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10 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (2)

Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him

Vatican City, Sep 10, 2014 / 04:53 am .- A man paralyzed from the neck down made his way to Pope Francis' general audience, saying he took the massively risky m…

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23 Dec 2015 News Vatican No comments

Pope Francis addresses Vatican Employees on family care issues

  Pope Francis welcomed the employees of the Vatican and the Vatican City State on Monday at the Paul VI hall, to exchange Christmas greetings with them…

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03 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (7)

Is my friend's ability to see the past and future sinful?

Full Question A Catholic friend sometimes has psychic flashes of the past, the future, and of people's souls. This person did not seek this ability and has…

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05 Dec 2014 Q&A Comments (7)

Where is the scriptural justification that says I should honor Mary or treat her different from any other woman?

Full Question As an Evangelical, I believe in measuring things against the Bible. Where is the scriptural justification that says I should honor Mary or tr…

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03 Nov 2015 Articles Comments (1)

The 5 Papal Resignations in Catholic History

1. Benedict XVI: Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope on 19th April 2005 as Pope Benedict XVI. He announced his resignation from the Papacy in 11 February 2013 sta…

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01 Sep 2016 Americas Europe News USA Vatican No comments

Pope Francis proposes new work of mercy: care for our common home

Holy Father makes proposal in message on World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation Pope Francis is proposing adding care for the environment to the traditio…

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04 Sep 2015 Europe News No comments

Retired bishop assaulted by passenger on a train in Ireland

Bishop Emeritus of Kerry said to be very shaken by the incident Bishop Emeritus Bill Murphy of Kerry was punched in the face last month by a drunken passenge…

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21 Oct 2016 News No comments

Bishop Cantu: Congo’s bishops working hard to steer nation to peace

Politicians in the country have agreed to move a planned election to April 2018 As the most respected institution in Congo, the Catholic bishops’ conference is…

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11 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

Art for Goodness’ Sake

The Virgin of Humility (1435-1445) by Fra Angelico (Bl. Giovanni da Fiesole). Located in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain. How many famous artis…

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How often should I go to confession?

I’m so sorry that your recent experience with the sacrament of Reconciliation has been so upsetting for you. You are doing just fine with the way you’ve been going about it all your life, and I see no need to change a thing.

You asked the question in the context of what was, when you were growing up, called the “Easter duty.” That referred to the reception of Communion during the Easter season. Your duty is to love God and your neighbor. It’s a privilege, not a duty, to receive your Lord in the Eucharist. That sacrament is, of course, a direct, personal encounter with the risen Christ. And so is Reconciliation, by which you should experience pardon and peace, not agitation and anxiety.

You obviously are thinking of “confession before Communion,” and you are thinking (correctly) of the Easter season as extending through Pentecost. It is not a mortal sin not to go to confession during the Easter season. Not to go to confession hardly could be sinful at any time. The purpose of confession is to unburden yourself of moral guilt and free yourself from sin. If you are not thus burdened, be grateful, not anxious.

If you have no serious sins to confess, you have no obligation to go to confession. But it is helpful to participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation with reasonable frequency, and this may be what your priest was trying to point out. These are sometimes called “devotional confessions.” Even though you may have no serious sin to confess, you always can benefit from the grace of the sacrament (by which you directly encounter the merciful, forgiving Christ). And you can receive that grace by expressing sorrow for past sins as well as your present sinfulness. By present sinfulness, I mean the inclination toward sin that all of us have — the tendency to be judgmental or unforgiving of others, the ease with which we yield to impatience, the pride that seems always to be with us, our failure at times to help those in need, our lack of faith in God’s love for us, and especially our lack of faith in God’s loving forgiveness.

You are a very good person, and the Lord loves you beyond your ability even to imagine. Try now to think of confession as a sacrament of pardon and peace. It is quite literally a sacrament of reconciliation. And it always presents you with an opportunity to express your thanks to God — something, by the way, that you can never do too often. Although I know you only through the words of your question, I’d say that you have a great deal to be thankful for, particularly for the gift of faith. So hear Jesus say to you, as He said to the woman in Matthew 9:22, “Courage, daughter, your faith has saved you;” or, as He said to another woman in Luke 7:50, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”



  1. Renee Reply

    Why should I go to confession, when my sins are forgiven every time I go to Mass, as long as they are not mortal sins? Or actually how do I explain this to my father? I love to go to confession. I feel so much better after I go and also feel stronger to resist the evil in my life.

    1. Catholic Say Staff Reply

      You do not need to go to confession for venial sins. Prayers especially the Mass and Holy Communion removes them. However you are strongly encouraged by the Church to confess them anyway since this will help you in preventing even worse sins. The grace granted by God in the sacrament of Penance is really helpful in fighting mortal sins and frequenting the confessional is really helpful.

      God bless

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