I see the beauty in Confession and I go pretty regularly, typically every 4-8 weeks all depending on how bad I've been. I'll do my Examination of Conscience, take a mental note on all of my sins, and when I get into the confessional...BOOM! My mind goes blank and I kneel there like a stuttering fool. It's actually pretty embarrassing when I stumble along going, 'Forgive me, father, for I have sinned. It's been about 6 weeks since my last confession. Ummm...I've lied a couple of times...can't quite remember who to. Ummm...I've lost patience with my husband...can't remember exactly why..." This sometimes makes me appear to be unrepentant and I am simply going to Confession out of obligation. This is not the case, and I try to pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me into really opening up and not being so nervous.
So, I went to Confession last week to a visiting priest. I walk in, kneel down, list about 5 or so sins that I committed ( I knew there were more, but as always, the majority of my bad deeds slipped from my mind), and he absolved me. I thanked him and left. (The whole thing took about 90 seconds.) Then I remembered that he did not make me recite an Act of Contrition, nor did he assign me a penance. I kinda felt bed about that, so I knelt down in a pew and said the Act of Contrition and kinda assigned myself a Hail Mary and an Our Father.
Now, I may not be the most versed in the Rite of Reconciliation, but isn't the Act of Contrition and the act of a penance some of the most crucial points of Confession? Aren't they like, required? It seems like some priests no longer go through the whole Rite, that the Act of Contrition and a penance are no longer required, or that some priests are not taking the time to do this. Why?
I meant to ask my Deacon about this, but he was swamped with other things and I didn't want to take up his time about something that seemed kinda trivial. But next time I see him I do want to get his thoughts on this. Is the Act of Contrition and a penance required? If so, what do I do if the priest skips over those parts?