Confession and mortal sin

If a person deliberately withholds a mortal sin from a confession, but honestly confesses many other sins, including other mortal sins, does that invalidate the entire confession and absolution?

Thank you.


The person needs to go back as soon as possible and make another Confession that includes all the mortal sins mentioned in the first one, all the mortal sins that were not mentioned including the one that was deliberately withheld, and the fact that the person made a bad Confession earlier.

One way to proceed is to begin by saying, “My last good Confession was [the time before last] - the Confession I made on [such and such date] was a bad Confession because I withheld the sin of [whatever it was.] In addition, I need to reconfess that I did [the other mortal sins that you did confess in the bad confession] - for these and for all the sins of my life I am humbly sorry, Father.”

From what I was always told yes it does, the absolution doesn’t count if you’re lying in the confessional. I would err on the side of caution. I once lied about my last confession because it would show that I was doing a sin more than I wanted the priest to know out of embarassment, on second thought I went back to re-confess everything AND had to confess lying about the length of time etc…

So long short… lying in the confessional is about the most useless thing you can do with your time…

Thank you for the reply.

What if the situation is many many confessions made over many many years with the same (repeating) sin being withheld each time. It is not possible to repeat all of those confessions - most of which can barely be remembered.

Thank you.

Remember as many mortal sins as you can, explain the situation to the priest, be completely forthcoming and honest. If you do all that and receive absolution you are absolved, you are on the straight path, anymore fretting can lead to scrupulosity which I suffered from for over a year.

It got to the point I was confessing sins from when I was 12 that I was remembering after confession until finnally my confessor told me to stop confessing sins you already received absolution for, you’re going to make yourself nuts.

The best thing for the person to do in this situation is to sit down with a priest and talk to him about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, mention that this has happened so many times, and seek his advice about making a General Confession that includes everything from the time of Baptism until the present moment, and thus being able to start over on a clean slate.

(If the priest doesn’t think that a General Confession is a good idea at the moment, he should be asked how to deal with the situation in the meantime.)

one would confess the sin of with-holding a mortal sin, that sin and how many times (or that is was a habit over a period of time, say 5 yrs or whatever), confess what other mortal sins you can remember, and finish with “for these and for all the sins of my past life I am heartily sorry.” Then once the penitent has made a good complete confession, receive absolution, make a good act of contrition, do your penance, and move on. Don’t keep confessing the past sins once a complete, honest confession has been made. If you later remember a biggie you forgot in your general confession, you can mention it the next time in confession but you must accept the reality of the sacrament that you were absolved of all mortal sins in your last good confession if you made an honest effort to remember and confess everything.

Yes. Being that a sin becomes mortal when grave matter is acted upon with knowledge and complete consent it results in a diliberate separation from God. So, in essence, if you go to Reconciliation and tell God I’m sorry for A,B,C, but I still want to remain separated from you because of sin D then no reconciling can take place because you choose for it not to. God hates all sin. In the case of mortal sin it’s either all or none. You’re either entirely contrite with a firm purpose of amendment and willing to reconcile or not. Even if you confess a mortal sin with the intent to commit it again renders the absolution meaningless and results in sacraligious confession. If a priest knows this, such as in the case of cohabitation (fornication), he can retain the absolution until further committed action is taken. So in closing, you’re in charge. Be honest to a God who already knows everything that you did and you have nothing to fear…:slight_smile:

One last piece from me: Take the advice of all the other posters here. About 15 minutes with a priest will remove all of your fears and you will rest assured of God’s forgiveness.Priests have heard just about every sin imaginable and if embarrasment is an issue go behind the screen. God Bless you…:slight_smile:

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I would also like to add that I am happy, no thrilled, that the OP, Cecilia_Dympna, has realized what she was doing (whatever it was) was wrong and has decided to do something about it.

Whatever that repeating sin was, welcome back to full communion with the Church. Yes, work with your priest, it will not be as painful as you may fear. And it will probably not take as long.

Praise God and thank you for heeding the call of God and making the effort to conform your conscience to God’s will and Church teaching! :thumbsup:

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Thank you for your replies and help.

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