Making a Good Confession

Return of the Prodigal Son - Murillo

Return of the Prodigal Son – Murillo

Making a good Confession is an important part of our Lenten Journey towards the Easter Triduum and the celebration of Our Blessed Lord’s Resurrection. Many Catholics have already made the Sacrament of Confession part and parcel of their Lenten practices, but in discussing the topic among friends and with young people in my parish, I am concerned to discover that there are some who are still beset by fears and hang ups about confessing sins “to a priest”. They do not understand that the priest is Christ’s vessel, acting in Persona Christi, (and like everyone else, will need to go to Confession too!) There are other Catholics who really do not appear to know how to go about it – probably due, sadly, to a lack of proper catechetical instruction. Not only some youngsters have stumbling blocks about Confession; from listening into a few of EWTN Radio’s question and answer programmes, I hear there are also plenty of older Catholics who drifted away from their Faith long ago and now wish to return. Going to Confession and clearing a troubled conscience at ‘the foot of the Cross’ is the first step to coming back to the Faith… but many have forgotten the way to do it.


There are good traditional books and pamphlets available in most parishes and Catholic bookstores to help those who need to be reminded of the requirements for Confession and the way to confess, but owing to the infiltration of so much modernist propaganda these days, it can be difficult distinguishing the good ones from the mediocre – to the downright bad! Avoid publications that do not refer to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church or the advice of the saints.

Fr. Peter Carota, on the Traditional Catholic Priest blog, has written an excellent piece giving 10 clear points towards making a good and holy Confession. It includes a link to doing a sincere examination of conscience, another thing many find difficult.

First and foremost it is necessary to be repentant, to see sin for what it is, a separation from God, and to possess a strong desire to turn back to His loving embrace. More than half the battle is over once this is recognised! In today’s world it is the denial of sin that has become the greatest impediment to making this beautiful sacrament a necessary part of our life’s pilgrimage.

Sin is not the worst thing in the world; the worst thing is the denial of sin. If I am blind and deny light, I shall never see; If I am deaf and deny sound, I shall never hear. If I am a sinner and deny sin, there is no forgiveness. The denial of sin is an unforgiveable sin.”(The Denial of Sin – by Ven. Fulton Sheen.)

Go to Confession, and with the Grace and Mercy of God bestowed by Christ, through His minister, the priest, be filled with the joy of absolution from sin.

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1 Response to Making a Good Confession

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    I love the photo illustrating this post. I sometimes regret not being a cradle Catholic and thus missing the experience of a young boy trusting his priest enough to confess spitting on his father’s toothbrush when dad wasn’t looking, as my son once did, which I found out about from a secret note he wrote to himself and (absent mindedly) left in the family Encyclopaedia Britannica.
    Kathleen says:

    “There are good traditional books and pamphlets available in most parishes and Catholic bookstores to help those who need to be reminded of the requirements for Confession and the way to confess.”

    One very good one is by Fr Alfred Wilson, CP, Pardon and Peace, first published in 1946 and still in print.
    Went to Confession today (thus prompting these reflections), but here’s a side note…I normally (and did today) go to Confession at a church 60 miles away, and on the way there, listened to a serious music station – like BBC 3 – and the presenter played a piece sung by Alberta Hunter (RIP), an 83 year old (when she recorded it) Blues singer born in 1895, called My Handyman Ain’t Handy No More, which unfortunately, because I couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of it, interfered with that part of my confession dealing with impure thoughts. Still, it was a proper confession, if not a memorable one. Won’t give the Alberta Hunter link here, but will do on the Off Topic Forum.


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