Confess Some Sins Now or All Sins Later


I have a dilemma that I would appreciate your input on. I currently have a few sins that I would like to go to confession for, but I have another sin that I’m just not ready to confess. So I’m wondering if I should go to confession now for the sins I am ready to confess or if I should wait to go to confession until I’m ready to confess all my sins. I want my confession to be valid and I’m not sure if holding back on one would invalidate the others.

I don’t want to say what my sin is but I believe that to confess this sin I need to be sorry for it and I’m working up to that, but am not there yet.

Thanks for your advice.


If it is a moral sin then yes you would have to confess it along with all of the other sins. One may not confess some mortal sins even under these circumstances. A person must be sorry at least in an imperfect manner for all sins before going to confession otherwise it is invalid.

[quote=Canon 987 and 988 §1(My emphasis in bold)]To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.

A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.


It’s all or nothing. One cannot have two masters. Baltimore Catechism No. 3:
Q. 760. Why cannot some of our mortal sins be forgiven while the rest remain on our souls?
A. It is impossible for any of our mortal sins to be forgiven unless they are all forgiven, because as light and darkness cannot be together in the same place, so sanctifying grace and mortal sin cannot dwell together. If there be grace in the soul, there can be no mortal sin, and if there be mortal sin, there can be no grace, for one mortal sin expels all grace.

Q. 761. What do you mean when you say that our sorrow should be sovereign?
A. When I say that our sorrow should be sovereign, I mean that we should grieve more for having offended God than for any other evil that can befall us.


We should never deliberately withhold a possible mortal sin. If you are not sure that you have contrition for this particular sin, discuss that fact with your confessor.


Intentionally leaving a sin out during confession does invalidate the confession and adds the sin of sacrilege. Why not confess, and include the trouble you are having with feeling sorry for this sin. You can include that you are working on it. This would be better than leaving it out, and may help you reach true sorrow for the sin in question.


You didn’t say if the sin you aren’t ready to give up is mortal, and I’m not sure what you mean by not ready to confess. Given that disclaimer, I had a problem with a serious habitual sin. I was avoiding confession. I finally went. Told the priest what was going on. Told him “I won’t” stop. But then said I want to. That was enough contrition! With that day’s grace and more confession of that sin, it seems to be a lot easier to resist. Have a talk with a priest.


Oh, that’s important, all or nothing pertains to serious (mortal) sins. It is not required but recommended, to confess less serious (venial) sins in individual sacramental confession, and those less serious sins do not cause a loss of salvation.


Thank you all for the replies! Sadly, yes it is a mortal sin. :frowning: I understand that it’s all or nothing so I will go and confess all and talk to the Priest on my issues with this sin. Again, thank you.


This is a good idea as the priest will give you advice. Mortal sin is never fun to confess but there is no overcoming it until we do.


You don’t need to “feel sorry” for a sin to confess it. You only need to decide that you will repent of it, if only because moral law forbids you to do it, and in obedience resolve that you will truly and honestly exert your will in order to not to do it again. IOW, you only have to be willing to have faith that you are taught truly that this is a sin, to desire firmly to avoid those things you have been taught to avoid and do those things that duty requires you to do, and even when you do not understand or agree to be obedient to the moral law. That is enough.

Repentance is an act of will, not an emotion. You don’t have to understand or agree with the reasons behind the moral law to follow it or to repent of violating it, and you don’t have to emotionally feel remorse in order to repent. Some people do not have the gift of an emotional conscience, and even more have their consciences deadened by habitual sin or the deceit of the evil one. How will those people repent, except by an act of will? Make that act of will, that you will renounce all those things that offend God even if they do not seem offensive to you, and go to confession.

You are wise to do this!! You do not go to a prosecutor, but a physician. Don’t be afraid.



If it is any comfort, priests are not sheltered know-nothings. Pretty much all of them have dealt with tons of reverts, coverts, even prison convicts, etc. You’re going to have a hard time shocking him.

Reconciliation is - by its very design - an almost logically bulletproof experience of humility for the penitent. If it is not humiliating to confess, then you are not ashamed, and if you are not ashamed, then you wouldn’t be bothering with Reconciliation in the first place.

There is very little growth that ever occurs in life that is not painful.


You must confess ALL remembered mortal sins otherwise you are not forgiven.
For example, if you have committed 4 different types of mortal sin and only confess three and you deliberately do not confess the fourth then even though you can fool the priest, any absolution he gives you is invalid.You cannot fool God.


Absolutely spot-on. Go to confession, confess the sin, and let the priest know you are having trouble with “feeling” guilty about the sin.


All wonderful advice. If I might add my 2 cents, as a recent convert who had 40+ years and some pretty serious sins to confess, I would try to seek out an older priest. In my experience, they tend to be a bit more generous with their time and advice, and they just seem more relaxed and attentive. Go now, before Lent begins and the lines are so long that the Priests are stressed out and rushed.


Please, please, please don’t worry about what the priest will think. He’s heard it ALL. Go and receive the grace and mercy of Christ. I often have these fears, but when I just go and do it no matter how I feel, I ALWAYS leave the confessional with a light heart. Jesus is waiting for you. :slight_smile:

You don’t need to “feel sorry enough” for your sin to confess it - you just need to have “true contrition” - i.e. feeling even just a bit sorry. The “act of contrition” that you say before he absolves you will be enough.


As a 60 plus year Catholic, I have to suggest trying to have just one confessor. Age is no predictor of gentleness, wisdom or attentiveness. My regular guy knows my soul pretty well.
If he seemed stressed out or rushed last time, I can ask about it. If I seem “cured” of some sin, and that seems unlikely, he can ask about that. If I’m struggling, he already knows the background. Remember we get to talk with Jesus. I like to get it all out there. To give Him the best chance possible to bring me closer to Him. I really do not want to be keeping him from helping me as much as he can. And, this involves much less time. We don’t have to start from the beginning each time.


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