Confessing partial impure thoughts


An aquaintance of mine needs some advice. during confession he says that he confesses partial impure thoughts from time to time - thoughts that enter his mind, that he may entertain but for a very brief time. he knows such thoughts are wrong and therefore doesn’t indulge. It’s a venial sin. Although he said that once he also thought something of the same kind but toward a family member. He said that he’s not an incestuous person, but it happened - partial, brief moment. The exact recollection of the thought is obscure to him. He also said that his mind has been damaged over the years from illness (poor soul) so strange thoughts can enter in. Although in this instant he didn’t cut it off immediately as he ought to have.
One day recently after some fretting about, followed by me encouraging him, he opened up to me, and asked me in private whether he must confess this thought indivually too, or if just saying “partial impure thoughts” (covers them all) is enough. What do you think? I told him that saying partial impure thoughts was enough but perhaps i’m wrong. He’s obviously worried the priest might think he’s a whacko. I know him in person and he isn’t such a person.
thanks in advance


There’s a big difference between having a spontaneous thought and willfully dwelling upon that thought. To have a tempting thought come into one’s mind is no sin.

Your friend, however, should tell his confessor that he has been having intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are often a sign of scruples, a rather grave spiritual malady. The only real cure for it is absolute obedience to one’s confessor. If he sees a psychotherapist, he should bring this out in therapy sessions as well.

God bless.


St. Fuastina Jesus Divine Mercy.

1641 At adoration during the Forty-Hours’ Devotion, the Lord said to me, My daughter, write that involuntary offenses of souls do not hinder My love for them or prevent Me from uniting Myself with them. But voluntary offenses, even the smallest, obstruct My graces, and I cannot lavish My gifts on such souls.


The priest won’t think he’s “whacko”. It’s probably not necessary that he mention specifically who the person was the subject of his lustful thoughts when confessing, but if it’s bothering him this much maybe he should just for ease of conscience.

Long story short, tell your friend to be at peace and bring it up on to confession. Since he did not deliberately dwell on it, it does not sound like it was a mortal sin.

I’d also have him consider that he might be suffering from scrupulosity.

God bless!


Can someone help me please?
I had an impure thought a few days ago and I can’t remember if I consented to it for a few seconds or what. I just remember immediately freaking out after. Now I am worried that I may have committed a mortal sin.


That sounds like a venial sin and not mortal to me. A few seconds isn’t really enough to fully and deliberately consent.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit