Busted Halo
June 13th, 2009

Confession 101 – part two

What is it & how to do it (even if it's been a long time)


Busted Halo® looks at the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the perspective of the seeker who has been thinking about confession. In part one of Confession 101, we looked at the initial steps you take before the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

In part two, Father Dave Dwyer, CSP, walks us through the four essential elements of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and assuages the fears you might have about not having confessed in a long period of time.

Download this PDF, How To Go To Confession, and take it with you… it’s okay, really.

Another helpful PDF, Some Common Catholic Prayers.

To download this video go here and click the download arrow or choose save or download.

The Author : A Googling God Feature

See more articles by (3).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Mike Hayes

    Francis–Catholics are required to confess at least once per year.

  • Joan

    Foond the site & video @ confession by accident while surfing the net. Can’t even remember when I was there last – thought confession was an invention of the Irish missionaries. Feeling a pull toward actually going…stranger things have happened I guess.

  • zach t

    I have a close friend who fails to see the good in confession. Do you think you could do a googling god article on the sacrament of reconciliation? I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks for this video its a really great thing.

  • Francis

    I don’t believe in confession with a priest and therefore don’t go to confession. Is this wrong of me as a Catholic? Can this get me excommunicated from the Catholic Church?

  • Krystyna

    A question to Fr Dave Dwyer:
    What constitutes a good confession? Should good deeds be mentioned alongside signs?

  • Brian

    Thanks for the Confession 101 videos. I’m one of those that have (sorry to say) haven’t been to confession since high school despite attending a catholic college and grad school and being a regular at Sunday Mass. I’m now 50! Its time to get back there; but the face to face business may have to wait for my second or third time.

  • Amy

    Excellent! Thank you so much, it has been a very long time since I performed a confession and have been dreading it terribly. This is such a big help to all of us that have wanted to participate in this sacrament, but too ashamed.

  • John

    This 2 part series has been a lifesaver. I’m going to confession today for the first time in 16(!) years, and really needed this introductory primer on how to do it. I agree with Fr. Michael–from what I’ve been hearing and learning, I’ve come to believe that the sacrament is more about reconciliation than just “confession,”–but this bare bones approach to the sacrament is just what I needed this morning. I like the idea of doing a Confession 201 to go deeper into the sacrament.

    I found the advice to google “examination of conscience” particularly helpful. It gave me the opportunity to look at my sins and shortcomings in a new way, and helped me see that some things, which I wouldn’t have thought were sins, really have their roots in a turning away from god.

    Long story short (too late, I know)–thanks!

  • Fr. Pat McPartland

    Great. I am happy this was created. I love to explain why we do these rituals. I posted both of these parts on Facebook for my friends! Peace!

  • Sue

    Well done! I was actually eagerly awaiting the release of part 2. Recently I returned to the Catholic Church after 30 years and was intimidated at the thought of receiving the Sacrament of reconciliation. So I watched Part 1 which I think helped along with some other sources I found online. Since I had never received the sacrament face to face, I wondered what else might have changed. My experience was very good, but I made an appointment so I had more time. I think Part 2 probably illustrates what will be the norm from here on out. I wasn’t sure how much pastoral counseling would be involved. I think it depends on the priest and how much time there is. I like the emphasis of both Father Dave and Father Michael, but I expect to work through the deeper aspects on my own that Father Michael mentions.

  • Mike Hayes

    That would be an incorrect order–but now, that doesn’t mean that your confession doesn’t count. Absolution is always supposed to be last.

  • Boomer

    Um, you folks who think that Fr Dave got penance wrong are nuts. He clearly did say that penance is “responding to God’s mercy and love.” He even talked about how the priest and the confessee will often work out a penance in “relationship” –agreeing on a task to do that responds to repairing the broken relationship with Christ. If the relationship is ruptured to begin with than we can’t really “develop a relationship or friendship” with anyone, much less Jesus.

  • Confused

    Bill, Thanks for your help. But what has happened in the past is absolution is preformed and then the priest gives penance. I wasn’t talking about doing penance.

  • Steve

    I too agree with the above comments (Fr. Cooper & Fr. Dave). It does seem as though just having the basics explained could take away some of the intimidation. Furthermore, it’s not likely someone is just going to pop into the confessional booth spontaneously. They are motivated to do so (especially if it’s been a while) because they’ve probably already had something of the experience or the encouragement so nicely elaborated by Fr. Cooper.

    Then that process of conversion, hopefully with more regular use of the sacrament, can get moving again.

    I hope to use this with a number of parents whose children are participating in Reconcilation for the first time. Even for the experienced, the review never hurts. And for those who’ve been away, one of the most important things is to boost their confidence by not making them feel ignorant.

    Keep up the great work, and I think you could continue to do some really neat stuff in this vein!

  • Bill

    I agree with both Fr. Cooper & Fr. Dave’s response. One suggestion might be to introduce the other Post Vatican II Rites of Reconciliation. Rite II, the communal penance service with the service of the Word and communal examination of conscience followed by individual confession might be helpful to some that have been away awhile.

    With the season of Lent around the corner, Parish Lenten Penance Services can be a great place to start as well, and the involvement of the whole community is inspiring and encouraging.

    Perhaps a later “Part” or perhaps Confession 201 could be on Reconciliation as part of Spiritual Direction?

  • Bil

    Confused – I know what you mean. Actually, the penance is performed after absolution, but the priest will assign you penance before that. Think of it as the homework the priest gives you.

  • Confused

    Does the order have to go confess, penance, contrition and absolution? When I have been to confession penance is the last. Is the sacrament being preformed incorrectly or is the way mention on the video the most common?

  • Fr. Dave

    Fr. Michael, I agree with all of what you said about this great sacrament of healing. Quite clearly, more can be said about reconciliation. This video stemmed from feedback we receive all the time that one of the things that keeps young adults from returning to the sacrament is they’re afraid they don’t remember how to do it. Those of us who know the basic parts have the luxury of going deeper into a spirituality of reconciation, as you wrote about. Our aim here was to offer a starting point with the basics. And from what we’ve heard since posting this, it is a welcome addition.

  • Fr. Michael Cooper, S.J., S.T.D.

    I was looking forward to seeing how you would present confession. I found it too sin-orienyted and ritualisitic. Sacramental ritual is important as a context but you seemed to give so much emphais to that.

    I did not see the emphasis on Penance as a chance to turn and develop my friendship with Christ. I see Penance in terms of human and spiritual growth. I look to see how I have stepped away from the Lord through sin or faults. I try to learn from my mistakes–gain some wisdom and self-knowledge, including how a closer friendship with Christ might help me to not get stuck in a particular action or attitude.

    Also, the reparation was mainly ritualistic–say a few prayers. Wht about strategizing to see what I can do in the future to make amends and to move forward–with the Lord’s help which is what the grace of the sacrament is all about.

    Michael Cooper, S.J., S.T.D.

  • Daniel

    Excellent 2nd part to this confession 101 video! Very humorous and entertaining, in a series and relevant manner!

powered by the Paulists