Please pray for me and my brother priests!

Friday, December 1, 2006

20 Tips for a Good Confession

I just came across this great post on Father Z.'s blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say?" ( (I am unsure how to do hyper-links!) It is Father Z.'s 20 tips to making a good confession. Since I only care enough "borrow the very best", and since we both have as the aim of our mission the salvation of souls, and since confession is one of the sacraments given by Christ for this very reason, I happily repost his great list here.

God love you!

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.


Fr. Peter said...

Fr. V. I bleieve we were in the seminary together. I also like Fr. Z's blog.

bethski said...

some of this is hilarious...wait in line...PATIENTLY... You poor priests.

Why never confess struggles? I thought sinning was a struggle that you try NOT to do!

Father V. said...

Father Peter, if you were at St. John's Seminary anytime between 1999 and 2006, we did indeed go to Seminary together.

Fr. Peter said...

Fr. V. We were assigned to the prision together.

Father V. said...

I figured it was you! Thanks for reading and it's good to hear from you.

Adoro Te Devote said...

Oh my goodness! Where did you find that picture at the bottom with Jesus and the children? Just the other day I found a holy card my Mom gave me for my first Confession a week before my First Communion, and I was commenting that they just don't make cards like this any more.

Sorry to plug, but I gave a description at my blog:

Where can we find holy cards like this anymore?

And as far as the confession list...yup, I remember that post. VERY informative!

bethski...I don't fully understand this, either, but I think it has more to do with knowing for certain what our sins are...confess sins, don't tell a story, and don't fudge by calling it a "struggle". Just come out and say, "I've been a glutton", not "I'm struggling with food..." That's my understanding. I wrong?

I do know that there are times I have gone to Confession on the verge of committing some certain sins, and in those times I have confessed a "struggle" of sorts, and then was given the grace from the Sacrament necessary to overcome it. Hard to explain.

Adoro Te Devote said...

Father V:

Hyperlinks is probably the only thing I know how to do.

You'll need to have 2 windows open...your blogger post creation page, and the one you want to link to.

When you type your post, say, for example, referring to a post by *FATHER ABC*, highlight the phrase you want to use as a link, in this example, FATHER ABC.

Then click on the other page you are linking to, go to the URL and highlight it. Right click and then click on "copy" to capture the URL address

Go back to your new post. You'll see that the phrase you highlighted is still hilighted.

Click on the menu bar icon that should direct you when you hover...I want to say it looks like a pair of sunglasses, but it's the icon directly to the left of the quote icon.

Click on the "sunglasses" and a new field will pop up. Put your cursor there and make sure the "http" is highlighted. Then right-click and paste the url from the post you're linking.

(note that in this popup field you only want to see "http://" once.

Hit ok and it will insert the html code for you in the location you indicated.

And to check it, just click on the "preview post" link.

I see you're having problems with your menu icons, though, so you may not be able to do this until blogger resolves whatever glitch is causing the problem.

Good luck and God bless! Sorry if I confused you with my possibly inept explanation.

Katie said...

I remember coming across an article a few years back that Catholics were changing the nature of their confessions to be less literal ("I used the f-word today... I called my mother-in-law a toad... I wished the guy behind me in line at the DMV would drop dead") to being more conceptually involved with the more serious (mortal?) sins.

It was interesting. However, I think it's really funny (I hope that isn't an inappropriate reaction!) that one of the tips is to wait in line patiently... perhaps that should have been the 11th Commandment, yes? Think of all the trouble it would have saved.

Father V. said...

Katie, while the big picture must always be kept in mind (which I would think is the all encompassing love and mercy of God as given to the world through Jesus Christ) conceptual confessions are a little out of my reach! Number and kind is still the rule of the Church...if you remember where you read that article I would be interested in finding it and reading it myself.

Thanks for reading, and God love you!

Katie said...

Oh, man -- I'll try to remember. It's been years.

I guess the conceptual thing is a little obtuse, and I can see how it would be harder to address... I never thought of it that way. I'd imagine it's probably worse to ram your grocery cart into someone on purpose than to eat a whole bag of Doritos, gluttony though that may be.

Maybe those are the struggles of life, not the fodder for confession.

Look at you, making me think! Do you hear that creaking? That's my rusty brain! Shame on you. ;-)

Father V. said...

The word "obtuse" always reminds me of the movie Shawshank Redemption . Anyway...

The problem with a "conceptual confession", in this father's opinion, is that concepts aren't sins. Actions (even active thoughts) are sinful, and it is sin that the confessional seeks to eradicate. Why? So that the space that sin takes up in the soul can be freed and room for grace and the Holy Spirit can be had. It's like defragementing your disc drive, in a sense. It puts what should be there in proper order, gets rid of what shouldn't be there at all, and allows everything to run better.

Further...I have a hard time believing that that brain of yours has any rust on it...

Katie said...

Aww, shucks! See, now I'm going to make sure we have the good Scotch out for you when you visit.

Father V. said...

Katie, good Scotch wasn't my motivation, but it's appreciated...

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Hmmm number and kind.... a bit tricky when it is at least 30 years since you last went to Confession and not much less since you last received Communion.
The closest church to home here only has confession for two half hours a week; one time is a weekday when I am working. I can't even see the confessional in the church.
But I kind of need a step before Confession anyhow. Trouble is I tried to talk to the priest once and it was a bit of a disaster. He is a very holy and good man but he couldn't comprehend why I didn't believe and why I wasn't receiving communion. Feels like it might be another ten years and I still won't have been to Confession.....

Father V. said...

If it's been 30 years, tell the priest off the bat that, and he'll help you along. If the hours are not good for you, call and make an appointment. If the one priest didn't work out, talk to another priest. Take whatever steps neccesary to reconcile and receive.

Faith seeking understanding requires faith, first and foremost.