What to Say in Confession
By Father Kenneth Doyle
Question: I have not been to confession in at least 10 years. I want to go, but I have no idea what to say. How am I to remember all of my sins and the number of times that I have committed them?
Answer: Don’t worry; the priest is there to help you, and he will try to make things easy. (He will also have heard the confessions of a number of others in your same situation.)
Tell the priest that you haven’t been to the sacrament of penance in many years and worry that you cannot remember the exact number of times you have committed each specific sin. (The priest has the right to lift the penitent’s obligation to do so.)
Tell him that you would like to make this a “general confession,” that you are sorry for any and all sins – including those you don’t remember. He may ask you whether there are any particular serious sins that you do recall, and you will mention those, if any.
The absolution to follow will cover all sins – whether mortal or venial – committed in the past. I am pleased that you are considering this, and I believe that the experience will leave you with a feeling of relief, a new spiritual energy and a sense of the closeness of a loving God.
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