Is it Minimalism?


Is it minimalistic to encourage people to only go to Confession when one’s sins are mortal?

There is always much ink split around here at CA explaining the requirements that Catholics are to seek the healing of the Confessional and the Sacrament when one is aware that one has committed a mortal sin. And many repeat the words “grave matter, full knowledge and consent” for there to even be a mortal sin as if this is all there is to utilizing the Sacrament of Confession. But is minimalistic? It almost says, “Look you aren’t in mortal sin so don’t go to Confession,” or “Only go to Confession when you’re in mortal sin.”

I’ve heard more than one priest complain in his homily that not enough Catholics go to Confession and I’ve heard more than one lay person complain about the long lines for Communion but the short lines for Confession. So why don’t more of the lay apologists here encourage the use of the Sacrament and begin to share their own experiences with the ocean of Mercy found in the Sacrament? :frowning:



I think that there is a lot of emphasis on parsing out mortal sin because there are so many scrupulous people that frequent the forum. When someone is worried that they are going to hell for every little thing, telling them, “Yeah, you should definitely go to Confession” is probably not the best advice for them at the time.

I agree with you, though, that we should seek to do more than the bare minimum. I think going to Confession at least once a month is the way to go – regardless of whether one has a mortal sin on their soul. It’s just a good spiritual practice.

On the other hand, we need to be careful about making this recommendation come across as a binding requirement under pain of sin. We cannot require more than the Church requires in that regard (which is Confession at least once a year).

As with anything in life, doing the bare minimum is not the path of someone in love. Love seeks to do more.


To only go when sins are mortal? Yes, I think that’s minimalistic and probably not the best advice. To go at least when sins are mortal? I think that is better advice.


Confession is a sacrament, so therefore there are great graces associated with it. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need all the spiritual help I can get. If someone has a problem with scrupulosity, then encouraging frequent confession might be a problem. But for the rest of us, it can only be good. Pope Benedict XVI went every week, and Pope Francis says he goes every two weeks. Can’t go wrong following their example.


Indeed. If they can think of stuff to confess that often, surely I can as well.

Examples like those are helpful in pointing out that Confession is not just about healing spiritual gunshot wounds but is also about fixing up bumps and scrapes and helping us to avoid ever getting shot in the first place.


I guess I would say it is minimalism.

I really struggle with why people think the only time they need to go to confession is if they are guilty of a mortal sin. Confession on a regular basis helps one review their life and habits, ideas, and thinking on a regular basis under a spiritual context that is very strengthening and also healing. I think it also helps one prevent falls into mortal sin. As the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (Don’t know were that one came from.)

Don’t give up on confession. Your presence may be a source of encouragement to others who are thinking about going, but just can’t seem to take that first step.


I try to go every 2 weeks but honestly feel I should/could go everyday to confess and ask God to rip out the pride by the roots so it can never grow again. If anything I like to go frequently so I can be truly worthy to be in communion with Him during mass. We always say in mass before communion “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. For me Jesus says the “word” to us truly through the priest when we are absolved of our sins in confession. I would love to go to confession before mass but sadly that is really hard to do. I have been fortunate enough though to find a church close to where I work that always has confession right after mass. The lines tend to be longer after daily mass I have noticed and that always makes me feel better to stand in the line with my fellow sinners.


Pax Christi!

Of course we have to confess the minimum, and should confess more often; once a month is a frequent recommendation. (See: First Saturdays) I guess I go, uh, “once in a while”: I don’t know how to better describe it. “When I need some free counselling” or “if I’m falling into a bad habit” might be more descriptive.

God bless.



I agree. Confession should not be viewed simply as something to clear off our mortal sins, but as an opportunity to heal our spiritual wounds and receive the gift of God’s grace.

We only have to receive Communion once a year, yet there are no discussions about whether or not we ought to receive Communion more than once a year. But when it comes to the Sacrament of Penance people discuss whether we should go any more than we have to.


If we only go to confession when we THINK we have committed a mortal sin, we may be in too deep already because many Catholics don’t know what is mortal sin vs. venial sin, and how the little venial sins and temptations can lead down the road to mortal sin and destruction of our lives, marriages, family, friends, community, world.

A good confessor can help us stay out of danger in our spiritual and actual lives; a regular confession, weekly, bi-weekly or at least monthly can do the same.

And, by the way, many confessors can spot someone with a scrupulosity problem, so even for that person, a regular confession could be good for discernment


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