At a Catholic Church Near You

Every parish or pastoral region in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will be open for Reconciliation and quiet prayer.

Join us … and invite a friend or family member who has been away from the sacrament to come with you.

Has it been a while since you’ve been to Confession? Check out the tips below and remember, the confessional is a judgment-free zone!

Peace Be With You

Dennis Schnurr

The light of the confessional is like a porch light leading us home. It reminds us that the light of Christ shines in the darkness for all of us, whatever our failings and whatever our challenges. On Tuesday, March 19, I invite you to follow that light to this great sacrament of healing, and bring friends and family members with you.

It does not matter if it has been years, or even decades, since your last Confession.

It does not matter if you have been away from the Church for some time.

It does not matter if you have forgotten how to go to Confession.

It does not matter if you have a particularly grave sin to confess.

In fact, if any of these barriers apply in your case, the light is on especially for you. The priest will welcome you, as God welcomes you, and will help you unburden your soul. Please visit your parish, or another parish, on the evening of March 19 and encounter the peace of Christ, the peace that is beyond all understanding.

In Christ,

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr

It’s Been... Decades Since My Last Confession. What do I do?

It’s OK! The Church is here to welcome you back. Take a look at this video from Fr. Mike Schmitz to learn how to make a good confession.

Making a Good Confession

Confession is not difficult, but it does require preparation. We should begin with prayer, placing ourselves in the presence of God, our loving Father. We seek healing and forgiveness through repentance and a resolve to sin no more.

Next, we review our lives since our last confession, searching our thoughts, words and actions for that which did not conform to God’s command to love Him and love one another.

This is called an examination of conscience.

To make an examination of conscience:

  • Begin with a prayer asking for God’s help.
  • Review your life with the help of some questions, which are based on the 10 Commandments.
  • Tell God how truly sorry you are for your sins.
  • Make a firm resolution not to sin again.

Examination of Conscience for Married Adults

Have I gone to Mass every Sunday? Have I participated at Mass or have I day dreamed or been present with a blank mind?

Have I prayed every day (15-20 minutes)?

Have I read the Bible? Have I studied the truths of our faith and allowed them to become more part of the way I think and act? Have I read any spiritual books or religious literature?

Have I told God that I want to love him with my whole heart, mind and strength? Do I hold any resentments toward God?

Have I recognized my need for Jesus and his salvation? Have I asked the Holy Spirit to empower me to live the Christian life, to be a proper husband/wife and parent?

Have I been financially generous to the Church? Have I participated in parish or religious activities?

Have I held resentments toward the Church or Church authorities? Have I forgiven them?

Have I cared for my spouse? Have I been generous with my time? Have I been affectionate and loving? Have I told my spouse that I love him or her?

Have I been concerned about the spiritual well-being of my spouse?

Have I listened to my spouse? Have I paid attention to his other concerns, worries, and problems? Have I sought these out?

Have I allowed resentments and bitterness toward my spouse to take root in my mind? Have I nurtured these? Have I forgiven my spouse for the wrongs he or she has committed against me?

Have I allowed misunderstanding, miscommunication or accidents to cause anger and mistrust? Have I nurtured critical and negative thoughts about my spouse?

Have I manipulated my spouse in order to get my own way?

Have I tried to bully or overpower my spouse?

Have I spoken sharply or sarcastically to my spouse? Have I spoken in a demeaning or negative way? Have I injured my spouse through taunting and negative teasing? Have I called my spouse harsh names or used language that is not respectful?

Have I physically abused my spouse?

Have I gossiped about my spouse?

Have I undermined the authority and dignity of my spouse through disrespect and rebelliousness?

Have I been moody and sullen?

Have I bickered with my spouse out of stubbornness and selfishness?

Have I lied or been deceitful to my spouse?

Have I misused sexuality? Have I used sexual relations solely for my own selfish pleasure? Have I been too demanding in my desire for sexual fulfillment? Have I been loving and physically affectionate in my sexual relations or have I used sexual relations in a way that would be demeaning or disrespectful to my spouse? Have I refused sexual relations out of laziness, revenge or manipulation?

Have I refused to conceive children out of selfishness or material greed? Have I used artificial means of contraception?

Have I had an abortion or encouraged others to have one?

Have I masturbated?

Have I flirted or fostered improper relationships with someone else, either in my mind or through words and actions?

Have I used pornography: books, magazines or movies?

Have I committed adultery?

Have I misused alcohol or drugs?

Have I been financially responsible?

Have I cared for the spiritual needs of my children? Have I been a shepherd and guardian as God has appointed me? Have I tried to foster a Christian family where Jesus is Lord? Have I taught my children the Gospel and the commandments of God?

Have I prayed with them?

Have I been persistent and courageous in my training and teaching? Have I disciplined them when necessary? Have I been lazy and apathetic?

Have I talked with them to find out their problems, concerns and fears?

Have I been affectionate toward them? Have I hugged them and told them that I love them? Have I played or recreated with them?

Have I been impatient and frustrated with them? Have I corrected them out of love in order to teach them what is right and good? Have I treated them with respect? Have I spoken to them in a sarcastic or demeaning way?

Have I held resentments against them? Have I forgiven them?

Have I been of one heart and mind with my spouse in the upbringing of the children? Or have I allowed disagreements and dissension to disrupt the training, educating and disciplining of our children?

Have I undermined the role of authority in the eyes of my children by speaking negatively against God, the Church, my spouse or others who hold legitimate authority over them?

Have I been a good Christian witness to my children in what I say and do? Or do I demand one standard for them and another for myself?

Have I been properly generous with my children regarding money and physical and material well-being? Have I been miserly? Have I been extravagant, thus spoiling them?

Have I been a Christian witness to those with whom I work or associate? Have I spoken to anyone about the Gospel and how important it is to believe in Jesus?

Have I held resentments and anger against those with whom I work, relatives or friends? Have I forgiven them?

Have I been unethical in my business dealings? Have I stolen or lied?

Have I allowed the Gospel to influence my political and social opinions?

Have I had a proper Christian concern for the poor and needy?

Have I paid my taxes?

Have I fostered or nurtured hatred toward my “political” enemies, either local, national or international?

Have I been prejudiced toward others because of race, color, religion or social status?

[Source: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/sacrament-Reconciliation-married-persons-examination-of-conscience.cfm]

Examination of Conscience for Single Adults

Have I gone to Mass every Sunday? Have I participated at Mass or have I daydreamed or been present with a blank mind?

Have I prayed every day (15-20 minutes)?

Have I read the Bible? Have I studied the truths of our faith and allowed them to become more a part of the way I think and act? Have I read any spiritual books or religious literature?

Have I told God that I want to love him with my whole heart, mind and strength? Do I hold any resentments toward God?

Have I recognized my need for Jesus and his salvation? Have I asked the Holy Spirit to empower me to live the Christian life?

Have I been financially generous to the Church? Have I participated in parish or religious activities?

Have I held resentments toward the Church or Church authorities? Have I forgiven them?

Have I been rebellious, disobedient or disrespectful to anyone in authority?

Have I lied to or deceived others—friends, boss, or coworkers?

Have I been arrogant and stubborn?

Have I gotten angry or nurtured and held grudges and resentments?

Have I refused to forgive others—parents,relatives, employers, former friend, a former spouse? Have I cultivated hatred?

Have I felt sorry for myself or nurtured self-pity?

Have I engaged in sexual fantasies? Have I looked at others lustfully?

Have I read pornographic literature or looked at pornographic pictures, shows or movies?

Have I masturbated?

Have I lustfully kissed or sexually touched someone? Have I had sexual intercourse?

Have I had an abortion or encouraged another to have one?

Have I gossiped about others? Have I slandered anyone? HaveI told lies about others? Have I mocked or made fun of others?

Have I been a Christian witness to those with whom I work or associate? Have I spoken to anyone about the Gospel and how important it is to believe in Jesus?

Have I allowed the Gospel to influence my political and social opinions?

Have I had a proper Christian concern for the poor and needy?

Have I paid my taxes?

Have I fostered or nurtured hatred toward my ‘political’ opponents, either local, national or international?

Have I been prejudiced toward others because of race, color, religion or social status?

[Source: Fr. Thomas Weinandy http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examination-of-conscience-for-single-people.cfm]

Examination of Conscience for Children

Have I wanted more things, making things or money more important than God? Have I made an idol of sports or entertainment figures?

Do I use God’s name carelessly? Do I use God’s name in anger?

Did I attend Mass on Sunday? Did my behavior make it difficult or impossible for my parents to get to church on time? Have I remembered to pray daily?

Do I obey my parents? Have I done my chores without complaining? Do I do my chores without being reminded? Have I been disrespectful to teachers, coaches or others in authority?

Do I keep my patience or do I lose my temper? Do I hold grudges and try to get even with others? Have I been unfair to others, especially those who are different than I am?

Do I show respect for my body? Do I respect the bodies of others? Do I avoid harmful things like drugs, tobacco and alcohol?

Have I taken something that belongs to someone else? Have I “forgotten” to return something that I borrowed? Have I used money responsibly?

Do I play fairly or do I ever cheat at school or games? Have I been honest or have I lied? Have I hurt someone by what I have said or done? Have I copied someone else’s homework?

Have I been jealous of the friends that someone else has? Have I tried to be kind to others?

Have I been jealous of the things that my friends have? Have I nagged my parents into buying things because my friends have them? Have I helped others when they needed help?

[http://www.johnpaul2center.org/JohnPaulIICenter/LayFormation/AdultFormation/SeasonofMercyFaithFormationRes/10Commandments_Child_EC.cfm]

Confession FAQs

I haven’t been to Confession in years. Am I allowed to go?

Yes! In fact, Encounter the Peace of Christ is an opportunity to welcome Catholics who have been away from the Church for some time.

Do I need to sit across from the priest or can I use a Confession booth?

Many parishes offer both options for your convenience.

Will the priest judge me or tell others about my Confession?

Absolutely not!

Priests are sworn to keep confessed sins secret. And, a confessional is a judgment-free zone - always.

What about the rest of the year? How do I find Confession times?

The Light is On for You is a particular Lenten initiative, but parishes offer Confession regularly throughout the year and you are encouraged to go monthly.

I’m divorced. May I receive the sacrament?

If you are civilly divorced and have not remarried or were validly married after receiving a declaration of nullity for your prior marriage, you may participate in the Sacrament. If you have remarried outside of the Church or have questions about your situation, we encourage you to speak with your parish priest.

Another excellent resource is a brochure published by Our Sunday Visitor, called “What the Church Teaches: Annulments” available in the literature racks of many churches.

I have some really bad sins. Can I be forgiven?

No sin is bigger than God’s mercy! And you’re not going to tell the priest anything he hasn’t already heard.

Which is it: Confession, Penance or Reconciliation?

Any of these is fine. The Rite itself uses the words Penance and Reconciliation.

Can I receive Communion without going to Confession?

When you receive the Eucharist you affirm that you are in a state of grace, reconciled with God and the Church. Since the Sacrament of Confession provides that Reconciliation, if you are in a state of mortal sin you must abstain from receiving the Eucharist until you go to Confession. A mortal sin consists of a serious action through which a person turns away from God’s law and charity, fully understands it is wrong and chooses to commit it freely.

If you have committed venial sins, you may still receive the Eucharist at Mass. Venial sins are sins which wound our relationship with God, but consist of less serious matters than mortal sins or are performed without full knowledge or consent. Penitents are encouraged to confess venial sins regularly, however, since the repetition of these sins often lead to more serious sin.

The Four Elements of Forgiveness:

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Confession) is the sacrament through which the love and mercy of Jesus Christ is offered to us.

In this sacrament, we confess our sins, express our sorrow in a meaningful way, receive the forgiveness of Christ, make amends for what we have done, and resolve to do better in the future.

Contrition: A sincere sorrow for having sinned against God and others. It is an essential element of the sacrament since there can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our past wrongs.

Confession: Confronting our sins in a profound way by speaking about them – aloud – to the priest. This is 'Confession' in a profound sense – acknowledging the holiness of God and of his mercy toward us when we sin.

Penance: An important part of our conversion and healing is changing our lives. The priest asks us to make amends for our sins through prayer and action.

Absolution: After asking for forgiveness, the priest frees us of our sins by saying: “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”