Catholics/sacrament of confession


How can a Catholic know what to confess in the sacrament of confession? Some people say that certain actions are bad and must be confessed. To me this sound a bit strange as we may do bad things without having fully chosen to do it, eg due to psychological problems or invincible ignorance. For me, it is very difficult to judge myself and say which actions where I did not choose to do the right thing.
You can look at you conscience and s on but fully judge yourself like a Catholic must do before a confession sounds pretty hard.

Well, the fact that we are supposed to confess our sins means that we aren't supposed to judge ourselves, (although we do, me especially).  If your conscience is troubling you about something, you should probably confess it.  Remember, a "mortal" sin requires that the action is serious, that you knew it was serious, and that you freely chose to do it.  When one of these is missing, you are talking about "venial" or less serious sin.  Since mortal sin is ultimately a choice to turn away from God, I personally don't think many people make this choice.  But the best thing is to confess those actions which keep coming up over and over again, even if they don't qualify as "mortal".  The Church teaches that mortal sins must be confessed; however, confession of other sins especially those that keep happening, avails us of the grace needed to repent and "reform" our lives.  When we confess, we do state the intention that we are going to do something to avoid that sin in the future.  
My confessions:  I name "mortal" sins, if any.  I then name recurring sins/faults -- in my case, procrastination, failing to spend enough time with my family, spending too much time on the computer, etc.  After this review, I leave the confessional with the intention of trying to do something about these things.  
Confession needn't be a "laundry list" of everything you can think of; believe me, even if you confess everything you can think of, you still forgot some things.  God knows we are, after all, humans and he loves us passionately anyway.  Remember the prodigal son?  He couldn't even get the words out of his mouth before his father embraced him and forgave him.  Hope this helps.  


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Donald Higby


Most any question about Catholic teachings, the structure of the Church, issues related to Catholic teachings on sexuality and marriage; I also know a lot about biblical foundations for Catholic teaching, and apologetics. As a scientist and a deacon, I am conversant with the dialogue between science and religion.


Deacon, 13 years; Religion minor, Catholic University of America. Self study.

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Diaconal Formation, four years (college level courses) Catholic University of America, religion minor, philosophy minor. (AB)

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