How Often Should Catholics Go To Confession?

Are You There When You Need To Be?

Are You There When You Need To Be?

Stories abound about how often some notably holy people went to confession.  Bl. John Paul II is said to have gone to confession every two weeks.  Bl. Mother Teresa is said to have gone to confession every day.  Does that mean we of lesser holiness ought to be going at least that often? If not, how often?

Here is some advice that I received from a friendly priest about this question:

+     We should always go to confession when we are aware of having committed a mortal sin or a serious venial sin.  We should go as soon as possible.  Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a priest if need be.

+     We may go to confession for regular venial sins, but should remember that the Church offers numerous ways to obtain forgiveness for those sins without full sacramental confession, such as the worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist.

+     We should be aware that any religious practice can become rote.  Going to confession for the sake of going to confession can becomes rote and is not a good practice.  We should go to confession when we are aware of sin, are truly sorry, and want God’s forgiveness.

+     Don’t be worried or discouraged if you seem to confess the same sins over and over again.  Just keep working on overcoming them with God’s grace.

+     We should pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten our consciences so that we can avoid sin in the first place, know when we need to go to confession, and make a good confession when we get there.

photo source (wikimedia, creative commons, Adam Smith)

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