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Angel symbolizing the secret of confession

Confession is the acknowledgment of sin (or one's sinfulness) or wrongs done. It is a religious practice in a number of faith traditions. In law, a confession is a statement by a suspect in crime which is adverse to that person. Some authorities narrowly define a confession as "a statement admitting or acknowledging all facts necessary for conviction of a crime".


  • The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
    • Augustine of Hippo, reported in Henry Southgate, Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1862), p. 671.
  • A confession is wholly and incontestably voluntary only if a guilty person gives himself up to the law and becomes his own accuser.
  • If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.
  • He's half absolved, who has confessed.
  • Open Confession is good for the Soul.
    • Scottish proverb reported in James Kelly, A Complete Collection of Scotish Proverbs (1721), p. 270.
  • Nor do we find him forward to be sounded
    But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
    When we would bring him on to some confession
    Of his true state.
  • Confess yourself to heaven;
    Repent what's past; avoid what is to come.
  • Confess thee freely of thy sin;
    For to deny each article with oath
    Cannot remove nor choke the strong conception
    That I do groan withal.
  • Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
  • Proximum ab innocentia tenet locum verecunda peccati confessio.
    • Translation: Confession of our faults is the next thing to innocence.
    • Publius Syrus, Sententiae (c. 43 B.C.), Maxim 1060.
  • There is no refuge from confession but suicide; and suicide is confession.
    • Daniel Webster, Argument on the murder of Captain White (April 6, 1830).
  • Confess debt, and beg days.
    Confessing a fault makes half amends for it.

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