how often to confess

As an RCIA candidate I know you are required to go to confession at least 1x/year.
My conundrum is this: We were chatting after rosary group and someone mentioned going to confession at least 1x/year. I said ( half joking) I might want to go daily. It was replied that I must be a “really bad person”. I dont think they really meant it but I dont understand how
1x’year would suffice because you cant recieve if you are not in a state of grace.
Maybe I am confused on how often to recieve as well?

I dont think I am a " really bad person" but I know I am not where I wish I was either.
I dont fully understand venial vs mortal sin and I am sure it will at sometime be covered at RCIA, however wouldnt sloth be mortal as it is one of the 7 deadly sins?

There are also those things that seem to pop into my head that I immediately ask god to
forgive me for.

So…am I worse than I think I am or just really confused?
Oh I just realized how that sounded, I do not recieve and I know I cant until after confimation.

I doubt very highly that you are a “very bad person.” I can’t tell you a “perfect” scenario about how often to confess you sins, but in general, our priest recommends at least once a month. Of course, if you have committed a mortal sin, go ASAP and don’t receive communion before you confess. I can tell you from personal experience that going once or twice a month is a good way to grow in your faith life. Quite frankly, it is easier to remember your faults and sins going frequently versus waiting a long time in between, too.

****For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must exist at the same time.

  1. It must be of a grave matter**;
  2. It must be committed with full knowledge that it is a mortal sin;
  3. It must be committed with full consent. [Full consent means to do it “voluntarily.”] (C.C.C. # 1857)
    Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger." (C.C.C. # 1858)
    “Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s laws. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.” (C.C.C. # 1859)
    “When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object… whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbour, such as homicide or adultery… But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbour, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.” (C.C.C. # 1856)

Pope JPII went weekly, and look how bad he was!

I try to go every 4 to 6 weeks…I have been doing this for about a year now. I see small improvements!

I think it is fair to say that I sin every day, athough venially. Go often!! It is a tremendous gift.

I think they may have misunderstood what you were saying and thinking you meant needing to go to Confession every day - if you couldn’t go a day without needing Confession then yeah, you’d be doing something wrong.

Don’t forget, we are not required to receive the Eucharist every Sunday. We are required to receive once a year, and historically lay people often did not receive every Sunday. Confession is required once a year as a minimum, that doesn’t mean you should only go once a year.

The once a year requirement is simply a minimum standard. How often you SHOULD go to confession is not so much a rule of thumb as it is a formula that is dependent on two very personal factors:

  1. have you sinned mortally?
  2. do you have some form of contrition for that sin, and desire not to sin again?

If the answer to the first question is yes, then it’s time for you NOT to recieve communion. If the answer to BOTH questions is yes, then it’s time for you to go to confession. As often as needed. That is it. You can go daily if needed, or weekly, or monthly. I generally end up having to go every month or two (and I think that’s probably the most common and reasonable).

As to mortal sins, the church defines certain acts as gravely disordered (they go greatly against what we as humans were created for), and thus they sever us from our rightful state as humans (meaning, that they cut us off from the salvific grace of God). Generally speaking, one can know what a mortal sin is by looking at a good examination of conscience. This website has some basics and a basic list (not exclusive of other acts!)

I also will note that something like sloth, while traditionally called a deadly sin, is not a mortal sin. It’s more common these days to understand the “7 deadly sins” as the 7 deadly vices. Sloth is an attitude, a vice in human nature, that LEADS to sin, and allows us to fall into ACTS which are sinful.

Understand, for something to be mortally sinful it must be an ACT (including thoughts) which is:

  1. Grave matter
  2. Done with knowledge that it IS grave matter
  3. Done with free will

Sloth, not being an act, is a vice that can be resisted… so someone’s conscupience (tendency to sin) can be affected by vice, while they might resist it in all aspects of their lives and be extremely devout and holy… eventually building on their virtues to destroy the vice of sloth. To wit, the seven deadly vices are attitudes and frames of mind which expose us to greater propensity to do sinful acts… but they can be resisted and fought off

a little confused which is understandable since you’re new.

The person said it as a joke and thats how it meant to be heard but we are all very good at hearing the joke then going home and thinking more into it…the other week I saw another church member on the bus, who don’t normally catch the bus. They were chatting and said left it outside church. He added “people will think he’s good won’t they”? I jokingly said back “Non Christians will think you good and Christians will think you bad for needing to be in Church all that time…” I am hoping he didn’t hear it how you heard your joke because thats all it was meant but when we are feeling bad about ourselves… well we get lost in the joke don’t we.

The first reply response seems to be right from what I’ve read on here. I am not Catholic but Anglican so don’t know how often the requirements are for you guys. People seem to go before every Mass on here. As an Anglican I aim to go about 4 times a year. I been three times this year. One was a bit quicker than usual as something I been saying to the priest and his help in sermon and sent me bit sooner rather than spacing it out.

I let God guide me as such. We are all different on how we go. Many Catholics go before every Mass if its on ‘offer’ at the church. Or your priest may advise you accordingly.

Ahh…that was very helpful! I can continue to fight the vice or vices and not be in mortal sin…
I believe the other things in my life are venial so while I am not where I wish to be I am not a " really bad" person either. Maybe there is hope for me after all. I struggle with feelings of unworthyness that ( until last march) kept me away from church and prayer. Thank you.

To clarify (see Canon Law 989).
Confession once a year is not a blanket requirement for all. Confession is only required for mortal sins. If a person is not conscious of having committed mortal sin, they are not required to go to confession.
However, confessing venial sins is highly recommended,

Thank you all for your answers. Its great to get clarification while in my journey!
So I wont need to go daily but I do think I would want to go often. Perhaps once a month or bi-weekly.
I know that you are not required to recieve every sunday but from what I see a lot of people recieve often.
Should you not recieve every chance you get unless in mortal sin?

You got some questions answered for me too!

Try going once a month. Once a day is obviously too much for the priests to handle. Once a year does not suffice.

I would say go at LEAST once every two months, but I actually end up going once every three… Hypocritical, I know.

There are times one shouldn’t receive, and the reasons are numerous (and again, often personal).

For example, if I’m at mass and I don’t feel spiritually disposed to receive… say I’m distracted and have no focus, or that I feel like I’m spending my time judging that girl in the sleeveless top for her immodesty and poor church dress choices, I might come to communion time and realize that my mental focus is not where it should be in order to receive Christ with all the worthiness and awe He deserves.

Another example might be that I’m making an offering to God on behalf of those who CANNOT receive (such as those in persecuted areas of the world)… so I make a spiritual communion in unity with those for whom spiritual communion is their ONLY option.

A final example (off the top of my head, there are other reasons too!) might be that I feel I have no great “appetite” for the Eucharist… In such a time, I might abstain from reception for a week or two to “rekindle” my desire for Christ in the Eucharist.

But it should be noted that the NORM is to receive often, and that while we might OCCASIONALLY abstain as in the cases above (or others), that it should by no means be our normal routine NOT to receive for extended periods of time. In fact, in that first example, if we find ourselves judging others so much that we’re spiritual indisposed to receive for months on end, that probably should be confessed and discussed with a priest because that level of judgement is unhealthy (and potentially sinful).

I go to confession as many as twice or three times per month. I have issues that for me are best addressed in the confessional booth and through penance. I prefer to receive holy communion weekly, but that does not happen if I have missed my parish’s once a week confession schedule of 45 minutes.

You know you are a sinner when you start looking for Polish and Latino parishes that offer daily confessions!

Can you go a little more into this? I know someone who does this and I’m not sure I quite understand it.

I would recommend at least once a month, even if all you have are venial sins. More if you need it.

I think that’s a good rule of thumb. The more often one gores to Confession, the easier it is to start to root out even these venial sins from our lives and to grow in holiness. Holiness is ultimately the goal we all should be working towards, anyway. :slight_smile:

Confession is a “healing” sacrament and don’t we all need some healing? Often? Personally, I go every first Saturday of the month as Our Lady of Fatima requested. I always feel as good as new. I wouldn’t want to wait a full year for this healing. The Eucharist is the bread of life forever, the more you receive it, the easier life is! :thumbsup:

Thank you so much for your caring wonderful answers.
One other quick question if that is ok…

At what point of my life will my first confession beguin?
Childhood or after my valid but prodestant babism?

Do you know if your baptism is one that the church recognizes? If it is not, then you will receive a valid baptism and will not need confession, as you will be baptized during the Easter Vigil. The church recognizes baptisms performed by the pouring of water over the head and the reciting of the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” There are some Protestant churches that do not baptize this way. Do you remember your baptism? If your baptism is valid then you would confess sins starting from baptism. Remember though, you need to have full knowledge of the sin being grave matter and deciding to do it anyway for it to be considered mortal sin.

I like the idea of confession on the 1st Saturday of each month. Our Lady requested this indeed and not too long ago in the apparition of Fatima.

I supplement this with going again the 3rd Saturday for this reason. If you go to confession every two weeks you can always complete the work for a Plenary Indulgence and offer this to a holy soul in purgatory. On occasion you can apply the plenary indulgence to yourself. This is a good work of mercy that will be recognized at judgment.

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