How to Make a Good Confession

When was the last time you went to Confession? If it’s been a while you may be nervous and putting it off because you don’t know how to make a good Confession. Well, the grace of the sacrament is available to you, and Relevant Radio® wants to help!

A listener named Lauren recently called in to Go Ask Your Father™ to ask Monsignor Stuart Swetland’s guidance on how to make a good Confession, and her question is one that all who have questions about Confession can benefit from. Msgr. Swetland explained:

“What you want to do, as best you can, is to examine your conscience to look especially at any serious post-baptismal sins. Any serious sin that is post-baptismal you will want to confess, in number and kind.

You want to use a good Examination of Conscience, and that’s usually based on the 10 Commandments. These are available in many different places, and they are available on the Relevant Radio App as well.

As you look through it, just make a note of the things that you’ll need to comment on. The first three Commandments have to do with our relationship with God, and the last seven have to do with our relationship with others – beginning with our parents, our relationship with family, and then moving on from that.

So as you go through that, be as complete and thorough as you can, without being scrupulous. Because the Lord doesn’t want that from us, He just wants us to recognize our sins.

The Lord already knows this, of course, and you’re not going to say anything the priest hasn’t heard before from a multitude of people, so it’s just a matter of being honest, and as best as you can go through all that. And then after you go through the 10 Commandments and the Examination of Conscience, I always recommend to people to ask the Two Great Commandments and make sure you covered everything in love of God and love of others.

Also, ask any specific questions that relates to one’s vocation. A doctor’s vocation, for example, would include temptations that a lawyer’s doesn’t, and vice versa. So whatever your vocation is, whatever your state of life, consider any particular things related to that which aren’t covered by the general examen.

Don’t worry too much. The priest will help you through this. That’s what the priest is there for, especially in your first Confession. If you look at the Relevant Radio App, there is a Confession Helper section. It has How to go to Confession, Make a Good Confession, Examination of Conscience, Prayer Before Confession, Act of Contrition, and Prayer After Confession. It’s all there on the App. It’s a great App and it has a lot of help there, and I find the Examination there very thorough.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

Go Ask Your Father airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.