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10 steps to making a good confession April 9, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

From the always good Fr. Peter Carota, ten steps to making a good traditional Catholic confession. And for those who think a good confession is a good confession (that’s what I was thinking at first), I think some of the steps below might clarify the distinction.

I know I probably have many readers who check out Fr. Carota’s blog regularly, but I also have many who don’t. If this post is repetition for you, maybe God wants you to see it again!  And if not, there is much to meditate on here. P35 Making a good confession is of critical importance.  Many people do not know how to do so.  If you follow these steps honestly and painstakingly, you can be assured of being in the State of Grace (or returning there) and being right with God.

1) Examination of Conscience.  Before planning on going to confession, it is of utmost importance to find a Traditional  Examination of Conscience.  Then, take time and quietly and prayerfully go over the examination of Conscience.  Write down all the sins you have committed.  Take this with you.  Here is a good examination of conscience: communityofhopeinc.org

2) Sincere Contrition.  We need to work on truly being contrite for having sinned against God.  That means we see that we were guilty of breaking God’s loving laws.  We take full responsibility for having disobeyed God.  We need to be very careful to not let any excuses cover over our sins. 

3) Deep Sorrow.  Once we are contrite and have taken responsibility for having sinned, we also need to work on a true and deep sorrow for having done the sin.  This means meditating on the pains we caused for Jesus and the harm we have done to ourselves and to others when we sinned.  The monks use to have a cry room.  It was not confession_littlefor babies who cried.

4) Firm Resolution to Sin No More.  So, we are contrite, we are sorry, but now we need to do something about these easily worked up feelings.  It is one thing to say I am sorry to someone after I have been caught or feel guilty.  But it takes much more effort to stop doing what I have done against them.  This is something that has to be diligently worked on. 

5) Concrete Plans to Avoid the Occasion of Sin.  If the internet is causing you to sin, you need to be willing to give up using the internet.  If a person is tempting you to sin, (a few examples: to have sex, use drugs, drinking or gambling), that person has to be avoided.  Many so called friends or family members are really instruments of the devil to get us to sin.  Jesus says it is better to pluck out an eye, cut off a hand, or a foot rather than to be thrown into hell for all eternity.  What ever it is that is causing you to sin, get rid of it (or the friendship).confessional[1]

6) Love for God and Fear of God’s Judgement.  We should want to make a good confession because we love God.  When we work on a loving friendship with God, we want to love Him, not hurt Him.  So in our prayer life, working on true love of God, can really help us to please Him rather than to shun His loving life that is sustaining our souls.  But if you can not stop sinning out of love, at least do it for fear of God’s judgement and damnation. 

7) Do not Withhold Sins.  A confession is not valid when we purposely withhold a sin because we are afraid to confess it.  If, on the other hand, you forget to confess it by accident, your confession is still valid.  Get every serious sin out.  Start with the most embarrassing sins first.

9) Confess Sins of Omission As Well.  Many times we think that a sin is breaking one of God’s laws.  But there are many sins of omission.  This means not doing what we should have done. [Yes, and these sins of omission can be some of the most common around.  Do you educate yourself and your children in the Faith?  Do you abide by all the Church’s laws regarding fasting, assisting at Mass, etc?  We all fall short in charity for neighbor, but was there some egregious failure that constitutes a grave sin?]  

———–End Quote———–

Go to Fr.  Carota’s site to see the last three steps.

I want to expand a bit on number 7.  I have read in the writings of various Saints certain miraculous revelations that demonstrated to those Saints (Liguori, certainly, I want to say Bonaventure as well) that a good number of souls, even very pious ones who assisted at Mass very frequently, received regular confession, and in general tried to practice the interior life, still fell into hell because they had some secret sin they were too ashamed of to confess.

Do not let that happen to you!  The priests have heard it all.  They won’t feel differently about you, or freak out and cast you out of the confessional.  They most likely won’t even know who you are, or if by some chance they do, penanceremember what it is you confessed.  So don’t be embarrassed. If there is some sin that has been weighing on you for a long time, that you just haven’t been able to bring yourself to confess, just get it out!  You will feel immensely better.

If you’re really, really embarrassed, and just can’t reveal it to your main confessor and/or priest you greatly esteem, consider going to a different parish for this confession. I don’t normally recommend this, but if there is some matter that you just have not been able to reveal to your confessor, I think it appropriate to recommend going somewhere you are not known. I have done that a couple times when discussing my very sordid past, early on after my conversion.

And make sure to note how many bad confessions you’ve made when you do finally confess this sin!  If it’s been hanging there for two years and you’ve been to confession 50 times in that period, you need to tell the priest this, too.  Because making a deliberately bad confession is a grave sin.

While you’re at Fr. Carota’s site, you might want to check out this post, too: God’s Laws Do Not Depend on Popular Votes of Approval or Disapproval.


1. TG - April 9, 2014

If I have a sin I’m ashamed of, I can’t remember it. I read somewhere that you don’t have to give specific details – example, if you committed adultery – state adultery and how many times. My brother is ashamed to go to confession. I gave him that advice that you don’t tell every single detail, just state the sin and how many times or an estimate. Am I right on this?

2. TG - April 9, 2014

“I talk againt the church, priests, faith” – how do we handle this one since many of us criticize the progressive priests?

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