POLL: Starting your confession: “Bless me, Father…” or “Forgive me, Father…”

In another post, I responded to a question from a reader about blessings at the beginning of sacramental confession, following the words, “Bless me, Father, I have sinned…”.

Of course, some people begin their confession differently.

It occurred to me to find out what you readers say?

Let’s have a POLL (now that my poll plugin is working!  THANKS JL – and pppfffft to BY!)

Anyone can vote.  You must be registered and approved to post a comment.

Pick your best answer.

When I begin my confession, I usually say:

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And remember to examine your consciences and…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. carl b says:

    I begin by invoking the Trinity.

  2. Imrahil says:

    As already said, “something else”, to wit my age, state in life though not name, and the time of my last Confession; and then something along “I confess that I have sinned”; with the prayer for forgiveness at the end.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    I voted “something else”, as it always depends on the confessor. Oftentimes, they follow the Ordinary Form and begin by saying: “In the name of the Father, and…”. If I am met with silence on the other side of the grill upon entering the box (room, whatever), then I begin with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…”

  4. Josephus Corvus says:

    While today I use the “Bless me Father…” (with no pause), I seem to remember back when I had my First Confession and the parish had papers for everybody with all the prayers, I would start with the Sign of the Cross. Father would then say something like “May the Lord help you to confess your sins with true sorrow”. Then I would say my last Confession and sins.

  5. iamlucky13 says:

    I start with, “Hi John, that was a funny homily you gave last week. Did you see the game after Mass? Yeah, it was a close one, wasn’t it? Anyways, I have a lot on my mind I want to chat about…”

    Just kidding. I learned (years after the rather cursory instructions we were given in the 80’s), and continue to use, “Bless me father, for I have sinned, it has been…I have been guilty of…”

  6. Prayerful says:

    ‘Bless me Father for I have sinned, it is a week since my last Confession, since then I’ve…’

    I used to follow the Bless me Father for I have sinned with Confiteor as far as ‘through my fault, through my most grievous fault,’ but some priests don’t like that (the parish priest who sings a very fine High Mass seems to be positively irritated by it), even though my mother’s ‘Roman Missal’ of 1960 (De Profundis no longer to be said after Mass as of that year but St Joseph not yet added to the Communicantes portion of the Canon) suggests it as part of some guidance and prayers for Confessions. I keep trimmings to private prayer after. I suppose Confession is hard enough for a priest.

  7. Sr. Christine says:

    I remember using “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” until our pastor said it didn’t make sense, as if we were asking to be rewarded for sinning(!) Probably on his recommendation, (I really don’t remember …) I’ve been saying “Bless me, Father, for a good confession.” I think it’s reasonable to ask for a blessing for the grace to confess well. “Forgive me, Father …” is really the point of being there in the first place. It’s the Act of Contrition I stumble on — As a child, I learned a child’s version of the Roman Catholic A of C, … and then that same pastor suggested that we shouldn’t be confessing just because ‘of Thy just punishments’, but purely for having offended God, out of love. So that line got dropped. Then, I got acquainted with the A of C of my own Byzantine tradition, which we say as part of our prayer before receiving the Eucharist — and outside of THAT context, I have to really think about how it goes(!) So I might revert to the childhood version of the RCAofC. But then I think I should be doing a fuller version of that… And I confess (pardon the pun), I’ve seen some really poor grammatical takes of that, e.g. in the well-known Pieta booklets. (I love that little book, otherwise.) I was relieved to find a confessor that actually has a card with a good version of it in his confessional. I did have one confessor suggest we begin with Psalm 50/51, and then later, when I used one of the above, he seemed surprised – as if Psalm 50/51 was intended as his suggestion for an A of C. (A nice choice, I thought, afterwards…) My sister, who’s with a biritual congregation, uses a rather long prayer from the Chaplet of the Sacred Heart. Her confessor said what’s important is that we actually speak our remorse and intention to change. (Pardon the long-windedness.)

  8. Sieber says:

    Back in the day……….I recall beginning the formula with, Bless me Father….& hearing a simultaneous….Benedictio….from the other side of the screen.

  9. beelady says:

    I attempted to go to Reconciliation tonight but left when I saw 15 people already in line 10 minutes before it started. Father only had 45 mins (before Mass) allocated to hear everyone. This situation is very frustrating, I sometimes have to try several times just to get my Confession heard.
    I begin with, “Bless me Father……”. I was under the impression that receiving the Sacrament and being forgiven was the blessing I was requesting. Is that incorrect?

  10. youngcatholicgirl says:

    I start with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…” (Always have, probably always will.) My usual confessor begins first with the Sign of the Cross; when I go to a priest to whom I have never confessed before, I’ll wait for him to say something. One time, what I got after a few moments of silence was, “Go ahead.” ;)

  11. grateful says:

    a suggestion: if when clicking on the “Go to confession” it sent you to an examination of conscience, a choice of a long or short form. Thank You, ps I went tonight- no waiting.

  12. Antonin says:

    The formula I was taught as a young boy many many years ago was “Father forgive me for I have sinned……” that was pretty much the standard when I grew up – maybe it was a local order thing….we had the OMI’s

  13. Fr. Kelly says:

    From the confessor’s side:
    I always greet the penitent with the Sign of the Cross. Usually the penitent then begins.
    If not, and he/she seems to need more of a prompt, I ask how long it has been since the last confession…
    Beyond this, There is nothing more I could say about what goes on in the confessional. [Right. It doesn’t have to be complicated.]

  14. JesusFreak84 says:

    Honestly, it’s probably 60/40 between “Bless me” and “forgive me.” Thanks to Aspergers, sometimes when speaking aloud I struggle to find a word so if my brain can grab “bless” but can’t seem to find “forgive,” (or visa-versa,) I kind of have to go with what comes out.

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