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Bishop’s Note – The Confession

Last week in the Bishop’s Note we began an examination of the Rite of Reconciliation of Penitents with the opening petition of the penitent and the priest’s prayer for the penitent that he or she may “truly and humbly confess” their sins. Today we examine the actual form of the confession.
When I was 17 and a freshman in college I made my first confession. I had made an appointment with Fr. Woodfield, the assistant at All Saints, and went through the exercise that he’d given me to prepare. He had given me the St. Augustine’s Prayer Book which uses the seven deadly sins as a tool to help penitents examine their consciences. I arrived prepared but nervous as I didn’t know exactly how this rite would work. Would we go into a little confessional? Would he simply say, “OK name your sins etc. etc.”? I was pleased that the format of the rite was straight forward and logical.


  1. The confession I made was to God, His Church and to the priest as an agent of God and His Church.
  2. I took responsibility for my sins, no one forced me, it was through my own volition.
  3. I acknowledged that the sins committed were all by my thoughts, my words, and my deeds. It is not only our actions that can be sinful but our thoughts. Jesus, of course, tells us this directly, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt. 5:27-28)
  4. A sin can result from both our action and our inaction. If, for example, we witness abuse or something obviously wrong then we should act to sound the alarm. Non-action in the face of an obvious wrong is a sin.
  5. I was then asked to pour out my heart to God for those things which troubled my conscience.
  6. Following the examination of conscience I asked forgiveness for those things I could not remember, I stated my contrition, and I petitioned God to have mercy upon me.
  7. I, as the penitent, professed my intention to amend my life.
  8. Lastly, having confessed to God, His Church and the priest, I asked Fr. Woodfield for his counsel, direction and absolution.

“I confess to Almighty God, to his Church, and to you, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed, in things done and left undone; especially ­­­_________________. For these and all other sins that I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me. I firmly intend amendment of life, and I humbly beg forgiveness of God and his Church, and ask you for counsel, direction, and absolution.”
I pray you all a very blessed week!
Bishop Menees

San Joaquin Anglican
March Diocesan events canceled 

March 13-14
Pastoral Intervention Training (CANCELED)

March 15
Bishop @ St. Paul Installation

March 20-22
Diocesan Vestry Retreat (CANCELED)

March 29
Bishop @ St. Alban

April 2
Mass of Chrism (CANCELED)

April 5
Palm Sunday

April 9
Maundy Thursday (Office Closed at Noon)

April 10
Good Friday (Office Closed)

April 12
Easter Sunday

April 19
Bishop @ St. James, Lindsay

April 27-29
Spring Clergy Retreat

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Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin · 1300 East Shaw Avenue #123 · Fresno, CA 93710 · USA

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