“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” –Matthew 16:19

how to make a good confession


What Is Confession?

Confession is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in His love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God. At the same time, sinners reconcile with the Church, because it also is wounded by our sins. We know this sacrament by various names: the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, or Reconciliation.

Many Catholics avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation simply because we don't remember how to confess our sins. We simply don't know what to say, and are too embarrassed to ask.

The pamphlet, How to Make a Good Confession, gives you those words, describing the actions and responses for each step of the sacrament. It's a practical guide to a thorough examination of conscience, asking a series of commandment-based real-world questions. Even those familiar with the steps of the sacrament will benefit from a more thoughtful confession.

Equally as important, How to Make a Good Confession will inspire you to seek reconciliation by reminding you of the great grace and peace we can receive when we ask for God’s endless mercy.

We've put together a list of additional resources to help your on your faith journey to a full appreciation of this vital sacrament.

Additional Resources

Excerpt from What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism, by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris D. Stubna.

Act of Contrition

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, Nos. 1420-1498, 1846-1869.

Pope John Paul II, Misericordia dei (“Mercy of God”), apostolic letter, April 7, 2002. (Takes you to the Vatican web site.)

Pope John Paul II, Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Penance, apostolic exhortation, 1984. (Takes you to the Vatican web site.)

Pope John Paul II, Rediscovering the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Holy Thursday letter, March 25, 2001. (Takes you to the Vatican web site.)

Excerpt from How To Talk With Your Children About Reconciliation by Charles Savitskas and Margaret Savitskas.

Excerpt from Encyclopedia of Catholic Doctrine edited by Russell Shaw.

Excerpt from The Teaching of Christ by Bishop Donald W. Wuerl; Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap.; and Thomas Comerford Lawler.

Links to other Catholic sites

Request a free, individual copy of How to Make a Good Confession by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Confession, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750. 

Order here