I have a friend who recently went to confession. They were confessing some serious sins (alcohol/drug abuse) and a litany of other sins they committed while struggling with their addiction. They told me that at their recent confession, the priest stopped them during the confession and just started talking about the importance of entering a program, counselling, 12 steps, etc…which I think we can all agree is very important. However, when my friend told them they clearly had other sins they needed to confess the priest told them something to the effect, that all of those sins were directly related and a result of their underlying problem with alcohol/drug abuse…and that he could probably name the rest of them…and that it was not necessary to focus on those individual sins, because that would be in a sense scrupulous, but that they wanted them to focus on their root cause, which is the alcohol and the drugs…then my friend asked if they would be absolved of all of their sins, since they did not state all of them and they priest told them Yes…and then they asked if it would be necessary to state the unconfessed sins at the next confession, and the priest said no…they are all forgiven.
My friend came to me for advice and while I wanted to tell them to trust the Priest, because they are ordained ministers of God and acting in persona Christi during the sacrament…I just was not sure if the priest was within his bounds to do this during confession. Is this ok? In such a case, are all the sins forgiven? Is another confession required. Any help and advice will be great…especially from a priest, deacon, or other trained person in this area. My friend is stressing that they may still be in a state of mortal sin and doesn’t know who to ask…I would like to try and help them out.
Please tell me what you think. Thanks and God Bless.