Am I forgiven?

I went to a confession service last night – my first confession in about 10 years. In the course of my confession, I omitted a mortal sin, intending to go back to it, because I had other sins I felt were even graver. However, as I paused after naming some of my most difficult sins, the priest suddenly moved on to my penance and absolution. (There was a long line, so I’m sure time was a factor.) I momentarily forgot the additional sin that I’d intended to go back to. (I’d missed Mass on a Sunday because it interfered with my vacation travel plans last summer.)

I left the confessional believing I’d been absolved, but woke up at 4 a.m. worrying about the sin I left out. There’s a voice in my head (not a literal voice) questioning whether I really forgot it or merely didn’t bother with it because it was I failed to grasp the importance of it. My intention had been to make a complete confession, and it wasn’t until after I’d left the confessional that I realized I had not done so.

Was my confession still valid? Do I need to go back, and if so, should I re-confess everything?

Dear friend,

Relax; your Confession was valid and all of your sins were forgiven. You did not deliberately with-hold that sin. When we forget to mention a sin, that sin is forgiven also. But when we remember it later, we ought to mention it at our next Confession–not because it hasn’t absolved, but as an act of repentance and sorrow.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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