MERGED: Act of Contrition BEFORE Confession/does it equal grace?


I’m concerned about something that happened with my religious education class last week.

It was planned ahead of time that we would be bringing all the kids to confession as part of preparation for advent. I was psyched for this and planned to talk to my kids about the sacrament beforehand and go to confession myself to set an example.

As it turned out, it was a rushed, assembly-line experience. I had no time to talk to them before we went and I was not given the chance to confess myself.

I was told to say the Act of Contrition with the kids before we went. I assumed this was to refresh their memories in case they had not memorized it. I handed out the few printed copies I had and suggested they pass them to their classmates on their way out of the confessional, if anyone needed help.

On our way down, my DRE asked why they had the printed prayers in their hands and when they told her she said, “You already said it, you don’t have to say it again.”

The poor kids looked at me in confusion and I told them not to worry about it.

So what I’m wondering is, did my director simply do this to speed up or streamline the “process” or is there some legitimate scenario in which we can say the act before confession and not be asked by the priest to say it afterwards? I thought it was part of the rite. It doesn’t make sense to me and I didn’t have a chance to speak to my director or the priest when we were finished. I hate the idea of teaching the children to rush or take shortcuts with something so precious as the sacraments!

Have a blessed weekend.


I have seen such happen at times in Parish Penance services (with quite good orthodox Priests). All make the act of contrition together prior to the Individual reception of the Sacrament.

What particularly is needed is to have contrition.

Of course teach your kids to make an act in confession when they normally go (and before too).


If someone makes an act of perfect contrition on a Saturday for their Mortal sins and goto Mass on Sunday morning, would they be in a state of Grace and be able to receive the Holy Eucharist?

Also, since i can’t goto confession yet, would acts of perfect contrition put me in a state of Grace?

I’m still in RCIA and i can’t receive it or anything yet but i’m just curious on this
I’m trying to study and learn about our faith as much as I can :thumbsup:

Thanks in advance :slight_smile: :blessyou:


Making a perfect act of contrition involves more than just saying the words of a prayer. This article might help answer your question.


We do it for our first confessions. We have a penance service and all say the act of contrition together. Then the children go to individual confession. On the one hand it saves a bit of time and on the other hand the kids don’t have to worry about forgetting it or having to read it when they are with the priest.


We live in an area where there are too few priests and a severe lack of transportation. There are very few opportunities for confession throughout the year. As a result, the annual Penance Service before Easter is a huge, assembly line affair and yes, we all recite the act of contrition and even do a communal penance (stations of the cross or rosary or such) together BEFORE individual confessions where we are literally begged to only confess our most dire sins and keep it moving. Our roads are dangerous at night and the elderly priest or two we “borrow” have to get over the mountain safely so its urgent we all “get 'er done”. There is no lingering around after confession so we do the act of contrition and penance together first.

I don’t like it, but we do what we have to do and the priest has assured us that the Bishop has approved this situation as being necessary.


Thanks for the helpful responses folks.

I don’t like it either, especially when we’re trying to teach kids good habits and memorization of some common prayers.

But it’s apparently not the improper shortcut I thought it was.

Oh well. Good to know.


Hi Buddy,

I’m really glad you are in RCIA and learning the faith, keep it up.

If someone sins a mortal sin and then makes a true act of perfect contrition, then he returns by God’s Grace to a state of Grace. Now, we can’t know for certainty if this has actually happened or not. It is also not a permanent situation, but a sort of hold over. The way God still desires to give us the fullness of reconciliation is through the Sacrament of Confession.

So yes, an act of perfect contrition, if done in a true way, brings one to a state of Grace. But even if this is the case, one is still not allowed to receive the Eucharist until one actually goes to confession.

God Bless You.


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