Another Confession Validity Question

I think the last time I went to confession, I was under the belief that accepting to do the penance was beneficial, but not mandatory.
I somewhat recall that I was not happy with the penance I was assigned and I do not recall if I chose to do it or not, again, thinking it was not mandatory.

I was sorry for my sins and intended to suffer to make up for them, either in this world or the next.

Is my confession valid if I thought at the time of absolution that I would not do the penance? Again, I know I felt true remorse.

I probably did the penance, which I can no longer recall, but I suppose I shouldn’t take communion if I don’t know.

The intention to do the assigned penance is considered necessary for a valid confession.

From the catechism: “1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.”

And from Canon law 981: “the confessor is to impose salutary and suitable penances in accord with the quality and number of sins, taking into account the condition of the penitent. The penitent is obliged to fulfill these personally.”

If you forget to do your penance, it is different and generally is not considered to invalidate your confession. But lacking the intention to do your penance may invalidate the confession.

If your confession was of venial sins only, then there would be no need to abstain from receiving the Eurcharist. If it was of mortal sins, then I’d say you may need to make another confession, noting what you have said here.

One thing I very much respect about the Church, is people are held to the honor system. And people are treated with honor and respect in the Church. I doubt very much that very many ‘cradle catholics’ appreciate the gift they have in being treated with dignity by the Church.

As a convert of 13 years, I still don’t understand the Sacrement of Pennance completely, but one thing I know: when in the confessional and afterward, you’re on your honor. Do the pennance or not, God is the final arbiter of authority.

I love that.

Your confession is valid. Be at peace.

I appreciate the fact that all of us need a recreational pastime. However, with questions as serious as yours, questions that affect the state of your immortal soul, you need to discuss this matter face to face with a priest and not try to get an answer on the internet. Only a priest can give you a definitive answer. It may not be the answer you want to hear, but it will be the correct one.

However, we are here on Earth, and in this world, it is the Church who has been given the keys of the kingdom, the authority to bind and loose, and the ability to judge when sacraments are valid and when they are not. The OP and his respondent have raised serious concerns about the validity of this due to his defect of intent at the time. It is wrong for you to try to smooth this over with placating words when there is true concern. God has bound salvation to the sacraments and given the Church full authority to dispense them. Therefore, we must listen and obey the Church in all liturgical matters. To disobey the Church is to disobey God. You would not disobey God, would you?

I don’t think I was trying to smooth over anything. I was commenting on the beauty of the Sacrament. Why assume I was trying to smooth over anything?

We’re on our honor. Where else in this world is that standard adhered to as well as in the Church? Franky, I’m a little confused as to why you would question that.

Intent matters. If the penitent himself admits to a defect thereof, the validity is in question. If the penitent was not willing to admit a defect then there would be no question, so you are right, but in admitting this he has chosen to cast doubt.

The real trouble is that the OP is likely to suffer from scrupulosity and/or OCD and we are not helping him by speculating on such a serious thing like this. The real answer is not yours or mine, the real answer is to seek professional help in person.

I offered my comment having to do with someone being on their honor. I really don’t understand why people are questioning my comment. If someone goes to confession, they are honor bound to follow the rules, and the Church respects that commitment.

What in the world is wrong about my comment?

If the OP is doubtful about his last confession, there are always do-overs. Just do it again, and this time raise the doubt as another issue. Am I wrong?

Now I confess (no pun intended), I’m not the best penitent around. But this seems very simple to me.


Based on what I have read here, I think it would be best for me to go to confession soon, even if the sacrament was valid.

I do want to clarify a few points though;

I do believe I probably said the penance I really don’t think I would have otherwise left without asking for a different one.

If I am at fault, it is because I made a mistake, and not because I had any intention of not following the rules. I would have asked for/accepted a different penance or done the original had I been conscious of the real criteria at the time. I’m not saying I’m not at fault, but I also don’t want my case mistaken for someone who genuinely knew this was wrong.

I intended to make a valid confession.

God knows your heart better than you do. If you really intended to make a valid confession, it’s all good. But to be safe, do it again.

I apologize to you and the others here if my comments were out of line. I really had no intention of muddying the waters. I was trying to put confidence in God at the forefront.

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