TRY TO GO TO CONFESSION ONCE A MONTH "Which one of you with a hundred sheep, if he lost one, would fail to leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, I have found my sheep that was lost." In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner repenting than over ninety-nine upright people who have no need of repentance." [Luke 15: 4-7]

"The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, 'Peace be with you. 'As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.' After saying this he breathed on them and said:   Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained." [John 20: 20-23]  A Catholic priest has been given permission and authority from God to forgive sins.


"For though the upright falls seven times, he gets up again; the wicked are the ones who stumble in adversity."  Proverbs 24:16 The scripture tells us that good men stumble and fall at times into sin, but they always get up and turn back to God.  Wicked men sin, but never turn back to God and so they are lost.

The following is from the book CATHOLIC CATECHISM BY Rev. W. Faerber, published by TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC. Rockford, Illinois 61105, Copyright 1978 by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc.  Used with permission.

310. What happens in the sacrament of penance?

In the sacrament of penance the priest forgives sins.

Definition: Penance is the sacrament in which the priest by judicial sentence remits sins committed after baptism to those who confess them contritely.

311.From whom did the priest receive the power to forgive sins?

The priest received the power to forgive sins from God; in the sacrament of holy orders.

Jesus breathed on the apostles and said to them: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:22, 23).

312. Who must receive the sacrament of penance?

Everyone who has committed a mortal sin after baptism must receive the sacrament of penance.

313. What does the sacrament of penance take away?

The sacrament of penance takes away

1. all mortal sins,

2. all venial sins for which we are sorry and which

we confess,

3. the eternal punishment,

4. at least a part of the temporal punishment.

314. What does the sacrament of penance give us?

The sacrament of penance gives us

1. sanctifying grace if it was lost;

2. an increase of sanctifying grace, if it was not


3. many special graces for a devout life (actual


315. What must we do to receive the sacrament of penance worthily?

To receive the sacrament of penance worthily we must

1. invoke the Holy Ghost,

2. examine our conscience,

3. be sorry for our sins,

4. make a firm purpose of amendment,

5. confess our sins,

6. have the intention of making satisfaction.

Three essentials: contrition, confession, satisfaction



1. We Should Invoke the Holy Ghost

316. Why should we invoke the Holy Ghost?

We should invoke the Holy Ghost that He may help us to make a good confession.

"Come, O Holy Ghost, and help me, that I may know my sins, be heartily sorry for them, and confess them sincerely."


2. We Must Examine Our Conscience

317. How do we examine our conscience?

We examine our conscience by calling to mind how we have failed against the commandments of God and the Church and the duties of our state of life.


3. We Must Be Sorry for Our Sins

318. Which is the most necessary part of our preparation for confession?

The most necessary part of our preparation for confession is contrition.

319. Why must we be sorry for our sins?

We must be sorry for our sins because we have offended God by them.

Contrition=sorrow for sin.

Contrition must be sincere, not in words only.

Contrition must be universal, including all mortal sins.

Contrition must be supernatural; we must be sorry for our sins on account of God. Natural sorrow (on account of disgrace, scolding, temporal loss) is of no value in the sacrament of penance. Supernatural sorrow is of two kinds: imperfect, which arises mostly from fear of God's justice; and perfect, which arises from the love of God. Perfect contrition takes away sin even before confession.

We should make an act of perfect contrition:

1. when we have committed a mortal sin,

2. whenever we are in danger,

3. as a part of our evening prayer,

4. at confession,

5. before Holy Communion, for our venial sins.

Perfect contrition does not excuse us from confession and it does not entitle us to receive Holy Communion.



O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.

Or: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, because Thou art all-good; and I firmly purpose by the help of Thy grace not to offend Thee again.


320. For what sins must we be sorry?

We must be sorry at least for all our mortal sins.

If we have been guilty of venial sins only, we must be sorry for at least one of them; or we may include in our contrition and confession sins of our past life for which we are especially sorry.


4. We Must Make a Firm Purpose of Amendment

321. Who has a firm purpose of amendment?

He has a firm purpose of amendment who is determined to do better and never again commit a mortal sin.


5. We Must Confess Our Sins

322. Why must we confess our sins?

We must confess our sins because Jesus Christ commanded it when He said to His apostles: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."

Confess=to tell.

323. What sins must we confess?

We must confess all our mortal sins.

324. How must we confess our sins?

We must confess our sins according to kind and number.

325. Is it necessary to confess venial sins?

It is not necessary to confess venial sins, but it is good and advisable to do so.

326. Who receives the sacrament of penance unworthily?

He receives the sacrament of penance unworthily

1. who is not sorry for his sins;

2. who does not tell all the mortal sins that he remembers;

3. who does not intend to make satisfaction.

In an unworthy confession no sins are forgiven.


Whoever forgets some sins makes a good confession. His sins are forgiven, but he must mention the forgotten sins in his next confession.

The penitent kneels and begins his confession thus: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ... ago. I have committed the following sins:"

He concludes by saying: "That is all, Father." (Or: "I include from my past life the sins against the ... commandment. That is all, Father.")

327. Is the priest ever allowed to tell anything he has heard in confession?

The priest is never allowed to tell anything he has heard in confession.

Seal of confession. Example: St. John Nepomucene, died 1393.

General confession=one in which we repeat all or several confessions of our past life. It is necessary if one or more confessions have been bad. It is advisable on special occasions.


6. We Must Make Satisfaction

328. What is meant by making satisfaction?

By making satisfaction is meant performing the penance given by the priest in confession.

329. Why does the priest give us a penance in confession?

The priest gives us a penance in confession in order

1. that we may expiate the temporal punishment,

2. that we may amend our life.

330. How does the priest give absolution?

The priest gives absolution by saying: "I absolve thee from thy sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Application. Everyone should go to confession often. We should prepare well and should be humble and sincere at confession. It is better not to go to confession at all than to make a bad confession. When we have had the misfortune to commit mortal sin, we should not postpone confession. We might die suddenly and be eternally lost.

Church2.GIF (3272 bytes)