A question about sins and confessions

First, I have no idea if this is the proper forum or not. If not, please move it where it belongs.
Second, I am not asking to reveal anything that you would utter in the confessional booth. None of my business.
Third, I do not wish to embarrass anyone.

But I am curious - in an abstract way. :slight_smile:

What kinds of sins do you confess? What sins would the pope confess? What kinds of sins would he or the bishops or the priests commit? In my atheist world there are no sins. There could be crimes, of course. Or “bad”, “immoral” behaviors. (“immoral” according to my concept of morality). Different levels of crimes, some serious, some very minor. I would never dream about committing serious crimes, like murder or kidnap or rape. Not even minor ones, like taking a candy from a baby. In other words, when I think that one should not do something… I simply would not do it.

So I cannot fathom what kinds of actions which you would consider to be “sinful” or “immoral” and still you would be tempted to perform. And not just tempted, but actually DO it. The act, of course must be volitional, knowing full well that it a “disallowed” behavior. (Not necessarily a “grave” or “grievous” action.)

Of course, if you don’t wish to talk about it, then don’t. As I said, it is none of my business.

Sins violate the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. I suggest you look at the Catehcism of the Catholic Church to review those things that transgress the Decalogue.

Morality does not come from within, but from God. In your construct if you do it, you do so because you think it isn’t wrong. You are the arbiter of what is moral and immoral. This is called moral relativism and Catholics reject this notion. Morality is objective and comes from God.

That should make more sense as to why someone would know something is wrong and be tempted to do it anyway. Because the standard by which we measure is God’s not our own.

…firstly, every person has his/her own sins to confess–no one else can Confess, even if there’s participation through witnessing or hearing on first-hand account, another person’s sins.

…secondly, as you have enumerated, there are variations on what constitutes a sin (venial, ie: white lie or grave, ie: murder); both venial and grave sins separate us from God–even when they are not considered a crime (ie: the proverbial white lie).

…thirdly, though you’ve confess yourself an atheist, if you truly adhere to that which you’ve claimed (highlighted above), you are proceeding in accordance with the Ten Commandments; where you go astray is when you entertain the thought:

(“immoral” according to my concept of morality)

…since your “concept” may be influenced by personal or cultural changes.

The problem with sin is that we are not God; so all Believers suffer the same weaknesses as the non-Believers–the issue of temptation becoming sin lies in what is done when facing the temptations:

14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (St. James 1:14-15)

Here’s a general list of things that constitute sin:

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

…this is not a full list; anything that separates us from God (Love God above all else) is sin.

Maran atha!


I am sorry, if I was not clear enough. I am interested in this question: “if you consider an act to be sinful (either venial or mortal), then WHY do you commit it”? And, of course you can speculate on it: “how come that the pope and the bishops and the priests also commit sins”? It is just something I cannot understand. If I know that an act is “wrong”, then I don’t do it… isn’t that what rational people do?

Let me add: if there is something that is contrary to my concept of “moral” behavior (which might be different from yours - for example a “white lie” perfectly fine in my eyes) then I WILL NOT act on it, no matter how strong the “temptation” might be.

I don’t think that a “temptation” is an excuse. More like a cop-out. :slight_smile:

For the answer to this question, see what is bold below from 1ke’s post:

If I got to choose what was right and wrong, I have to admit my lists wouldn’t match the Church’s. But I truly believe that Jesus is God and founded the Catholic Church – and so I’m gonna do what I’m told…or at least try to. :blush:

Personally, sometimes it’s difficult to overcome what I want in order to follow the Church’s teachings. When we reject the Church’s teaching on something, we call that “sin” and that’s what we confess.

And 1ke’s suggestion to read what the Catholic Church teaches on sin is a good one if you’re really wondering what this is all about. Jesus told us to “be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” That’s a pretty tall order, and not actually possible in this life. But it does make this life challenging in a really excellent way. :thumbsup:

I am not an expert, but I’m gonna give this a shot. So basically, we’re all human and we fail alot. But just because we know that something is a sin doesn’t mean we won’t commit it.

Here’s a few examples: Let’s say I get into a verbal argument with my brother. Now I know that it is probably a sin to curse at him, but I lose my temper and do it anyway. There isn’t any temptation to curse… but I just lost my cool and couldn’t control my anger.

I’d say you realize that lying is wrong… but I am willing to bet you’ve probably done it anyway. Sometimes we lie to prevent further damage or trouble… but it ends up being wrong anyway.

I could go on and on. Although you want to claim temptation as a cop-out, it is a real thing. Many people are tempted to do drugs or drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and sometimes this can lead to bad/wrong things.

I can’t really speculate on what sort of sins the Pope has committed, or even priests, but they are human so I can’t doubt that they sin. Mortal sins are a little harder to commit than most people would like to admit as well.

I feel like this is a bit of a rant now… but I hope it sort of helps

It’s a sacrament intended for people at certain stages of development I think, and not relevant to others.

Because it always involves hearing Scripture, even if brief, it gives faith.

I was getting mixed messages from certain people about some important things, and instead of trusting that things would work out well, I lost my serenity about that (a form of jealousy v 20).

I had “solved” the problem the moment I decided to confess it, but I wanted something extra to help that stick and learn from it.

In lieu of reparation or amends I was advised to meditate on a particular psalm which assures me regarding the very issues.

I’ve never been much a one for confession. This time, because I decided on it myself (rather than being “reminded” by some other Catholics that it was “that time of year”) I feel particularly refreshed.

Some priests are convinced everyone has scruples but fortunately I managed to persuade this one that I’m quite the opposite.

The other day a speaker said that if we remain Holy Spirit filled we can remain free of mortal sins.

Some people were introduced into sinful acting of many kinds, by others, perhaps in their formative years. To them especially, help is invaluable.

I don’t argue with that. The question is: “why do you fail?”

I have no problem with that. I am just curious, how come that even the pope keeps on failing on a regular basis. I understand that none of us are in the position to give an answer for that, but I am still curious.

If something is impossible to achieve, then it is irrational to “demand” it. The list of “do’s” and “don’t’s” should be possible to follow. If that list “really” comes from God (what I don’t believe) then God is unreasonable to demand something that no one can fulfill. It sure looks like a test what no one is able to pass. Sounds very nasty to me.

Solmyr, sadly the Church rarely preaches Holy Spirit power to live.

And confession is usually presented as a punishment court, a loop I have always been at pains to stay out of.

“A lot” is not the same as “always”.

But that is the question. Why do you?

That is no big deal. What you do when you are not in full control of your faculties should not be held against you. Just like you are not held responsible for your dreams.

Sorry, not applicable. I don’t think that “white lie” or a “lie to protect someone” is wrong.

Temptation can be very real, but giving in to temptation is alike: “the devil made me do it”…

Why do people commit sinful acts? First of all, there is the Fall with Adam and Eve. From there, it has been downhill. :wink: Second, and just my opinion, some people may have a hard time not committing certain sins (matters of the flesh, not honoring one’s parents, etc.). Just my opinion, but I think that probably most people probably have issues with the same sins over and over. Over time, hopefully, the sin(s) is (are) committed less or not at all.

It’s late here and my brain cells are getting into their jammies and falling asleep on me. But I will say one last thing for tonight.

You keep asking “**why **do you fail?”

I began to think of all the things I know I should be doing for my health but fail to do. I should be exercising regularly – I walk daily, but not even 20 minutes. :shrug:

I should lose weight – my BMI puts me in the obese category! :eek:

So I should be eating less junk and more veggies and fruit – um, working on it. :blush:

And so on…

Now for some people this is all a no-brainer, and they cannot understand WHY I don’t just simply do the things I KNOW I should be doing. “Why?” I can hear them asking me.

Some people have wonderfully organized brains and can keep a clean-home, a balanced bank statement, everything scheduled, regular workouts, healthy home-cooked meals… They would just keep asking, “but why do you do the things you know you’re not supposed to do?” and “but why don’t you do what you’re know you should?”

If you are one of those people, then all the answers in the world will never get through to you, sorry.

And back to the topic of sin… Why do I do the things I know I’m not supposed to? For the same reason my son doesn’t follow my directions when I tell him to clean his room – because I’d rather do what I want, rather than what God wants. :shrug:

You seem to have a strong moral compass passed on by someone in your family with faith?
What contaminates us is the world, the flesh and the devil. We are not Jesus. We try to be As Christ like as possible. An alcoholic has a choice to pick up that drink. When the alcoholic ingest the alcohol, it turns to a toxin acetaaldehyde which damages the liver. That increases pressure in the venous system causing esophogeal varicies. They are like varicose veins in the legs but wrap around the esophogus. The pressure will increase and the person will hemorrhage to death. Both my brothers died that way. Sadness in life, emotional struggles, one reaches for a crutch. Cigarettes hurt your body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I am 90 lbs. Overweight. Tonight, my family had me distraught. Yes, I prayed and continue to do so. But, I reached for a half a bag of m and m’s w peanuts. Gluttony.
Christians live in relationships without martiage.
Look at the pro choice movement… Abortions are murder. How many religious and honest politicians have we killed??
Priests and Protestant ministers have had adulterous relations w church secretaries. Or fornication, if secretary not married. ALL DENOMINATIONS have molested boys but we may have a higher count… Temptation is real. There is accountability before God. Many of these boys think they are gay after the experience when I feel they feel unworthy of a heterosexual union.
If you have dated and got into french kissing and petting, you have felt temptation. DID you gIve in ? .
Avoid the occasion of sin. Just don’t expose yourself to the M and M’s.
But besides sin, the real issue in Christianity is a loving relationship w Jesus. He historically is written in texts by the Romans. Josephus a Jewish rebel scribe wrote of Him. He placed a hole in our hearts and we will never be satisfied until we find and give Him our life to guide. I hope this positive. will draw you to Him. BFF.
in Christ’s love

It’s a lot easier not to “fail” if you are the one making up all the “rules” for yourself… You are claiming to live up to your own standards, not God’s. There’s a big difference. We look outward, not inward, for moral absolutes.

The Law’s main job was to point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, as He’s the only one that could and did live a perfect life in thought, word, and deed. He is our Righteousness as well as being our model.

I completely disagree with all the above points.

We don’t “always” fail… but we do fail"a lot."

You most certainly would be held accountable for cursing at someone out of anger, unless medical reasons permitted this sort of behavior. You saying that there is no accountability when you aren’t in control is like saying that a person who kills someone out of anger shouldn’t be held accountable.

Not all lies are white lies or to protect another person. Most lies are often told to protect yourself, which is a sin and very selfish.

I guess if you don’t believe in the devil than temptation is hard to understand, but we never claim that the devil “made” us do anything. We don’t even claim that God “made” us do anything. We have the free will to choose.

If something is impossible to achieve, then it is irrational to “demand” it.

Why is it irrational? Why is any demand ultimately rational? Just because it is achievable? Wouldn’t just the fact that it is sought after with all one’s heart, and that the serking in this way is ultimately the best thing for us, be sufficient?

Not all “reasonableness” is ultimately in our best interest, especially if our reason itself is attached to evil purposes.


The list of “do’s” and “don’t’s” should be possible to follow. If that list “really” comes from God (what I don’t believe) then God is unreasonable to demand something that no one can fulfill. It sure looks like a test what no one is able to pass. Sounds very nasty to me.

…I thought that I did answer… temptation is not a sin; when we give into temptation and think/commit the act that’s the sin. If you hold on to the Ten Commandments and fulfill everyone of then in every facet, then you are the perfect human being…

As you probably suspect, humans are not perfect.

For instance, while I will not subscribe to your signature name (witchcraft) I do not judge you–had I judged you, I would be sinning… but the threshold is so thin that putting together your atheism and bend on witchcraft any Believer could lose self-control and pass judgment on you…

Sin does not happen in a vacuum: temptation festers in the back of the mind/heart and while the strongest of persons may not commit the most heinous and easily recognizable acts, he/she may have thoughts or commit those acts that are either not easily detected or well hidden…

The driving speed in most townships is 25 to 35, have you ever noticed everyone adhering to that law?

Gambling is a bad habit–it can drag a person/family to the slums… have you ever been witness to those people that are constantly throwing money away as they constantly gamble and sink into alcoholism/drug addition?

…in both cases the strongest of characters arguably could avoid the sin/act… yet, it does not always pan out!

Consider the celebrities/wealthy, they have what most of us would call “enchanted lives;” they have the “adoration” of their fans, the super “plush life,” even the proverbial “get out of jail free” card… yet, they entangle themselves in horrendous “life choices.” You’d think that with all that wealth and attention they would be the happiest of clowns… yet, they immerse themselves in folly.

Believers, when they go on their own (disobey God’s Commands and Design) are just as foolhardy, embracing the very things that they *know *is forbidden.

Maran atha!


…that’s a lot of leeway; have you ever noticed how a “drunk” man seldom manhandles the not so attractive ladies in a “party?” How many drug addicts and alcoholics have you heard that “under the influence” have gone out and given money to needy families or helped out the elderly (cleaning lawns, fixing fences, etc.)… yet, due to not being in “full control of their faculties” these people cheat, steal, beat, fight, and even kill others (including their “loved ones”)–the temptation has been festering in their heart/mind and uses the uninhibited moment to exert itself!

FYI–noticed how your “morality” just deviated from the Ten Commandments?

Sorry, not applicable. I don’t think that “white lie” or a “lie to protect someone” is wrong.

…again, your “morality” is fluent; protecting someone through a lie could be seen as a “better good.” But, there are levels of lies and levels of protection. (ie: A girl I know was being abused physically and emotionally; she refused to make formal complaints/charges; the guy came to me (I knew them both) asking me for her whereabouts and #, I lied stating that I did not know of her; though I protected the woman, I still sinned.

Yet, many more times people lie because there’s an ulterior motive behind it–the lie becomes two sins: lie and taking advantage of a situation to obtain a certain gain; so even a venial lie can result in a darker act.

Temptation can be very real, but giving in to temptation is alike: “the devil made me do it”…

…yet, anyone that subscribes to “the devil made me do it” syndrome is following hollowood’s spirituality or the infantile “I didn’t do it.”

Maran atha!


Because one gives in to that temptation…desiring that which is tempting one…

Why does one eat too many oreos - or make all those trips to the buffet - though one knows it is not good for your heath…?

If one chooses something that is not good - but always there is the appearance of something attractive - something that “seems” in some way “good to you”- though one knows it is in reality not good for you…

Have you never gotten angry and yelled at someone? Or got snarky and insulted them to their face? Have you never looked at what other people have and found yourself sulking and lost in envy? Or even been so upset about them you dwelt in hateful thoughts? Or judged a person by their looks and thought cruel things about them even though you know you shouldn’t? Have you never taken guilty pleasure in talking about other peoples faults and scandals? Have you never developed bad habits that you later realize you should break and struggled against them?

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