Confession, Forgotten Sins, and Trent

Jimmy Akin the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers explains here:

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. Which sins must be confessed?


All grave sins not yet confessed, which a careful examination of conscience brings to mind, must be brought to the sacrament of Penance. The confession of serious sins is the only ordinary way to obtain forgiveness.

I am confused here… are you talking about “general confessions” as in “confessions spanning my whole life until now” or are you talking about confession which is “confession of all grave remembered sins plus any venial sins I wish to confess spanning from my last confession to now”? Obviously it is easy to forget sins from long ago… that is one reason why general confessions are not made very frequently, and they are certainly not appropriate for scrupulous persons. Normal confessions shouldn’t be a problem. You examine your conscience. Any mortal sin you have not confessed that occured since your last confession you confess. Any mortal sin you had forgotten to confess in previous confessions that all of a sudden surface to consciousness you confess. Confessing venial sins is optional. With contrition and actual confession, you’re good to go! Simple as pie.

General confessions are an exercise of piety. They are often done before the most important moments of a Catholic’s life (getting ready for marriage, ordination, vows, or whatever). They are not required of anyone except converts who are already baptized for their first confession. After their first confession, they confess normally.

Thank you for 988 errata. The book is: New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, edited by John P. Beal, James A. Coriden and Thomas J. Green, Paulist Press: New York/Mahwah, 2000.

It is “A very important resource in American, and international, canon law.” – Dr. Edward Peters.

You can read a comment on it here:

You mentioned CCC 1456

“All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.”

Absolution applies to all sins one is sorry for, even those not remembered. Of course the ones not remembered are not recounted yet, although absolved. Upon a subsequent examination of confession one remembers a mortal sin, then that one must be recounted according to CCC 1456 above.

What does it mean for a sin to be indirectly remitted?Indirect absolution

Closely allied to conditional is the absolution termed indirect. It obtains whenever absolution is granted for a fault that has not been submitted to the judgment of the minister in the tribunal of penance. Forgetfulness on the part of the penitent is responsible for most cases of indirect absolution, though sometimes reservation (see RESERVED CASES) may be.
Catholic Encyclopedia,

Thank you all for your sources and opinions. I have become more educated on what I thought was a black and white issue and sincerely appreciate the discussion and learning.

I love this place.

Reading this whole thing had become bothersome to me because I am scrupulous and have OCD. I have been scrupulous about my way of life ad a teenager, before I came back to the church, about sins that I didn’t invite at the were mortal, for mortal sins that I forgot unintentionally, and for the fact that two priests I went to in the past said,“any sins you forgot are forgiven.” Going to confession and checking writings of the church have become a compulsion for me, which priests and my psycholgist warned me about.

The priests who I have gone to have told me to trust in the divine mercy of God, and iconstantly fear about sin and hell, and going to confession again because of forgotten sin may forgive my sins again, but I believe it will be counterproductive in terms of trying to fight my scruples and OCD. I don’t want to be lead in to despair nor presuption because I want to be saved. I fear hell and I fear offending God…the main reason why I went to this site was to see if it was an obligation…and it only made me feel worse because it is a compulsion. Honestly typing this put tears in my eyes because I worry about any catechetical citation to much. Please someone reply to me soon.

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