What to do when confession is not available?

Hi everyone. What should I do when confession is not available such as now? All (or most) of the priests of the diocese are gone to the diocesan headquarters for some kind of conference and I need the Sacrament of Confession. What should I do? Pray an Act of Perfect Contrition? How do I know that my Act of Perfect Contrition is indeed Perfect Contrition? How do I know that I am forgiven? Will God answer my prayers if I remain in a state of mortal sin? :shrug::confused:

I am in the exact same position as you. Confession is unavailable to me at the moment due to the fact that my priests are all away for a meeting with the provincial leader.

I have been praying my Rosary and asking the Lord to make me more contrite and sorrowful for having offended him. I suggest you pray, and do penance such as fasting for a day, or abstaining from your favourite food for a day or two.

Oh ok. Thanks for the suggestion. :slight_smile:

Rest assured that if you plan to go to Confession as soon as it is possible (especially and essential in the case of mortal sin)…and you make an honest and sincere Act of Sorrow and with a firm purpose of amendment of life with the intention of striving to avoid sin in future, then you would not be condemned to Hell (if in mortal sin) say if you died prior to Confession. Be in Peace. But you must make the intention firmly (if in mortal sin) to go to Confession at the very first moment that you can …and then do so. Anything else would probably be presumption and an additional sin.

and do penance such as fasting for a day, or abstaining from your favourite food for a day or two.



And of course, abstain from receiving Communion until you have gone to Confession.

If you want to go to Confession right away, there might be a retired priest at one of the churches nearby (they usually don’t have to go to meetings), or you might contact a local monastery or religious order of priests if there is one.

Oh ok. Thanks Barb! I did not realize that God would not condemn a person to Hell if they firmly intended to go to confession asap and made an Act of Sorrow. Do you know where I can find a good Act of Sorrow at? I only have an Act of Contrition (plus a number of other prayers but no Act of Sorrow) memorized.

Yeah I knew that one should abstain from Communion until they have gone to Confession. I have not received Communion and will not until I have gone to Confession. :slight_smile: I refuse to commit such a sacrilege.

Thanks for the tip as well! Unfortunately, all the monasteries in my area are too far for me to drive to. I have a limited amount of gas per week and can’t spend an entire tank or half a tank to go to a monastery to see a priest. I will try to go to confession tomorrow.

Rest assured that if a person is in the state of mortal sin and unable to get to Confession for some just reason, and that person is truly sorry for their sin(s) - though mortal in nature - and tells God of their sorrow with a firm purpose to get to Confession at the very first opportunity…no way would God condemn that person to Hell should He take them from this life before that Confession - this is sound Catholic moral theology.
Such a person of course is bound to go to Confession as soon as possible…and of course God knows the answer to this anyway i.e whether one will actually go or whether one will not.

Actually the Act of Contrition and an Act of Sorrow I treat as interchangeable terms, so I may have led you astray. :o My act of contrition :

“My God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins and detest them above all things. Because they deserve They dreadful punishments, because they have crucified my Loving Saviour, Jesus Christ - but most of all because they offend Thine Infinite Goodness and I firmly resolve, with the help of Your Grace, never to offend You again. Amen.”

…which of course is an act of sorrow from the start, or I should say, I treat it as such, though it is termed normally as an Act of Contrition.
There is also this prayer - partly I found it somewhere or other and in parts I have composed it myself.

[FONT=Arial]O most merciful God, who according to the multitude of Thy mercies does so put away the sins of those who truly repent, that Thou rememberst them no more; look graciously upon me, Thine unworthy servant, and accept my confession for Thy mercy’s sake; receive my humble thanks, most loving Father, that of Thy great goodness Thou hast given me pardon for all my sins, for such is my Faith, Father, in You.

O may Thy love and pity supply whatsoever has been wanting in the sufficiency of my contrition, and the fulness of my confession to You. And do Thou, O Lord, vouchsafe to grant me the help of Thy grace, that I may diligently amend my life and persevere in Thy service unto the end, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Come Holy Spirit Creator come and take possession of me and make in me a home and then transform my poor self into an image of Jesus to the Father’s Glory alone and according to His Will.

If it be Your Will Father, may I find within the temple of my selfhood Your Presence with Jesus and The Holy Spirit. The One Holy God. Amen.

Sorrow is really the same as contrition. (Actually, contrition means that you are sorry for your sin and that you have the intention not to commit the sin again.) So an act of contrition and an act of sorrow are basically the same thing. It can be a prayer you learned (one of the formal Acts of Contrition that people pray) if prayed with devotion and meaning, or it can be in your own words.

The best act of contrition you can make is one in which you sincerely tell God you are sorry NOT because you fear the punishment of hell (which is called IMPERFECT contrition), but RATHER because you have offended God, who loves you and whom you love (which is called PERFECT contrition).

Oh ok. Thanks for this. The act of contrition that I have memorized basically says that you (the person praying) are sorry for your sins both because they fear the fires of Hell but also because they have offended God. Is that also an act of perfect contrition? :confused:


If the prayer expresses something equivalent to “but most of all” because I have offended God, then yes, the prayer incorporates an expression of perfect contrition. The prayer actually expresses attrition (“imperfect” contrition) and perfect contrition. It is ok to have both types of contrition, they don’t cancel each other out.


That prayer expresses both kinds of contrition. But it’s not so much the words you use that matter, but rather the internal dispostion of your heart — that you are truly sorry, and that your sorrow is motivated by love of God, and that you would not want to offend Him again for anything in the world.

To fear the fires of Hell is not Perfect Contrition because it is self interested. Imperfect Contrition is not to be denigrated or ‘sneered’ upon…It is a great Grace and blessing to be gifted with contrition in the first place. Imperfect sorrow for sin does keep one humble and reminded of one’s humble estate if one knows that one’s sorrow is not perfect.

Perhaps the following will help Holy:

The whole entry on “Contrition” in New Advent is very interesting and worth the time for a careful read……….here is the part that addresses directly Perfect and Imperfect Contrition:

Perfect and imperfect contrition

Catholic teaching distinguishes a twofold hatred of sin; one, perfect contrition, rises from the love of God Who has been grievously offended; the other, imperfect contrition, arises principally from some other motives, such as loss of heaven, fear of hell, the heinousness of sin, etc. (Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, ch. iv de Contritione). For the doctrine of imperfect contrition see ATTRITION.

Here is another explanation from the Catholic Culture dictionary:



[FONT=Verdana][FONT=Arial][size=2]Sorrow for sin arising from perfect love. In perfect contrition the sinner detests sin more than any other evil, because it offends God, who is supremely good and deserving of all human love. Its motive is founded on God’s own personal goodness and not merely his goodness to the sinner or to humanity. This motive, not the intensity of the act and less still the feelings experienced, is what essentially constitutes perfect sorrow. A perfect love of God, which motivates perfect contrition, does not necessarily exclude attachment to venial sin. Venial sin conflicts with a high degree of perfect love of God, but not with the substance of that love. Moreover, in the act of perfect contrition other motives can coexist with the perfect love required. There can be fear or gratitude, or even lesser motives such as self-respect and self-interest, along with the dominant reason for sorrow, which is love for God. Perfect contrition removes the guilt and eternal punishment due to grave sin, even before sacramental absolution. However, a Catholic is obliged to confess his or her grave sins at the earliest opportunity and may not, in norma circumstances, receive Communion before he or she has been absolved by a priest in the sacrament of penance.


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