Child Goes to Confession Sitting with Priest

How to Go to Confession

Wanting to go to confession is the first step in going to confession. Confessing your sins wipes the slate clean again with God and makes us stronger spiritually. Regularly going to confession is a way to grow in holiness. Knowing what to do in confession will make the process much easier.

Preparing for Confession

Much of the work for a good celebration of a sacrament takes place prior to arriving at church. An honest, humble, and thorough examination of conscience helps you to prepare for the sacrament. Writing your sins on a piece of paper before you go can help you during your confession.

At the Church

Once you arrive at church, take a few minutes to pray, asking the Holy Spirit to help you make a good confession.

Sometimes there may be a long line that will give you ample time to pray and reflect. Other times there will be no line at all. Feel free to take your time to pray before going in. There’s no rush.

When it is your turn, enter the reconciliation room. You can either kneel behind a screen or sit in a chair facing the priest.

Do not be Afraid

Many people are afraid or embarrassed to go to confession. Don’t let this sense of shame deter you! It is natural to feel that way but once you’ve done it a few times you will begin to feel more at ease and confident going in. You will probably grow to love this sacrament if you don’t already!

In the Confessional

  1. The priest will welcome you.
  2. Begin by making the Sign of the Cross.
  3. A simple formula can get you going: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ___ days/months/years ago and these are my sins.”
  4. You then list the kind and number of your sins (e.g. I missed Mass 3 times; I lied 20 times).
    1. Mortal Sins – these are more serious and must be confessed. There are three conditions for a mortal sin.
    2. Venial Sins – these are less serious and do not require confession, but confessing venial sins is a good practice.
  5. The priest may ask you questions and/or offer you counsel.
  6. The priest will give you an appropriate penance (e.g. “For your penance, please pray 2 Hail Marys).
  7. The priest then invites you (the penitent) to make an Act of Contrition. There are no required words, although you need to include that you are sorry and that you will amend your life. A commonly used Act of Contrition is the following:
    My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to good, I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His name, myGod, have mercy.
  8. The priest then prays the prayer of absolution (forgiveness):
    God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. Through the ministry of the Church, may God give you pardon and peace. I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  9. You answer, “Amen.”
  10. The priest may then say, “God has forgiven your sins. Go in peace.”
  11. You respond, “Thanks be to God.”
  12. You then leave and as soon as possible complete the penance the priest has assigned to you.

Living in the Sacrament of Confession

Confession is one part of the sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation; completing your penance is the other part. Believe it or not, going to confession is the easy part. The hard part is actually amending our life so that we do not commit these sins again. For this, we need God’s abundant grace through the Eucharist, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

The Sacrament of Confession is also known as Penance or Reconciliation. If you hear of the Sacrament of Penance or the Sacrament of Reconciliation they are referring to confession.

89 thoughts on “How to Go to Confession”

  1. Clear one thing up for me please:

    who are we talking to when we say: “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ___ days/months/years ago and these are my sins.”

    The priest?

    Are we addressing the priest as “Father”?

    You know Jesus specifically commanded NOT to do that?

    Matthew 23:9 “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one father who is in heaven”

    1. You are taking the scripture literally, when it was not written to be. What I mean to say is that the Bible was not originally written in English. You are referring to a specific translation that holds no bearing to the intended meaning.

      If that were the case, we would be sinning every time we called our dad “dad”.

    2. In my understanding, Priests, through their ordination, are acting in the place of Christ…from the Catechism:

      “1548: In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:
      It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
      Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.”

      So when you address the priest as Father, you are addressing Christ, and so you are also addressing God, the Father.

    3. Have you ever read 1 Corinthians 4:15? The Apostle Paul says “Even if you had a thousand guardians, you have but one father for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus” They don’t read that one very much at non Catholic churches.

  2. I was forced to go to confession as a child in Catholic school and to this day I remember how humiliating it was. Then, as a teen, I decided to give it a go again and got hit on by the priest. That was the last of it, I’m done with the whole thing.

    1. I was raised Protestant but I like Pope Francis and especially, St Therese of Lisieux. I find it weird that you say Forgive me Father to the priest, who is just a human being, probably not a saint either. Why don’t you say Father please help me to gain God’s forgiveness, if that is actually the process?

      1. Concerned Catholic

        Oh goodie, another protestant-cum-canon-lawyer who has come to the comments box to lecture us Heathen Roman Catholics about the Error of Our Ways. Pray, friend, that you may enlighten us to this knowledge that the Most High has bestowed upon you but somehow has neglected to transmit to Holy Mother Church in the past twenty centuries or so?

      2. Concerned Catholic

        Oh goodie, another protestant-cum-canon-lawyer who has come to the comments box to lecture us Heathen Roman Catholics about the Error of Our Ways.

        Pray, friend, that you may enlighten us to this knowledge that the Most High has bestowed upon you but somehow has neglected to transmit to Holy Mother Church in the past twenty centuries or so? Or, for a change, you could be humble and admit that there is more to Life than you know. Just my two cents.

        1. I was the result of what Catholic s call a mixed marriage. My mother taught me almost everything I know about God, Christ, Grace of god. She was a Catholic before she married my father a Baptist.They were married by a Catholic priest in her church. After her marriage she only attended his church that I know of. I have always been captivated by the Catholic church. I would really like to learn what so drove my mother to the faith. She still said her rosoery. Her teachings were not the same that we learned in our Baptist church. Her explanations were much easier to understand when she spoke to me of God. I was quite upset to find out that out of 4 children I was the only one who either remembered that mom was a Catholic and never gave up her beliefs in its teachings. I am the youngest and was shocked when my brother became a church of Christ minister and told me all other Christian faiths were doomed to hell. I gently reminded him that his mother was Catholic . To which he responded she became a Baptist. I knew better. Later after much soul searching and a change in churches he came to me and said he did not believe mom was in hell. She died quite young at 49. I was only 23. My father died a few years later. I only have my brothers to discuss religion and they are firmly anti Catholic. I am unsure how to approach a Catholic church for faith guidance. I have attended a couple of Catholic funerals and felt totally lost and out of place. But they were my friend parents and I was asked to attend. I want to learn more about this faith. I dropped out of mainstream churches when I was 18. I read my bible and watch ewtn. I pray to God and try to live my life by Jesus’s example and teaching. I guess I just want to be able to speak with a Priest about faith. I also want to choose the right church that I will fill comfortable in.

          1. Joy if this is weighing on your mind to me that means that you are Catholic and that is where God is leading you, its that mustand seed that your mother planted in you as a child and its trying to grow but your confusion by listening to other faiths like your brother is making you doubt your faith and also because you are not familiar with it and why us Catholics are considered by others as not good. That is a problem they have because they don’t understand us either and instead of asking us questions why we do or follow certain things they just jump at us. It’s not their fault either except for being more polite and asking why we are and why in being a Catholic do they not like or agree with. You will find that they don’t know because they like you don’t know much about our religion and were just told about certain things from others who don’t understand what we are about. We are Christian because we believe in Christ and that is where the word Christian comes from. Do not discuss religion with your brothers until you know more about your faith being as a Catholic. Go to a Catholic Church that you like and find out when they have Bible study that will help you so much, but I mean Bible study from the Bible not out of audio or video tapes only, has to be mostly learning what the Catholic Bible means when with what it says. Everyone’s interpretation is different that is why there are so many religions. Also there wasn’t many teachings of the Bible earlier because the reading of the Bible wasn’t interpreted only by priest theologians. I went to two Bible studies at the same time. Catholic and at the Harvest Church to help me examine my mind if I was right about being Catholic all my life. After 3 years later I was still a Catholic and will always be Catholic I found out I do believe in the Catholic interpretation of the Bible. People forget its not the leaders of the church that should give you a reason to turn away its the beliefs we have as Catholics and that is in believing that Christ is the Son of God and is God that is why we are Catholic and have the beliefs we do. Everyone was Catholic before they became other denominations. But go to a Catholic Bible study and please make sure that the study is from the Bible and that the person leading it is someone who has studied the Bible and why what is in the Bible how they know how to interpret them. It’s a wonderful religion, it is the only religion that has a Catholic Charities and help everyone they can no matter what religion, don’t have prejudices about Catholics and keeps their opinions to themselves, because unless someone knows totally about the teachings and what they mean about Catholicism they don’t have the right to comment or call names. One author you should read and also you can email him is Scott Hahn. He was a protestant minister and protestant for 20 years and his father in law was one of the leaders of the protestant church and he turned Catholic years ago and writes about why he changed because he discovered what Catholics believe and why, he is a theologian, when he went to interpret certain things in the Bible of the teachings he found that was we were preaching and following is exactly what the Bible is saying to do and follow. I am not an authority but I know what it is like to get confused at a certain time in your life. But thank you for following your heart wanting to learn about the religion your Bible told you about before deciding on changing, you are one of the few in this world that listen to the voice inside you the good voice. God Bless You and May You find the answers you are looking for.
            Bless You,

    2. Don’t let anyone come between you and God. Apparently you have a mission from God that the adversary wants to see come to ruin. There are true, good priests out there. It’s humiliating to me also to confess, but afterwards I feel so much better knowing that in spite of my sin, God loves me and forgives me and desires the best for me. Don’t let anything separate you from God.

    3. I think you misinterpreted wrong the priest hitting on you. Did he see you? I wrote my son a text about his aunt and her son to my son and he took it so wrong I was so surprised by own son.You should given him the benefit of the doubt, a priest wouldn’t hit on you in confession and if he did you should have reported it to the Pastor or the Bishop.That shouldn’t turn you away from being Catholic, I hope it didn’t one person’s actions doesn’t constitute the who religion so please I hope you realize that.

  3. I went to confession and firstly at the confession I I praised God and adored him. I thanked him for everything he has done for me and my family. I then sincerely and honestly confessed my sins. I was emotional and cried with lots of tears during my time at the confession. Is this acceptable?

  4. I am weighed down with the desire to prepare for my death at 61 and two mini strokes plus a pacemaker I feel the need to be ready. Although I may live for years more Lord willing it is about preparation. I wonder if I can talk to the preist before confession to explain the frame of mind I have been in all my life, from being abused to a life of loneliness.

    1. did you get an answer? I would say yes. I nearly died a year ago I think if you explain your thoughts and frame of mind as you put it a Priest should be able to help guide you

  5. I suggest that people should pray to Saint Padre Pio asking for his help and intercession. Some people named him “The Apostle of the Confessional” due to the huge amount of time that he spent there. After his Mass, the confessional came next. After all, the mass is number one sacrifice in the Catholic Church.

  6. Heavenly father, I thank you for forgiven my transgressions, please help me to amend my life with you always and also learn to forgive one another. I thank you for granting my request. Amen

  7. I tryed to do my first confession today and i got rejected. the priest said I need to do my Holy Communion first before I confess.I feel so stupid now

    1. I wanted to go do confessions as well, even though I am a new comer in the church and haven’t received my first Holy Communion but the my RCIA leader asked the priest if I could and he advised I should wait until I have done the Rite of Welcoming. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or stupid for trying to go to confessions. It shows your dedication.

      1. Im taking RCIA right now.. First Holy Communion is March 26… Confession scares me…… Then my Confirmation is Aptil 20

    2. Rachel Siew Leng Chan

      Go Back Christina My Cousin Conor is making his first holy commuion this year and he has to do his 1st penance which basicly means that he does his confession for the very 1st time he has to do this before his commuion takes place so i would go back.

    3. OKORO Chi-MARIA

      hello dearie Christina, please don’t be discouraged by not being able to make your confessions, nobody can refuse you of God perfect love. however, the essence of confessions is to be in the STATE of Grace to receive the Holy Eucharist and as well attend Holy Mass to receive the full indulgence. God Loves you!

      1. Just wanna ask for forgiveness of my sin,from here,i cant reach any priest from where i am now,i masturbate which is a very bad thing,i ask for forgiveness and grace and power to stop this act

        1. My wife passed 8 months ago, Since I will never marry again, a man needs to release his desire to please himself. I don’t think the Bible says anything about masturbation, it’s what your thinking while doing the act. I also have this problem. Lord forgive us.


    1. You are not confessing yours sins to a priest or the Catholic church you are confessing your sins to God. The Priest who is just the go between. As you say the church is guilty as are many other institutions, However there are far more incidents of child molesters among the teaching profession so does this mean that you can no longer trust what a teacher tells you or for your child or a child to be left with one?

      1. That is crazy to compare how many teachers “molest” children to priest since you have to look at the amount of kids that have there are even in the us that are left with a teacher (which is super rare to be 1 on 1 and alone) to the amount of priests that are alone and trusted with a child, sadly the amount of incidence is higher with priest and children then teacher and children percentage wise but you also have to think about how priest are expected to be “holy” and they are trusted more by everyone where as at schools they teach the kids at a young age to speak up if ANYthing happens, even innocent high fives are watched under a microscope so people let their guard down with priest since they are taught that they will keep them safe and do what God wants and etc. so those are crazy comparisons, it would be like talking about comparing a lily flower to weeds in an overgrown never seen forest there is no comparison because one has to be taken care of with different factors and the forest is simply Mother Nature and it just is survival of the fittest

        1. So your saying it only happened in the catholic church, it also happens in the protestant church the jewish faith muslim faith none believers abuse children. ok lets compare priests to parents parents abuse their children more then what catholic priest done. in fact 2000 children were abused by parents last week alone in the uk. no children were abused by catholic priests last week or this year. but children around the world were abused by there own parents the same parents that should of protect them make sure they come to no harm. should we then ban parent hood should we make sure when woman falls pregnant we should get her to a abortion clinic because of other parents abusing there own 2014 estimated that 1,400 children were sexually exploited in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 by muslim men ,

    2. Not all priests were child abusers, 2 percent of priests out of 600.000 priests were abusers, the other evil priests are being punished by god.

    1. Contact your local Catholic church about signing up for their next RCIA Program. I just became a Catholic prior to Easter this year, and I am so glad I did!! May God Bless You Always.

  8. You guys can go to Divine Mercy Sunday, the Lord promised to forgive all sins and penance for purgatory if one goes to confession and takes communion that Sunday, May the Lord Bless You!!

  9. I never had confess before in my life. But I’m plaining to go soon. But if I tell him something, can he go off and tell someone else or is it very priavte and it’s just one on one? just me and the priest know?

    1. No, the priest can’t go around and tell others of your sins. Confession is very private. The priest will forget what your sins were after you left (since usually they’re are other people behind you waiting for confession). The priest listen to a lot of confessions so they don’t keep track of the sins that you have committed.

      1. Go back to school and learn how to formulate a proper sentence. Learn the differences between “there” “their” and “they’re” . You dont use the word ARE after using the word THEY’RE .

        1. Depar, I agree with you. Good remark.
          And to the next comment from Jason in regard to the remark from Depar, I would only say that on my opinion it wasn’t meant at all to hurt anyone. If it was taken personally and someone is hurt, then too bad. It is so common even someone with the best intentions to say something and the words to be taken as offensive from a person that just can not take a minor critic and learn from the mistakes.

    2. Correct me if im wrong, but i do not believe the priests can even reveal your confession in the court of law. Hypothetically speaking, if you confess that you had taken the life of someone, they can not reveal that in court. From what i heard, whatever you confess stays between you and God

      1. I am sure the Priest would encourage the confessor to give him or her self up to the authorities to prove he or she was sorry for their crime if not then the Priest would not be able to give absolution,

      2. Priest and other religious leaders such as pastors and ministers NEVER have to say a word about what you tell them, my family has a lot of pastors in it and my uncle was in a church where a women got away with 3 major bank robberies and got caught for simply being sloppy and lazy on the last one and my uncle didn’t find out until she was arrested but he knows a ton more info that would help or hurt her in court but the police asked him but he refused and I don’t even think he told my aunt any details so legally they cannot be forced to go to court and be put on the stand but technically they could choose to tell people’s “secrets”, they are people just like everyone else and so I always have felt like remember they are human and you need to build some sort of trust and relationship with them and like anyone you can’t expect them to be perfect. No PERSON on earth is 100% perfect, babies are the most innocent and closest to perfect you will ever meet.

    3. Priests may not reveal what they have learned during confession to anyone, even under the threat of their own death or that of others. For a priest to break secrecy would lead to a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication, the lifting of which is reserved to the Holy See – in fact, to the Pope himself.

      It’s called the Seal of Confession (or Seal of the Confessional), that is, the absolute duty of priests not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of Penance (confession). As soon as the encounter begins (by the person going to the confessional area, taking a seat, and closing any door, and the priest saying a greeting and making the sign of the Cross, or the priest praying with and granting absolution to the person before they leave) confessional secrecy holds.

      According to Roman Catholic canon law, “The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” The confessor is always an ordained priest, because in the Catholic Church only ordained priests can absolve sins; lay confession is not recognized. Any person who overhears a confession is likewise bound by the seal.

      There are limited cases where portions of a confession may be revealed to others, but always with the penitent’s permission and always without actually revealing the penitent’s identity. This is the case, for example, with more serious offenses, as some excommunicable offenses are reserved to the Holy See and their permission to grant absolution must be obtained. In these cases, the priest hearing the confession asks the permission of the penitent to write a petition, using pseudonyms and containing the absolute minimum information necessary, to the bishop or to the Apostolic Penitentiary, the cardinal delegated by the Pope to handle such requests. This request may be forwarded, sealed, through the apostolic delegate or nuncio in a country (the Pope’s ambassador), to be guarded by the privilege of a diplomatic pouch. Some of these offenses absolved through the Holy See would be: impersonation of a priest, desecration of the Eucharist, absolving a partner in sin (for example, a priest has an affair and absolves his own mistress), attacking the Pope, heresy, and being involved in an abortion.

    1. I’m not sure on Venial sins, but I know that you must go to confession to be forgivin for mortal sin. You are required to go to confession yearly, regardless.

    2. EWTN Bible

      1 John 5:16

      16 If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that.

  10. Mauricio cubas

    Hey we are all sinners and only one Catholic priest is authorized to hear our sins only God is good and what little we have good belongs to God the rest is ours.
    That is why our Church has priests to mediate between God and sinners, our Church is white or black never in the middle

      1. EWTN Bible

        John 20:22-23

        22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
        23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

  11. Hey we are all sinners and only one Catholic priest is authorized to hear our sins only God is good and what little we have good belongs to God the rest is ours.
    That is why our Church has priests to mediate between God and sinners, our Church is white or black never in the middle God help you.

  12. Why do you need to say how long it’s been since you’ve been to confession? Why does that matter? I’m not a Catholic, just curious. Thank yu.

  13. If my daughter misses church once does she have to go to confession before she can go for communion in church the next Sunday

    1. John Donnelly

      Lola it depends on why she missed mass. A deliberate act needs forgiveness and repentance. An accidental omission is not a sin. In most cases a simple act of contrition is adequate.

  14. Ok now im feeling nervouswe were having a confession its for our communion then our priest is spanish wich i cant understand what he is saying i only understand the hail mary when he was done talking i just said yes because i was too shy if i will ask again after that when i was doing that thing the pray to God i just prayed to God”lord i didn’t understand what was the priest saying all i can do is ask forgiveness to you i’m really sorry imm sorry sorry sorry please forgive”i just did that is that ok?

  15. I don’t believe in God, and I have little need of forgiveness to one,
    but I do highly respect the concept and right of confessions.

    It’s a straight-forward method to look at the wrongs you have done, and the negatives of yourself, hopefully leading to a resolve or acceptance.
    A priest is more or less a counselor in the matter, with the obvious religious affiliation.

    I personally intend to go to a confession just to have a wiser individual give me some enlightenment on why and how I do/can fix how I act. I don’t care I lie, I don’t care I cheat. I do care about other things though, and I hope a priest may help me understand how to fix them.
    (In my experience, therapists have only shown a interest in my money then personality. I should HOPE the priest doesn’t ask for payment!)

  16. I was not raised in the Catholic Church. However, I grow up being told we were catholic. Now I want to know and follow or pratice. I am not sure how to term what I want. I know I feel the need to go to confession but yet having never done so before I feel lost as to what to do. Can I just go to church at anytime and ask to confess or is it just at certain times? Can the priest guide me though or do I need to go knowing what to say and when?

    Thank you.

    1. Yes.

      Best way;
      Ring a catholic priest, and arrange a private appointment at his house for a general confession.
      Write down your sins before you meet Him.
      Google ; catholic examination of consciconscience, and list of catholic mortal sins (serious sins). All serious sins ever committed in your life need to be mentioned, (hiding one makes the confession sacreligious and means nothing is forgiven).

      Also; some monasteries have confessions on weekly if you google,

  17. I confess in my quiet place to God and after I feel cleansed of my wrongs and I know I better not repeat those wrongs.

  18. What if you don’t go for confession but you pray and ask for forgiveness does it mean your sins are not forgiven? Do u always have to go for confession so your sins can be forgiven?

    1. One should feel like going to confession. Similar to people going to Counseling where they pour out their heart. Catholic community is a confessing community where we accept our fault when faulted as it is no defending we do it individually we do it as a community. Sacrament of confession stands for the same where we empty ourself. If we can empty ourself before man we can empty ourself before God.

        1. Under most circumstances yes, but mortal sin is a very touchy topic, and to say whether or not someone who is in a state of mortal sin goes to hell is no our decision, but God’s alone. But just because some one commits an act that would most of the time be mortal sin doesn’t always mean it’s one. For example watching pornography is one that is usually a mortal sin. “For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: ‘Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.'” (CCC 1857)

          So the grave matter part with the porn example, one must know that it objectifies women, causes them to become neurologically dependent on it, along with all the other negative attributes that go with it.

          One has to have to have full knowledge of what they are doing. This would basically boil down to if one went to a pornographic website, but they didn’t know this was the type of website it was. This is not having full knowledge. Or if they google something , and it comes up with porn, not full knowledge.

          Full consent boils down to someone has porn up and they try to show someone. The person who didn’t know would not be in sin because they didn’t know. Or another one would be if someone was addicted to porn or masturbation since to two usually go hand-in-hand. If one has to watch porn because they are addicted or masturbate for the same reason, this is not having full concent due to an addiction. Since the full knowledge is there, it would be a venial sin. (For more info on this, check out CCC 2352. Pay close attention to the last part of the paragraph.)

          In all of these examples porn was viewed, but it wasn’t sinful because there was some variable of I-didn’t-know involved. So it is because of situations like these that mortal sin, and sin in general is a very touchy topic.

        2. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons…By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance.
          -CCC 2283

  19. In the past few years I have come back to church. For years I was out in the world living a life of partying and having fun living pay check to pay check having no cares in the world and doing things I know I shouldn’t have done. Then life hit me hard. One day life seemed fun, exciting and then I’m suddenly going to funerals of best friends of mine. Then my number came up and I thought for sure I’m next. Twenty-two years later I’m still here and wonder…why? Friends say I should write a book about my last 25 years or so, all the good, bad and the ugly. Anyway I don’t know why I’m even saying all this. I just want God to forgive me for not going to church for so long. I just recently started going to church; probably cause I feel that my life is short and I want God to know I love him and believe in our lord Jesus Christ. I never thought I would go to church by myself but I did and do. This past Sunday the priest was talking about being fisherman of Christ; if that sounds correct, and that God forgives us but then said that he won’t forgive us unless we go to confession once a month!, then we are real disciples of Christ. Well I feel God has forgiven me cause I feel it deep in my heart but still the part of me is questioning if he really has. The last time I went to confession was in 1978, so I have a huge amount of sins to confess. I’m scared of what to say and what the priest will think and say of me. That is the only reason I haven’t gone to confession. With what I got to say; he might just tell me I’m going to hell! I just want to know if I should, need, have to go? I’m always asking God to forgive me. I feel things and sense things like signs or something when I’m talking to God, and of course I start crying like a baby sometimes; I’ve been feeling very emotional or overwhelmed lately. I try to stay strong by praying and I encourage others to believe in the power of prayer! Thanks for listening.

    1. Yes my brother I encourage you to go for confession because its never too late to ask for God’s forgiveness.As to what you should say, u should talk to the priest and say everything you have just said as it is.pour out everything in your heart and you will feel much better.Remember the story of the prodigal son Luke 15.

    2. Hi George- thank you for sharing. I also have only gone to confession one time a year ago- it wasn’t the best of experiences but I went in not knowing the process so I wasn’t prepared. I just converted a few years ago and never did the confession- yes I was told to do it and did not! I am still very nervous about it but decided this year during lent I was going to give my sins up to God. Thinking about all my sins the last 53 years is very daunting and frankly I don’t want to be specific. I did have someone suggest to ask for forgiveness for my bad choices and how my sins have affected those I love. I liked that a lot. So I wish you luck and I am heading to church this Sunday evening for the penance service and confession! God will guide me and my heart. He loves us regardless and wants to give US peace by confession. He is our saving Grace.

    3. God loves you. He loves you through and through. He respects you, and understands your confusion and your pain. Offer it all up to Him and He will guide you where you need to be. If you decide to go to confession, God will be with you. He is with you everywhere in this world that He created for His children.

    4. Several years ago I experienced the same anxiety it seems you have regarding confession. I too was separated from the church for many years and had quite a bit on my plate in need of forgiveness. I would ask you to review the following.

      22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
      23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

      The Lord freely gave this ability to forgive sins to men. Men, not being God, can not know the depths of the heart as Christ does. Therefore, it seems appropriate to tell your sins to the priest, (man).

      I believe the anxiety you feel is from the devil trying to keep you from the free gift offered by God through his holy church.

  20. “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5
    Why catholics think it’s necessary to confess their sins to another sinner is beyond me.

    1. We don’t confess our sins to “another sinner” we confess our sins to God. Normal people don’t just sit at home when they have hurt a good friend and think to themselves, “Gee, I really hurt my good friend when I did —, and I’m very sorry.” but then never tell them that we’re sorry. Of course not! We go to our friend and ask for their forgiveness. This is what happens in the sacrament of confession – we go to God (the priest acting in persona Christi) and ask for God to forgive us.

      Note that when Jesus healed the leper, Jesus told him to go to the priests and show himself to be clean to them. Jesus IS GOD, and yet, he told the leper to go to the priests so that they could be welcomed back into the community. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if everyone was clean and welcomed back into the community of God?

    2. The Bible says to confess your sins to men, To bring it out so it can be known. I know it isn’t stated like this but u get what I’m trying to say. So what is wrong with telling your Prist or your Preacher? You are confessing ur sins.

    3. Confession is a Sacrament. Its our choice to use this tool. If going is counseller is fine, confession has been accomplishing same, where man can speak out his inner burdens, general rule, if u can speak out “what is” you are psychological relieved and can start anew. It is a choice a invitation. You may be practicing the same without any name or a institution attached to it. But all humans do confess given a space to do so.

    4. Scripture says ‘confess your sins, one to another’ James 5:16. You ARE confessing to God, for only God can absolve sin. The person/priest is there to help.

    5. God sent the Apostles into the world, saying,

      John 20:22-23

      22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
      23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

      How could the Apostles know of ones sin having not been told?

      – God bless

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