What exactly do I confess and how?


Brand new baptized catholic here. I really need some help with this. Do I confess every sinful thought I have and the things I should have done but didn't including my sinful actions, like if I see an attractive girl and think bad things or just walk past someone begging for money on the street like he doesn't exist? How about if I devote more time and effort into watching a game rather than studying to better myself? What if I purposely skip praying to save time?

I've never used the confessional before and I have no idea what I should confess.


I recently had my first confession. Father said to confess to those things that you feel you are struggling with right now. You wont go through every single thought. Instead you might say, i have impure thoughts. It was explained to me that you want to confess to those sins which you know you need help with and forgiveness for. And dont be to worried about HOW to do confession, your priest will walk you through the steps. If you are interested we watched a you tube video by busted halo. A priest walks you through the whole process and brings a touch of humor to help lesson the nerves :)


[quote="andyklein, post:1, topic:321253"]
I've never used the confessional before and I have no idea what I should confess.


You need to confess mortal sins, as best you can remember, by kind and number. For example, "Since my last confession, I stole once and missed Sunday Mass twice." Generally speaking, you need not elaborate beyond this. Occasionally, the priest may ask a clarifying question, such as "Are you married, or single?" Regular examination of conscience should help, and there are many excellent guides available to assist you as needed.

Regarding the difference between mortal and venial sin, check out Catechism of the Catholic Church #1854-1864. For more about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, see #1422-1498.


Feel free to confess your mortal and venial sins together, and try to explain to your confessor which ones you think are mortal and which are venial, and why. A good confessor should be able to help you begin to discern which sins are mortal. All sin should be avoided, and all sin damages our relationship with God, but only mortal sin is a deliberate turning away from Him, and only mortal sins must be confessed. We achieve forgiveness of our venial sins in many ways, among them are being blessed with holy water, or blessing ourselves with it, and receiving the Eucharist worthily.

I recommend for you, like for everyone, frequent Confession. Try going every month. If you feel you have no mortal sins, go anyway and confess some venial sins. It is a wonderful, healing sacrament, and everyone should know they are welcome there, bringing our sins to the foot of the Cross. Congratulations for taking those first steps.


You need to learn to distinguish between sin and your fallen nature. It's not a sin to have bad thoughts or feelings unless you consent to them or entertain them.

You also need to learn to distinguish between venial and mortal sins. For a sin to be mortal it has to be (1) something very serious (2) whose sinfulness you have full knowledge of (3) and fully consent to.

How do you know if something is very serious? Here the Ten Commandments are helpful. There are a number of printed and online examinations of conscience which you can use as a guide, such as this one. It's also okay to get help from the priest; he can tell you if something is mortal or not.

We are required to confess all mortal sins in kind and number. We are not required, but it is a helpful practice, to confess venial sins also, but unless your confessor or spiritual director advises it, I would avoid trying to make an exhaustive list of all venial sins, because this can become an occasion for scrupulosity.

You're right about sins of omission. If you don't do something you should, this can be a sin. (It can also be an imperfection, depending on the situation.)

You get better at examining your conscience if you do it each night.


Concerning looking lustfully at women, disregarding those in need, and lacking in your prayer life then you might say something like; “I frequently have lustful thoughts towards women. I’ve often lacked charity in my life (maybe give an example here, like walking by those in need, as you said), and I’ve failed at putting God first in all things.”

That is only a suggestion.

This is your first confession, and so remembering for example how many times that you’ve ever looked with lust at someone probably isn’t possible, so saying “frequently” in that case is okay.

Just be completely honest in confession and confess all of your mortal sins in kind and number to the best of your ability or else the confession is invalid.

God bless


[quote="Nigel7, post:6, topic:321253"]
remembering for example how many times... probably isn't possible, so saying "frequently" in that case is okay.


Yes, there will probably be times when you honestly cannot remember a precise number. That's OK. There are other ways to indicate how many times or how frequently you did something, such as "a few times," "every other week," "once or twice a day," and so forth. The helps the priest get a more realistic idea how troublesome the sin is for you, even if you cannot recall a number.

[quote="Nigel7, post:6, topic:321253"]
Just be completely honest in confession and confess all of your mortal sins in kind and number to the best of your ability



I know that not everyone feels this way, but I love the sacrament of reconciliation. I hope you will, too. :)


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