Bad Confession Questions

I’ve been wondering about this for a while and decided to post

  1. What happens to a person who makes a bad confession unknowingly and goes on to believe that they are forgiven?

  2. Let’s say a person makes a good confession but does not confess one mortal sin, knowing that it’s there. When they return to confess it, will that person have to repeat the entire previous confession or just the previously unconfessed mortal sin?

To the best of my knowledge,

  1. You can’t make a bad confession unknowingly. You have to knowingly withhold a mortal sin, or willfully be unrepentent (i.e. not sorry for your sins, or intend to continue sinning).

  2. If you do make a bad confession, you must re-confess all sins, including the omitted sin, and add the sins of making a bad confession, and sacrilege if you have received the Eucharist unworthely. If you make a bad confession, the absolution does not take effect, for any of the sins.

God Bless

It was explained in a sermon once that when you make a bad confession, you walk into the confessional with one sin and walk out with two.

To do something unknowingly…? Unknowing bad confession is a contradiction in terms.

As soon as you remember a forgotten sin, though, it is important to get to the next confession and confess it, and maybe mention it was forgotten in the last confession.

To take this one a step further, when I was first getting into a good habit with confessions I used to feel incredible pressure about revealing my sins (I’ve since learned to just say what I’ve done).

So, back then I did not confess certain mortal sins, knowing that I was supposed to, pretending that at the end I could say, “and anything else I didn’t say.”

Later, I realized my fault, went to confession for these sins and for hiding them, but honestly didn’t know that I had to confess the ones I’d confessed the previous confession.

Would it be correct that I’ve still cleaned my soul due to being unaware of the need to reconfess the sins I did confess in my bad confession?

God is not standing there with a clip-board grading you on the quality of your Confessions. It’s the one thing in the whole world that we can do really badly (as long as we aren’t doing it badly on purpose), and yet at the same time, do perfectly.

God welcomes us back with open arms as soon as we begin to make a sincere attempt - He is the Father of the Prodigal Son - remember the Prodigal Son’s confession? Talk about a “bad confession” - I don’t think the poor kid got two words out. Not only that, his motives were selfish. And yet, he was forgiven.

So are we, when we do our very best.

Now that you know better, you will make better Confessions. But don’t obsess about the past - that way lies madness, or at least, severe scrupulosity, which is extremely dangerous to the soul.

With all due respect to other poster here, it does not make sense to me that, if you failed to confess one sin at your last confession, you must the re-confess the ones you did confess to…:confused: Are those sins not confessed and forgiven at the time they are confessed? Why would you hve to re-confess?

If a person were to deliberately withhold confessing a mortal sin in Confession (not simply forgetting about it, and not mistakenly thinking it was only a venial sin), it would cause the whole confession to be invalid. In that case, no forgiveness was actually received, and the entire Confession would need to be done over, along with the sin that was omitted, and also along with the fact that an unworthy Confession had been made.

The reason is that the proper intent for the Sacrament was not present (true contrition for all mortal sins committed), and therefore, no Sacrament actually took place.

Look at it this way. Mortal sin (the ones you must confess) kill the life of God in your soul. Even one mortal sin makes you spiritually dead. If you confess two out of three mortal sins, you still have the last one, and you’re still dead. Coming back to life is all-or-nothing.


The Catechism explains it this way:

1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.”

When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know." 

I’m not sure I understand the first part of your post.

I also have a new question which has been eating me all day.

Last night I remmebered a confession I did a while back where the preist asked me if lies I had told caused me to be a hypocrite. I seem to remeber saying no, but then correcting myself. It’s just that the latter seems very fuzzy and I don’t rember if it even happened. My fear is that I may have lied to the preist about those sins and caused that confession to be invalid, which is made worse by the fact that that confessin was my hope of fixing years of bad confessions.:frowning:

Well I left that confession completely relieved but I’m now terribly worried. My question is, that if that I did lie to the preist about my lies (which I’m uncertain) and caused an invalid confession, am I forgiven by the confessions that followed, where I confessed the sins I was aware of?

I know I really should take my scrupulous problems to a preist (which I’m hoping to to soon), I just need to have an idea of what to acually say and not take up more time than needed by repeating myself.

As long as you do not deliberately conceal a grave sin in confession, all your sins are forgiven.

See the Catechism above.

You would certainly remember if you had deliberately lied to the priest. If you were sincerely trying to make a good Confession, I find it hard to believe that you would have deliberately lied to him in the process.

It is entirely possible that you misremembered something, or that you misspoke, but if you didn’t do so deliberately (and it seems as though you didn’t), then you’re fine - don’t worry about it. God doesn’t play “gotcha” in the Confessional, and He knew what you meant.

I’ll give an example of something that happened this weekend, but has happend to others and myself before…

There have been times I’ve gone to confession because of X, Y and Z mortal sins. Sometimes, in my absent mindedness and/or the prest and I talk about X and Y specifically (like, clarifications or giving counsel), that I totally forget about Z. It’s not until I’m in the car and halfway home that I remeber that I forgot about Z. Did I intentionally not say Z? No. I just got side tracked. I don’t think God plays gotcha, as long as your heart is in the right place.

A related question would be… If you realize that you forgot to mention a mortal sin (in an instance like this) sometime between your confession and communion, can you still take communion?

Sure, if one forgot they are indirectly forgiven. I think the Church says when you go next time and you remember that you forgot that sin you are obligated to mention it.

Please see this:

… If, however, the sin be omitted, not through any fault of the penitent, but through forgetfulness, it is forgiven indirectly; but it must be declared at the next confession and thus submitted to the power of the keys

Agree with others.

  1. No such thing as a bad confession (assuming forgetfulness not omission on purpose). All sins are absolved.
  2. If you remember it, bring it to the next confession. It does not negate the absolution of previously confessed sins.

If so, the lines at the confessional would be a lot longer (especially at Easter and Christmas - right???)

Goodness it never ends…I have another question, what of you forget to confess a mortal sin and later remember it. Next confession you forget, and also in the confession after that and so on and never confess the forgotten mortal sin. What happens then?:frowning:

What happens then is that it is already forgiven.

It’s also likely that if it’s that forgettable, it’s also not mortal. But it doesn’t matter. If it’s forgotten, it’s forgiven.

True. It’s pretty difficult to forget that you deliberately sinned in the full knowledge of the gravity of the sin. If you’re at all normal, it keeps you awake nights, until you get to Confession and resolve it.

I want to know if i have done anything wrong here:
My sister was playing around with the budgiees and one smacked into the glass windows pretty hard and nothing happend but i got a bit nervous of what might happend and told her to put them back in the cage she said They are not gona die i replied if they do you will too and walked off i didnt mean it i just tried to scare her have i done anything seriously wrong?

Heres help!

To make a bad Confession you have to with-hold a sin or try to cover up a sin by means of making light of it or giving it a less serious name or generalising it, also if you dont do a good examination of conscience you risk making a bad Confession due to your own neglect e.g years ago when younger I missed Holy Mass on sunday without serious cause or illness, even if I didnt fully understand that it was a grave/mortal matter then or not I do now,
so ask for the intercession of the Holy Spirit to help you as you go over your life.
When we make a general Confession, be careful, we may forget a grave/mortal sin and if it comes back to us afterwards then we need to confess it. You may have doubts distinguishing if it was mortal or venial but it is better safe than very sorry and dont let others decide for you if it was or not, asking them what do they think it was, instead of simply confessing it and resolving to stop it, as you risk allowing yourself to be decieved knowingly of not.
St Pio always made it very clear that we should do examinations of conscience every night and consecrations to God in the morning to avoid sin and offer up all of the day and in it, and by doing so we root out all evil and sin especially those we neglect or fail to see due to overlooking ourselves,
so frequent the Sacraments (weekly confessions Padre Pio recommends to us, or at very least monthly) and keep praying, God bless. :thumbsup:

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