How often does the Church require us to go to Confession?

I was having a discussion with a friend regarding the Church’s requirement on Confession. I was of the opinion that, as stated in the CCC, 1456-1458, specifically 1457, we are obligated to receive the Sacrament once a year IF WE HAVE SERIOUS SIN TO CONFESS. If we do not, then we are not obligated to recieve this sacrament. We are encouraged to, there is much value in it, but it’s not REQUIRED:

"1457 According to the Church’s command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.“56 Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.57 Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.58”

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial Black][size=3]However, the precepts of the Catholic Church indicate:

"[/FONT][/size][/FONT] You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
We must prepare for the Eucharist by means of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). This sacrament “continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.”
This is confusing to me. On the one hand, it seems the Church requires confession once a year but only for serious sin, not venial sin. But on the other hand, the precept says we are obligated to confess your sins at least once a year, with no qualifier as to type of sin.

I’m a big fan of regular monthly confession, and I understand the value of the Sacrament. I just need clarification on what the actual requirement is, because as outlined above, the Precept and the CCC seem to be in conflict.

God Bless


The following links should assist you in better understanding the Catholic Church’s teaching on how often one should go to Confession. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:
What does canon law say regarding Confession once a year?

Is Confession twice a year ok?
Can Catholics confess through private prayer?

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