IMHO, anyone who says, “write down your sins and bring it to the confessional!” is wrong, wrong, WRONG.
Why? Let me explain.
Let’s look at the forest, not the trees. Catholicism is about a relationship with a loving God. It is not merely a list of rules, or a list of “dos and don’ts.”
And what is confession? It is unique sacrament wherein God’s grace touches us, and we are absolved of our sins. It is a chance to become purer, and more Christlike.
That said, let’s look at where “write your sins on paper!” leads us?
For starters, it leads to scrupulosity, taken to an almost insane degree. What if we forget to write something? What if we lose the paper? Is confession somehow “less valid” if we forget something on our list? Is losing the paper itself a sin? A mortal sin? What if the paper is seen by others? Is failing to safeguard the paper a sin? What if our list this month is longer than our list last month? What if we’re not sure whether to list something or not? In short, it makes us obsessed with SIN, when what we should be obsessed with is LOVE, namely, the love Christ has for us, and for all.
Sin-obsession, however, that is NOT what Catholicism is about, and it is not what confession is about.
Before we confess, we are to examine our consciences. Such examinations are to be in depth, and insightful…how have we failed God? How have we failed in our relationships with others? How can we be more like Christ? This provides fertile ground for self-reflection, and for the Holy Spirit to whisper guidance and insight to us. Yet when we write our sins down, we replace this examination, and this openness to the Holy Spirit, with mindlessly reading our list.
Furthermore, it leads us to miss the forest for the trees. Writing down what we did become more important that the relationships we have with God and with others. We begin to carry paper around to write down sins…instead of living life as Christians should, and serving God.
So forget the list…and instead, just live as a Christian - period.