Fr. Jerry Pokorsky: The Act of Contrition and Personal Health

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By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, Catholic Culture, March 21, 2022

 Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. …


Among the many muscular prayers in the Catholic arsenal is the traditional Act of Contrition. It is a prayer that we should recite routinely, especially before we retire in the evening. In the Gospel, various infirmities are metaphors for sin: leprosy, blindness, paralysis, etc. Let’s update the list with contemporary examples to bolster our understanding of the Act of Contrition.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins…

We generally understand how to maintain our health. Eat and drink in moderation, maintain a balanced diet, and so on. We may feel uncomfortably overweight, but we must identify the specific acts of nutritional misbehavior that cause us to feel uncomfortable. Sins are not feelings; sins are unjust or uncharitable actions—thoughts, words, and deeds—committed with knowledge and consent. A good examination of conscience measures our behavior against a listing of sins clustered about each of the Ten Commandments. …

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