13 yr old daughter's question about confession


She asked me if you have to be completely sorry for your sins in order to be absolved by the priest. She knows she has committed venial sins, and needs to go to confession to be absolved to mend her relationship with God but she’s not necessarily “sorry” for them.

I am making an appointment with a trusted priest (who lives an hour away) for her to speak with but that won’t happen until next week.

Thank you again.


If you have a Baltimore Catechism at home in more modern language, look in it, otherwise, check out this version. There are 4 relevant chapters: Lessons Seventeenth through Twentieth.


[quote=CCC 1450]“Penance requires… the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction.”(emphasis added)

Here the catechism says you must be contrite of heart. It then goes on to further explain this.

[quote=CCC1451]Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.”

[quote=CCC1452]When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

[quote=CCC1453] The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

In short a penitent must have at least imperfect contrition for their sins to be forgiven.

God Bless,



Good answers above…
Putting some of this in more practical terms might be helpful for you and your daughter.
You say in the OP that she knows she needs to go to confession to “mend her relationship with God but she’s not necessarily sorry for” the sins.
Suppose you pose this to her…
Suppose she had committed a sin against you, her mother. That is, she did something to hurt you.
What would she think necessary for her to “mend” her relationship with you?

Similarly if she hurt one of her friends…what would be necessary to “mend” that relationship?

Such a conversation, along with the catechism reference above, should provide her with a much better understanding of the principles and blessings contained in confession and not just the “mechanics” of it.



Excellent lessons. :thumbsup:


Does she not feel sorry…because she doesn’t see that she did anything “wrong”?

She doesn’t agree or think that what she did should be something to feel sorry for?

I can see how if she hurt you or a friend’s feelings, she’d be sorry. And I’m sure she’s a compassionate, good kid who doesn’t want to hurt anyone and feels sorry when she does.

So that’s why I’m asking this. I’m assuming that she doesn’t agree or feel whatever actions she took were not good ones.




So to the OP, I would focus more on why your daughter does not feel sorry and get to the root of that and her love of Christ. Make sure she truly comes to love Christ, then she will want to attend Confession all the time.

Good luck and God Bless.


No. But one would not confess those sins.

Venial sins are very different than mortal (which one must confess all of and repent of them all to be absolved).

If I have 2 venial sins and I am sorry for only one -only one is absolved.

And while unrepented venial sins are not good --in themselves as well as they can dispose us to greater sin - they do not rupture the relationship with God (we have daily venial sins…for which we pray daily “forgive us our trespasses…”).

Also not that one does not have to “feel sorry” for something to have contrition for them.



It may be a question of her “feelings” etc especially due to her age.

In addition to my other post above:

We all struggle with “daily sins” (venial sins) --including ones we work on and confess and work on each week or month etc.

In fact in the case of say a venial sin that is repeated -and repeated -same ones that come up daily or often - one can even confess them and be contrite for them and intend to “do better” to work to lessen them to lessen the number…that can suffice in terms of *such *venial sin and then one also has more specific grace to work on them.

One can struggle with such and be a rather committed disciple …



My point to the OP was learn why the daughter does not feel sorry. Learn why she feels she did not sin against God. Learn how she feels about Christ. Teach her more about Christ, if needed. Once she accepts Christ into her heart, then re-Catechise her.



Well in this I would disagree in that protestants profess to accepting Christ in their hearts but do not believe in the sacrament of confession. So I think it goes hand in hand. Jesus, the Church that He founded and the sacraments that He gave us.


This conversation seems to have strayed away from the OP’s question…:shrug:



I totally agree with your statement. But my understanding of the OP is that the daughter is “not sorry for her sin” not that she doesn’t want to go to confession. The OP needs to understand WHY she doesn’t feel sorry.

closed #15

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