About Confession.

When I came back to the Church I made my first confession at the Church my family went to. I explained to the priest the reasons why I have been away for so long, and the reasons I came back. I admitted that I sinned sinned and he gave me absolution. I’m now going to a Church much closer to where I live. I feel a little guilty about my “First” confession because I don’t think it was really a good one. I plan to talk to the Priest about it soon, I’m just wondering if any of you has been where I am and if so, does anyone have any ideas about where I can start. I hope at least some of makes sense to you. Thank you…

Sometimes it can be hard to believe that we went to confession and were forgiven. But believe it: you went to confession and you were forgiven.

If there are sins you forgot to mention during your confession you can bring them up later, but I’m sure your confession was fine. If your priest had questions about anything you said he would have asked you.

I second this advice about mentioning sins that your forgot during your next confession. You had the intent of mentioning all of your sins, and you weren’t purposely trying to hide anything. So, you didn’t do anything wrong, and probably made a better confession than you thought.

Yes, I know how you feel. I had a 19 year hiatus from confession and felt the same way. Yet with frequent confession, the layers began to peel away from my soul.

After a time–and I thought ‘general confession’ was unnecessary–I had an experience where the sins of my life came percolating into my thoughts. Things long forgotten. I went to the commandments and the stations and began to note my sins on the meditating of those things.

At that time we had a holy chaplain at the hospital. I went there to pray and he happened to walk in and I asked him if he would mind hearing a general confession. He said–Ok, right now! I was not ready yet! He gave me 10 minutes and then he heard my general confession. When I had finished and he had given me absolution, he told me to NEVER bring up those things again; they were forgiven and gone. And I let them all go.

Now I generally say after my confession, ‘for these and all the sins of my life, I ask for forgiveness’. I think that covers what I might forget or overlook.

Place this all in God’s hands and He will bring to your mind what is needed to be confessed. For the present, you have made the best confession you could at the moment; let it suffice and know you are forgiven.

Ave Maria!

I think most of us have "been there " Masry Lou, or in a similar situation regarding the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Once in a while when confessing to my spiritual director, just before granting me absolution, he’ll suggest “Now we’ll also include any sins you may have forgotten to confess or might have badly confessed.”

You could just mention it that way the next time you go to Confession…and you shouldn’t worry about it in the meantime; remember the priest uses the formula for Absolution saying , " …and I, by His authority, absolve you from **all **your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…"

Think of the prodigal son in Luke 16 : [paraphrasing] When he saw his son returning, while he was still far off, the father ran out to meet him. The father threw his arms around his son and kissed him on the neck.

Then when the son started into the details, “Father I have sinned against God and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired hands…”, the father called for the finest robe,a ring and sandals for his son and commanded that everybody celebrate because he had his son back safe and sound.

St. Augustine says that God hears the cry of our repentant heart even before we repent.

You haven’t told us (and of course you need not tell anyone but the priest in confession) why you feel this way. Only you know if you made a sincere effort to remember and confess all your serious sins and have a purpose of amendment for them. If you did, then as others have told you, your feelings of guilt are groundless temptations to be put aside.

On the other hand, if you feel guilty because you kept back some of your sins, for whatever motive, then you really do need to go back and repair the problem. It starts with, “Father, I made a bad confession.” You must reconfess all the sins you confessed properly, and you must also confess properly all the mortal sins you left out. Finally, you need also to be sorry for the misuse of the sacrament.

Here at Catholic Answers, we hear often from people who struggle with scrupulosity, suffering needlessly over whether each of their confessions is good enough. But the presence of such people should not blind us to the possiblility that some people really do make bad confessions.

OP, only you know which category you fall into. What is exactly the same no matter what, however, is the mercy of God. He is waiting for you with His hands full of mercy and love for you.


I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of this before. As I understand the sacrament of Reconciliation, the only issue could be something that might have been held back - not anything already confessed for which adequate contrition was present.

Would it be too much to ask for the Roman Catholic source of that information ?

The only reason that you should feel guilty of not making a good confession is IF (big IF) you intentionally did not confess a mortal sin. Then, your confession was invalid.

Or if you were not sincere in your act of contrition.

Otherwise, you are forgiven.

If you simply forgot some mortal sins due to just…plain 'ol forgetting, then by all means, go to confession and get those off your chest.

God bless.

I think you missed the preface sentence…if you kept back some of your sins…then yes, you must reconfess…

I know.

I had to.

It sounds like you’re working from the Second Book, Lesson Nineteenth; 217 of The Baltimore Catechism. Would that be right ?

Not too sure.

In my case…obedience of the Priest. He told me my previous confession was invalid.

Both the Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church do appear to support posts 6, 8, 9, and 11 of this thread ; and it seems it was developed from the Council of Trent.

So I’ll say (just like my username) I stand corrected.

In his book “I CONFESS,The Sacrament of Penance Today” (1972 Ave Maria Press) Fr. Francis J. Buckley, S.J., says that :
“In short, the sacrament of Penance is a rescue operation, by which God frees man from loneliness, isolation, weakness, ignorance, and fear - from the radical sinfulness which lies behind particular sins and is reinforced by the cumulative effect of sins. God saves the sinner from himself and restores him to the Church, where in an atmosphere of security, acceptance, and love man can grow to the full stature of Christ.”

He says the important part of Penance is the movement of the heart from self to selfless and that the sacrament has a special characteristic - its ability to change the dispositions of a penitent.

My point would be there are often mitigating factors which might need to be considered, (any of which could reduce the imputation of guilt) before it could be said that one deliberately held back confessing certain sins. It could even have to do with a confessor; as this short excerpt from Chapt 5 of St. Theresa of Avila’s “Way of Perfection” indicates :

What trouble the devil can make
here and how dearly people have to pay for their miserable worries and concern about
honour! If they consult only one confessor, they think they are acting in the interests of
their Order and for the greater honour of their convent: and that is the way the devil lays
his snares for souls when he can find no other. If the poor sisters ask for another
confessor, they are told that this would mean the complete end of all discipline in the
convent; and, if he is not a priest of their Order, even though he be a saint, they are led
to believe that they would be disgracing their entire Order by consulting him.
Give great praise to God, Daughters, for this liberty that you have, for, though there are not a
great many priests whom you can consult, there are a few, other than your ordinary confessors,
who can give you light upon everything. I beg every superior,26 for the love of the Lord, to
allow a holy liberty here: let the Bishop or Provincial be approached for leave for the
sisters to go from time to time beyond their ordinary confessors and talk about their
souls with persons of learning, especially if the confessors, though good men, have no
learning; for learning is a great help in giving light upon everything. It should be
possible to find a number of people who combine both learning and spirituality, …

I do wonder about the part of confessing **all *the sins again, since, as Catholics, we are not so much bound as encouraged to confess the venial *sins and the teaching is that when one attends the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with the proper disposition, their venial sins are remitted…it certainly wouldn’t hurt to do it all again and start with a clean slate however.

Forever in my memory is the picture in my Baltimore Catechism of a little boy who goes in to Confession with four mortal sins (pictured as a pile of four boxes in his hands). He confesses three of them, but keeps silent about the fourth because he is ashamed. He comes out with five mortal sins - the four original ones that were not forgiven, plus the fifth sin of sacrilege.

No, you would not have to confess the venial sins again, because it is not strictly necessary to confess them at all. In my opinion (opinion ONLY!!), it would seem bad form to bring venial sins into the picture on the occasion of fixing a bad confession - almost an attempt to draw attention away from the really bad things to soothe one’s pride.


The boxes are a great image… simple but graphic.

We are very blessed here in Montreal to have St. Joseph’s Oratory. There are 7 Masses celebrated there each day (used to be 10).

One can receive the sacrament of Reconciliation 6 days of the week: from 7:00 am to 12:30 pm; from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm and from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm; and on Sundays from 6:45 am to 5:45 pm, and from 7:30 pm to 8:45 pm…what a gift!

I have become so accustomed to receiving this sacrament that I don’t know how others can live without it.

My priest told me that when a person makes a general confession on their return to the Church, if they later remember specific mortal sins, they must be confessed.

Permit me to clarify (cited in post # 5 of this thread). The particular formula for absolution quoted,according to most english sources and THE RITES OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is:

"…may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of…“
all your sins”]

The oversight is due to the fact that, because of where I live, I am sometimes obliged to receive the sacraments in the french language and in the french formula for absolution, they do indeed say " I absolve you from **all **your sins…" - “je vous pardonne **tous **vos péchés…”

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