Why should I go to Confession?
If you have not been to Confession in a while, the Catholic Church wants to welcome you back, and invites you to participate in this beautiful sacrament of healing. Take a step in faith. You will be surprised about how free you feel after taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So many Catholics describe incredible feelings of peace, joy, relief, and love that they never expected.
Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?
Christ instituted Confession as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament, but should embrace it as a gift from a loving God. The priest represents Jesus Christ, forgiving your sins.
Will the priest ever repeat what I have said in my confession?
A priest can never reveal to anyone what he is told in a confession. This obligation of absolute secrecy is most serious and is called the sacramental seal (CCC no. 1467).
What if I am not comfortable going face-to-face?
You can receive the sacrament face-to-face or with a screen or grated window between you and the priest. Most confessionals have a screen behind which you can kneel during your confession if you prefer.
Won’t the priest remember what I said? I’m embarrassed: I don’t want him to think badly of me.
The priest’s purpose is not to keep a check-list on people, but to be an instrument of Christ in receiving someone’s sorrow, bringing forgiveness and helping people move forward. A priest hears a large number of confessions. He is not there to judge the person, but rather the nature of the sin, and to offer counsel and encouragement to overcome the sin and to grow spiritually. He, too, goes to confession, so he knows how it feels to confront one’s own sins and ask for forgiveness.
Why does the priest sometimes ask for more information?
The priest may ask for additional information simply to clarify what happened, to understand if the action you confessed was a one-time occurrence or a pattern, and to assess the person’s understanding of the situation.
How often should I go to Confession?
Catholics are requested to receive the Sacrament at least once per year. If you are aware of having committed a serious sin, you should receive the Sacrament right away. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the Sacrament on a regular and frequent basis. Frequent reception helps us keep aware of our spiritual progress and provides the grace to overcome our sins.
Can I receive Communion without going to Confession?
When you receive the Eucharist you affirm that you are in a state of grace, reconciled with God and the Church. Since the Sacrament of Confession provides that reconciliation, if you are in a state of mortal sin you must abstain from receiving the Eucharist until you go to Confession. A mortal sin consists of a serious action through which a person turns away from God’s law and charity, fully understands it is wrong and chooses to commit it freely.
If you have committed venial (forgivable) sins, you may still receive the Eucharist. Venial sins are sins which wound our relationship with God, but consist of less serious matters than mortal sins or are performed without full knowledge or consent. Penitents are encouraged to confess venial sins regularly, since the repetition of these sins can lead to more serious sin.
I’m divorced. May I receive the Sacrament?
If you are civilly divorced and have not remarried or were validly married after receiving a declaration of nullity for your prior marriage, you may participate in the Sacrament. If you have remarried outside of the Church and have questions about your situation, we encourage you to speak with our parish priest.