Perfect Act of Contrition without Perfect Contrition

Is it bad to say the "Perfect Act of Contrition" prayer in confession if you have imperfect contrition?

If it makes you uncomfortable, say another one. There are no prescribed words for the act of contrition in the Sacrament of Penance. You can make up whatever is in your heart. You can say, "Lord, Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner." Or you can say the one you're referring to with the hope that God will help you to really have perfect contrition.

Betsy

Contrition is an act of the will, NOT a feeling.

If you intend perfect contrition, you are experiencing it, regardless of what you are feeling.

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Every Act of Perfect Contrition I’ve read includes a resolve, among other things, to confess as soon as possible (which sounds silly if you’re going to say it IN the confessional). And otherwise is no different from a regular Act of Contrition.

So what exactly is it you’re saying in the Confessional that you don’t feel?

[quote="LilyM, post:4, topic:185969"]
Every Act of Perfect Contrition I've read includes a resolve, among other things, to confess as soon as possible (which sounds silly if you're going to say it IN the confessional). And otherwise is no different from a regular Act of Contrition.

So what exactly is it you're saying in the Confessional that you don't feel?

[/quote]

the part that says "I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you my God..."

I am sorry because I have offended got, but saying "most of all" probably not accurate.

I make my own act of contrition in confession…so if you are unable to say the one you are referring too…feel free to use another. just make sure you are contrite :slight_smile:

but also strive to bring yourself to the perfect one…even in using your own words…you can leave out certain words…but strive to have it :slight_smile:

CCC for those who would like to read about this;

Contrition

1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

[quote="PeteZaHut, post:5, topic:185969"]
the part that says "I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you my God..."

I am sorry because I have offended got, but saying "most of all" probably not accurate.

[/quote]

remember it is an act of the will....not of feelings....

if one has this reason....one can still will it to be the highest reason even though your feelings etc focus on the other....

I recall the bible passage wherein God says that the people pay Him lip service because they merely mouth words but their heart is far from Him. I think this is exactly what we do when we pray the Act of Contrition without true sorrow for sins. So the most basic prerequisite for a good confession is perfect contrition- sincere repentance for sins committed. Having been in the priestly ministry for almost 12 years I believe this sacrament works wonders when received properly.

With due respect, Father, I have to beg to differ. My understanding is that perfect contrition is NOT a prerequisite for a good confession.

Neither does ‘imperfect’ contrition mean your contrition is less than sincere, or your confession less than good. It just means that your sorrow arises from a different cause - for example fear of Hell - than perfect contrition, which is motivated primarily by love of God.

Imperfect contrition (attrition) will effect every bit as valid an absolution in the confessional, per the Catechism, as perfect contrition. So you can’t say that a confession that is accompanied by imperfect contrition is any less ‘good’ if both types of contrition effect a true and valid absolution.

To the OP - if you feel that you really cannot, in good conscience, say that your contrition is mostly motivated by love of God, then by all means leave that part of the Act out, and simply say you are sorry for your sins. :shrug:

[quote="LilyM, post:9, topic:185969"]
. My understanding is that perfect contrition is NOT a prerequisite for a good confession.

Neither does 'imperfect' contrition mean your contrition is less than sincere, or your confession less than good. It just means that your sorrow arises from a different cause - for example fear of Hell - than perfect contrition, which is motivated primarily by love of God.

Imperfect contrition (attrition) will effect every bit as valid an absolution in the confessional, per the Catechism, as perfect contrition. So you can't say that a confession that is accompanied by imperfect contrition is any less 'good' if both types of contrition effect a true and valid absolution.
. :shrug:

[/quote]

Hi Lily

you can address me by my first name since I have already been dispensed from the priesthood last year. Yes I stand corrected in that perfect contrition is not a prerequisite for a good confession. Perhaps I should have said that Contrition is a prerequisite for confession because as the Catechism says "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction".

I'm posting here an excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Contrition for the benefit of all concerned:

1451 Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

1453 The contrition called "imperfect" (or "attrition") is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

There is no such thing as a “perfect” act of contrition with out perfect contrition. An Act of Contrition only becomes a “Perfect” Act of contrition if there is perfect contrition.

[quote="LilyM, post:9, topic:185969"]
With due respect, Father, I have to beg to differ. My understanding is that perfect contrition is NOT a prerequisite for a good confession.

Neither does 'imperfect' contrition mean your contrition is less than sincere, or your confession less than good. It just means that your sorrow arises from a different cause - for example fear of Hell - than perfect contrition, which is motivated primarily by love of God.

Imperfect contrition (attrition) will effect every bit as valid an absolution in the confessional, per the Catechism, as perfect contrition. So you can't say that a confession that is accompanied by imperfect contrition is any less 'good' if both types of contrition effect a true and valid absolution.

To the OP - if you feel that you really cannot, in good conscience, say that your contrition is mostly motivated by love of God, then by all means leave that part of the Act out, and simply say you are sorry for your sins. :shrug:

[/quote]

yes...imperfect contrition is sufficient for a good and valid confession. agreed:thumbsup:

Yes, agreed that contrition is necessary in the confessional, though it need not be perfect contrition.

I heartily agree that perfect contrition is preferable in general because it obtains forgiveness of sins outside of the confessional, but that’s not the same thing as saying it produces a better confession.

this is what one finds in great works of spiritual theology…

the better our dispostions…the better our act of contrition…the better our act of perfect contrition…the better the confession can be…including the removal of temporal punishments…

but of course it is all by grace.

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