How often should Catholics go to confession?


#1

How often should a Catholic person go to confession? Should it only be when one feels like they have done wrong, committing a venial sin or should it be quite a frequent thing?


#2

You are obliged to go to confession after committing a mortal sin.
Venial sins do not need to be confessed as they are forgiven in many ways - the Confiteor at the start of Mass,. for iinstance - but the Church highly recommends confessing them.
The 'once a year and at Easter-tide' that you will sometimes see quoted on here is wrong, according to Canon Law 989. Confessing at least once a year is for those conscious of having committed mortal sin. It is not a blanket requirement for everyone.


#3

I meant to say mortal sin instead of venial sin, my mistake. Thankyou for your response! :slight_smile:


#4

How often SHOULD Catholics go to confession? Frequently. At least once per month, if not twice per month. Not just when we commit a mortal sin. Why? Because we commit venial sins, probably on a daily basis - remember “the just man falls seven times a day”?

Yes, I know that venial sins are forgiven in many ways outside confession, but it is very good to have a habit of regular confession - for one, you get an increase in Sanctifying Grace, for another, it will be easier to confess a mortal sin if you have a habit of confessing regularly.

Think of it this way - you do not only shower or bathe when you are really dirty and smelly! You would normally shower on a daily basis, if only to ensure that your body is fresh. We don’t need to confess every day - if we tried, the priest would surely think that we were scrupulous. A regular habit of confessing once or twice per month, or even every week, is an excellent habit to have.


#5

It is not just the Confiteor, which is an option among three for the Penitential Rite, which is what actually forgives sins in the Roman Rite. Reception of the Eucharist as well will forgive venial sins.


#6

As often as you need to go.

There is no one answer to this question other than saying that the Church requires once a year.


#7

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:6, topic:299291"]
As often as you need to go.

There is no one answer to this question other than saying that the Church requires once a year.

[/quote]

For those conscious of mortal sin.

Again, see Canon Law 989.


#8

Annual confession is among the precepts of the Church to which we are all bound. The text below fairly considers CIC 988 as well as CIC 989.

  1. Confess your sins at least once a year.

Commentary: Catholics above the age of discretion, generally held to be about seven years of age, are required to confess their grave sins to a priest, even one of a different rite, at least once per year, at any time during the year (1983 CIC 989, 991). Strictly speaking, persons free of grave sin are not required to make an annual confession, but all Catholics are strongly encouraged to bring even their venial sins to confession (1983 CIC 988). Certainly persons conscious of having committed grave sins should not delay in seeking absolution notwithstanding the annual nature of the precept. A well-executed “penance service” is a wholesome activity for Christians, but it is not sacramental confession and does not satisfy this requirement. “General absolution”, even if, as is often the case, it is celebrated illicitly, does satisfy the precept, but persons receiving same are still required to confess their grave sins later in individual confession (1983 CIC 962).

source: canonlaw.info/precepts_noaudio.htm

In my own ECC, we are taught that an annual examination of conscience is the focus of this precept, and we do not truly consider whether or not mortal sin (grave sin) has been committed. The annual confession serves to assure that we prayerfully and sacramentally turn to God in asking forgiveness for all our faults at least annually. The season of Great Lent is the customary time.


#9

Every Catholic is required by the law to go to confession at least once a year during lent.

This is the official version.

Then you have to look at your personal situation. Basically you can say that as soon as you notice by yourself that you could have done anything wrong you should go and talk with a Priest in the confessional. Because, if you yourself notice it, or if you knew you might be doing something wrong and done it nonetheless, then chances are that you commited a mortal sin and should (must if you will) go to confession before going to communion. You might as well find out that you didn’t commit a sin at all and then you feel better and learned something.

Then there might be those sins that you’re not aware of. You could be cleansed of those venial sins at the beginning of every mass when we pray. However, if you go to confession you have the Priest who can explain things to you - and most importantly - as a Pro help you remove a venial sin that might even end up becoming a mortal one on day. I go once a month :slight_smile:


#10

I prefer to allow my faith to determine when I receive the sacrament of reconciliation rather than church precepts and canon law. Another example of using man made constraints is that the purity of our love for God becomes misplaced or diluted…Such as the “obligation” to attend Mass every Sunday…if we attend out of obligation instead of desire, we are reducing God’s many graces and love to legalism.

Peace and all good!


#11

If you know you’ve mortaled sinned, it’s in your best interest to go. Otherwise, like Friar David said, once a year.

Personally, I go once a week.


#12

[quote="504Katrin, post:9, topic:299291"]
Then there might be those sins that you're not aware of. **You could be cleansed of those venial sins at the beginning of every mass when we pray. However, **if you go to confession you have the Priest who can explain things to you - and most importantly - as a Pro help you remove a venial sin that might even end up becoming a mortal one on day.

[/quote]

Sins you aren't aware of? No, if you are unaware an action is a sin, then you haven't committed a sin.

And Confession isn't a time for the priest to explain things to you. Confession is a time to confess your sins. If you need to have the priest explain things to you, you need to make an appointment with the priest at another time.


#13

“Obligation” is generally misunderstood.


#14

If you aren’t aware of the sin you still didn’t do it the right way. And yes, the Priest explains things in the confessional. Example: In the beginning I didn’t know that we had to go to mass during the week if it’s a holy day. I only knew we had to go on Sundays. The Priest asked me about it in the confessional though and then said that I would have had to go and so I leanred something.


#15

As I said, as often as you need to go.


#16

[quote="504Katrin, post:14, topic:299291"]
If you aren't aware of the sin you still didn't do it the right way.

[/quote]

Sorry, I am not sure what you mean by this. :confused:

And yes, the Priest explains things in the confessional. Example: In the beginning I didn't know that we had to go to Mass during the week if it's a holy day. I only knew we had to go on Sundays. The Priest asked me about it in the confessional though and then said that I would have had to go and so I learned something.

Of course, the priest should be correcting you, if you are unaware of the precepts of the Church. But ideally, you shouldn't regularly go into Confession to have the priest explain things to you. That should be done outside of Confession, therefore allowing others to use Confession time for actual Confessions.


#17

[quote="maryjk, post:16, topic:299291"]
Sorry, I am not sure what you mean by this. :confused:
Of course, the priest should be correcting you, if you are unaware of the precepts of the Church. But ideally, you shouldn't regularly go into Confession to have the priest explain things to you. That should be done outside of Confession, therefore allowing others to use Confession time for actual Confessions.

[/quote]

Sorry, I know that I'm not good with words. I mean that even though you're not aware you're doing something wrong - hence technically not committing a sin - you might still violate church rules without knowing it. For example, last year I went to confess that I was late for mass on Sunday, and then the Priest asked me "And how about Thursday, did you go to mass on Thursday?" I didn't go indeed. Not even sure how he could have known this, my Confessor isn't even our Parish Priest. I could have gone to any other church that Thursday in any other parish. Anyway, he asked and schooled me about it and so I got to know about it.


#18

Your example here is different than maryjk is talking about.

One can not commit a sin unknowingly but if they should know it is a different thing.

Every Catholic should know all of the Holy Days of Obligation. No Catholic should ever say I didn’t know I should attend Mass on that Holy Day.


#19

You don’t know any of the circumstances of how I found the faith.


#20

Holy Days of Obligation are an example of how Catholics aren’t as catholic (universal) as the name implies; Holy Days of Obligation are far fewer and further between in the US than in other countries, so to say No Catholic should ever say I don’t know might be painting Catholic’s with a broad brush.


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