Can I confess something I haven't done but struggle with for the graces?


For those of you that have possibly read my recent two questions on Confession or perhaps not, I’m 20YO and struggle with masturbation and pornographic images. I went to confession yesterday and I do think it helped a good deal. After analyzing how I interact with women I think my mindset has been altered a bit and I need to change it.

My question is, if you get graces during confession to fight the temptations to sin what you confess, can I confess masturbation and pornographic images even if I haven’t done either since my last confession because I want the graces to continue to fight against them?

I usually go to confession every 4 months which I do feel bad about considering I have received during that time. I am thinking of going every Friday; is it okay if I confess each time to masturbation and pornographic images even if I haven’t fell to either because then I will get graces to continue to fight against them?

I don’t want the priest to think I’m making zero progress on these sins if I confess them when I didn’t do them but maybe that’s prideful of me to think that way. I also don’t want to be presumptive of graces during confession. Confession makes me very nervous every time, I shake in the waiting line and I think I should just leave because I’m too nervous. I never leave the line but over 50% of my confessions I get too nervous to say masturbation and pornographic images. Yesterday I did say both because I took some advice given on CAF to go behind the curtain thing. So will confessing weekly to these sins no matter if I have done them or not help me to not be nervous and to fight against these temptations better?


Please. Don’t overthink this. Do not confess sins you haven’t actually commited.
Do you not think God sees what you are trying to do in a positive manner and will continue to let graces flow? Continue on as you have been doing in staying strong. But do not confess things you haven’t done, and dont go weekly if you have nothing pressing to confess.

Your nervousness will eventually lessen. Be at peace. God knows you are trying to do the right thing.


You’re asking whether you can lie in confession. I’d suggest you 're-think that.


I thought I read/heard somewhere that its fine to confess things you have confessed previously?


If you have done them again, yes. But you haven’t.

Why stop there? Why not just confess to other sins you haven’t commited?
Because it doesn’t work the way you think it does. You are receiving graces not because you have confessed, but because you are contrite.



Confessing sins you haven’t committed sounds like sacrilege.

Grace is also bestowed through the Eucharist; you should receive it. You could also make a daily devotion of the Rosary or attending adoration.

My spiritual director gave me simple advice when I spoke of similar things in regard to grace: she said “Just ask for it.”


I do daily mass and daily rosary, divine mercy chaplet, and adoration once a week so was wondering this was another helpful thing I could do. But if not that’s fine


No Graces are received by lying. You commit a sin you confess it. It’s gone. You don’t continue to confess it. I’m really shocked by your seeming lack of understanding of this sacrament. Where did you receive your instruction on it?


From faith formation classes growing up at my parish and have spoken with priests about it. I guess I misunderstood… I’m not really sure what’s going on honestly, growing up my diocese wouldn’t let anyone have Confession until 2nd grade, I got permission to have confession in kindergarten because I showed “overwhelming understanding, faith, and a longing for the mercy of confession.”

Not sure how I went from such potential as a kid to where I’m at


I think if you just apply some prudent logic with the teaching resources of the Church you will be fine. If you have trouble doing that there may be other issues you need help with that counseling could benefit.


When one does this, make it clear to your confessor what you are doing.


Does that mean I can do this if I tell him? I’ve never done this before but I really thought I heard somewhere you can confess previous sins. But I must of misunderstood


Quoting an article:

When the material of confession is in this gray area, it is a healthy practice to end the confession by referring to some past sins that were more obvious. If they have already been confessed, we don’t need to confess them again in detail (that would, as you suggest, be a step towards scrupulosity), but bringing them anew to the Lord is an excellent way to show him that we are truly sorry for all of our sins and failings. So, for example, if in the past your obvious sins had to do with theft, bribery, or fraud, you could finish your regular confession now by saying something like, “… I confess these sins [the ones you have already mentioned] and all the sins of my past life, especially those against the virtue of justice. These are my sins.”

I would highly suggest you find a good spiritual director or at least make an appointment with your priest to have a discussion. You do not want to fall into scrupulosity.


When a person receiving absolution in the sacrament of Penance only has venial sins, there is an increase in sanctifying grace, but with the absolution of mortal sin, a restoration of sanctifying grace.


Yes you can, but you must say it as such, i.e. that you haven’t committed it since but you have been absolved of it in the past, and that you just want to mention it devotionally. No need for number of times committed.

It is in fact recommended to do this if you have only actual venial sins to confess, because it’s more difficult to have true contrition for venial sins, which is what you need for a valid confession. Previously confessed and absolved mortal sins are valid matter for absolution, and you can most certainly bring those to confession. I once had a specific experience where in I brought what was, in my mind, just a venial sin, and Father judged it to be not a sin at all, and therefore would have had no matter to absolve. However, I had devotionally mentioned a previously absolved mortal sin under this principle, and he gladly went on to say “but you have mentioned a previous mortal sin, which is valid matter, so I can absolve you,” which he did and imposed a light penance for it.

And it is especially helpful for habitual sins. Confession not only increases or restores sanctifying grace, but also provides plenty of actual grace to help overcome sin.

The key thing is to mention the past sins as “devotionally” or “previously absolved” but just mentioning it again for grace.


Thank you!! Exactly what I was looking for!


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