An Act of Contrition




This prayer has been used by the Roman Catholic Church for a very long time and carries an indulgence of three years. Simple & short, it confesses one’s sins generally without doing so specifically. A Catholic should use it to express sorrow for his sins overall, or to pour forth remorse after a particularly grievous sin has been committed. It is not intended to replace confession to a priest in the Sacrament of Penance but to augment the confessional by inspiring in us that which moves us toward contrition. Indeed, without accusing ourselves of our particular sins, we cannot expect God to forgive them. It is cowardly, irresponsible & absurd to think we can sin without owning up to what we have done, making amends for it. It’s like an earthly father saying a very wicked child doesn’t have to do what he can to make up for his horrible disobedience. Normally this is done under the gaze of a lawful priest, who is authorized by God to do this on His Behalf and who thus acts as a Catholic’s spiritual father. In times of emergency when no priest is lawfully available --- such as now, during the Great Apostasy --- we are permitted instead to confess our sins alone before Heaven in prayer. The catch is, we must do so with a  perfectly contrite will and with the sincere intention to confess again to a priest all of these mortal sins, that we have accumulated in the meantime, when, and if, such a man becomes lawfully available to us before death on earth & judgment hereafter. Please see A Thorough Contritional Prayer for further instruction in this matter.


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O my God, I am heartily sorry

for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins

because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell,

but most of all because they offend Thee, My God,

who art all good and deserving of all my love.


I firmly resolve,

with the help of Thy grace,

to confess my sins,

to do penance,

and to amend

my life.




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© 2009 by Paul Doughton.

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