Frequent confession is the spiritual practice among some Roman Catholics of going to the sacrament of reconciliation often and regularly in order to grow in holiness. It is a practice that has been recommended by Catholic leaders and saints as a powerful means of growing in love with God, in humility, and having sorrow for sins, since it is source of God's grace, help, and forgiveness.
This practice "was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit," according to Pius XII. Confession of everyday faults is "strongly recommended by the Church," according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1458. Paul VI said that frequent confession is "of great value."
Basis and importance
The Catholic Church teaches that everyone is called to sanctity, since man was created to love and serve God, the ultimate source of man's happiness. For this, the God has given the sacraments as God's way of giving divine life to each person.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
- Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful. (CCC 1458)
John Paul II who went to confession weekly, said:
- "It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation. Those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make progress, will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives."
- “Frequent and reverent recourse to this sacrament, even when only venial sin is in question, is of great value. Frequent Confession is not mere ritual repetition, nor is it merely a psychological exercise. Rather it is a constant effort to bring to perfection the grace of our Baptism, so that we carry about in our bodies the death of Jesus Christ who died; so that the life Jesus Christ lives may be more and more manifested in us. In such confessions, while indeed confessing venial sins, penitents should be mainly concerned with becoming more conformed to Christ and more submissive to the voice of the Spirit.”
Advantages of frequent confession
The advantages of frequent confession was discussed by Pius XII. He said that "the pious practice of frequent Confession which was introduced into the Church by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit [is] to be earnestly advocated."
By frequent confession, Pius XII explained:
- genuine self-knowledge is increased,
- Christian humility grows,
- bad habits are corrected,
- spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted,
- the conscience is purified,
- the will strengthened,
- a salutary self-control is attained,
- grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself.
He then warned those "who make light of or lessen esteem for frequent Confession know what they are doing. What they are doing is alien to the spirit of Christ and disastrous for the Mystical Body of Christ."
John Paul II also enumerated these:
- we are renewed in fervor,
- strengthened in our resolutions, and
- supported by divine encouragement
He said those who discourage frequent confession "are lying."
- Morning Offering
- Thanksgiving after Communion
- Spiritual reading
- Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
- Examination of conscience
- Frequent confession by Barbara Kralis in Catholic.org
- Rediscovering Frequent Confession by Rev. Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap.
- Frequent Confession by Benedict Baur
- The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
- Confession and Growth in Chastity in by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.