There are many aspects of this sacrament I would like to speak about but I will confine myself to your questions.
Confession is required before Communion only when one has committed mortal sin. If one cannot go to Confession and there is an urgent need to receive Communion such as on one's death bed, then sincere sorrow for the sin with the intention of going to Confession as soon as possible is sufficient.
For venial sins, God's grace of forgiveness comes to us in many ways. Every time we feel or express sorrow for our sins, God is right there forgiving us. God knows well that we are weak human beings and that we are prone to sinful ways. And yes, all the good things we do, which already are a result of God's grace, continue to bring down God's blessings upon us.
The Catholic Catechism (nos. 1434-1437) lists a variety of means which help open us to conversion and forgiveness. The major forms of fasting, prayer and almsgiving are mentioned, as well as reconciliation with and concern for others and the practice of charity.
More specific ones are given, among them: concern for the poor, the exercise and defence of justice and right, acceptance of suffering, reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father.
The catechism adds, "Every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of sin" but especially "daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist." The Eucharist is "a remedy to free us from our daily faults."
But there is certainly nothing wrong with going to Confession even if one has only venial sins to confess. Otherwise, many good people would never go to Confession. Many saints are known to have gone to Confession often.
One of the precepts of the Church required yearly Confession, as another required Communion at Easter time, but those were bare minimums.
The frequency of one's Confession for venial sins depends on one's personal spiritual need and God's grace. Line-ups at weekly Confession used to be the rule, but now once a month or even less seems to have become the norm.
As for those who are not Catholic, God forgives all who are sincere in asking for forgiveness. The Old Testament emphasizes God's love and caring while in the New Testament, Jesus reaches out to sinners and the needy.
The only condemnation comes for deceit and insincerity. Therefore, I believe that all sincere people, who are doing their best to lead good lives in the sight of God and in the light of their understanding and who ask God for forgiveness, will be forgiven and will enjoy eternal life with God.
But we Catholics have, I believe, the added advantage of hearing from a live human being that God has forgiven our sins.
There is something comforting and healing in that. Besides the spiritual blessings received in the sacrament of Reconciliation, there are psychological benefits obtained by talking to someone about our neediness, as attested by the value of counselling.
Every effort we make to be honest with ourselves and with others helps open us to God and become more truly who we were created to be: the image and likeness of God.
The catechism tells us: "Without being strictly necessary, Confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Regular Confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit" (no. 1458). These benefits should make us all rush to this sacrament frequently.
And the Church, through the popes and the bishops, continues to encourage regular Confession.
Remember, we are talking about a sacrament: a sacrament which is meant to bring us God's healing and strength, a sacrament which is meant to bring us to a loving God who does not force our love but patiently waits for us "I stand at the door and knock. If one of you open the door, I will come in and have supper with you" (Revelation 3:20).