Can you help me with some problems with confession?

I have three problems with confession right now. 1st, how specific do I need to get with sexual sin in the confessional? Can I be generic, such as “I committed sins of impurity with myself or others x number of times”. This is what I have done in the past. Second What if I committed multiple types of sexual sins on some occassions? When I went to confession for these sins, I did not list out each sin specifially, but I made the aforementioned generic blanket statement. As I recall, at least on a few occassions, the priest did not want any details. Did I need to give a more specific description for each sin or is a generic blanket statement covering all of these sins of impurity ok. Were my confessions valid?

Lastly, many years ago, I went to confession and confessed some sins that I felt were very wrong, but did not confess some other mortal sins for some reason. I know now that deliberately withholding mortal sins is a mortal sin in itself, but did deliberately withholding some of my mortal sins that day render the entire confession invalid also? I have since confessed the sins I withheld that day, but what about the sins that I actually did confess back then. Are they forgiven or do I need to go back and confess those again? I am confused by what others have told me and I hope I haven’t confused you as well.

Dear Tim,

Stating that one has committed sins of impurity with oneself and others is sufficiently specific. Dwelling too much on such experience can be a possible further temptation for
some people. If the priest needs more specifics, he will ask for them.

There is no reason to second-guess yourself regarding your motivation for withholding some sins in a previous confession. You have confessed them and that is enough. You don’t want to scruple here. Forget about them. Better now to give your attention to the Lord’s passion and your gratitude for His love.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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