How Often Should You Go To Confession?

I’m a lifelong believing and practicing Catholic. I’ve been to Confession innumerable times. I typically go to Confession every week or two. Refraining from cleaning your soul in Confession, for a lengthy period of time, is like refraining from cleaning your body. As the famous quote says: “I bathe once a month, whether I need to or not.” Unless you are literally unable, it is unwise — and may endanger your salvation — to go to Confession less often than once a month.

Even the Saints went to Confession frequently. Persons who are literally sinless — no mortal sins and no venial sins — cannot validly receive the Sacrament of Forgiveness, since there is nothing to forgive. So neither Jesus nor Mary have ever received that Sacrament. Persons who are not baptized Christians cannot go to Confession, but their sins can be forgiven by the Sacrament of Baptism. And generally, we don’t admit non-Catholics to Confession, with some exceptions (which I won’t get into discussing).

Catholics who are unrepentant from actual mortal sin do not validly receive the Sacrament, even if they attempt to do so many times. But they are able to receive it — they simply have to repent and examine their conscience first.

To every Catholic, I say, examine your conscience thoroughly, repent of your sins, and then: GO TO CONFESSION!!!!!

A good Confession is a little humiliating (sometimes more than a little), but it is good for the soul. The path of salvation, for Catholics, is paved with the Sacraments, especially devout reception of Communion AFTER making a good Confession.

Many Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics are offending God by reception of Communion without having been to Confession in months or years. Many of them are committing sins that are at least objectively mortal, without repentance. My opinion is that, apart from exceptional circumstances, no Catholic should receive Communion unless they have been to Confession within the last 3 or 4 months. And the ordinary frequency of Confession should be at least once a month.

Many Catholics today spend hours a week arguing about Catholicism online. But they can’t find the time to go to Confession. And the result is increasing arrogance in their souls and in their words. For they are unwilling to humble themselves to admit their sins before God. And then they read that Pope Francis said something which does not seem right to their arrogant, sinful, unrepentant mind, and so they rail against him.

If you haven’t made a good Confession in the last month, you shouldn’t be criticizing the Pope or making public claims on the internet about what the Church supposedly teaches. If you do not go to Confession regularly, you are not fit to teach Catholicism; to write, blog, or post about Catholicism; to serve in any role at Mass, other than as an ordinary participant in the pews; nor are you fit to argue about what is or is not correct on discipline or doctrine.

Not every Confession is a good Confession. You must confess all the mortal sins that can be remembered, after a diligent examination of conscience, in kind and number — and that includes sexual sins of every type. I have read online, many times, various Catholics claiming that one or another grave sexual sin is not really sinful at all, because of various theological rationalizations that they present. I doubt that you are making a valid Confession if you are unrepentant from any sexual sin of any kind: pornography, masturbation, sex outside of marriage, unnatural sexual acts within marriage, as well as contraception for any purpose or intention. The other category of common grave sin is heresy: rejection of definitive Church teaching on any matter of faith, morals, or salvation.

When you eventually die and are judged by God, you stand alone, your soul laid bare, before the judgment seat of the Creator. None of those clever, mostly anonymous, internet commentators, who justify grave sins, will be there to argue on your behalf. The Lord derides them. None of those eminent popular widely-approved false teachers will stand next to you before the judgment of God. Do you really believe that Jesus approves of various grave sins based on various types of excuses and rationalizations? Don’t kid yourself.

[Matthew]
{5:27} You have heard that it was said to the ancients: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
{5:28} But I say to you, that anyone who will have looked at a woman, so as to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
{5:29} And if your right eye causes you to sin, root it out and cast it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body be cast into Hell.
{5:30} And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it away from you. For it is better for you that one of your members perish, than that your whole body go into Hell.

MAKE NO EXCUSES!!!! Admit your sins in prayer before God, repent, and make a good Confession.

[Psalm]
{1:1} Blessed is the man who has not followed the counsel of the impious, and has not remained in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the chair of pestilence.
{1:2} But his will is with the law of the Lord, and he will meditate on his law, day and night.
{1:3} And he will be like a tree that has been planted beside running waters, which will provide its fruit in its time, and its leaf will not fall away, and all things whatsoever that he does will prosper.
{1:4} Not so the impious, not so. For they are like the dust that the wind casts along the face of the earth.
{1:5} Therefore, the impious will not prevail again in judgment, nor sinners in the council of the just.
{1:6} For the Lord knows the way of the just. And the path of the impious will pass away.

For the Catholic Church today, the internet has become a chair of pestilence, a seat from which the Church is harassed and harangued — mostly by person claiming to be faithful and knowledgeable Catholics. Do not follow their counsel. Do not remain in their way. Do not sit among them, joining them in harming souls.

Instead, meditate on the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium day and night.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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3 Responses to How Often Should You Go To Confession?

  1. Bob says:

    Amen. Good article.

  2. domzerchi says:

    Communion lines are long but confession lines are short. Sometimes there is no waiting. You don’t have to be an accountant to see that something isn’t adding up.

  3. Michael says:

    The more you go ,the more you know how much you need it!

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