Tips for Making a Good Confession, Lent is Near

Fr John Zuhlsdorf has a helpful list.

Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession o{]:¬)

We should…

1) …examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly;
2) …wait our turn in line patiently;
3) …come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) …speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) …state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) …confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) …listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) …confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) …carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10) …use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) …never be afraid to say something “embarrassing”… just say it;
12) …never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) …never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) …never confess “tendencies” or “struggles”… just sins;
15) …never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) …memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) …answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) …ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) …keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) …remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.



7 thoughts on “Tips for Making a Good Confession, Lent is Near

  1. I really hate these kind of lists, sorry, but the Holy Spirit is the real Vicar here! Again, Luther gets to the depth of so-called “Confession” or Penance theologically & experientially, much better than the Roman and Ignation in my opinion.

  2. Thank you so much Father for posting this. I will come back and read many times. As Jesus told my patron Saint, St. Faustina, “No one ever thanks Me for My Priest.” I have always kept that in my heart, and right now “I thank Jesus for you, and all of His Priest.” Where would I be without their guidance. I shutter to think. God Bless, SR

  3. I really hate these kind of lists… Yes, Fr. it takes a lot of humility to go to confession but one feels the gift of the Holy Spirit after.
    In the sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of confession and reconciliation, every soul relives as its personal history the Gospel account of the tax collector, who left the temple justified: “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:13-14).

    1. Yes, and this leads us to the real question, just what is the Gospel? Note Luther’s Christology is Catholic, certainly, but he sought to “Reform” the Roman Catholic Gospel, itself! Was he wrong? The Counter-Reformation, Trent, etc. was Rome’s answer. But again, does it still stand with Vatican II? Note in the last or third session of Trent, it reaffirmed the Niceno-Constaninoplitan Creed, the validity of both Scriptures (Old and NT) and unwritten traditions as sources of truth, the sole right of the church to interpret the Bible, and the authority of the text of the Vulgate. Of course the other sessions defined justification, merit, and the theology of the sacraments.

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