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Lesson 20 : On the Manner of Making a Good Confession

825 Q. What should we do on entering the confessional?
On entering the confessional we should kneel, make the sign of the Cross, and say to the priest, "Bless me, father"; then add, "I confess to Almighty God and to you, father, that I have sinned."


826 Q. Which are the first things we should tell the priest in Confession?
The first things we should tell the priest in Confession are the time of our last Confession, and whether we said the penance and went to Holy Communion.


827 Q. Should we tell anything else in connection with our last confession?
In connection with our last confession we should tell also what restrictions -- if any -- were placed upon us with regard to our occasions of sin, and what obligations with regard to the payment of debts, restitution, injuries done to others and the like, we were commanded to fulfill.


828 Q. After telling the time of our last Confession and Communion what should we do?
After telling the time of our last Confession and Communion we should confess all the mortal sins we have since committed, and all the venial sins we may wish to mention.


829 Q. What is a general confession?
A general confession is the telling of the sins of our whole life or a great part of it. It is made in the same manner as an ordinary confession, except that it requires more time and longer preparation.


830 Q. When should a General Confession be made?
A general confession:

  1. Is necessary when we are certain that our past confessions were bad;
  2. It is useful on special occasions in our lives when some change in our way of living is about to take place;
  3. It is hurtful and must not be made when persons are scrupulous.


831 Q. What are the signs of scruples and the remedy against them?
The signs of scruples are chiefly:

  1. To be always dissatisfied with our confessions;
  2. To be self-willed in deciding what is sinful and what is not.
  3. The chief remedy against them is to follow exactly the advice of the confessor without questioning the reason orutility of his advice.


832 Q. What must we do when the confessor asks us questions?
When the confessor asks us questions we must answer them truthfully and clearly.


833 Q. What should we do after telling our sins?
After telling our sins we should listen with attention to the advice which the confessor may think proper to give.


834 Q. What duties does the priest perform in the confessional?
In the confessional the priest performs the duties:

  1. Of a judge, by listening to our self-accusations and passing sentence upon our guilt or innocence;
  2. Of a father, by the good advice and encouragement he gives us;
  3. Of a teacher, by his instructions, and
  4. Of a physician, by discovering the afflictions of our soul and giving us the remedies to restore it to spiritual health.


835 Q. Why is it beneficial to go always if possible to the same confessor?
It is beneficial to go always, if possible, to the same confessor, because our continued confessions enable him to see more clearly the true state of our soul and to understand better our occasions of sin.


836 Q. Should we remain away from confession because we cannot go to our usual confessor?
We should not remain away from confession because we cannot go to our usual confessor, for though it is well to confess to the same priest, it is not necessary to do so. One should never become so attached to a confessor that his absence or the great inconvenience of going to him would become an excuse for neglecting the Sacraments.

837 Q. How should we end our Confession?
We should end our Confession by saying, "I also accuse myself of all the sins of my past life," telling, if we choose, one or several of our past sins.


838 Q. What should we do while the priest is giving us absolution?
While the priest is giving us absolution we should from our heart renew the Act of Contrition.