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 Post subject: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:07 am 
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0) Never be afraid to tell the priest you're not quite sure what to do next. He can prompt you (after step 1, of course!)
1) Enter the confessional.
2) The priest may say something in greeting, and may offer an opening prayer.
3) If he doesn't, or if you're going anonymously and you're not sure he knows you're there, say, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned; it has been [approximate time interval] since my last confession."*
4) Confess sins, as needed.
5) When you're done confessing, indicate that you're done. I say, "For these and all my sins I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry."
6) The priest may offer some advice.
7) The priest will give you a penance.
8) You recite an act of contrition, which should indicate that you are sorry for your sins and intend to reform. The one I use is this: "O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you. I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they have offended you, my God, who are all good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin." There are quite a few variations of that prayer, so you can use whichever one you like. Feel free to carry a copy into the confessional with you--the one I gave above is one I memorized that way off the back of a missalette.
9) The priest absolves you.
10) The priest may say something in dismissal, such as "Go in peace; your sins are forgiven."
11) I usually say, "Thank you, Father."

* As part of this step, you can also say something to "indicate your station in life"--married, single, ordained, age, stuff like that. Most of the time, this doesn't matter, and the priest can ask if he really needs to know.

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Last edited by Obi-Wan Kenobi on Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:10 am 
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Thank you Obi.

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the Eucharistic oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of to heaven, which the Father holds as ratified? -Tertullian

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:11 am 
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A good examination of Conscience can be found here.


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the Eucharistic oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of to heaven, which the Father holds as ratified? -Tertullian

Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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 Post subject: Confession 101
PostPosted: Mon Jan 22, 2007 8:38 am 
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This is not so much a response to ChrisG's email ("Easy Confession Question) as it is to recap a general, detailed info sheet on the whats and hows of confession. I remember doing something like this previously, but cannot find it in the search files anymore, so I thought I'd start a new thread with this new heading to make it easier to find in the future.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Examination of Conscience
Prior to entering the confessional, you should make what's known as an examination of conscience. Some missals may include a section on confession and a general examination of conscience to help you in this. If you have time -- say, the night before -- you might consider searching for one online.
There is a decent one here: http://www.fisheaters.com/penance.html#examination

Stepping into the confessional
Depending on what church you go to for confession, the confessional (aka, "the box" or "reconciliation room") may be set up in any number of ways. There should be an option of "anonymous confession," or confession with a "grille" of sorts between you and the priest so that you can hear each other but not see each other. Likewise, there may be an option for face-to-face confession where, normally, you sit in a chair facing the priest. Confession in the former case should always provide you with a kneeler or prayer stool.

Starting confession
1. Assuming you go for anonymous confession, kneel on the prayer stool.
The priest normally will say nothing and wait for you to begin.
2. You can start by making the sign of the cross and actually saying out loud "In the name of the Father, etc." or, just make the sign of the cross and start out with, "Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been ___ days/weeks/months/years since my last confession."
3. The priest may immediately say something about "having trust in God" etc. and may also recite some short passage from Scripture. If he does this, he may end with, "... Go on..." (or something similar). Otherwise, the priest may simply say nothing and just wait for you.
4. At this point, you make your confession which could go something literally like this: "Father, I accuse myself of 2 acts of self-impurity. I lied on two occasions. I have ignored my parents lately. I sinned against the 9th commandment."
5. If that's all you have (or that's all you can remember), end with words similar to, "For these and all the sins of my past life, I ask for your blessing and for God's mercy."

The Priest Responds
After you have made your confession, the priest may do any number of things. He may go straight to the "Advice and Penance" (below). Given the confession stated above, a brief talk may ensue, like this:
Are you married?
Yes, father
Are you unable to perform the marriage act?
Well... my wife and I got into an argument...
I see. So would you also like to confess to getting angry?
Yes, father. I was angry with my wife on two occasions
Did you act upon this anger in any other ways? Did you strike your wife?
No, father
What is the 9th commandment?
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife"
In what way did you break this commandment?
There is a woman I work with who dressed very immodestly one day, and it caused me to have feelings of lust.
Did you act on these feelings?
No, father

Advice and Penance
After questions of clarification, if any, as described above, the priest may give some advice, followed up by some penance. It may go something like this:
Very well. Remember to do your morning and night prayers and keep a strong devotion to Our Lady and the rosary, which should help in these issues of impurity. Keep in mind that self-impurity is a very grave offense against our Lord, etc. etc. If you have some good spiritual reading at home, this may also help.
For your penance, I'd like you to ______________, and make a good act of contrition.


It is not absolutely necessary that you complete your penance prior to receiving communion that day. In some cases, you will not be able to do it anyway (for example, you're given a penance to recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart for 3 consecutive days). In any case, if you're given a penance of the old, "Say 10 Hail Marys," you should endeavor to do your penance as soon as possible.

Contrition
Immediately say an Act of Contrition. Many(most?) confessionals may have a generic act of contrition printed and posted nearby. You should learn one by heart, but don't feel bad about having to read it off of a cheat sheet. A typical Act of Contrition goes:
Oh 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 I have offended Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I fully resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

You may make up and use your own Act of Contrition if you have trouble with the traditional one, using similar words to express the same thing -- sorrow for sin, resolving to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin.

Absolution
The priest may give the absolution while you are saying your act of contrition. This is especially true if you go to confession at a Traditional Latin Mass (such as a Latin Mass community). Otherwise, the priest may wait until you've finished to give the absolution. He will usually end with a blessing or something along the lines of, "Go in peace" or "Go and sin no more" ...
Make the sign of the cross on yourself, thank the priest, and leave the confessional.

It is also a nice gesture to tell the priest, before you leave the box, how many people are still in line behind you.


Hope this helps anyone who may have questions on this Sacrament. Many RCIA programs do not describe Confession in any detail to help new folks to the Church.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:17 am 
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Can someone please advise if the guides above apply to the UK as well (wordings etc)?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:27 am 
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All of the above should work with any English-speaking priest.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:13 am 
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dellapace wrote:
Can someone please advise if the guides above apply to the UK as well (wordings etc)?


Yes, I actually always use the words Obi-Wan wrote down...I like to have some 'frame-work', although 'Uh...' usually gets a response from the priest too :wink:

Anna x


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:48 am 
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anna1978 wrote:
dellapace wrote:
Can someone please advise if the guides above apply to the UK as well (wordings etc)?


Yes, I actually always use the words Obi-Wan wrote down...I like to have some 'frame-work', although 'Uh...' usually gets a response from the priest too :wink:

Anna x


Well if the priest is having trouble with the responses, you can print him out a copy too :D

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the Eucharistic oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of to heaven, which the Father holds as ratified? -Tertullian

Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:16 am 
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anna1978 wrote:
dellapace wrote:
Can someone please advise if the guides above apply to the UK as well (wordings etc)?


Yes, I actually always use the words Obi-Wan wrote down...I like to have some 'frame-work', although 'Uh...' usually gets a response from the priest too :wink:

Anna x


Haha! OK, so if in doubt, go "UH..!"

Thanks, guys.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 2:59 pm 
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In RCIA last week we received a good example of how confession works. I have been christened in the CofE, which is validly recognised as baptism, so I can go to confession. Will be my first in 36 years, I have a lot to confess!

One thing, could someone clarify this for me, to ensure I understand properly:

Quote:
For your penance, I'd like you to ______________, and make a good act of contrition.


What, exactly, do we get as penance? Is it 'just' prayer? (Not to suggest I take prayer lightly) or do we get instructed to do something else, too?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 3:01 pm 
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Your penances will vary. It might be prayer or something else.

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the Eucharistic oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of to heaven, which the Father holds as ratified? -Tertullian

Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Right. It could be prayer, making some sort of amends for your sins, spending time in Adoration, etc.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:02 pm 
Hey, I have a question that's been bugging me, what do we say if we have not sinned at all?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:15 pm 
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Zahr Dalsk wrote:
Hey, I have a question that's been bugging me, what do we say if we have not sinned at all?


Nothing... If you haven't sinned, then you need not go to confession.

FJ

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:17 pm 
Ok, sounds good. I try to live my life with Humanist principles.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Zahr Dalsk wrote:
Ok, sounds good. I try to live my life with Humanist principles.


So do I! The trick is having a basis for those principles... :)

FJ

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:25 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:26 pm 
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I have never disputed that secular humanists have many of the right moral principles. What I question is what proof they have that these ARE the right moral principles. In fact... how can you even have right or wrong at all when such a distinction requires a natural law?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:29 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: A guide for going to confession
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 6:32 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
4) Confess sins, as needed.

According to both kind and number.

Quote:
5) When you're done confessing, indicate that you're done. I say, "For these and all my sins I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry."

I like this:

"For these and all the sins of my past life, especially for (mention some grave sin previously confessed) I am truly sorry, and I beg the pardon of God and absolution from you, Father."

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