Lent is a time for prayer, fasting, almsgiving … and penance.
Also known as reconciliation.
Whatever you call it, it’s an important part of the Lenten season.
I remember my mother dragging me to Confession a few days before Easter every year. Without fail.
Parishes schedule more times to hear Confessions during Lent … especially during Holy Week.
But only four-in-ten Catholics (43%) say they go to Confession at least once a year according to a 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center.
I’m sure there are lots of reasons why a large majority of Catholics don’t go to Confession … despite the fact that we’re supposed to go at least once a year. And ideally more often.
I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t go for a good number of years. I think it grew harder and harder to go back as the days, weeks, and months went by.
Eventually I turned to the internet for assistance. There I found numerous resources that put me more at ease and helped me prepare. They showed me the path to the confessional and I returned.
This issue of Genuflect is devoted to the sacrament of Reconciliation. We look at its history … and the when, why and how of Confession. And provide resources to help with understanding and preparation.
So regardless of what you call it … and whether you’ve not been to Confession in years, or weeks, I hope you’ll find some valuable information here.
Sacramental reconciliation has a complicated history. Understanding a little history can sometimes help with understanding current practice.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the sacrament has five principal names, each with its own spiritual meaning. Catholics are free to use any of the names, emphasizing different aspects of a beautiful sacrament that brings sinners back into communion with God and each other.
Mary Kris Figueroa writes: This is one question that used to confuse me. I previously did some online researching so as to know what the consensus was, but I realized that opinions on the matter varied among Catholics. I am sharing with you the suggested resolution to the question, based on personal experience and credible religious advice.
If you’re Catholic, you’ve heard this before, right? Your Protestant friend says, “Why should I confess my sins to a priest?” Here’s why.
Fr. Edward McIlmail helps us understand the difference between mortal and venial sin … and how a venial sin may become a mortal sin.
There are two common errors about God’s forgiveness that’s important for us all to understand.
Confession is good for the soul. Sure, it can also be intimidating and embarrassing—although you probably won’t die of embarrassment in the confessional. Here are some helpful tips and resources for going to Confession.
A good Catholic examination of conscience can be a great help in making a new start in the life of faith. We use an examination of conscience to help call to mind our sins and failings during a period of quiet reflection before approaching the priest in Confession. Use this handy guide.
Despite parishes and dioceses inviting inactive Catholics to return to church at Lent with the sacrament of reconciliation as an incentive, it is likely Catholics are afraid, bewildered or even intimidated at the prospect of returning to the confessional after such a long period away from it. Here are some tips to help.
Fr. Goyo Hidalgo, an associate pastor at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Simi Valley, Cali., posted some excellent advice for Catholics experiencing such terrible guilt that they feel it necessary to repeatedly confess the same sins.
The mercy of God is not an invitation to “spiritual laziness,” but requires a sincere and prompt response from those who want to grow in holiness, Pope Francis said Sunday. Read more.
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