Hi, Ron —
Thanks for the question.
I just wanted to clarify Mary Ann's answer a bit.
When the Church talks about General Confession, it uses the term in two distinct ways.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia by Father Peter Stravinskas.
- The repetition of some or all of a penitent's previous confessions, either:
- because some previous confessions were invalid or
- in preparation for some important step, such as marriage or the reception of Holy Orders.
- Under certain emergency circumstances, the confession associated with the granting of general absolution, but only with the intention of making a private confession of any grave sins at the earliest opportunity.
I would include a third definition:
- A recollection of all of ones past sins over an extended period of time, with a priest in the sacrament of Confession, usually after being away from the proper practice of the Church's faith, with the intent of repenting and rededicating one's life to the practice of the faith and service to the Church.
As Mary Ann pointed out, one should make an appointment with a pastor or priest for this, as it can be time consuming.
What you are asking for falls more into my definition.
I admire you for doing this and encourage anyone who has been away from the Church for an extended period of time to follow Ron's lead!
Like my colleague Eric said in another posting:
Remember that the Confessional is a tribunal of mercy and healing,
not of judgment. The point is not to accuse you or impose guilt; the point is to relieve guilt and apply the balm of mercy to sins so that they might be healed.
- resolve any unaddressed issue on your mind, and
- put your mind at peace, which is what Confession is all about.