What is Confession?
By Confession the Church means: to tell your sins (or wrong things you have done) to a Priest, receive a penance (usually a prayer) and receive forgiveness. Confession, also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, is a sacrament of the Catholic Church; it was instituted by Christ as mentioned in the Bible:
When ready say "Bless me Father for I have sinned" and make the sign of the cross, saying,
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Then say how long it has been since your last confession.
The priest might say these or similar words or be silent:
May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his
At this point you confess your sins. (say what you have done wrong; for example sins that are common include: hatred, anger, lust, jealousy, greed, pride, gluttony, laziness, etc.)
If necessary, the priest helps you with questions and suitable advice. He will ask you to perform a penance, which is usually a prayer.
The priest, then, invites the penitent to manifest repentance by reciting the Act of Contrition or another similar formula:
O my God, I am sorry with all my heart for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to amend my life, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Amen.
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord, remember your love,
your faithfulness enduring forever.
Do not bear in mind my sins:
remember me in your mercy,
for the sake of your goodness, Lord. (Ps 24:6-7)
The priest, might place his hands upon the head of the penitent, or raise his hands in the penitent's direction.
He says, 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, and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father and of the Son + and of Holy Spirit.
You respond: Amen.
After absolution the priest continues: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
You respond: His mercy endures forever.
The priest then takes leave of you, saying: The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace. You can say: Thank-you, Fr.
How Should I Prepare for Confession?
When asked about what counsels he would give penitents for a good confession, Pope Francis replied, “They should consider the truth of their lives before God, what they feel, what they think. They should be able to observe themselves and their sin with sincerity. And they should feel themselves to be sinners and let themselves be surprised, amazed by God” (Pope Francis, The Name of God Is Mercy,
Questions to Ask Yourself before you Go to Confession also known as an "Examination of Conscience"
It consists of asking ourselves about the evil committed and the good omitted in relation to God, our neighbor, and ourselves.
In Relation to God
Do I address God only when I am in need?
Do I take part in the Mass on Sundays and days of obligation?
Do I begin and end my day with prayer?
Have I taken the name of God, Mary, or the saints in vain?
Have I been ashamed to be seen as a Christian?
What do I do to grow spiritually? How? When?
Do I rebel against God’s designs?
Do I expect Him to do my will?
In Relation to Our Neighbor
Am I able to forgive, show compassion for, and help my neighbor?
Have I defamed, robbed, or disdained children and the defenseless?
Am I envious, wrathful, or biased?
Do I take care of the poor and the sick?
Am I ashamed of the humanity of my brother or my sister?
Am I honest and just to everyone or do I foster the “culture of casting aside”?
Have I incited others to do wrong?
Do I observe the Gospel’s moral teaching on marriage and the family?
How do I handle my educational responsibilities towards my children?
Do I honor and respect my parents?
Have I refused newly-conceived life?
Have I extinguished the gift of life?
Have I helped to do so?
Do I respect the environment?
In Relation to Ourselves
Am I a bit worldly and a bit of a believer?
Do I exaggerate in eating, drinking, smoking, and entertainment?
Am I too concerned about my physical health and my possessions?
How do I use my time?
Am I lazy? Do I want to be served?
Do I love and cultivate purity of heart and in thoughts and actions?
Do I think about revenge or hold grudges?
Am I meek and humble, a builder of peace?