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Confession, aka Reconciliation, aka Sacrament of Penance, Frequently Asked Questions


Jesus forgives your sins!

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What if I am a Catholic who "does not believe in Confession?"

Being baptized in the Catholic Church requires belief in the dogmatic teachings of the Church (ie. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican II, the pope's encyclicals) as part of being in a state of grace. Jesus left his authority to the teaching body of the Church (ie. the apostles who were the first group of priests, out of which Peter became the first pope) in order to pass down the Christian body of Faith.

In Romans 13:2 Paul instructs the Christians about their chosen beliefs:
'Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.'

That is why rejecting the teachings of the Church is the same as rejecting faith in Jesus himself. If this sounds like a serious offense, it's because it is. Any Catholic who reads this is being informed that: not believing in the teachings of the Church is a heresy, and is therefore a mortal sin. Catholics who are informed of this and do not believe in Confession are in a state of heresy and must not receive communion.

Summarizing from paragraph 1385 of The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which quotes 1 Corinthians 11:27-29: Whoever eats or drinks the body and blood of the Lord in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

The Catholic should not worry about what others will think, because the only one who knows the truth is God. That is to say, one may fool a priest, but no one can fool God.

(Scroll down to see the answer to ***If God forgives sins the instant we are truly sorry, why do Catholics still need Confession?***)

What if I want to believe in Confession but I can't?

Go to Confession and explain this to the confessor. If his counsel does not help, the non-believing Catholic still places himself in heresy because of obstinacy, and must not receive communion.

What do I do if I didn't believe in Confession before, but now I do?

Go to Confession and confess it. But remember, one may fool a priest, but no one can fool God.

In which cases must I go to Confession before receiving the Eucharist?

If ready to pledge with the soul to never again commit a mortal sin, then one may go to Confession. Some examples of mortal or grave sin are: relations outside of Church marriage, sexual sin, skipping Sunday mass or Holy Days of Obligation on purpose, abortion with consent or assisting in abortion- even through law regulation, serious crime, heresy, apostasy, blasphemy, participation in seances, pagan rituals, divination, oija board and the sort, and the latest: cooperating in embryonic or human genetic experimentation.

What is a good Confession?

A good Confession as defined by Saint Padre Pio (who was universally sought as confessor) is when you would literally rather die than to ever sin again. Saint John Bosco would add that in a good Confession when you confess your sins you don't lie or blurr the amount of times you sinned.

Can people receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession by phone or long distace?

No. 

Are there valid excuses for missing obligatory mass and not committing mortal sin?

The following are just some justifiable examples that do not cause a Catholic to be in mortal sin for missing obligatory mass:
1. If one has a serious illness and is still contagious
2. If one risks becoming more ill
3. If one is the only person who is available to take care of a sick person and cannot get away for about an hour
4. If prevented by inability to get to mass provided all valid options are exhausted

***If God forgives sins the instant we are truly sorry, why do Catholics still need Confession?***

Confession is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the means by which we are reconciled with God  and the whole body of Christ- especially the court in heaven! Whereas God's forgiveness might still mean purgation in the afterlife, a well-made Confession and well-done penance can erase the slate. This is what Jesus said to the first priests, his apostles:

'"As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.' -John 20:23

Moreover, when a person is oppressed by the influences of a devil, a good Confession(as defined above) has the power to dissolve the bond.

How often is it recommended that one attend Confession?

It is recommended to go to Confession at least once a month. Mother Theresa used to go once a week.

What is the minimum requirement for the times Catholics must go to Confession?

The absolute minimum is once a year, and if the Catholic only goes once a year, it must be during Lent.

How old does one have to be to receive Confession?

Seven or eight-year-olds who are preparing for their First Holy Communion must first go to Confession. Therefore, serious little Christian may receive Confession as soon as he is fully aware that he has sinned. It is the duty of the Catholic parents to teach their children about well made and badly made Confessions. The Catechist's task should be to remind them.

Can non-Catholics go to Confession?

Yes.

How do I make a good confession?

Literally ask the Holy Spirit for help and go over the 10 Commandments. Use a guide (Click here).

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