In the past two lessons of the Baltimore Catechism No. 2, we examined the Sacrament of Penance and its essential component, contrition. In this lesson and the next, we turn to the act of Confession itself.
The central action in the Sacrament of Penance is the confession of our sins to a priest, humbly, sincerely, and in their entirety, in number and in kind. Having done so, we receive absolution and a penance to perform for the remittance of temporal punishment.
The questions are numbered consecutively with Lesson Eighteenth. For more information and links to other resources, click on each question below.
A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.
A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.
A. The chief qualities of a good Confession are three: it must be humble, sincere, and entire.
A. Our Confession is humble, when we accuse our selves of our sins, with a deep sense of shame and sorrow for having offended God.
A. Our Confession is sincere, when we tell our sins honestly and truthfully, neither exaggerating nor excusing them.
A. Our Confession is entire, when we tell the number and kinds of our sins and the circumstances which change their nature.
A. If we cannot remember the number of our sins, we should tell the number as nearly as possible, and say how often we may have sinned in a day, a week, or a month, and how long the habit or practice has lasted.
A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.
A. It is a grievous offense wilfully to conceal a mortal sin in Confession, because we thereby tell a lie to the Holy Ghost, and make our Confession worthless.
A. He who has wilfully concealed a mortal sin in Confession must not only confess it, but must also repeat all the sins he has committed since his last worthy Confession.