Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

FREQUENT CONFESSION

The practice, going back to the early Church, of receiving the sacrament of penance more often than just once a year, or when mortal sins have been committed. Since the beginnings of monasticism, this practice was recommended to religious even in the absence of a priest, and therefore without absolution, as a means of spiritual purification. It was increasingly used by the laity who sought to grow in Christian perfection, then it fell of until modern times, when it became commonplace in the first half of the twentieth century.

Pope Pius XII defended the practice of frequent confession, presumably of venial sins. "By it," he said, "self-knowledge grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and grace is increased in virtue of the sacrament itself" (Mystici Corporis Christi, 88). In promulgating the new rite of penance, Pope Paul VI also stressed the "great value" of frequent and reverent recourse to this sacrament even when only venial sins are in question." This practice "is a constant effort to bring to perfection the grace of our baptism" (December 2, 1973).

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The diocese as corporate sponsor 3 hours ago
Lectures on Art and Faith in NYC 17 hours ago
Black Mass Thwarted in Oklahoma City 20 hours ago
A lesson in prudence: Stopping the Black Mass in Oklahoma City 23 hours ago
St. Paul on Helping those in Need August 25

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8