another confession question >>did i sin?

this might sound weird but here it goes: I was in church and there were confessions going on and I wanted to go next but there wasn’t a line (I was standing in the back near the confessional), so sometimes I would try to hear the penitent or priest’s voice, not to hear their confession (:eek:) but just to see where they were so I could go next before anyone else. did I mortally sin by sort of trying to listen? I was thinking this over and I pray it wasn’t a sin but maybe it was but i’d never want to actually hear another person’s confession. I just wanted to go next since time was running out for confessions.

I didn’t actually hear anything the penitent confessed either.

at best this was stupid but i’m unsure if I mortally sinned.


Listening to see when to go next is not sinful. But, even if it was, it could not have been mortal if you did not know what you were doing. If you do ever hear anything, it should be kept secret.

Why do you need to listen to know if they are almost done? The door opens and you go??

Anyway, it’s not a sin

This is not a sin. Do you struggle with scrupulosity? You might consider seeing about possibly being too scrupulous. I’d suggest sticking with one confessor if so.

Concur: Keep an eye on the door rather than an ear to it!

I likewise concur that it is not a sin to overhear a confession, but to do so would place a grave obligation on the hearer:

Can. 983 §1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.

§2. The interpreter, if there is one, and all others who in any way have knowledge of sins from confession are also obliged to observe secrecy.

Can. 1388 §1. A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; one who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the delict.

§2. An interpreter and the others mentioned in ⇒ can. 983, §2 who violate the secret are to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding excommunication.

Why unnecessarily place yourself in a risky position?


Why is your confession more important than anyone else’s? It seems to me that should this arise again that you might think of others first. Others may have MORTAL sins they need to confess.

ok thanks everyone sorry about being conceited too. :blush:

Be at peace! God loves you! :slight_smile:

This is a forum where you can always bring your questions for answers, and we’re happy to answer them. Feel free to post anytime!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit