So, I go to confession alot and I usually list my sins down on a paper and then read it off in confession. For example, when I remember how many times I’ve lusted I will put down, for example, I have had 34 lustful thoughts this week, or whatever. Then in confession I’d just tell the Priest I’ve had about 30 lustful thoughts this week. Or maybe if I had 36 lustful thoughts that week I’d tell the Priest I had about 40 lustful thoughts that week. I wouldn’t give him an exact number, just an about for my sins. Am I doing it wrong? I never really thought about it until now and I really need an answer…
The priest does not need an exact counting. An approximation is fine. The only reason he needs this is to gauge the degree of impact it is having, which could be useful for him to know if he councils you afterward.
I recommend if you’re writing them down anyhow to make your confession as accurate as you can. Use the exact number if you want and realize God knows when we sin and how many times. He doesn’t need the exact number because He already knows but His priest doesn’t. The Absolution you receive normally covers the sins you confess and “others” that you haven’t remembered. If you make a good examination of conscience and confess those sins as faithfully as you can, you should be okay. God Bless you and have mercy on your soul.
Though, when it comes to thoughts, I strongly recommend stating if they were thoughts that you consented to or if they were just random thoughts (ie: a pedestrian walked infront of you while driving and out of the blue the thought to run them over came into your head and you just dismissed it, which wouldn’t be sinful, as opposed to the same scenario and rather than dismiss the thought you entertain the thought of running them over and how good it would make you feel, how dare they walk in front of you, etc, which would be sinful.) as this will help the priest determine if there was actually a sin involved. We have thousands of thoughts every day, many of which just pop into our head and cannot be gotten rid of until we die.
That is not exactly the case. But there are times when one can approximate.
If one knows the actual number of mortal sins one is to confess them as such. Not approximate. One may though approximate if one does not know the actual number - approximating according to what one knows. And it is not the case that the the only reason he needs to know is so he can give council. It is part of the nature (the judicial part) of the Sacrament. If I committed murder 3 times and I know it - I need to confess that it was three times. That being said -there is more to be said about the “thoughts” but I will note that later.
Yes if one does not know the number. One can approximate according to what one knows.
Also I believe that if one say had lustful thoughts for say a few minutes and then stopped - that such can be said to be “I had lustful thoughts one time” (or one can say for a few minutes I suppose). It is not I believe that one need to count each thought that happened during that one instance of letting ones thoughts engage that subject. Now if one had a lustful walking down the street (that one had full knowledge and complete consent) but then on the way back - had another - well that would be 2. Discuss this with your confessor. He can assist one.
It could be the wrong method if they are not sins but merely temptations that were resisted. You may confess any sins but must confess all grave sins that you are certain of (number and species). Lustful thoughts are not wrong because they occur but because we do dwell on them (of course we should always put them out of our mind, move our attention away from them, to avoid sin).