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.