How Often Should I Confess?

Father John Iffert, our Chapter Guide for chapter 18 (Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation: God is Rich in Mercy), responds to the question, “How often should I confess?”

The church teaches that we must receive the Eucharist at least once each year, preferably during the Easter season and that we should prepare for that Easter duty by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Many people are in the habit of Penance twice a year, during Advent and Lent. I’ve heard one bishop recommend that we think of Penance and Reconciliation seasonally—four times a year. Every time you change your wardrobe, he counsels, think about the need to clothe yourself in Christ. Many people have found that frequent Reconciliation (monthly, or even weekly) is an aide to the spiritual life. And of course, whenever you are aware of committing serious sin, receive Penance and Reconciliation as soon as possible. Especially if you are aware of committing mortal sin – sin that does serious injury to your capacity for charity. And just in case you’re thinking that you don’t need to go to Confession (because serious sin does damage our judgment, after all), the church tells us that if we’re aware of mortal sin, we must confess as soon as possible. Leave it to mother church to tell us to do the right thing.

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FTF is a 125th Anniversary Journey of Faith of the Diocese of Belleville through the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.
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4 Responses to How Often Should I Confess?

  1. Dave Richey says:

    Could I infer from the 1st sentence that one should never partake of the Eucharist prior to being cleansed of sin via the sacrament of confession? And so, if one prepares onesself once a year (i.e., Easter) by partaking of the sacrament of reconciliation, should not then one prepare onesself on every occasion where one intends to partake of the Eucharist?

    Is it the case that one must refrain from partaking of the Eucharist if one holds a ‘mortal sin’?

    Thanks for the previous answers as well!!

    dave richey

  2. The direct answers can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 1457-8:

    1457 According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

    1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful…

  3. Dave Richey says:

    Thank you! This helps alot.

  4. Pingback: Is it time yet? (For confession that is…) | Fanning The Flame

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