How do Catholics repent?

Please let me know how Catholics repent.
I’d like to start repenting the right way as soon as possible.

So please let me know how Catholics repent.


The same way Chicagoans vote: early and often.

But does repenting in Catholicism consist of confession or can you just express that you are sorry to God for what you did?

Sure, you can say, “God, I’m sorry.” Catholics believe that you have to feel, in some way at least, sorry for your sins (or sorry that you don’t feel sorry) before you can go to a priest to confess your sins.

You see, having guilt for your sins and then confessing them are just two means to an end. You must first do those two things, and then the priest does the ultimately necessary act, which is absolving your sins, in which he says, “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That is the moment in which you are released from the damnation of your sins. There is a case in which you can feel guilt for your sins and not actually go to confession and still be forgiven (this is called perfect contrition), but to receive forgiveness this way, you must have had as a desire to actually go to confession, but you couldn’t for some reason.

In the confession process, the priest also gives penance. This might consist of saying some prayers, or doing charitable works, or thinking more next time you are tempted to sin. Technically you must do this penance before the next time you go to confession, but most people do this soon after their confession.

The concept of repentance in the New Testament is based on a Greek word that means to change one’s mind. The best picture I can come up with at this hour of the morning is that you live in northern Ohio (= our physical life in this world), and you want to go to New York (= Heaven; I know, the analogy stinks, but work with me here :smiley: ), so you get on I-90, but the signs are showing a decreasing mileage to Chicago (= hell; I know, I’m really picking on Chicago). There is a mental aspect (“Hey, I’m going the wrong way! I need to turn around!”) and a physical aspect (actually taking an off-ramp and getting back on going east).

This translates to the Christian life as a mental realization that such-and-such an activity is wrong and a physical refusal to do that activity any more. Within the Catholic faith, confession to a priest is part of the process; it is the way that we clear our accounts with God and receive his forgiveness.

The normal means to be absolved of our sins is through the sacrament of reconciliation. God is not limited to this method only, but it is the normative way to receive grace for the forgiveness of sins.

Hi TreeOfLife123,

Welcome to CAF! I hope your experience here helps you grow in holiness. I have found CAF to be a wonderful resource.

If you are Catholic and in mortal sin, then the normal way to repent is to go to confession. This doesn’t mean you can’t also pray to God and say you are sorry and ask for forgiveness, as a matter of fact, you should. But to show God we are sorry we reconcile ourselves with the Church through the sacrament of confession. Also, if you committed a mortal sin, you should not receive Communion until after you have gone to Confession.

Hope that helps!

Great thanks.
I will be going to confession after I convert.
But I have to be up to it first in regards to my suffering.

This is a wonderful resource. You’re absolutely right!
People have already prayed for me and it has had a marvelous healing effect and sense of closeness to the Church and has brought great comfort at times as well.


I do both. lol :shrug:

God bless :byzsoc:


All that is necessary is to change enough to stop doing whatever the sin is.

It’s not necessary to have an emotional catharsis.


No darkness.

Forget the “aridity” issues and the “Dark Night of the Soul”.


If you get off the bus after work and walk past a gin mill and go inside and get drunk and spend your paycheck … then all you need to do is to get off the bus a couple of stops AFTER the gin mill and then not be tempted to stop at the bar for a few drinks.

If you steal from a certain store, then do not go into that store.

if you get into fights, then avoid the place and the people where and with whom you fight.

If you drive too fast, say Hail Mary’s when driving … and you WILL slow down.

I saw a book title once, “Change Your Mind and Keep the Change”. Don’t remember the author. But you could look it up.

It’s about “pattern interruption” … changing a few of the patterns of your life.

On the other hand, it’s not necessary to make a full public confession and hang your dirty laundry out to upset the neighbors.

You don’t need to make speeches or wear drab clothing or walk around with your shoulders all stooped over. Or make a pilgrimage to Rome or Jerusalem.

Work on your prayer life.

If you do change your patterns, then, also, create some new patterns … Make a tour or set of tours to find various Catholic churches near where you live or work. Collect their bulletins with their schedules of Masses and social events. One had an open meeting on re-evangelization … so I went and just sat in the back. Since I was a new face, several people came over and invited me to partake of the refreshments. A few years later one of the people ended up as a Cardinal.

So, you just never know.

Make it a new hobby to spend some time each day at church, either praying or reading or just staring at Jesus in the Tabernacle or Jesus in the Monstrance. One day, I was doing that and the church organist saw I was new and gave me a five minute tour of the church building showing me some delightful architectural features that few people had ever seen … on the outside of the building someone had carved in stone all of the major events of Jesus’ life. And the little carving high up on the wall that showed Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven, you could see a cloud and Jesus’ feet sticking out as He went up! It can be fun and doesn’t have to be all mopes and frowns.