The Catholic Church teaches that confession provides its members with the means to achieve forgiveness for their sins. This is good for the spiritual life of the member and the Church. Here's how this sacrament works.
Make an examination of conscience. Review your actions since your last confession. Some people like to do it on paper, others make a mental list. There are numerous guides available, ranging from the ten commandments to more recent publications.
Go to a church where a priest is hearing confession. If none of the scheduled times at local parishes work for you, you can call or email a parish and ask to make an appointment with a priest for confession.
Say "Bless me, Father for I have sinned. It has been (how long) since my last confession." The priest will then welcome you and say a prayer or read from the Bible. If you have not been to confession in a while, or are nervous, just let the priest know. They can guide you through the process and help you with the prayers.
Confess your sins to the priest. You can say what types of sins you committed and approximately how many times you've committed them since your last confession. Feel free to ask questions if you are unsure if something is a sin.
Listen to the priest's advice and guidance. They may be able to help you overcome the temptations that you face.
Say an Act of Contrition. There are many versions, but they all are an expression of sadness for sin and an acceptance of God's forgiveness. See the tip section for a sample Act of Contrition.
Receive absolution. Take in the feeling of peace that comes with God freeing you of your sins. Do your penance as soon as you can to avoid forgetting.
- Catholics should go to confession at least monthly.
- After committing a mortal sin (a serious sin done knowingly and willingly), a Catholic must go to confession before receiving Holy Communion.
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