Question 3

Q3.—How often should a senior go to confession? I pray an act of contrition every single night before sleeping, just in case I might not make it to the morning.

AThe church mandates that anyone having committed a serious sin must go to confession at least once a year during the Lenten season. However, keeping in mind the efficacy of the sacramental graces of confession, we should all be going to confession more frequently.

A good norm for those in their golden years would be once a month. It is not necessary to have sinned before going to confession. If the penitent is not aware of any serious sins, the procedure would be to tell the confessor how long it has been since the last confession and state that he or she has not committed any serious sins and mention some venial sin or a sin of the past in some general way; e.g., against the Fourth or Sixth Commandment. That will provide the confessor with sufficient matter for absolution, and the penitent will receive the sacramental graces to overcome temptations and remain in the state of grace.

It is always good to say an act of contrition, not only each evening, but any time we slip and commit any sin. It helps to remind us where we stand in our relations with God and makes us more aware of the dangers of sin.

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