Friday 16th November 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… More On Confession

June 24, 2018 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Part 34

I do not know who said that “Repetition is the Mother of Learning” or “Repetition is the Father of Learning,” or even that “Repetition is the Key of Learning.” The fact is that repetition is most important to anyone who wants to learn something in such a way that will become part and parcel of his memory and life.
It worked in the old days when we learned the arithmetic tables and it works today when we learn about the sacraments of the Church, especially Confession. By repetition of the essentials of Confession, we will be able better to profit from its effects and lead a life of friendship with God, free from sin, en route to Heaven, for which we were created.
If anyone asks this question, “What are the acts required of the penitent to receive the Sacrament of Confession validly?,” I am sure that almost any Wanderer reader will immediately reply: “There are three acts required of the penitent, that is, Contrition, Confession, and Satisfaction.”
Good. Let us put your knowledge to the test. And what, pray, is Contrition?
“Contrition is the true sorrow that we conceive for having offended God by sin. We realize that God is our loving and merciful Father, and by committing mortal sins we have offended Him. Every sin we commit offends the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of the Holy Spirit. By being contrite we are sorry for having done so, even if we are sorry for not being sorry enough. But we are sorry for having offended God, our Father and our best Friend. That is contrition.”
And what is Confession?
“Confession is the declaration of our sins to the priest, in order to obtain forgiveness. When we have mortal sins on our conscience, we must confess them, and our Confession must, as far as memory serves us, be complete, specific, and numerical.”
Now you are getting a little more technical. Very good. What do you mean by “Complete”?
“Complete means that all grave sins committed after Baptism that have not yet been previously confessed, must be declared in the confessional. Everything must be told, as far as we can remember, so that the slate may be made clean.”
Excellent. And what do you mean by “Specific”?
“That is a bit tricky as it requires an extra dose of humility. ‘Specific’ means that the precise nature of the sin must be stated. So, it is not enough to say to the priest, ‘I have sinned against my neighbor.’ No, one must explain how exactly my neighbor had been injured by me, whether in person, property, or good name.”
And what does “Numerical” mean?
“More humility again. Numerical means the number of times each grave sin has been committed must be given. Just to say ‘many times’ is not enough. As far as our memory serves us, the number of sins must be revealed.”
Evidently, it is not worth sinning, I suggest. Now tell me, Wanderer reader, what does “Satisfaction” mean?
“Satisfaction is the voluntary acceptance of the penance imposed by the priest. Every sin incurs an eternal and a temporal punishment. The purpose of this penance is to discharge (in part at least) the debt of the temporal punishment that often remains after the eternal punishment has been forgiven.”
Now I see that Wanderer readers are really becoming experts on the Sacrament of Confession. Let me put you to a more complex test. What happens if I am not sure I committed a sin? Do I confess it or do I not?
“That is what you call a doubtful sin. To commit a mortal sin three conditions are required. It is important to know them in order to avoid unnecessary scruples. The matter must be grave in itself, the person knew that it was, and gave it his full consent. So, if one is not sure that one or more of these requirements were present, that is, one is not sure that the matter was grave in itself, or one did not give his full consent at the moment of the sin, etc., then it is a doubtful sin, and one is not obliged to confess it. But many times, it happens that, for the sake of peace of conscience the penitent will confess it — it is also usually advisable, because an act of humility is always good.”
Goodness gracious, you have made good progress! Now tell me about something else: What about those sins that I had forgotten to confess? How can I confess a sin I do not remember?
“No problem there, either. Since you expressed your contrition for all of your sins in the last Confession, do not be scrupulous: Guilt does not return to you. Since you had already included them in our contrition, be at peace. Now, if later on you remember them, you are obliged to confess them to the priest, unless he decides otherwise. He is the judge, and if you tend to be too scrupulous, to see God often as your Judge and seldom as your Father, the priest may tell you to make the Act of Contrition and forget about them. Your sins are forgiven. Go in peace. Period.”
Thank you! Now, tell me something about the examination of conscience. What is it, and how is it done?
“A good catechism or prayer book is always helpful to set forth how in particular the Commandments of God and the Precepts of the Church may be violated. One good method to examine your conscience is to run through the Ten Commandments, keeping in mind what each one enjoins and prohibits, in order to identify sins of commission and omission. After going through the Commandments, we should go through the seven deadly sins, or capital sins.
“They are called deadly because they produce bad habits that bring the death of grace in the soul, and are called capital (from Latin capita, head) because they are the one leading the others, and the one into which we tend to fall more often. They are: Pride, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Usury, Envy, and Sloth. The Catechism will explain detail what they mean, but for our purpose here we must make an effort to memorize the list.
“The seven capital sins plague our lives, make them miserable. And an easy way to learn the list in order to avoid them is to use the word ‘Plagues.’ So, remember:
“‘P’ for Pride, ‘L’ for Lust, ‘A’ for Anger, ‘G’ for Gluttony, ‘U’ for Usury, ‘E’ for Envy, and ‘S’ for Sloth. That is a simple, easy way to remember them. Then we consider the virtues that oppose those sins, which in corresponding order are: humility as opposed to pride, brotherly love as opposed to envy, meekness as opposed to anger, chastity as opposed to lust, liberality (generosity) as opposed to usury, temperance as opposed to gluttony, and diligence as opposed to sloth.”
Wow! Definitely, Wanderer readers are fully capable of becoming involved in re-evangelizing the United States!
In the next article, let us touch on the issue of the examination of conscience.

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza, KM, is a Knight of the Sovereign and Military Order of Malta; a delegate for International Missions for Human Life International [HLI]; and an EWTN program host. Website:

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Cardinal guilty of covering up sex abuse addresses US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A cardinal barred from public ministry since 2013 as a result of his systematic cover-up of sex abuse spoke at the U.S. Bishops’ General Assembly in Baltimore Tuesday, telling the bishops they “need to lead by witness.” In…Continue Reading

US bishops consider asking Pope Francis to release McCarrick documents

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will consider officially asking Pope Francis to release any documents related to alleged serial sexual abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The motion was made from the…Continue Reading

U.S. Catholic Bishops Meet in the Shadow, Still, of Clergy Sex Abuse

This weekend, the Catholic bishops of the United States gather in Baltimore ahead of their three-day annual general assembly, which opens Monday. By coincidence, it will be 16 years exactly since their session in 2002, when they met to amend…Continue Reading

The Synodal Church

Antonio Spadaro, SJ – Carlos Galli Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?”[1] His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of…Continue Reading

National network of Catholic church leaders told to preserve all communications

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current…Continue Reading

Cdl. Burke ‘strongly’ endorses new virtue education program for young people

October 26, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of life, marriage, and family, has “strongly” endorsed a new virtue education program for children. “Alive to the World” is a continuous, story-based virtues/values program. Much…Continue Reading

Pittsburgh wants to revoke Chick-fil-A’s sponsorship of kids event over Christian marriage views

PITTSBURGH, October 24, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – America’s most successful Christian food chain may be driven out of a children’s community event in Pittsburgh over the owners’ Christian-based view of marriage and homosexuality, if the Pittsburgh City Council has its way.…Continue Reading

Australian bishop touts women’s ordination: ‘transformation of priesthood’ is underway

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, October 23, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An Australian bishop recently told priests that admitting women to the priesthood in the Church’s current state of affairs would be like pouring new wine into old wine skins, but that a “transformation…Continue Reading

Twitter locks LifeSite out of account for ‘hate’: fact-based post on rise in gay STDs

October 18, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Twitter has just locked LifeSiteNews out of our Twitter account over an article we posted four years ago that provided expert analysis on the rise in sexually-transmitted diseases among homosexuals. The 2014 piece by Dr. Gerard M.…Continue Reading

Ave Maria U president who criticized Cdl. Burke, Archbishop Viganò announces resignation

AVE MARIA, Florida, October 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Just six weeks after he issued a statement criticizing Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano, Ave Maria University (AMU) announced its president Jim Towey will step down in June 2020. Vigano’s 11-page testimony…Continue Reading

‘Just glad we ruined Kavanaugh’s life’: Pro-abortion Left responds to Supreme Court defeat

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Judge Brett Kavanaugh is now Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and the left-wing forces who pulled out all the stops to defeat him show no signs of cooling down anytime soon. The Senate voted 50-48 on…Continue Reading

Pope selects youth from pro-gay Vatican consultant’s media org to attend Synod

October 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The four young people from Canada now at the Vatican synod on youth are all from Salt and Light Media. The Toronto-based media outlet is run by Basilian Fr. Thomas Rosica, who is also on…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

US bishop challenges brother bishops for allowing pro-LGBT priest to speak in dioceses

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 14, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland forthrightly articulated Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts to the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Tuesday. He questioned whether his brother bishops believed this “doctrine of the Church or not,” and if they did, why some of them have allowed certain clergy to speak in their dioceses with a pro-homosexual message. “Brothers, I think part of the fraterna

Abp. Viganò urges U.S. bishops to confront sex abuse as ‘courageous shepherds’

ROME, November 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò today has issued a brief note to the U.S. Bishops, urging them to confront sex abuse as “courageous shepherds” rather than “frightened sheep.” The U.S. Bishops are currently in Baltimore at their much-anticipated fall annual meeting at which they were expected to vote on concrete proposals to hold bishops accountable for their failures after the reve

Pope Francis . . . “First, there is the immense and ongoing crisis of climate change and the nuclear menace”

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY SESSION OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Consistory Hall Monday, 12 November 2018 [Multimedia]   Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to meet the full complement of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. I offer cordial welcome to the new Members and I am grateful to the former President, Professor Werner Arber for his gracious words of introduction, while I pray that Professor Joachim von…Continue Reading

Vatican orders U.S. bishops to halt plans for vote on sex-abuse reforms

BALTIMORE – The first gathering of the nation’s Catholic bishops since a summer wave of anger and recrimination over clergy sex abuse in the American church opened Monday with a stunning announcement: The prelates would not vote on a series of new accountability measures – and it was the Vatican who ordered them to hold off.

Our Veterans Fought and Died For Our Freedom, Not for Abortion

(Reprinted from 2013) In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, thirty men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, huddled close together in landing craft churning through the dark waters of the English Channel on a mission unlike any other the world had ever known. Their destination: a strip of sand known as Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Most of the thoughts running through the minds of these young men are lost to…Continue Reading


A Book Review… The Wizards Versus The Rest Of Us

By JEFF MINICK Piedra, Alberto. No God, No Civilization (Lambing Press: 2018); paperback, 255 pages. Available at In January of 2018, I resolved to read my way through Will and Ariel Durant’s magnum opus The Story of Civilization before the end of the year. It is now early November, and I am nearing the…Continue Reading

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Conflicting Rights In A Divided Nation

By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON The Senate Judiciary hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an associate justice of the Supreme Court were brutal to his personal reputation, devastating to the comity of the congressional body, and inflammatory in an already divided nation. Protesters shouted in the hearing room, had sit-ins in the hall, accosted a senator…Continue Reading

The Paradox Of The Person

By DONALD DeMARCO The first law of nature is self-preservation. The highest law of morality is self-sacrifice. What the content these two sentences makes abundantly clear is that the life of the human being is one of perpetual tension. Self-preservation and self-sacrifice are not exactly on the same page. However, it is important to note…Continue Reading

Mass Migration: Mortal Threat To Red State America

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Among the reasons Donald Trump is president is that his natural political instincts are superior to those of any other current figure. As campaign 2018 entered its final week, Trump seized upon and elevated the single issue that most energizes his populist base and most convulses our media elite. Warning of…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent blog that appeared in LifeSiteNews, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski described the vital contribution of Christianity to the world and suggested that living it to the fullest today could transform our modern world: “Christianity entered into a world that was drunkenly careening from superstition to esotericism, from world-weary despair to unappeasable hedonism, and introduced a way that…Continue Reading

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Indifference

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian, Washington, D.C. Monsignor kindly gave The Wanderer permission to reprint this essay from his blog, which appeared there on November 5, 2018. All rights reserved.) + + + The Gospel for Tuesday of the 31st Week features the Lucan version of the parable about…Continue Reading

Shine Brightly Like The Stars

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Daniel 12:1-3 Heb. 10:11-14, 18 Mark 13:24-32 In the Gospel reading today our Lord teaches us about what will happen at the end of the world: The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will be falling from the sky, and the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

The Sacrament Of Holy Orders… More On Women Priests — Why Not?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 4 The participation of women in the life of the Catholic Church over the centuries has been remarkable. Without being priests, women have played a major role in the instruction of the faithful, service of the sick and needy, and the works of the apostolate. The work of spreading the Gospel, as early as in…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Gertrude The Great

By CAROLE BRESLIN In Christian spirituality, prayer has many types and forms. There are prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. There are vocal prayers and mental prayers. Again there are liturgical prayers and private prayers. Only one woman in the history of the Church has been called great, St. Gertrude the Great, a Benedictine nun, known for her wisdom…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Elizabeth Of The Trinity

By CAROLE BRESLIN When a woman receives the Carmelite habit, she also receives a new name. St. Teresa of Avila received the name “of Jesus” and St. Therese of Lisieux received the name “of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.” Likewise, when Elizabeth Catez became a Carmelite and received her name, she was given the title “of the Trinity,”…Continue Reading