The Old Act of Contrition From The Baltimore Catechism

The Perfect Act Of Contrition Prayer

Old Act of Contrition prayer from the Catholic Baltimore Catechism.Baltimore Catechism Perfect Act Of Contrition

The Perfect 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 I have offended Thee, My God,

Who art 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. Amen.

The perfect Act of Contrition prayer is from the 1885 Baltimore Catechism.

I treasure having learned it in grade school because it really seemed to "cover" everything: my love for God, my love for family, and my true sorrow for all my sins.

Learning it is easy when you have someone to help you, or when you have an audio recording as with St. Anne's Helper Downloads and CDs.

Next to the prayers of the Rosary. it is the first most important prayer to learn. We use it in receiving the sacrament of Penance and for a nightly examination of conscience. It is one of the prayers we should pray every day, especially when in danger of death.



You can type on Saint Anne's Helper interactive Baltimore Catechism worksheets, Catholic ebooks, and coloring pages using your favorite fontscolors, and SIZES.


Be sure to teach it to your little ones long before you teach the other Acts as they are so similar that it can be confusing for little ones to learn the other prayers before their first confession.

It has a phrase that is super similar to the Act of Charity, so have your children wait to learn it till after they learn the Act of Contrition well and perhaps even after they are handy going to confession.

This version is the same prayer that was published in the Baltimore Catechism in 1885 and covers the most intentions with the fewest words.

Why Is It Perfect?

The perfect Act of Contrition is the best prayer that Catholics use for the Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Reconciliation) and at night before retiring with Rosary and a short examination of conscience.

It covers the contrition necessary to cover a mortal sin till the penitent can go to sacramental Confession. In this way it is one of the most important Catholic prayers when one is in danger of death!

What makes it perfect?

It is a perfect act because

  • contrition includes the sentiment of being sorry for sin because of loving God, 
  • not merely attrition which is simply wishing one hadn't committed the sin simply for the fear of Hell or the hope of Heaven.

Loving God makes the act perfect. 

You can help your children review all of these prayers with our downloads. Order our audio catechism downloads, printable worksheets, and coloring pages here.

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~Mary Fifer