How to Go to Confession

When a Catholic is truly sorry for their sins, sincerely confesses them, and is willing to make satisfaction for them, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a remedy for even the most serious sins.

Catholics should prayerfully prepare for confession by reflecting on whether their thoughts, words, or actions caused them to sin. This examination of conscience can be based on the 10 Commandments, the 7 Capital Sins, or the Beatitudes.

Upon entering the confessional or reconciliation room, the penitent may remain anonymous behind a screen or sit face to face with the priest.

After being greeted by the priest, the penitent begins by making the Sign of the Cross. The priest then invites the penitent to trust in God and his mercy. The priest may read from Sacred Scripture.

The penitent then confesses their sins to the priest who may offer guidance, ask questions, and provide encouragement.

A penance is given for the penitent to perform so that they can make satisfaction for their sins and respond to God’s mercy by making necessary changes to their life.

The penitent is asked to express that they are sorry for their sin and that they resolve to change, often by reciting an Act of Contrition.

With his right hand or both hands held over the penitent’s head, the priest absolves the penitent from their sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, while making the Sign of the Cross.

The penitent is then reminded of God’s goodness and mercy before being dismissed, encouraged to go in peace knowing that they are now reconciled with God and his Church.

As a precept of the Church, Catholics are required to confess their sins at least once per year, although more often is recommended.

It is not complicated:

Enjoy the forgiveness of Christ:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful.

James 5: 16

A place of healing from serious sins:

The four elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1455

Confession should be a profound experience of prayer:

To acknowledge one’s sin, indeed-penetrating still more deeply into the consideration of one’s own personhood-to recognize oneself as being a sinner, capable of sin and inclined to commit sin, is the essential first step in returning to God. For example, this is the experience of David, who “having done what is evil in the eyes of the Lord” and having been rebuked by the prophet Nathan, exclaims: “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, you alone, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Similarly, Jesus himself puts the following significant words on the lips and in the heart of the prodigal son: “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before you.”

Pope John Paul II, Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 2 December 1984

Put your sins in context:

Confess all sins the best you can:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Life as a Benedictine Monk:

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