Confessing Sins

To confess masturbation, can you just say “I have been sexually immoral many times.”?

Or should it be “I have been sexually immoral by myself many times.”?

Another question, is it a sin to rip music from a videogame’s soundtrack that is not available for sale and probably never will be?

Also, I have a bit of a situation. I took a college class with a radical feminist professor. In some of the essays I wrote for that class, I took a libertarian approach by saying even though I don’t find abortion morally ok, it should still be legal. Was this a sin? I was afraid she would lower my grade if I didn’t say that.


One needs to confess mortal sins in number and kind (and that which changes the kind --like the person one murdered is your brother)

Number --one is to give the number for mortal sins. Now if one say one does not know the number --one approximates according to what one knows (around 5x, around once a month or so for the last 5 years, or if need be many x or a few etc)

And the kind needs to get to the species not just the general area.

Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers:

Such was wrong to do – for it should never be legal.

I think that is acceptable.

For a start, I doubt anyone keeps a detailed log of how may times they have masturbated since their last confession (imagine someone found it! haha!).

And while I understand it might be easier to talk about “sexual immorality” (or “sins against chastity”) than “masturbation”, there is no effort to hide the nature / type of sin.

I think a good confession is genuinely remorseful, is honest and accurate and is succinct / to the point.

I don’t advocate glossing over anything, or going easy on ourselves, but I think its more fruitful to identity the types and nature of sins, and if they occurred once, a handful of times, or regularly, than it is to present a detailed litany of times and dates of the times you masturbated, or whatever. What would that achieve, other than to bore the priest and make the confession line back-up? And how long would the average teenage boy be in there?

When you purchased the game, you became the legal owner of its all contents - but only for your own personal use. I don’t think it is wrong to use the soundtrack personally, as you bought it, but it would be wrong to distribute copies of it to others, who have not bought the right to use any of the game contents.

Not a sin, but you are selling yourself (and so your faith) short in that you are not arguing your own point of view - or rather, the truth - instead you are writing what you think the professor wants to hear. (I presume the assignment was to make an argument in the essay?).

I am sure your Prof would respect your point of view more - even if she vehemently disagreed - if she knew it was genuinely your point of view, not your idea of what she wants to read. Also, while I understand why you might have felt the way you did, I think it its unfair to doubt her character and professionalism, by fearing (without any evidence?) she may be spiteful to those with different opinions. She has to grade students based on the curriculum, not her own views, and if she is professional and fair then she will do this and you have nothing to fear.


Just say, “Masturbation, X number of times, looking at impure images each time, or pornography each time” It may be difficult at first to do this, but once you gain the courage to plainly state your sin you partake in the suffering of Christ and afterward feel a huge sense of relief. You own up right in front of Jesus to the sins that he died for.

As others have said, you need to be specific, both kind and number. Instead of saying 5 times though, it’s okay to give number in different ways (eg Masturbation, about every other day/every day/once a week/twice a day) if you don’t remember the exact number.
It’s important to tell what your sin was without euphemism, so that the priest will know what the sin was (impure could mean TONS of things). It’s important to give the number because each occasion was a separate mortal sin and each one should be confessed. It will also give the priest better info to give you advice.

That is not a good confession. “Sexually immoral” could mean anything from watching indecent non-pornographic mainstream TV, to committing adultery with the your brother’s wife. Most sins of sexual immorality are mortal sins so need to be confessed in kind and number. eg “masturbation almost daily”, “fornication four times”, etc.

Apart from the canonical requirement to confess in kind and number, there is, as others have noted, psychological and spiritual benefit in being direct and honest in stating’s one sins.

Unfortunately she was not professional. She constantly criticized Catholicism and rarely ever said anything bad about other Christian denominations or Islam. She was constantly talking about how opposing abortion is ridiculous too. However, there were things I agreed with her on such as the need to reform our healthcare system in America because it is quite frankly very immoral to not do anything about it.

I also took a philosophy class where I had to debate on the topic of abortion. I was able to choose the topic I wanted to debate in but I had no control over which side to argue for. I was picked to argue for the pro-choice side. Should I have told my professor to bugger off and not do it?

Ok, is there another way to confess masturbation without saying the m word? Also, do I have to mention I was watching porn on the Internet while masturbating?

You could use a quaint euphemism such as “self abuse”, so long as it is clear that it means masturbation. Yes, watching porn is a separate sin and should be confessed. This question (or yours) is showing the advantage of being direct in stating one’s sins - your first question didn’t mention porn, you just covered everything with “sexual immorality”.

So, you confession should be, for example "masturbation and watching porn ". Just be brave and say it! You will feel better for it.

Watching porn is a separate sin, so that needs to be confessed separately.

If you don’t like the m word I suppose you can always use the old-fashioned term ‘self-abuse’. ‘Immorality’ or ‘impurity’ I think are far too vague.

Priests are not going to be upset by the ‘m’ word, by the way. It would have to be one of the most commonly committed, and therefore confessed, of all sins, so they all will have heard it many times. Surely if you can do the act it is not entirely beyond you to be able to name it correctly?

Think of it as like going to a doctor. Yes, you may have some really embarrassing disease, but the doctor is not a mind reader and won’t be able to help you properly if you just say ‘it hurts there’ and vaguely wave your hand in the direction of the affected part.

You have to be specific enough that the doctor knows what and where your symptoms are, and the priest knows what your sin is.

Indeed. :yup:

Good advice for all of us.

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