Skip to comments.Confession: Why Do We Go to Confession? [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 04/08/2014 7:15:03 PM PDT by Salvation
Why Do We Go To Confession?
"Catholics who started going to confession as children may recall that the major concern during preparation was not how you sinned - disobedience was a given - but how often you had sinned since your last confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Penance as it was once called, was never intended to be a numbers game. It is now and always has been a means to seek receive God's forgiveness and to renew our resolve, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to follow Jesus' commands to love God and to love one another as ourselves.
"The practice of confessing one's sins has been around since the early days of Christianity. At that time, it was generally reserved for those who had denied their faith in the face of persecution or committed other grave sins, such as adultery or murder. Sins were confessed and forgiven in public. This early rite of reconciliation, however, could be received only once in a lifetime and involved a process that could take years. Severe penances were also given. As a result, Christians generally postponed reception of the sacrament until they were on their deathbeds.
"The private form of confession can be traced to Celtic monks and nuns, who individually and frequently discussed their sinfulness and need for reform with their abbot or abbess. In the late sixth century, they brought this practice to Europe, where it quickly became popular among Christians. It was not until 1215, however, that church leadership, at the Fourth Lateran Council, officially adopted the private form of confession as the norm. The Council also decreed that baptized Christians were to confess their sins and receive the Eucharist once each year.
"By the end of the 13th century, theologians had developed a process for the private reception of the sacrament. It involved four steps: confession, contrition, absolution, and satisfaction or penance. It was not until 1973 that a revised ritual, mandated by Vatican II, was introduced.
"The private form of confession, with its four steps, was retained. In addition, two communal forms, which incorporate a liturgical service, were introduced. Of these, the one including individual confession and absolution is commonly used in parishes today. The other, which includes general absolution, is reserved for times of grave necessity and is rarely used. There is also an abbreviated fourth form for use when a person faces imminent death.
"Both the private and communal forms of confession used today emphasize the belief, held since the early days of Christianity, that sin is an offense not only against God but also against the community. Within the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the priest represents both God and the community and the penitent seeks forgiveness from both.
"Reconciliation is the sacrament that addresses our imperfections and our humanness. Yet it also goes beyond them to offer us an opportunity for healing and hope within ourselves and, through the acts of reparation, within the whole community.
"Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are drawn to Jesus. We are drawn first as the sinners He continually calls to repentance, forgiveness, conversion, and new life. Then, freed from our burdens, we are drawn as the disciples He calls to deliver His message of love and hope to the world.
"These are really wonderful reasons to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently. How fortunate we are that God loves us so much."
Source: Oblates, July-August 2003 (Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate)
How Does A Catholic Make a Confession?
Five Steps for A Good Confession
Examination of Conscience
The means by which God forgives sins after baptism is confession: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Minor or venial sins can be confessed directly to God, but for grave or mortal sins, which crush the spiritual life out of the soul, God has instituted a different means for obtaining forgiveness—the sacrament known popularly as confession, penance, or reconciliation.
This sacrament is rooted in the mission God gave to Christ in his capacity as the Son of man on earth to go and forgive sins (cf. Matt. 9:6). Thus, the crowds who witnessed this new power "glorified God, who had given such authority to men" (Matt. 9:8; note the plural "men"). After his resurrection, Jesus passed on his mission to forgive sins to his ministers, telling them, "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20:21–23).
Since it is not possible to confess all of our many daily faults, we know that sacramental reconciliation is required only for grave or mortal sins—but it is required, or Christ would not have commanded it. (Catholic Answers http://www.catholic.com)
Below are questions to ask yourself. Many of these are mortal sins and Eucharist is forbidden until a good confession is made to a priest. If in doubt whether a sin is mortal or venial, consult a good catechism or priest very loyal to the Holy Father and Rome's teachings.
Note: A mortal sin involves:
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen
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Regarding penance Isidore conveys the following:
Penance is the medicine for the wound, the hope of salvation, through which sinners are saved, through which God is moved to mercy. Penance is not weighed in time but by the profundity of sorrow and tears. The name penance is taken from the pain by which the soul is tormented and the flesh is mortified.
Confession Questions From the Pew [Catholic Caucus] Introduction to 10 Part Series
Part 1 of 10: Sacrament of Penance, Jesus placed great value on forgiveness [Catholic Caucus]
Beginning Catholic: The Sacrament of Reconciliation: Rising Again to New Life [Ecumenical]
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When did confession to a priest start? [Ecumenical]
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We` don`t have any confession here unless it`s a visiting priest coz the priests here are too lazy to hear confessions. There is no confession scheduled- you have to go to the rectory to find the priest before mass or when he is not busy. Otherwise there is no scheduled confession anymore here for at least 20 years.
This is sad. Why does your bishop permit it?
For me, when I was little, it was because Msgr McGuiness would twist your ear off if you didn’t. Different reasons later.
I have no idea
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I HAPPENED to go to confession this afternoon, Tuesday, and came out thinking that God has made it SO easy for us to live in grace. It really is so easy. How grateful we should be for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
I was out of the Catholic Church for a number of years. When I finally came back I sat down with our priest and made a full confession. It took a good half hour (number and type) and I could see the sweat on his brow when I finished. He was completely non judgmental. After he gave me absolution I was walking 2 feet off the ground. This is the only faith that you can be certain of absolution, everyone else is just hoping.
Catholic priests do the same thing for free that non-believers pay a shrink a couple of hundred dollars an hour for. What a waste of money. Another good reason to become Catholic.
This is so true! Some people don’t realize that the reception of this sacrament often brings profound psychological and even physical healing to the penitent as well. ;-))
Thanks, Salvation, for a great post. We have spent a good deal of time lately in RCIA on this wonderful Sacrament. Your post gives me additional material. It’s now bookmarked.
How many new Catholics in your RCIA class?
Almost time to celebrate!