Most Common Problems I See in Confession (and how to fix!)

Most Common Problems I See in Confession (and how to fix!)

Learn the importance of making a good Confession and how to improve your Confessions.

Most Common Problems I See in Confession (and how to fix!)

Fr. Casey Cole OFM

It is evident in this video that Fr. Casey Cole has a great love for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. One of his disappointments is that some who come to to Confession have not been given proper formation in how to make a good Confession.

Because the confessional is not always conducive for instruction on "How to make a proper Confession", Fr. Casey has created Tik Tok videos featuring seven different common ways people can misuse the sacrament.

The videos are exaggerated scenarios where Fr. Casey plays the priest hearing Confession and the penitent individual. What is most clearly expressed in this video is Fr. Casey's deep love and respect for those coming to Confession and his hope that all who come to the sacrament can experience God's amazing love for them.

Key Takeaways

  • Fr. Casey desires to "teach" and "form" individuals in the proper use of the Sacrament of Confession

Some ways people do not use the sacrament properly:

  • List - Individuals can come to Confession with a long list of sins without much evidence of contrition for any of them.
  • Burying the Lede - There are some who hurriedly squeeze a serious sin between two venial sins without giving an indication that there's a difference between the two.
  • Confessing everything as mortal - Not all sins are serious. It is important to know the difference between the two.
  • Scrupulosity - The frequent, habitual use of Confession is usually an indication of a mental health issue. The CCC #1393 and 1394 show how our sins are expiated through our reception of the Eucharist at mass. This may not be enough for those who suffer from obsessive, compulsive disorder, but it may give some comfort to them.
  • Vagueness - Confessing that you have broken commandments 1, 5 and 8 is not enough information for the priest to understand what you are struggling with.
  • Naming other's sins - Confession is about your relationship with God. It is not meant to be a time to discuss the faults of others.
  • The Rambler - Confession is not the time to discuss theological questions or sorting out how you feel about things. It is always about confessing the ways in which you've failed to love God.
  • Welcome Home - It it clearly shown how much having someone return to the Sacrament of Confession means to Fr. Casey in this last short Tik Tok video. True contrition is a joy to see.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Did any of the videos make you think of the way you go to Confession?
  2. Were you convicted by any of the videos?
  3. Will viewing these videos help you think about how you approach the sacrament the next time you go?
  4. Can you sense how Fr. Casey feels about the Sacrament of Confession?

Other Resources

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Why Confess Your Sins to a Priest (Part 2) | Made for Glory

Fr. Michael Nixon continues discussing why going to Confession is helpful.
Fr. Michael Nixon

In Fr. Nixon's first video on Confession, he explains where the authority of the sacrament originated. Jesus has the power to forgive sins and He passes this ability on to His priests. In this video he examines some particulars of the sacrament.

A priest may never break the seal of Confession. He is forbidden to discuss any particulars of what he has been told by the penitent. He assures us that priests do not remember the sins they have been told. After hearing many Confessions, a priest will not be scandalized by our sins.

In Confession we name what we have done. Declaring it out loud is in an important step in the healing process. The wound has been opened and can now be cured.

Key Takeaways

  • Your sins are not that interesting.
  • The priest rejoices with those who are coming to the sacrament.
  • We are good at deceiving ourselves, that's why it's important to confess our sins.
  • When we claim our sins, God can bring His grace, His mercy and His healing to our soul.
  • When we hide our sins they fester.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Have you ever been healed of a sin you were afraid to confess and felt the relief afterwards?
  2. Did you realize how serious the seal of Confession is for a priest?
  3. Are there things in your life you blame others for, but you know they are a result of your own failings?

Examination of Conscience Using the Beatitudes

Clumsy Theosis

Looking for a different way to examine your conscience? Using the Beatitudes is a wonderful tool to see how we are not living up to the Lord's standards. "Am I gentle with others or am I harsh?" "Do I truly yearn for God's Will to be done, in my life and in all things?" " Do I love purity and honesty?" These probing questions and more are in this beautiful examination.


Going to Confession for the First Time in a Long Time

Fr. Mike Schmitz gives encouraging advice to those who have been away from the Sacrament of Confession.
Fr. Mike Schmitz
Ascension Presents

Fr. Mike Schmitz always presents an uplifting, approachable explanation about particulars of the Faith. In this video he gives great advice to those who, for one reason or other, have not gone to Confession for a while.

How do you remember the sins you've committed ten years ago? By using an examination of conscience, you can see where you have failed to love God. Where and how did you say "no" to Him over the course of the time you've been away?

Sin breaks our relationship with God. Confession is the opportunity to restore that bond. Just as you would say you're sorry to someone you've injured, telling God you are sorry for offending Him repairs the damage you have incurred.

Key Takeaways

  • The Holy Spirit convicts us of what we have done wrong if we give Him the time and space to listen to His voice.
  • A good Examination of Conscience is a necessary tool to determine how we have missed the mark of loving God as we should.
  • If you unintentionally forget to mention a mortal sin in Confession, that sin is forgiven, but you should mention it the next time you go to Confession.
  • Confession is always about restoring our relationship with God. We should try to remove every impediment which stands in the way of loving Him.
  • Fr. Schmitz has co-authored a book "Pocket Guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation"

Questions for Reflection

  1. Is there something that is keeping you from Confession?
  2. Are you willing to prepare yourself properly to receive the sacrament ?
  3. Does examining your conscience seem overwhelming, scary, intimidating, or painful?

Mortal vs. Venial Sin

In this video Fr. Mike Schmitz discusses the difference between venial sin and mortal sin.
Fr. Mike Schmitz
Ascension Presents

Fr. Mike opens with the scripture passage from 1 John 5: 16-17. "There is such a thing as deadly sin", writes John.

There are 3 stipulations for a sin to be mortal:

  1. The offense must be serious
  2. You must know it's serious
  3. You must give full consent to committing the offense

All sin is wrongdoing and an offense against God. Venial sins harm our relationship with God, but mortal sin breaks our communion with Him. This is true in all relationships. Some offenses will weaken our friendship, but some will cause irreparable damage. We should strive to not offend anyone we're in a relationship with, particularly our Lord.

The wonderful gift is that grace is always available to us. God desires to restore our relationship with Him. No one is beyond the reach of God's grace. It's time to be forgiven.

Key Takeaways

There is a difference between mortal and venial sin.

  • There is a difference between venial and mortal sin.
  • Mortal sin is a grave action, committed in full knowledge of its gravity and with full consent.
  • Venial sin weakens us to the point where it makes committing a mortal sin easier.
  • Confession is the Sacrament of Mercy.
  • Sin is a wound in our relationship with God and others.
  • Grace is always available to us

Questions for Reflection

  1. Are you sensitive to the difference between a mortal and venial sin and realize when you have committed one or the other?
  2. Do you try to avoid venial sins and confess them regularly to avoid falling into more serious sin?
  3. Do you think it's important to examine yourself daily to see a pattern of behaviors which may be sinful or ways where you have failed to love God and others?

Novena to Our Lady of Bannuex, the Virgin of the Poor


We ask Mary's special intercession for all who pray with the apostolate and for all of those for whom we pray. We ask her guidance under the name of Mary, Our Lady of the Poor.

In 1933 in the hamlet of Banneux Belgium, Mary appeared to a young girl named Mariette Beco. In the apparition Mary was made known as "Our Lady of the Poor". She told Mariette that , "I come to relieve suffering. Believe in me and I will believe in you." In one of the visions Mary led Mariette to a spring. She was told that the water was for healing and "for all nations." The spring was instantly a place of healings and miracles and still draws crowds of pilgrims. Mary expressed her love for all and asked that we "pray much".We ask her to be our patroness because we are the poorest when we are far away from God because of sin. For us, poverty of the soul "puts all of us in a helpless, hopeless, and desperate state."**

Salt and Light Ministry Jan. 23, 2019

Mary, Our Lady of Banneux, pray for us and for all of those who have wandered far from God through sin.


The Message and Novena to Our Lady of Banneux

Our Lady appeared eight times in 1933 to Mariette Beco, eldest daughter of a poor family living outside the village of Banneux, near Liege in Belgium.


Sunday, January 15th

The Virgin invites us by a sign. The Blessed Virgin, dazzling white, seemed to be praying, smiled at the child, and beckoned her to come out the house.

Wednesday, January 18th

After accompanying the child in prayer for about 20 minutes, the Blessed Virgin led her to the spring and said: “Push your hands into the water. This spring is reserved for me. Good night. Au revoir.”

Thursday, January 19thThe child asked, “Who are you, beautiful Lady?” Our Lady replied, “I AM THE VIRGIN OF THE POOR.” Then for the second time, she led the child to the spring and said, “This spring is reserved for all nations…for the sick. I shall pray for you. Au revoir.”

Friday, January 20th

The child asked her, “What do you desire, beautiful Lady?” Our Lady replied, “I would like a little chapel.” Then she blessed the child, placing her hands upon her head and making a sign of the Cross.Saturday, February 11thOur Lady led the child to the spring the third time and said, “I come to alleviate suffering. Au revoir.”

Wednesday, February 15th

The child said, “Blessed Virgin, the chaplain told me to ask for a sign.” Our Lady replied, “Believe in me. I will believe in you.” She then instructed the child with a secret and ended, “Pray a lot. Au revoir.”

Monday, February 20th

For the fourth time, our Lady led the child to the spring and said, “My dear child, pray a lot. Au revoir.”

Thursday, March 2nd

Our Lady appeared for the eighth and last time. She was serious, no longer smiling as she was at the other apparitions. She said: “I AM THE MOTHER OF THE SAVIOR, THE MOTHER OF GOD. Pray a lot. Adieu.” Before finally disappearing, she again blessed the child as she had done on January 20th, placing her hands on her head and making the sign of the Cross as before.



Blessed Virgin of the Poor, lead us to Jesus, Source of grace.

Since our sanctification is willed by God, is your own desire, and our own primary and personal aim, pour into our souls, sweet Virgin of the Poor, such ardent desire for holiness, that by faithful response to grace, which you distribute to us, we’ll all may become saints, approaching the perfection which our Lord expects from us. And since daily Holy Communion must give us the strength to follow this call to holiness, dear Mother, lead us everyday to the altar rails.

Say now a decade of the Rosary and recite the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, save all nations.Your Divine Son Jesus died on the Cross for all men and you have offered Him for the whole human race. Therefore, sweet Virgin of the Poor, we ask you to unite all nations in the lap of our Mother, the Catholic Church, that all nations may live in peace and unity, and soon may be one flock with one Shepherd.One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, alleviate suffering.

With tearful eyes we travel as pilgrims over a rocky road, with constant suffering as our companion on the way. Blessed Virgin of the Poor, fill our hearts with the gladdening balm of your tenderness. Teach us to turn our suffering into an act of homage to God and a means to our salvation. Teach us to bear our burdens in union with the sufferings of Jesus.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, relieve the sick.

So many ailments torture our bodies, so many faults weaken our souls! Full is our world of hatred and corruption. Blessed Virgin of the Poor, heal the sick and strengthen us in our battle against evil. Grant us lasting health of mind and body. In our spiritual combat give us the courage to manfully practice virtue, so that by our example we may draw our neighbor nearer to your Divine Son.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, pray for each one of us.

What profound joy must have filled Mariette when from your motherly lips she heard the hopeful words: “I shall pray for you.” Blessed Virgin, our Mother, so powerful with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, obtain for us the abundance of grace, which you know is necessary for our eternal welfare.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we believe in you.

How could we doubt your promises? Why should we not believe in the motherly care of your heart, always concerned about our well-being? Could we put in doubt the merciful power of your intervention, to which your own life on earth, the whole Christian history and our own lives bear testimony? Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we put ourselves confidently in your hands; our dear ones too we recommend to you. Watch over us, assist us in our last moments and lead us to Heaven.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, believe in us.

Could we dare ask you to believe in us, if you yourself had not taught us to do so? A long and sad experience shows only too well that we are but like a reed, moved by the wind: poor mortals so easily led astray. Nevertheless, we feel sure that we might be true and faithful if only you believe in us; your trust in us would give us strength and courage. One with you, we shall be able to persevere until the end. Blessed Virgin of the Poor, let your strong hands keep and guide us; may your loving heart be our safe refuge in all our needs.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, bless us.

By putting your hands on Mariette’s head, you overwhelmed the child with countless blessings and effected an absolute change in her heart. Bless us also dear Mother and confer on us your most eminent grace; that your blessing bring about in us a true conversion, so that we will be always ready to serve God and to take our part in expanding His and your dominion over all nations.

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, we thank you.

Convinced that our prayers will be heard by that kind and tender mother’s heart of yours; confident that all the favors asked for will be granted us, we, even before having received them, do thank you for them. A trustful prayer, said in the right disposition, will never go unheard. Even if we ask you for what you, dear Mother, know to be to the detriment of our soul, you will still heed our prayer by granting us other, more precious and more salutary favors. Hence in all confidence we have recourse to you. From the depth of our heart we thank you, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Be you blessed forever!

One decade of the Rosary and the invocations.


Blessed Virgin of the Poor, lead us to Jesus, source of grace.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, save all nations

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, relieve the sick.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, alleviate suffering.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, pray for each one of us.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we believe in you.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, believe in us.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, we will pray hard.

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, bless us. (+)

Blessed Virgin of the Poor, Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, we thank you

(100 days indulgence: die 11 Feb. 1935)


Our Lady of Banneux, Mother of the Savior, Mother of God, Virgin of the Poor, you have promised to believe in us, if we believe in you. To you, goes all our hope. Graciously listen to the prayers, we send up to you, according to your own wish. Give back to sinners the treasures of the faith, and to the poor their daily bread. Heal the sick, alleviate suffering and pray for us. Make your intercession spread the Kingdom of Christ to all nations. Amen.