Confession and The Act of Contrition

If one goes to the sacrament of confession and is sorry for his sins, has a hatred for sin, recounts all of their sins to the best of their ability, and has a firm purpose of amendment…then their confession is valid. Is the actual “Act of Contrition” necessary for a valid confession if the priest gives you absolution? Also, lets say a person goes to confession and does everything right…and it comes time for the act of contrition and they come upon the line “and avoid whatever leads me to sin” and they say it…but they know they will place themself in a near occassion of sin at a later time. And so later they put themself in a near occasion of sin and they do not sin…so they truly had a firm purpose of amendment which was proven when they didn’t sin after exposing themself to a “near occasion of sin” and we all know they shouldn’t put themself in a situation where they might sin, but just by putting themself in this situation, does it invalidate the confession? The pentinent didn’t confess with the intention of committing the same sin again…they actually resolved to never do it again, but was aware they would be in the near occassion of sin. Is their confession still valid?

I'm new to confession, and forgot the Act of Contrition in the car (I need to memorize it) so I went to confession and the priest asked me if I knew the act of contrition - I said no, and then he absolved me. So I hope this is vaild :)

Also, I believe putting yourself in the near occasion of sin repeatedly is a sin itself since you are putting yourself at risk on purpose. If you do not absolve to remove yourself from this situation, you are still sinning.

At this point, I wonder about the definition of 'near occasion of sin.' What may be near to one is not near to another, so you must use prudence to decide. For example, an alcoholic would not go to a bar with friends who will encourage him to drink, knowing he has a drinking problem, but a person who doesn't drink can do this and simply say 'no thanks' to the temptation, since they really aren't even tempted. Atleast that's how I understand it.

[quote="Jerok, post:2, topic:185129"]
I'm new to confession, and forgot the Act of Contrition in the car (I need to memorize it) so I went to confession and the priest asked me if I knew the act of contrition - I said no, and then he absolved me. So I hope this is vaild :)

Also, I believe putting yourself in the near occasion of sin repeatedly is a sin itself since you are putting yourself at risk on purpose. If you do not absolve to remove yourself from this situation, you are still sinning.

At this point, I wonder about the definition of 'near occasion of sin.' What may be near to one is not near to another, so you must use prudence to decide. For example, an alcoholic would not go to a bar with friends who will encourage him to drink, knowing he has a drinking problem, but a person who doesn't drink can do this and simply say 'no thanks' to the temptation, since they really aren't even tempted. Atleast that's how I understand it.

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Absolution is not conditional. If you forget to make an act of contrition or even forget to do the penance you are given it does not make the Confession invalid.

I understand that…it is kind of hard to explain what I am trying to say though…I guess it is in the act of contrition, you say “you firmly intend to avoid whatever leads you to sin”…but while saying it, you know you are going to subject yourself at a later time to a near occasion of sin…but all the while you firmly intend on not sinning and you have a hatred of sin…but certain circumstances may find you keep subjecting yourself to the near occasion of sin. Is that still valid?

bump up…no one???

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:4, topic:185129"]
I understand that...it is kind of hard to explain what I am trying to say though...I guess it is in the act of contrition, you say "you firmly intend to avoid whatever leads you to sin"...but while saying it, you know you are going to subject yourself at a later time to a near occasion of sin...but all the while you firmly intend on not sinning and you have a hatred of sin...but certain circumstances may find you keep subjecting yourself to the near occasion of sin. Is that still valid?

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Why would you willingly expose yourself to a near occasion of sin?

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:4, topic:185129"]
I understand that...it is kind of hard to explain what I am trying to say though...I guess it is in the act of contrition, you say "you firmly intend to avoid whatever leads you to sin"...but while saying it, you know you are going to subject yourself at a later time to a near occasion of sin...but all the while you firmly intend on not sinning and you have a hatred of sin...but certain circumstances may find you keep subjecting yourself to the near occasion of sin. Is that still valid?

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As I undrstand your question, say you know at the time you are reciting the Act, you are planning to go out afterwards to a strip bar for your own pleasure. In a case like that, you are not truely repentant for your actions and there would be no absolution.
But then let's say you are going to that bar to try to minister and change the ways of some else there. You may be exposing yourself to the temptation of sin, but that would not be your primary intent, then the act could give you strenght to enter say "the lions den". Jesus dined with prostetutes, that didn't make him a sinner.

Peace,
FAB

We can not be saints until we reach heaven. Until then we can only try our best. In admitting to God our outright faults, and our simple weaknesses we become stronger. If you mean what you say when in the confessional, you are forgiven. It does not mean you will never sin again, just that you want never to sin again... Does this help?

Yes, but I guess what I am wondering is; is putting oneself in the near occasion of sin the same as sinning...let us say for example, for an alcoholic, a near occasion of sin would be going to a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol, or living in a home that has alcohol, or purchasing alcohol for a roomate, etc...neither one of those are sins within themselves, but can be a near occasion of sin for the average alcoholic...and this person knows this and exposes themself to it anyone, whether it be from addiction, habit, etc...but all the while has no intention of drinking and getting drunk. So when they confess, all the elements are present in order to make a good confession...however, they do not avoid the near occasions of sin as they say they intend to do when they are making the act of contrition...so is there confession valid or not? I have been discussing this with a friend of mine and I can't tell him one way or the other...I do not know. I do know that without a firm purpose of amendment, the confession is not valid...however, what I do not know is that if one can have a firm purpose of amendment but still willingly put themself in the near occasion of sin hoping they will not sin while in that situation. Are the two mutually exclusive?

[quote="coda, post:8, topic:185129"]
We can not be saints until we reach heaven. Until then we can only try our best. In admitting to God our outright faults, and our simple weaknesses we become stronger. If you mean what you say when in the confessional, you are forgiven. It does not mean you will never sin again, just that you want never to sin again... Does this help?

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I have been discussing this with my friend who I am trying to seek the answer for...I will not elaborate on their particular problem, however, I will tell you that there is nothing morally wrong with their actions that just happen to be a near occasion of sin for them....such as, they do not go to strip clubs or look at pornography, which are both grave matters...they just have difficulty in certain everyday situations that lead them to sin and they lack the will power, maybe through habit, desire, or addiction to prevent themself from avoiding that near occasion of sin...sometimes when they expose themself to it, they do not fall into sin...sometimes they do. In light of that response, are they still making a valid confession....like I said, I can't help them because I do not know...but I told them I would ask you all your opinions on the matter. I have told them to discuss it with their regular confessor, but they have anxiety about approaching the same confessor for this repeated problem they have...so I am trying to help them the best way I know how.

[quote="FAB, post:7, topic:185129"]
As I undrstand your question, say you know at the time you are reciting the Act, you are planning to go out afterwards to a strip bar for your own pleasure. In a case like that, you are not truely repentant for your actions and there would be no absolution.
But then let's say you are going to that bar to try to minister and change the ways of some else there. You may be exposing yourself to the temptation of sin, but that would not be your primary intent, then the act could give you strenght to enter say "the lions den". Jesus dined with prostetutes, that didn't make him a sinner.

Peace,
FAB

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If someone were addicted to something alcoholic} etc. , they are not acting with full will. Let's say to illustrate} one has an impurity problem that has become habitual. It is best to continue to take this to the confessional every time so as to benefit from the sacramental Grace imparted. Having a pretty good idea you will fail in the future does not mean a person is not repentant, and does not mean their confession is invalid. However, KNOWING while confessing that one PLANS on purposefully viewing/acting on impurity would invalidate the confession.

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:9, topic:185129"]
Yes, but I guess what I am wondering is; is putting oneself in the near occasion of sin the same as sinning...

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Again.....

Why would you willingly expose yourself to a near occasion of sin?

Your example of an alcoholic would depend on how much temptation he felt. I would think that going to a bar would be an near occasion of sin as a bar is solely there for the purpose of consumeing alcohol but there are other reasons to go to a resturant that also serves alcohol.

I do not think this specifically affects the validity of the absolution given as long as the person has no intention of sinning, but to place themselves in a known situation where they know that they may fall is not a smart thing to do and is something that I would advise them to avoid and to also speak to their spiritual director about or if they do not have a spiritual director then to bring up with their confessor or set up a meeting with their pastor for some pastoral counseling.

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:10, topic:185129"]
I have been discussing this with my friend who I am trying to seek the answer for...I will not elaborate on their particular problem, however, I will tell you that there is nothing morally wrong with their actions that just happen to be a near occasion of sin for them....such as, they do not go to strip clubs or look at pornography, which are both grave matters...they just have difficulty in certain everyday situations that lead them to sin and they lack the will power, maybe through habit, desire, or addiction to prevent themself from avoiding that near occasion of sin...sometimes when they expose themself to it, they do not fall into sin...sometimes they do. In light of that response, are they still making a valid confession....like I said, I can't help them because I do not know...but I told them I would ask you all your opinions on the matter. I have told them to discuss it with their regular confessor, but they have anxiety about approaching the same confessor for this repeated problem they have...so I am trying to help them the best way I know how.

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Your description then could be anyone in daily life unless you live in a monestary. It is then incumant upon them to strive not to sin. We have free will, and even though tempted, we don't have to respond. We have been given strenght to turn fom sin through baptism, but we still must pray and the sacrament of reconcilation is certainly part of it.
If it is a reaccuring sin, then they particular need to pray for help not to commit that sin if there is no option for them not to be tempted.
If they are trying, and praying but still sin, and then are contright for thier actions, the absolution is valid.
Peace,
FAB

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:10, topic:185129"]
I have been discussing this with my friend who I am trying to seek the answer for...I will not elaborate on their particular problem, however, I will tell you that there is nothing morally wrong with their actions that just happen to be a near occasion of sin for them....such as, they do not go to strip clubs or look at pornography, which are both grave matters...they just have difficulty in certain everyday situations that lead them to sin and they lack the will power, maybe through habit, desire, or addiction to prevent themself from avoiding that near occasion of sin...sometimes when they expose themself to it, they do not fall into sin...sometimes they do. In light of that response, are they still making a valid confession....like I said, I can't help them because I do not know...but I told them I would ask you all your opinions on the matter. I have told them to discuss it with their regular confessor, but they have anxiety about approaching the same confessor for this repeated problem they have...so I am trying to help them the best way I know how.

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It depends on what the "near occasion of sin" is. If a mom has a problem with gluttony, she cannot very well stay out of the kitchen entirely, can she? She might be able to get her husband to do the grocery shopping, or to go with her, so she won't keep buying whatever it is that she binges on. Notice, too, with this example, that there gets to be a point where there is a true addiction. The freedom of choice is mitigated in that case. Then the morally-culpable choices become different. Maybe the choice for which we are culpable becomes not whether or not to stop giving into the addiction, which we have lost the capacity to do on our own, but whether or not we are humble enough to get outside help, or whether we choose to indulge our pride instead.

That is something to be aware of, too. Sometimes, what we say is fear is actually protection of our pride, instead. We get no quarter there. I don't mean God is not merciful, but a doctor sometimes cannot help us if we won't pull our pants down for the shot. We have to be willing to do what is required to take our medicine, in order to accept our healing. If that is what is meant by your question, well then....reality is reality. You gotta do what is necessary to accept help out of the pit.

A near occasion of sin is just that a near occasion, a time/place/situation when sinning might occur. It is not in and of itself a sin. When praying the Act of Contrition one is reminded to avoid what leads him/her to sin but not all occasions can be avoided despite the best efforts of the penitent. If all occasions could be avoided, we would never sin. Through the development of a good Catholic conscience, a person can learn what is the most drastic of near occasions and avoid them whenever possible.

For me, going to bed can be a near occasion of sin (I struggle with masturbation). I can’t avoid going to bed - I can avoid other contributing factors and increase prayer etc when I feel weak but the actual occasion cannot be avoided. Does that mean I sin whenever I go to bed? Obviously not.

[quote="michaeldaniels, post:4, topic:185129"]
I understand that...it is kind of hard to explain what I am trying to say though...I guess it is in the act of contrition, you say "you firmly intend to avoid whatever leads you to sin"...but while saying it, you know you are going to subject yourself at a later time to a near occasion of sin...but all the while you firmly intend on not sinning and you have a hatred of sin...but certain circumstances may find you keep subjecting yourself to the near occasion of sin. Is that still valid?

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At my Church we do not make an act of contrition during Confession. We make it after we leave the Confessional.
The bottom line is very simple. Provided your confession is sincere and you have not deliberately left out any mortal sins, and you fully intend to try your best not to sin again your confession is valid. All of us know that depsite our best intentions we will fall from time to time. That does not make our previous confession invalid.

Thanks guys for all the input

I have done the same thing. I now make sure to grab the missalette from a pew so I can just read the act of contrition off the back of the book. It is a truly beautiful prayer and I hope to have it memorized soon.

Hmmm...

My old priest didn't even ask for me to say an Act of Contrition.
When I questioned him about this he said that he assumed that everyone who came to confession said an Act of Contrition every day! :confused:

[quote="The_Reginator, post:19, topic:185129"]
Hmmm...

My old priest didn't even ask for me to say an Act of Contrition.
When I questioned him about this he said that he assumed that everyone who came to confession said an Act of Contrition every day! :confused:

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Actually I do. Last thing before going to sleep.

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