Confessing Suicidal Thoughts/Actions

Has anyone on here ever had to confess these? If so did you get a bad reaction?

I need to confess these and I plan on doing so on Friday at our First Friday mass/benediction but I am afraid of the reaction I’ll get… I work with some of the youth at my parish and Im afraid my pastor might say I cant work with them anymore if I confess these sins. Then again I know what I say in the confessional is supposed to stay in the confessional…:confused:

  1. Ask yourself carefully if these are really sins. Are they grave matter? Yes. Did you have full knowledge? Perhaps. Did you have full intent? That is the question.

  2. I am not sure your priest can do anything based on what you tell him in the confessional, as this seems to be breaking the Seal.

No, by the grace of God, I’ve not, but certainly there are others that have. Please know that absolution and the graces that you will receive would far out way any reaction that you might perceive.

Blessings to you.

As a general rule, you shouldn’t be confessing to someone who is also your employer. A priest-employer has a supervisory relationship with you that he doesn’t have with the other members of the congregation. While he’s not supposed to use the information he hears in the confessional, it would be difficult to do so if he hears, “I’m the one who keeps stealing the money from the rectory.”

For special supervisory relationships, such as the rector of a seminary and seminarians, it is forbidden by law for the rector to be a confessor. This is because the rector needs to approve or reject candidates for ordination; and knowledge gained in the confessional will compromise his judgment. This is a similar situation, in my opinion.

More than likely, you won’t get a bad reaction. That said, in my experience, there are some priests who aren’'t so great when it comes to "heavy"confessions. In those situations, it wasn’t a bad reaction, but more like they weren’t prepared for it. Either way, you should still confess them. The graces will be immeasurable.

I need to confess these and I plan on doing so on Friday at our First Friday mass/benediction but I am afraid of the reaction I’ll get… I work with some of the youth at my parish and Im afraid my pastor might say I cant work with them anymore if I confess these sins. Then again I know what I say in the confessional is supposed to stay in the confessional…:confused:

I’d strongly advise going behind the screen to help with anonymity, but the priest can’t use any information in a way that would break the seal or be burdensome to the penitent (ie: priests can use information they learn in the confession to be nicer to that person, to pray for them, to correct their own faults, etc).

Just some thoughts I had on this subject as I’ve dealt with these thoughts in the past:

  1. Most of the time these thoughts proceed from depression, something we do not choose. I’ve never known a person who willingly chose to contend with depression and it is in no way a sin to deal with clinical depression. So most likely you did not have full consent.

  2. While I am not Catholic, I shared my past struggles with depression and my “bad” (suicidal) thoughts with a friend who is a priest (he knew me since I was a child and ended up being at the campus ministry where I went to college), he assured me the depression and thoughts I struggled with were not my fault nor sinful.

I am sure your priest will be sensitive to the complexities of your struggles…and maybe confessing to someone who is not your employer will ease your anxiety as well.

I have confessed these thoughts on numerous occasions. Without exception, the priest hearing my confession was kind and gentle and tried to come up with ways to help me overcome my suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Unless the priest has just been confirmed, you won’t be telling the priest he hasn’t heard before; they’ve heard it all.

As for the youth ministry thing, I don’t know about that. I wasn’t involved with anything like that so I never confessed such a thing. I suspect the seal of the confessional is binding in that case, but if the priest says perhaps you shouldn’t continue, then maybe you shouldn’t, both as a point of prudence and because that is the advice he gives you. I do not know what the priest’s advice would be in that case.

Go to confession and do as the priest suggests. If he says continue with the youth ministry, then do that. If he says drop the youth ministry, then do that. If you drop it, you don’t have to tell anybody anything other than that that is your preference.

I’ve confessed both the thoughts and the (attempted) actions - both suicide and self harm.

My priest told me that it was unlikely either were actual mortal sins because of my mental state at the time, but it was always good to confess because of the grace we receive through the sacrament.

I’ve never had a bad reaction.

No thoughts on the job - I know priests can’t use the information against you, but is it possible to go to another priest? If only because you will be more comfortable.

Confess to the Priest and follow his advice.

He can do nothing about your relationship vis-a-vs the youth group based on anything told him in the confessional as that would break the seal. Period.

I would confess to a different priest, it may take some of the pressure off you as far as your concerns go.
Also, while the graces from this sacrament are so important for your situation, I’d also recommend seeing a counselor to address the issues. Suicidal ideation/behaviors are serious matters, and they should be dealt with in the context of a therapeutic relationship.

It is my belief that not every person who makes attempt at suicide or carries it through to the end has the faculty of their cognitive sound mind fully intact given certain life altering psychological disturbances like extreme trauma in ones life. Examples; Victims of Rape, Incest, Torture, or being a witness to a loved ones murder. Grave situational events like these that can psychologically cause temporary insanity.

Here’s what the Catholic Church teaches:


2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him.
It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life.
We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls.
We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us.
It is not ours to dispose of.

2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life.
It is gravely contrary to the just love of self.
It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations.
Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal.
Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.
Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

So should I confess?

Without going into too much detail, these thoughts/actions all stemmed from my home situation. I live at home with my DIVORCED parents and a brother who is addicted to drugs. His ex fiance and his daughter, who were out of the picture for nine months, recently came back around. His ex fiance was also addicted to drugs. Living under the same roof with all these people was insanity. In a nutshell there was emotional and financial abuse as well as the threat of physical abuse.

I tried expressing my feelings to my Mom and got no response. It was like talking to a wall. My Mom enables all of their behaviors. I am not financially stable to get out on my own yet. I am just starting a year long masters program. After that I will be able to leave.

YES. Explain the whole situation above to the Priest so that he can advise and absolve you. Even if it is a venial sin in your case due to your circumstances, you should confess it.
I myself have never had a bad reaction, the response has always been either caring or neutral.

I’ve confessed both self-harm and suicidal thoughts on multiple occasions, and will be confessing it again this week… at best, I’ve gotten mercy and love in reply; at worst, no reaction. Definitely confess it, even if you don’t think it’s mortal. It’ll give the priest a better idea of where you’re at and help him give you more helpful advice. If you’re not comfortable, go to another priest – there’s nothing wrong with that. But your priest is bound by the seal of confession, so I wouldn’t worry about your job.

If you feel humbly inclined and remorseful before God; Yes.
I sought the sacrament of reconciliation for my numerous attempts in my misery.
Seeking God’s forgiveness helps one carry the yoke of ones Cross easier so we can identify with Jesus Sufferings our Divine Physcian who helps make our burdens light.


Im Anglican and yes in confession I have done as such and other stuff too which this time it was written down and gave it him to read as I would get all, in reading it… He knows me enough after a year and that area seems to be left alone in discussion for he will talk about things and will ask those questions those uncomfortable questions. Confession isn’t a soft option with this priest and just spent a weekend email tantrums to him since my thursday confession, but I do know because he means the best results. Even if I don’t always want to hear it and actually he was only asking the questions but they were searching as such and I was trying to be truthful otherwise no point to being there. But my way of communicating is via email so there is nothing new to what I am confessing to him even with suicidal thoughts etc, he gets the lot from me, poor guy :slight_smile: which gives him more time to properly help.

I work with youth via Scouting and have been in school and actually working with children actually helps for me because it is a livelier atmosphere than other areas of work per se. Not once has he ever hinted that perhaps another area be better etc…

I haven’t read to the end of the posts but I know with our priest I receive full support and he does get bombared with emails from me and when it, it, I can ring and he is there he listens to everything

However I wll add that all said and done it not really a sin in the typical sense of sin. It used to be, but no longer is so. Ihope you did and got the support you were seeking? But it may take time to feel it. I should know that after this last 3 day :blush:

First of all, you need to ask yourself: are the suicidal thoughts and actions you wish to confess are they still active inside your life or are they part of the past? If they are part of the present, these emotions need to be dealt with meaning, seeking professional help is extremely important. If you feel comfortable, you can seek help from your priest, if not find someone you can trust. I used to have suicidal thoughts and it took me a long while to work through them.

If they are part of the past, who you go to is of personal choice. It really depends on your relationship with your priest. He is your spiritual leader as well as your employer. If you trust him with that topic go for it, if not, go annoymous might be preferable. Regardless of what you decide, considering you work with teenagers, having a discussion about suicide with them, might be a good idea. You could share your story and who knows, it might let them know that they aren’t alone. I know when I was a teenager, it really helped me when my youth leaders shared their stories. I learned that I wasn’t alone and I felt like I was able to speak with them on deeper topics.

I hope this helps,


and i will just add, having had time to cool off etc, that some stuff was addressed this time or at least he did try to address it but and all that…:blush:

Please do bring these thoughts to confession. I bring my own thoughts of suicide and/or self-harm to confession often, usually explaining to the priest if I haven’t seen him before that I do have a therapist.

I struggle at times with knowing if these thoughts are sinful. Intentionally dwelling on these thoughts is wrong, even though we fight a terrible battle against them when in the midst of depression. Knowing how intentional they are is hard to judge.

When I feel bad about the thoughts, I lay them at the feet of Jesus in the confessional and He showers me with the graces of this great sacrament to heal me and help me continue to carry my crosses. I can only encourage you to do the same.

Yes, my priest does know that I too do get some support and actually in process of trying to get more support which for me, needed a member of parliament is complaining on my behalf that I didn’t get the support I asked for… So the priest does know that, that he doesn’t have to sign post me via mental health etc. But I have also told him many a time that he isn’t to think himself responsible, or could have done more stuff… if anything should happen to me. It not his fault, he knows that from me. :slight_smile:

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