Confession Dilemma - Please Help


Due to my particular situation I cannot go to the priest to ask these questions so please be patient. I’d rather not go into the details of why. Having been on this forum for a few weeks I know my story would NOT be received well so please just trust that speaking to him is not an option.

That said…

I have several habitual sins that I feel uncomfortable confessing because I know I will probably continue to commit them. As a result I find myself leaving confession with a feeling of … disappointment in myself? I don’t know how to describe it but on the same hand I feel like NOT going to confession is also an issue.

What is the teaching on habitual sins?

I was non-Catholic before and developed these sinful habits during that time and while I try very hard to overcome them I’m not at the point yet where I’ve mastered control over them.

I had several VERY BAD experiences in confession. First, I lied in the confessional (not intentionally, it was a knee jerk reaction because I felt so uncomfortable with the father). I went back and confessed my lie but felt like I still fudged it by trying to explain away the sin instead of directly facing it. I had my very bad experience after this (very, very shocking and traumatic experience) that led to me avoiding confession for over a year. I eventually managed to return to the confessional but was crying so hard and struggling so much that I only confessed one sin and forgot ALL THE OTHERS (which are mortal sins).

Now I’m at the point where I know I must go back and confess the sins I forgot but I’m terrified it’s going to go as poorly as the last three attempts. Any advice on how to tackle this very bad situation???

I am so, so, so, so uncomfortable with priests after my bad experience so I’m just worried I’m going to get nervous and scared in the confessional and make stupid mistakes AGAIN.


I think you worry too much. As long as you did not deliberately withhold a mortal sin, all you sins were forgiven. You can confess them if you remember, but you don’t have to. They are forgiven!

You need to have a desire at the time of your confession to not repeat you sins. With God’s help you can avoid sin. That is the confidence you need to have. It is human to repeat and repeat and repeat. Just keep coming back to Jesus and ask His forgiveness.

If you lies unintentionally it is not a sin. You can not sin unintentionally.


Write out what you want to say on a small piece of paper. Read your confession from the paper. Destroy the paper afterwards Answer any direct questions from the priest.

Ask God for a firm purpose of amendment and make a plan to ovoid the occasion of habitual sin. Pray a novena to Our Lady of Sorrows to identify and overcome your sins.


your confessing your sins to Jesus and priest are his instruments believe with Faith.your lack godly repentance Proverbs 28:13 No one who conceals transgressions will prosper,
but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Deuteronomy 4:7 For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?9 But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how you once stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, “Assemble the people for me, and I will let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me as long as they live on the earth, and may teach their children so”; 11 you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain was blazing up to the very heavens, shrouded in dark clouds.

2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death. 11 For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves guiltless in the matter.


OK whatever happened with Priests is in the past. I know it might have been traumatic but that was then this is now. The longer you put off making a complete honest confession you will continue to make excuses and you will continue to put it off. CALL A Catholic Church office, tell the person who answers that you need to set up at least an hour to talk with Father about something very personal. When you meet with Father tell him EVERYTHING you’ve said here. Write the main points down if you have to. Until you do this you won’t be at peace. Once you’ve done this you will see what peace, happiness and joy you will have.

Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be


First, you’re not obliged to confess again because you forgot sins. I asked a priest about this once and he suggested ending with “and for any sins I have forgotten I am truly sorry”

Second, to deal with your fear and discomfort, I’d first ask around for suggestions as to a priest that is a good confessor (if you’re comfortable with it, you can PM me. If we live in the same area I can offer some suggestions for incredibly kind confessors). You might want to meet with the priest ahead of time and tell them about your fears, or just schedule a confession and tell them when you start your confession. Priests have experience dealing with fear and anxiety and can help you through.

In the meantime, I will pray for you that you can come to know the beauty of this wonderful Sacrament.



**[1849] Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures human solidarity. It has been defined as "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law."121

**[1850] Sin is an offense against God: "Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done that which is evil in your sight."122 Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like gods,"123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus "love of oneself even to contempt of God."124 In this proud self- exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125


**[1865] Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself, but it cannot destroy the moral sense at its root.

**[1866] Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called “capital” because they engender other sins, other vices.138 They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

**[1867] The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven” : the blood of Abel,139 the sin of the Sodomites,140 the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,141 the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,142 injustice to the wage earner.143

**[1868 Sin is a personal act. Moreover, we have a responsibility for the sins committed by others when we cooperate in them :

  • by participating directly and voluntarily in them;

  • by ordering, advising, praising, or approving them;

  • by not disclosing or not hindering them when we have an obligation to do so;

  • by protecting evil-doers.

**[1869] Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. “Structures of sin” are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a "social sin."144



I also wanted to add that the grace received in Reconciliation can help us resist the temptation of habitual sins. So don’t feel bad or disappointed. Sometimes God heals us a little bit at a time.


A priest told me years ago, that every person of faith will struggle against the same temptation all of their lives.

Doesn’t matter what it is, you will be tempted and eventually fail, confess and begin all over again.

That being said, do not give into despair, this is what the evil one wants you to do.

Salvation isn’t about those who have the most will power, but it’s mystically given through God’s mercy.

Lastly, I believe that there are some sins which are caused by biologically driven reasons. The older you get, the easier it is to overcome. Even the Catechism mentions the maturity factor :wink:



Pray for that never give up,completely rely on Jesus and don’t try by yourself pray through mother Mary .Ephesians 6:11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.Ephesians 6 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.


Also, all you have to do is to confess your sins in kind and number (which can be approximate).

So: I shoplifted 5 times, lied about once a day, and gossiped about once a week for a year.

If there was a mitigating faster making it worse–I shoplifters and bugged my friend until she shoplifters too–mention that.

As to habitual sins, you need to draw up a plan to deal with them. You will probably still fall sometimes, then get back on your plan. A good priest should be able to help you come up with A good plan.


Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare oneself with an examination of conscience, which involves reflecting prayerfully on one’s thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins.

There are various types of examinations of conscience but regardless of which one you use to prepare yourself for the Sacrament it should be rooted in Scripture; particularly, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes. Below are a few examples of Examinations of Conscience that can help you prepare for the Sacrament.

Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments

Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching I En Español

Examination of Conscience for Children

Examination of Conscience for Young Adults

Examination of Conscience for Single People

Examination of Conscience for Married Persons


Write out exactly what you need to say on a sheet of paper. Use some sort of code if you need to, to make sure no one finds it and knows your sins. Then, should even the roof of the confessional cave in, stick to that list. You cannot go wrong with this level of preparation.



Spiritual Direction Monthly:
Find a Priest who you are comfortable to confess to monthly: maybe a private appointment at his house once a month (if you feel you have serious sins you don’t want people in the queue listening to). Most monastries have near-retired priests who are free most of the day for confessions by appointment.
Not all priests have the gift of being a good, merciful, non-judgemental confessor, so you need to find a priest who is. A priest should never roar in anger at someone who is truly contrite and earnestly struggling with a habitual sin. There is a saying a Bishop said once: ‘Do not go back to a priest who is a bad confessor thinking it will do you good.’
Saint John Bosco was a priest with a mission to educate orphaned boys, and stated he was not surprised if anyone slipped back into sin: because the devil does not like losing souls from hell’s clutches.

Find a suitable priest who is willing to be your spiritual director, whom you will meet once a month.

Tell this priest everything only during confession (which has the seal of confession, anything you tell a priest outside of confession, he is not bound to remain silent about),
Tell him the habitual sins and that you struggle to be freed from these sins.

Jesus said: ‘pray lest you enter into temptation.’
Basically: if you pray daily, your defences are higher against temptation. Pray the Divine Mercy chaplet each day (takes 4 mins), or some other devotion (eg: rosary, Daily Adoration/ daily bible reading,)

Jesus said in the bible: ‘Some things cannot be cast out except by prayer AND fasting.’
On every Wednesday and Friday, do some form of fast for the Lord, such as: no TV/ no snacks between meals/ bread and water meals only/ no use of internet/ no sweets/ no chocolate, / no coffee/ no tea/ no smoking,
Decide: what fast you are capable of and still able to fulfill your duties.

Knowledge of God:
The bible says: ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge.’
Get to know God better, and the teachings of the church, so you can understand the power of prayer/ the sacraments/ confession etc
Read one chapter of a catholic book daily
Watch one catholic video on the EWTN website/ app, daily, (or some of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s videos, etc)
‘Truth and Life’ is an audio bible app that is fantastic.

Discover the root cause of these sins:
If you understand how this sin entered your life, and why you are doing it, you can then figure out what it is that is triggering this response in you,
Eg: some alcoholics turn to alcohol to ‘escape’ from their problems when things get difficult,
Some alcoholics turn to alcohol because an addiction developed,

The Catechism says: Sin is a conscious decision:
The choice is yours. No one forces you to sin against God. You are going to have to ‘pick up your cross and follow Jesus.’ Just decide: I am leaving these things behind.
Replace vice, with something good.
Eg: healthy socialising with relatives/ friends,
healthy hobbies/ pastimes,
healthy study and career development,
healthy exercising/ walks,
healthy life goals,


Check out this video from Fr.Mike at Ascension Press.



A few of you have said this but everything I’ve read says differently? Any literature on this I’ve read has said we must confess mortal sins we forgot in previous confessions? even if we forgot them honestly (and not with a desire to conceal).


Self imposed Censorship of anti catholic morals:

Are there particular video games/ movies/ tv series/ books / music / apps / websites, that promote any particular mortal sin, that you should remove from your life, are any of these triggers for your sins?

Do you find having access to a smartphone/ internet/ laptop, an occasion of sin for you?
You can put parental control on these devices to block any particular websites or apps from your own devices


Thanks guys. I always do an examination of conscience. Writing things down seems so simple but so … brilliant. I appreciate the advice and the prayers.


Jimmy Akin gives one of the best explanations I know for this:

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