Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is not possible to offer confession during this time.
Pope Francis at Mass on 20th March, urges us to overcome this difficulty. He says:
“Do what the Catechism (of the Catholic Church) says. It is very clear: If you cannot find a priest to confess to, speak directly with God, your father, and tell him the truth. Say, ‘Lord, I did this, this, this. Forgive me,’ and ask for pardon with all your heart.”
The Pope advises us to make an act of contrition, and to make the following promise to God: ‘I will go to confession afterward, but forgive me now.’ In doing this, he says “…immediately you will return to a state of grace with God.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, N. 1452, says: “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called ‘perfect’ — contrition of charity. Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.”
So, through an act of Perfect Contrition, you can receive the forgiveness of your sins outside of confession, even mortal sins, provided that you determine yourself to correct your life and make a firm resolution to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible, when it becomes once more available.
This is how you can make one:
- In reality or in your mind, kneel at the foot of a crucifix and mentally repeat: “Jesus, my God and my Saviour, in the midst of your agony you remembered me, you suffered for me, you wanted to purify me from my sins”.
- Contrition is ‘perfect’ if you repent of your sins because you love God and you sincerely regret having offended Him and having contributed to Christ’s sufferings on the Cross.
- Think of all the things you wish to ask forgiveness for. (If people could suddenly know everything about you, is there anything that makes you feel particularly ashamed?) Ask Jesus to guide you here, if necessary.
- Recite, slowly and sincerely, an act of contrition, focusing on the goodness of God and your love for Jesus: “O my God, since you are so good I am sincerely repentant for having sinned against you, and with the help of your grace, I will no longer sin. Amen.”
- Make a firm resolution to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible.