(Closed) Is Going to Confession Necessary?

posted 7 years ago in Catholic
  • poll: Is it important to go to confession before the wedding?
    Absolutely! : (31 votes)
    53 %
    Not really : (21 votes)
    36 %
    Necessary? No, but I'm going anyway : (4 votes)
    7 %
    other (plese specify) : (3 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    1 posts
    • Wedding: August 2012

    @nrieder: The Catholic church has never required a donation for a sacrament.

    Jesus does know everything you are sorry for, but confession is still necessary.

    Here’s a little more about confession for those whom may be confused.

    Post # 4
    1310 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    We definitely went before our wedding. It’s a great way to open yourself up to the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage and start your new life together with a clean slate. Catholics have one of the lowest suicide rates of any religion and psychologists speculate it’s because we have experiences like going to confession! Usually when I don’t go it’s because I’m too scared and too proud to confess my sins out loud. Because that really requires fully admitting them to yourself!

    It’s different than just thinking, “I’m sorry.” You have to face them head on, speak them and name them. Getting through that pride and fear is an important part of healing for me.

    To be a Catholic in good standing, you also are required to go at least once a year (most people go at either Christmas or Easter).

    The Church has NEVER charged to go to Confession. I don’t know where this stuff comes from. People are always saying things like this. I wonder who taught you this? Can they show you where in the 1997 Catechism of the Catholic Church this is considered appropriate?

    Or in the Catechism of Trent (the Reformation-era catechism)?

    Or any other Church document? If a priest charges for a sacrament (as opposed to, say, getting a stipend for opening or heating the church) then he has committed simony and he is excommunicated.

    Please consult the Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas. Available online, here, it is the source for most official Catholic teaching and was written in 1274. It is super long (more than 20 volumes). The relevant part is Question 100, Article 2:

    “Accordingly we must answer that to receive money for the spiritual grace of the sacraments, is the sin of simony, which cannot be excused by any custom whatever, since custom does not prevail over natural or divine law. “

    I think you may be getting confused with indulgences, which were also NEVER supposed to be “sold” – it started off being allowed that people could donate to a charity or a good cause as part of the indulgence to show how they wanted to change their ways, but then some scam artists took that and ran with it and tried to make it a “buy your way into heaven” deal. But that was never okay.

    OP I really encourage you to educate yourself on the Church if you are interested! It’s fascinating – there is a lot of awful, hairy stuff (Borgia popes ahem) but it’s crazy to see all the urban legends that people believe about the Church that aren’t true at all. 🙂 A lot of major cities even have Theology on Tap events you can go to at bars where you can drink and hang out and learn theology. I’m so glad they invented those 🙂

    Post # 5
    1668 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    At my church, it’s a requirement that the bride and groom must go to confession before the ceremony. From what I’m told, most couples go right after the rehearsal before leaving for dinner. Going to confession and being “sin free” is the only way to receive the sacramental graces during the ceremony.

    Post # 6
    347 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2010

    @nrieder: You’re confusing Confession with Indulgences.  There were abuses with giving people indulgences for making a donation to say the building fund of a church, but the Church put a stop to that and no longer allows indulgences to be given in any relation to money.  As for confession, penances were much harder in the early days which would lead people to rely more heavily on indulgences which fed into the “selling” of indulgences.  Again this has been corrected. 

    Confession is an integral part to the spiritual journey.  When I was much younger, I went to confession about twice a year.  I confessed pretty much the same sins and never saw any change in myself.  About 12 years ago, I started going to confession weekly.  I knew it was important to go to confession but often I’d forget and I had a bad habit of not being aware when confession was held aside from Lent and Advent.    I now no longer have that habit and tend to keep up with bi-weekly.  Life sometimes gets in the way and sometimes a month can go by but then I know its important.

    What I can say is I have seen my sins change.  I’ve seen myself grow in deeper understanding of what motivates me to commit particular sins.  Confession helps me to dig at the root of the sin in my life and challenges me to humbly confess it rather than merely “God you know I FEEL sorry so that’s good enough.” It also seems to me that this attitude stems from either a lack of acknowledgement over our dire need for as much grace in our lives as we can get, or a complete and just being obvious to the fact that being a Catholic who does not take advantage of all the sacraments of the Church is like being a person who is dying a thirst trying to dig in the dirt for water while there is this huge water fountain behind them.

    Post # 7
    827 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2012

    I was taught that you shouldn’t take communion if you have a mortal sin and that skipping mass on the sabbath is a mortal sin.  So, if I skip mass one weekend, I do not take communion until I confess that.  And since I don’t really like going to confession either, I haven’t taken communion in about 6 months…

    I really need to go to confession.  *sigh*

    Post # 8
    4336 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    @kelly105: You should go! It’s so wonderful! It’s like… you manage to find time to take a shower regularly, so wouldn’t it be even more important to get yourself spiritually clean? (You won’t regret it!) 🙂

    Post # 9
    3220 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: February 2012

    Yes, we will both definitely be going to confession before we are married.

    Post # 10
    39 posts
    • Wedding: November 2010

    @keggy227: Yes they did! They were called indulgences. These were documents that absolved people from their sins. These indulgences were paid for by wealthy people who usually wanted to be absolved from their sins before they died so they could go to heaven. Martin Luther is given credit for starting the Protestant movement which ended in the separation from the Protestants to the Catholic church, so that’s why now there are 2 separate churches that are very similar but not…… 

    Post # 11
    2157 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    Can I just ask this question:
    Where in the bible does it say we have to go to “confession”? (as opposed to just confessing and asking forgiveness in our own personal prayers)

    Post # 13
    220 posts
    Helper bee


    Look at John 20:21-23. When he appeared to the Disciples after his resurrection, Jesus gave them the authority to forgive sin.

    I realize that the idea of confession to a priest seems unnecessary to many, and that you may interpret this verse a different way.  But while Catholics believe in the authority of the Bible, we also believe that Jesus instituted the Church and that Church doctrine is authoritative as well.  As far as the Bible being the ultimate rule book, if everyone interpreted it for himself you would have chaos- there are a lot of sincere Protestant Christians who do the best they can to interpret the Bible, but they disagree about a lot of pretty major things (i.e. predestination, infant baptism, whether women can be pastors).  Catholics have twin pillars of authority- Scripture and Tradition.  Our Tradition believes in sacraments, which can be thought of as an outward sign of an inward grace.  Confession is one of the seven sacraments. 

    Post # 14
    2157 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2012

    @coastalbee88:  I see where you are coming from. I’m actually glad for your explanation, it makes me understand better. 

    In the Bible it mentions many times the act of seeking forgiveness through confessing your sins to God.  I am not giong to say anything against the act of confession to a priest, but I feel that people may start thinking that all they have to do is just go to a priest tell him what they did and do the penance and be good to go on their way without realling being sorry and remorseful for what they did. 

    God is omnipresent, you are able to pray directly to him, and therefore confess and ask forgiveness directly to him, he would not refuse forgiveness because you didn’t go through the correct channels.

    Post # 15
    893 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2013

    @nrieder:  I think it’s necessary.  God is going to bless your wedding, so what’s wrong with spending 30mins. praying to him? 

    Post # 16
    1310 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2011


    The Catholic Church teaches that if you go to Confession without being sorry, then it doesn’t work. Sort of like asking for baptism but the whole time thinking to yourself, “I don’t believe in Jesus, I don’t believe in Jesus.” The external event is a sham without the internal disposition. You definitely can’t go to Confession without being sorry, it doesn’t work that way. In fact you would probably be in worse trouble with God because you lied.

    The Catholic Church also teaches that you do not HAVE to go to a priest be forgiven – if you are truly, perfectly contrite. This means you aren’t just sorry because of the bad things that happened because of your sin, or because it was a bad thing to do, or because you might get punished by God for it. You’re sorry because it was an offense against the love of God.  Most people’s motivations for being sorry are mixed, even devout Christians.

    Personally I believe that at the moment of death there are a lot of people who have true contrition – their impending end makes them notice how Christ has been active in their lives and they feel true sorrow for having sinned against His love. But I think for every day events, this is much less common.

    I really encourage you to research the early Christians (some of whom probably saw Jesus face to face). Confession was definitely a part of the early church, in fact public confession was usually required and the penances were very harsh, for instance if you committed theft you could have a 20 year penance assigned to you.

    All of the ancient churches, not just the Catholic, but the Orthodox, too, have confession. It is only in the last 400 years that some Christians began to believe they didn’t have to do this. Before that for more than a thousand years followers of Christ believed it should be done, dating back to the earliest days!

    If you are really interested in this there is great book called “Lord Have Mercy: the Healing Power of Confession” by Dr. Scott Hahn. Dr. Hahn is a biblical scholar and a former militant anti-Catholic Protestant minister who converted to Catholicism after doing his own research.

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