Confession & forgiveness of sins

If a person goes to confession but isn’t really sorry for his sins in his heart, are his sins forgiven?

No. True penitence and purpose of amendment are necessary.


How “not sorry” is "not really sorry?"
There is very seldom perfect contrition. We are forgiven to the extent that we are able to appreciate the error of our behavior and the extent that we are able to accept the forgiveness of God.
Grace is a funny thing. God is constantly offering it to us but we are constantly pushing it away. We have to work at opening ourselves to receive from God the gifts He offers. It is never easy and never automatic. The Church tells us that the grace of the sacraments is automatic, but it seldom reminds us that the effectiveness of that grace is dependant upon our acceptance.


Contrition is a requirement for the forgiveness of sins.

Catholic teaching distinguishes a twofold hatred of sin; one, perfect contrition, rises from the love of God Who has been grievously offended; the other, imperfect contrition, arises principally from some other motives, such as loss of heaven, fear of hell, the heinousness of sin, etc. (Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, ch. iv de Contritione).

Catholic Encyclopedia

My guess is that you went to confession because you wanted to seek forgiveness. Whether you seek forgiveness because of love for God or fear of hell, your sins are forgiven.

If you were forced to go to confession, and the above assumption is wrong, and you are truly unrepentant, then I would say that your sins are** NOT YET **forgiven. There needs to be purpose of amendment of your life in your confession. I suggest spending time doing some research on why the sin(s) for which you are not sorry are offenses against God.

For me, anything that is taught by the Church to be an offense to God is reason enough for me to be sorry for having commited it.

Yes. The very reason you are standing in the confessional line is because you are sorry for your sins and want them forgiven.

The beauty of the sacrament is that you don’t have to try to evaluate the degree of your sorrow. Perfect contrition is good, but imperfect contrition will do. Your sins are forgiven.

Trying too hard to analyze your state of mind can lead to scrupulosity. What is needed is acceptance of God’s mercy.

And resolve to sin no more…

Not that we will sin no more after confession, but we should have that intention.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit