking on somebody (faultfinding) at work.

well receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a mortal sin in itself…

people should go to Confession regularly, at minimum once every two months…

I try to go every other week, or simply when I need to

and yes, regular Confession helps to receive Communion worthily and better :slight_smile:

Check out this site;
I’ve posted this site before. I think you may get a little different perspective by reading this article’

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