Reader Feedback about going to confession

From a reader:

Dear Fr Z

Until today, I had not been to confession (and therefore not taken Communion) this calendar year. My spiritual life was decaying and I was “lapsing”, having lost trust and hope in the saving grace of the Lord.

The severity and frequency of your posts on the importance of a good confession led me to unconsciously change direction in Church this evening, finding myself at the door of the confessional. Mass was emotional and sustaining; and my faith restored.

Your phrase “just GO” will stick in my mind for years.

Be assured of my continued prayers for you, and many thanks.

Thanks for that. If I am sometimes “severe” in my language about the results of NOT going to confession, I am so because the main reasons why I was ordained was to save my own soul and help as many people get to heaven as possible. Sometimes the quiet and gentle needs to be strengthened by the hard facts of the Four Last Things.

Ponder the Four Last Things a little every single day.

I find that Mystic Monk Coffee helps.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Gregg the Obscure says:

    One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to get to confession at least once in each calendar month. So far I’ve done so. It’s been very helpful. I’m a bigger sinner than most (both in gross tonnage and in my bad habits), so you may not need to go quite as often.

  2. Clinton R. says:

    Father Zuhlsdorf, please continue to urge us to go to Confession. I went this past Saturday, and I feel so blessed that the Lord has forgiven my sins. So please everyone, remember to go to Confession, no matter the sin or how long it’s been. God is there in the confessional and He wants to give you absolution and grace and His love. Deo Gratis! +JMJ+

  3. Ralph says:

    This weekend I watched “Going My Way”. In one scene, the old pastor is returned home in the rain by the nieghborhood cop. The policeman says, “Just go in, say you have been a bad boy and your sorry.” The old priest turned to him and replied, “You come to church this sunday and tell him you haven’t been to mass in 10 years and that your sorry!”

    I had to chuckle. It really is that simple. Swallow your pride, tell God you are sorry and move on. What a beautiful system devised by our Lord!

  4. acardnal says:

    I think of the Four Last Things pretty much daily – especially death. I could be involved in an auto accident today – just think of what happened to Fr. Trigillio recently. Or I could drop dead from a stroke or heart attack or cerebral hemorrhage or aortic embolism. You get the idea. I pray my soul is in state of grace. One never knows when the end may come. Go to Confession.

  5. pvmkmyer says:

    I went to confession for the first time in 3 years a month ago during an Ignatian retreat, and felt the world lifted off my shoulders. I am resolved to confess at least monthly from now on. A point driven home during the retreat was that some of our greatest saints were also great sinners — Mary Magdalene and St. Augustine being the most prominently mentioned. It gave me the strength to confess, and I am so glad I did.

  6. Please keep pushing confession, and the stark reality of the Four Last Things. If the way people behave and the things they say are any indication, I am very much afraid that a substantial percentage are not in the state of grace, and neither realize it nor care. Death comes to us all, and does come suddenly. When that happens, there will be no time at all to say you’re sorry. None whatsoever. We have to prepare for that last moment now.

  7. Mary Jane says:

    I try to go every two weeks, so I can take advantage of the octaves on either end of the confession and gaining as many Plenary indulgences as possible.

    Sometimes I can’t make it every two weeks, however…I get there an hour before Mass, but occasionally the line is already too long – and I have to rehearse the Propers before hand, so my “line time” is limited.

    Keep up the reminders, Fr Z! They do much good, probably more than you know.

  8. acardnal says:

    Every two weeks is the way to go, Mary Jane. Plenary indulgences are needed for the Poor Souls.

  9. xsosdid says:

    We had a a discussion group at my parish about priestly sexual abuse and a woman gave a talk. She is a counselor who has worked with both abused and abusers and it was quite fascinating. One of the things she spoke about that really struck me was that abusers live a peculiar cycle, with shame and rationalization and dishonesty playing large roles. She claimed that the most progress was made with abusers when they were able to verbally own and articulate the harm they had done. Acknowledging the consequences of actions honestly to another person was key, and this woman was not speaking at all in religious terms. It just reinforced for me why confession – and absolution – are so healing for us. It seems that the secular world is working toward validating Catholic teaching without being aware of it.

  10. Hidden One says:

    Only going once a month!?! How/why do you all do that? I don’t see waiting so long as being worth the effort of waiting unless you absolutely have to.

    If I go out of my way, Confession’s available 6-7 days a week here so I go once a week or so most of the time and if I don’t, I *know* it’s been too long usually by about ten days. If you can, go much more often than once a month! It’s your soul, after all. More frequent Confession will be very good for your soul. I’ve had a few friends who’ve shifted into the practise of going between twice a month and once a week and once they’d done that for a bit they all decided they never wanted to go back to once a month (or less). It’s very different to go in after a week or two than to go in after a month or more. (I’ve done that too. Deo volente, never again!)

    Do you get a pay cheque every two weeks? Celebrate by going to Confession. Or find something else to tie it to. Or just go. Often.

    Postscript: I get weirded out when people conflate “going to Confession often” with “going several times a year”. Several times a month, sure.

  11. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Hidden One —

    Most people don’t have your opportunities. In my parish, Friday pre-noon Confession is often canceled because there’s a funeral Mass at noon, and Saturday afternoon Confession is only for a half-hour with a big line, and is also often canceled. All the other Confession times in parishes nearby are at the same times, so if you miss one you miss all. Certainly nobody without grave need and no shame or need for secrecy is going to make a Confession appointment through the parish secretary — and she’s only available to make appointments at certain weekday hours.

    So be happy that you have it the way it should be; but pray for those of us who don’t have hardly any opportunities, even during Lent.

  12. pm125 says:

    This is feedback about Confession times – the limited amount and lost opportunities. Missed again today and I was early. There are elderly with manuevering problems, too many lined to fit in into the time slot, people plunked in pews closest to the Confessional watching (wish there were reserved signs until 3:45 to keep a comfort zone of tranquility); people setting up walking to and fro chitting and chatting, … and the clock tick, tick, clak, clak; and the heart surging into more reason for the need to be there; and when the moment comes – the Priest has to go to Mass.

    Short time slots. In line, I dream of an unused Chapel open for Confessions (one per Diocese) afternoons and evenings where a wait for one by one will bring a chance to go through the curtain. Appointments are not tranquil due to heavy amount of office interfacing etc.

    I truly love the Confiteor at daily Mass.

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