Making a Good Confession


It is very hard for me to go to Confession. I mean, whenever I go to Confession, I get very nervous before, during and after. I worry that I did not go into enough detail or that I was misleading the Priest or whatnot. I come out of Confession and, instead of feeling cleansed, I pick apart my confession trying to determine if/how I messed it up. During Confession, like during the Absolution, my mind runs a mile a minute trying to find a sin I may have forgotten.

What does it mean to make a good Confession? It says, like in the Baltimore Catechism and other places to confess ‘kind’ and ‘number’ of mortal sin. I understand confessing the number, although I often forget to do that–not intentionally, I just forget and the Priest never reminds me–so does that invalidate the Confession?

In terms of confessing the ‘kind’ of sin, what does that mean? For example, what ‘kind’ of sin are those online sexual role-playing games I seem addicted to? What about making obnoxious or divisive comments (you know, saying things with the intent to get a rise out of someone; i.e. when I am around a Protestant friend, I talk a lot about how wonderful Catholicism is and that it is the True Church, etc., or bringing up a touchy political topic or just saying things that are going to be controversial or making inappropriate joking comments)?

EDIT: And yes, I am Scrupulous.


Say the act of contrition, and say to the priest, '‘I have trouble remembering every sin, but I ask that God forgive ALL my sins, and that I may remember to keep Him in my heart always.’'
It has worked for me in the past. Explain to the priest that you are nervous and that you need to understand better the purpose of the confession. Remember it isn’t a list you are running down for the priest it is God you are talking to when you coverse with the priest. The priest isn’t God but an intermediary form of God. You confess and God hears it through the priests ears. And in return, the words God gives the priest are spoken by the priest, but come from God. But I digress…Just ask God to forgive you ALL of your sins, because there are too many to remember or count, and the priest will understand and hopefully grant you absolution… I hope this helps. God Bless:thumbsup:


I thought of something:

Maybe in the next couple of days, I might be getting together to hang out w/ our parish’s Deacon. I like him, he is a theologically conservative Catholic and I trust him. Might it be a good idea for me to ask him about this stuff (i.e. I tell him the sin I committed, going into full detail, etc., and then ask him how what might be the proper way to confess it so that I give enough detail but not too much)?


IMHO, that way of confessing sins is meant to teach younger people to mind each sin by number and category, as a learning tool, However, adults seem to go deeper into the mindset that triggers the occasion of sin and the weakness of the Will. Use the capital sins to guide you, as well as the commandments. Which excess or attachment causes most of your sins? Work on the one that causes the most ‘symptoms’ first.

What are the underlying ‘themes’ that cause YOU to sin in particular. Everyone has specific ‘triggers’ and we learn to stay away as if we were allergic to them! [though we fail at times anyways]

Looking at it this way will make you realize that you may cluster several different sins that have a common cause…that common link is the actual thing to combat…as if a doctor treated the disease and not the myriad of symptoms…because in treating the cause, all the related effects will disappear in time.

In your case, not to judge, just as an observation because you asked for guidance, it seems that being extremely self-centered sometimes gets you into trouble and then you find that you don’t know how to turn back so you turn in or yield in order to start all over again, as in a game…[the role play kind in videos where you can start all over and try to beat it *this time around]. Pretend this game has no way to re-start…and then proceed cautiously…

**Building up the Will works wonders in these cases, and the Will gets stronger by exercising it, as in fasting or disciplined prayer. ** It’s in the discipline, as any athlete would say.

Also, the ‘showing off’ tendency to create controversy, makes the church look bad. Please, don’t use religion to enrage people…if you can help it somehow.
This may be your soul seeking help, because it knows the truth, it recognizes it…but it also knows that your Will is not keeping up with your knowledge…and the dilemma makes your soul uncomfortable…as it does every Christian soul!
It’s a lot easier to ‘say’ we know the right path than to actually ‘walk’ it! **:blush:

Confession is VERY hard! It is a grace but it isn’t easy at all. Try this way and see if it works for you…:wink:


One thing that confuses me is that it seems different people, including Priests, have different views of Confession.

Some Priests, wrongly in my opinion and I believe the Church’s too, view Confession as relatively unimportant. I once had a Priest tell me Confession was, in the Early Church, primarily for things adultery, apostasy or murder and it was almost like they viewed that I had no need to Confession, especially frequently.

Some see Confession as more a mini-counseling session with an Absolution tacked on at the end.

Others see Confession as you go in, confess what needs to be confessed (no frills, only enough detail as required) and it should be relatively quick on the penitents end.

Then, with my Scrupulosity (and several Priests that this is an issue for me), I get sometimes different advice.

Maybe I should have asked what makes a “good” Confession since that “good” is a subjective idea. Better I should ask: what makes a valid Confession? When I come out of the Confessional, I rarely question how “good” my Confession was, but more whether it was valid or not (i.e. did I mislead the Priest somehow by going into too much detail, did I omit a key detail, etc.).

Is it okay if I write down what I want to confess before going to Confession? Is it also okay to show the stuff to a close friend or spiritual advisor or spiritual director to get their advice if it is okay?


I’d like to add to the above advice that confession is something that will probably change for you over time. I used to write lists when I first started going and found it helpful. I’m one of those people who don’t go into details, but just go through the sins and elaborate when I feel I need to provide more context. Sometimes I am asked to talk more about a particular issue. I guess we all have different ‘styles’ of confessing and what makes the confession ‘good’ is primarily our honesty and intention. What helps me prepare is prayer.


Could it be because of my obsessing over the validity of my Confessions and always worrying about the wording (i.e. give too much/too little information, somehow being misleading, etc.) that one of the Priests recently stopped me from reciting my sins, asked me if I was sorry for my sins and then gave me a Penance and Absolution (see this thread)? It seems to defeat the purpose of Confession if, quite often, one leaves the Confessional feeling as though their Confesssion was invalid and, thus, they are in a greater state of sin or something.


An excellent book on Adult Confession… — it is out of print - but Amazon has 7 used copies available…


remember, what makes a Confession good and valid is God’s mercy, not necessarily our own dispositions. If you were hiding something from the priest, you’d know it, cause it would be deliberate. If you’re TRYING to make a good Confession, then it is good :slight_smile: the rest is up to God. It’s not fully dependent on us.


Of course it could! He sounds like a very wise and caring priest. How long will it be before you take everyone’s advice and choose ONE and ONLY ONE priest to be your confessor and deal with your scrupulosity issues, so you stop getting confused??? It doesn’t matter that each day a different one hears confessions. It matters that you approach one of them and entrust him with the care of your soul. PLEASE do this.



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