Can I go to confession if I'm not totally sorry for my sins?

Hi everyone,

So my faith is a pretty big mess; I’ve fallen back into a lot of old habitual sins, I’m hardly praying, and I’m really doubting God altogether. I want to go to confession because I have a real lot to confess and I guess maybe I’m scared not to go, but I’m not really sorry for all my sins. At first I felt horrible when I sinned, but as more time has passed, I’ve just gotten more and more indifferent and started sinning more frequently. Part of me wants to come back to God and the other part is screaming that God can’t exist, the faith is ridiculous, and it’s caused many of the problems in my life. I feel like my life is so tangled up that I don’t have the strength or the courage to work it out and I’m really ashamed of some of the things I’ve done. I’m not sure that I will make an honest effort to start fresh after confession; maybe I’m wrong, but I feel too weak and tired and confused. I almost think I would be a better and healthier person without God. :confused:

Is it ok for me to go to confession when I’m feeling like this and I’m not 100% sorry for sinning? Somehow it seems wrong to me. I keep waiting for contrition to come, but instead I seem to be moving in the wrong direction.


p.s. I know I posted a couple weeks ago about going to confession after daily mass – I didn’t go, I just keep putting it off. :frowning:

Well, how about praying before confession for true contrition… Many times we are attached to our sins and seek to justify them… Pray and allow Jesus the chance to fill you with genuine sorrow.

Shared by a miserable sinner… :frowning:

Peace be with you…:hug1:

Pray for grace and then make an appointment and go sit down with a Priest and talk…(the actual sins may be something to wait until the actual confession --so they are under the seal)

Remember contrition is more of the *will *than feelings (feelings need not arrive but one can have very good contrition). And imperfect contrition together with of course a firm purpose of amendment etc (talk with the Priest about his) can be had …even for lesser supernatural motives like fear of hell…

Temptations come differently to one who is actively living a Christian life --than one who is caught up in his gravely sinful patterns …that temptation is more lulling of conscience to sleep…

Resist --and make that appointment! Lay your difficulties out…

PS: the Priest has heard much worse.

But know that in Jesus Christ and thus in his Church is true life.

Do what the OPs’ have said!!

Come back to the Faith!!

You are loved!

Id say a great number of people, myself included, and not always truly sorry every sin they confess. But the more you confess it, the more clarity you have about it…which leads to true contrition.

It doesn’t seem right to me to go to confession if you’re not sorry for your sins. How would you feel saying the Act of Contrition if you’re not really sorry? :frowning: Seems a bit pointless.

No. God has created you with free will.

I think it would be best to make an appointment to go, so you will have a bit longer time during confession to talk about some of the issues youre experiencing. I would just frame it just as you have here, that you are confused and not sure if you are sorry for sins x y and z. I have actually mentioned my struggles with certain sins being considered sins during confession, and received very charitable advice from the priest. Over time, I feel I have received much grace to get a new perspective on those sins…however, the grace did not come without a lot of lapses back into sin, as well as resulting shame.
When in doubt, go with the shame. I feel that emotion is an indicator that we are on the right track…
I’ll pray for you tonight.

What is the point of going to Confession if you are not repentant? Without repentnce your sins will not be forgiven.

I am a two weeks overdue myself.

I fasted yesterday as a form of penance.

I believe the act of going to confession will bring sorrow after absolution.

The priest often asks if I am contrite. I often reply, “not as much as I would like to be”.

My mind is often opened to scripture after getting home from confession.
I believe this to be due to being back in communion with the Lord.

To not confess is a sin.

  1. Confession is like PT. It sucks when you first start doing it, but it starts to pay off once you get into the habit of doing it. Same goes for prayer and pretty much anything else worth doing.

  2. What helps me a lot is “Be still, and know that I am God” and “I do believe, help my unbelief.”

Yes the person needs to be contrite. Needs contrition. Needs to be really sorry.

It is important though to note that one need not “feel” contrition to have contrition. It is more of the “will”.

And one can also point out too (for some are confused on this point) one need not “feel” love – to love.

OP, I am much like you these days…tired, confused, doubting. I go to adoration every week, and just complain and then feel foolish that I’m complaining to a circle of wafer at 1:00 AM when I could be home sleeping because I’m so tired. I hope God is real, and that He & Jesus forgive my lack of enthusiasm.

We can be sorry that our sins offend God, not so much that we ‘feel’ that whatever is so terribly wrong. That realization comes with time and reflection. So, for now…I’m sorry that my sins offend God.

I don’t think it is helpful to add adjectives to “sorry” or our level of contrition. Certainly, we must be sorry for our sins in order to benefit from Confession. However, to be “truly sorry” or “totally sorry” or “completely contrite” is not demanded of us before we can confess. Yes, a traditional act of contrition says “I am heartily sorry…” but if a person left out the word “heartily” it wouldn’t necessarily mean there was no contrition.

Staying away from confession because of imperfect contrition is not wise and is not demanded/suggested by the Church. A reason we have this Sacrament, after all, is to enable us to be forgiven even if our contrition is not perfect.


One would need to be “truly sorry” …that would not be a good example :slight_smile: For if one where not “truly sorry” one would be “falsely sorry” and thus not sorry. :wink:

One needs contrition for confession (either perfect or imperfect --readers see Catechism) --which does not though mean that any feeling per se needs to occur.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

  1. Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the
    resolution not to sin again.” [50]
  1. When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins;
    it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. [51]
  1. The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or
    the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process
    which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the
    forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. [52]

In my understanding:

If you detest you sins because they are ugly or because you fear damnation then you have imperfect contrition. This is sufficient to forgive venial sins but not mortal ones. If you fear a sin is mortal, please talk to your confessor/ parish priest. That is what they are there for. It is best to talk to a priest you do know so they can give you more personalized help.

Fear of hell, determination not to sin again, and the sacrament of penance are all that is needed for the forgiveness of venial sins. It is the mortal sins which require perfect contrition. If you have doubts you still may be surprised by the wisdom a priest has. They don’t go through at least six years of training and schooling for nothing!

God Bless

p.s. Don’t be ashamed or feel unworthy to go to confession. It is not for people who are perfect! It is for sinners. I can tell you from experience that it really gives you strength. Don’t go if you do not at least have imperfect contrition or if you do not believe, but do not hold back from shame or a feeling of unworthiness.

A traditional catechisms i have says, the fear to go to hell is enough sorry for confession.

Not true.

Imperfect contrition (e.g. mere fear of Hell) is enough assuming one goes to confession, intends to stop sinning, and is absolved. Even for mortal sins.

Perfect contrition only matters if you die before confessing, in which case perfect contrition could save you, but not imperfect.

God Bless

Quite right. Thank you for correcting me: I misread. That is all the more reason to go to confession!

What about confessing to the fact you don’t feel sorry? If this troubles you, you obviously want to feel sorry, and have a conscience about the fact you can’t.

Sometimes a good confessor can put their finger on what stands in your way. I remember confessing to the fact I didn’t want to forgive certain people. My confessor was able to identify what was preventing me from doing so - the desire for revenge. He also enhanced my understanding of what forgiveness is, in that forgiving someone does not mean forgetting what they did or not feeling hurt. He said that would not be true forgiveness, as true forgiveness does not mean telling people what they did was OK.

Once you know what stands in your way, you can deal with it. If you don’t know, you can’t
and that’s were a good confessor can point you in the right direction. I also remember a monk who visited our parish telling us about a young man who came to confession, hadn’t been for a long time, and he got the impression he didn’t really want to be there and wasn’t sorry. When leaving confession, the young man said ‘I’m glad I came.’

The point of his story was going to confession isn’t a complete waste of time, even if one thinks it is. The other thing I would say is confession isn’t always a wonderful experience. It can be a real struggle. It doesn’t mean you have to give up.

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