Q. What is Confession?
A. Confession is the telling of our sins to a duly authorized priest, for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness.
Q. Who is a duly authorized priest?
A. A duly authorized priest is one sent to hear confessions by the lawful bishop of the diocese in which we are at the time of our confession.
Q. Is it ever allowed to write our sins and read them to the priest in the confessional or give them to him to read?
A. It is allowed, when necessary, to write our sins and read them to the priest, as persons do who have almost entirely lost their memory. It is also allowed to give the paper to the priest, as persons do who have lost the use of their speech. In such cases the paper must, after the confession, be carefully destroyed either by the priest or the penitent.
Q. What is to be done when persons must make their confession and cannot find a priest who understands their language?
A. Persons who must make their confession and who cannot find a priest who understands their language, must confess as best they can by some signs, showing what sins they wish to confess and how they are sorry for them.
Q. What sins are we bound to confess?
A. We are bound to confess all our mortal sins, but it is well also to confess our venial sins.
Q. Why is it well to confess also the venial sins we remember?
A. It is well to confess also the venial sins we remember (1) because it shows our hatred of all sin, and (2) because it is sometimes difficult to determine just when a sin is venial and when mortal.
Q. What should one do who has only venial sins to confess?
A. One who has only venial sins to confess should tell also some sin already confessed in his past life for which he knows he is truly sorry; because it is not easy to be truly sorry for slight sins and imperfections, and yet we must be sorry for the sins confessed that our confession may be valid–hence we add some past sin for which we are truly sorry to those for which we may not be sufficiently sorry.