See these online texts and media on the forgiveness of sins, especially mortal sins, outside the Sacrament of Penance / Reconciliation:

  • Contrition: The Golden Key of Paradise; Key to Heaven (Pamphlet), by an Italian priest (Australian Catholic Truth Society No. 1325 (1959)). With Imprimatur. May be read online on this page of e-Catholic 2000 (Copyright ©1999-2018, and at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  • Perfect Contrition (Pamphlet), by Rev. F. Quirijnen, S.J. (Australian Catholic Truth Society No. 978 (1945)). With Imprimatur. May be read online on this page at e-Catholic 2000 (©1999-2018 e-Catholic; and on this page of Pamphlets.

An Act of Contrition

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 are 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.


See also these meditations on motives for contrition:

See also, on the theology of contrition:

  • The Sacraments: A Dogmatic Treatise. Volume III, Penance, 2nd revised edition, by Rev. Joseph Pohle, Ph.D., translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo. and London: B. Herder, 1918). With Imprimatur. May be read online, and available in pdf, epub, mobi, and other formats, at Internet  Archive. The 1st edition (1917) is also available at Open Library and Internet Archive, with a 2nd copy at Internet Archive.
  • Theory and Practice of the Confessional: A Guide in the Administration of the Sacrament of Penance, 2nd edition, by Prof. Caspar Erich Schieler, edited by Rev. H.J. Heuser, with an Introduction by Archbishop S.G. Messmer (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1905). With Imprimatur. May be read online, and available in pdf, mobi, epub and other formats, at Internet Archive, with a 2nd copy at Internet Archiveand Open Library, and a 3rd copy at Internet Archive. Also available at HathiTrust, with a 2nd copy at HathiTrust.
    • Perfect contrition is discussed in Part II, Chapter i, §§ 11-12 of the work on pages 76-88.

Posted on the Feast of the Penitent Thief in the Maronite church, amidst the infections and quarantines of the Coronavirus pandemic. May his prayers be with us. For other online texts and more legally free ebooks, you may access the List of Free eBooks (Arranged by Title) and the List of Free eBooks (Grouped by Subject). [Notice: The links above were posted on the assumption that these texts were lawfully made available at these websites. If this assumption is incorrect, kindly inform us that we might remove the links as appropriate. Thank you.]

“[T]he holy Synod declares, that this contrition contains not only a cessation from sin, and the purpose and the beginning of a new life, but also a hatred of the old… [A]lthough it sometimes happen that this contrition is perfect through charity, and reconciles man with God before this sacrament be actually received, the said reconciliation… is not to be ascribed to that contrition, independently of the desire of the sacrament which is included therein. (Council of Trent, Session XIV, Decree on the Sacrament of Penance, chapter iv. Emphases supplied.)