Ask a Priest

Do I need to go to confession?

May 29, 2015

Hello Father,

I’m newly baptised into the Catholic faith, and I’m having difficulty determining whether I should go to confession.

Specifically, taking the Lord’s name in vain. I used His name once in an expression of disbelief (ie: Oh my …). I immediately recognized what I had done, but too late to stop myself.

Also, in my pre-Chrisitian life, I was terrible for judging people. People I didn’t know, just because of their appearance or they way the drove. I fear this has become second-nature to me, and thoughts such as these still come into my mind. I immediately recognize these thoughts for what they are, and banish them; reminding myself that I do not know that person, and that I am no different. While I do not entertain such thoughts anymore, I worry that I have unfairly judged someone just by having that thought come into my head.

Finally, I will often forget to thank God before a meal. Sometimes I will remember half-way through, sometimes when I finish, and sometimes not for a long while after. I see in this the sin of selfishness.

Any advice you can give me is greatly appreciated.

Asked at 04:02 am on May 29th 2015

Dear Wayne,

Congratulations and Welcome to the fullness of the Christian Life in the Catholic Church.
It is very inspiring to see people such as yourselves so open to God’s surprise and his gentle invitations to us so that we may have life to the full.

You have asked a very important question.

As you have learnt form your time of preparations that Baptism washes away original sin. This is the sin of Adam and Eve that all their children have inherited. See it like a bad spiritual DNA.
So this is washed away through baptism and you become a new creation. You became holy. You were consecrated and set apart for God. So that means, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus desires to come to your soul regularly in Holy Communion. He comes as the special guest in your soul. If Jesus the Lord loves to visit us in our souls regularly, then it is only fitting that
we maintain a clean place for him in our souls. He knows we are weak. He is the one who makes strong.

So going to confession is a healthy thing to do for our soul. So when Jesus comes to visit you again in Holy Communion you will be filled with more light, deeper joy and more love.

The more we go to confession means that our souls are always ready to receive Jesus. And then with him go to serve others with sincerity, love and joy.

God bless you Wayne. I will remember you in my prayers.

Answered by Fr Epeli Qimaqima

Replied at 10:06 pm on June 21st 2015

Hi Wayne,

Great questions.

The Church gives us guidelines for mortal sins – which must always be confessed to a priest, and venial sins – which should also be confessed, but which will not prevent us from receving the Eucharist. The kinds of offenses you describe would all fall into the category of venial sins. While undeniably offenses against God, there is no accompanying intent to deliberately cut oneself off from God.

I once read that Mother Teresa of Calcutta required her sisters to make a weekly confession to a priest. I’ve heard that other Catholic religious groups have guidelines similar to this for their congregations. The Church encourages us to go to confession at least once a year, and preferably more frequently. There is no hard and fast written rule for frequency. You might want to note on your calendar to try to go to confession at least once a month. The graces that accrue from increased frequency are not to be taken lightly.

Best wishes on your journey of faith!

Replied at 06:16 am on June 29th 2015

Hi Wayne,

the following thoughts passed through my mind as I read your post, and I would like to share them:

In my opinion, it does not matter when you thank God for a meal, but that you do thank Him and that you do it with all your heart.

Just as I think that having thoughts about people is not a sin. It’s a temptation. But temptation is not a sin – giving in to temptation is one. If you have bad thoughts about people, this is a temptation. If you believe these thoughts, it’s a sin. If you recognize them as being wrong and not from God, and you reject them, you have not sinned.

I think it’s good to be aware of those temptations, but if you worry too much about them (about being human, because this is just human), you will get frustrated and exhausted one day.

Look at what the Holy Father said:

“He recalled the confession of a woman several years ago who was tormented by the question of whether or not a wedding she had attended on a Saturday evening counted for Sunday Mass since the readings were different.

When she confessed, Pope Francis recalled that the priest answered her by saying “Madam, the Lord loves you so much. You went to Church and there you received Communion, you were with Jesus…Do not worry, the Lord is not a merchant, the Lord loves us, He is close.”

The pontiff concluded by warning mass attendees not to turn their spiritual life into a “spirituality of law” in which we gain grace through a point system of good works.”

(In case you want to read it, this is the full article:

It’s all about being in relationship with God!

God bless you!

Replied at 09:27 pm on June 30th 2015