Confession help, please

Hello everyone,
I need to go to confession badly, but I need some help with the particulars. For many, many, years I struggled with sins of impurity. Over the years I have made some vague and nondescript confessions, and received absolution. Several months ago, I confessed my recent sins and then struck up the courage to say “I think I made some bad confessions in the past…” The priest stopped me and said that it didn’t matter, and that God now forgives me for ALL of my sins. I left feeling relieved that I didn’t have to confess anything embarrassing or personal, but now I feel horrible. I think that until I confess my sins by name and number, I will struggle with doubt and insecurity.
Now, when I go to confession, I want to work up the courage to mention the specifics. Here is where I need help:
– I am guilty of countless impure thoughts and glances. I am same-sex attracted. Do I need to mention that many of these thoughts/ lustful glances were mostly towards men? Or is it descriptive enough to mention that I am guilty of the thoughts and glances and is WHO IT WAS not important?
– When sins stretch over the course of years, how do I even begin to think of the number. For example, my struggle with impure actions by myself. Do I have to mention it started when I was around 11 and continued until I was 21, and usually occurred so many times a week or day?
– Is it enough to mention looking at indecent material, or do I have to mention exactly what it was.
– Is it a mortal sin if a young child saw the inappropriate material I was looking at through my own carelessness and selfishness having it visible?
– Finally, do I need to confess immature stuff from my high school years? Kissing a girl or dancing with girls inappropriately at our high school dances?

Sorry for rambling on and for the long descriptions here, but I am really worried and stressed about this. Can anyone help me out with some thoughts and advice?
Thanks you in advance!

------This may be a repeat, I don’t know if my other one actually is in the forum--------
Hello everyone,
I need to go to confession badly, but I need some help with the particulars. For many, many, years I struggled with sins of impurity. Over the years I have made some vague and nondescript confessions, and received absolution. Several months ago, I confessed my recent sins and then struck up the courage to say “I think I made some bad confessions in the past…” The priest stopped me and said that it didn’t matter, and that God now forgives me for ALL of my sins. I left feeling relieved that I didn’t have to confess anything embarrassing or personal, but now I feel horrible. I think that until I confess my sins by name and number, I will struggle with doubt and insecurity.
Now, when I go to confession, I want to work up the courage to mention the specifics. Here is where I need help:
– I am guilty of countless impure thoughts and glances. I am same-sex attracted. Do I need to mention that many of these thoughts/ lustful glances were mostly towards men? Or is it descriptive enough to mention that I am guilty of the thoughts and glances and is WHO IT WAS not important?
– When sins stretch over the course of years, how do I even begin to think of the number. For example, my struggle with impure actions by myself. Do I have to mention it started when I was around 11 and continued until I was 21, and usually occurred so many times a week or day?
– Is it enough to mention looking at indecent material, or do I have to mention exactly what it was.
– Is it a mortal sin if a young child saw the inappropriate material I was looking at through my own carelessness and selfishness having it visible?
– Finally, do I need to confess immature stuff from my high school years? Kissing a girl or dancing with girls inappropriately at our high school dances?

Sorry for rambling on and for the long descriptions here, but I am really worried and stressed about this. Can anyone help me out with some thoughts and advice?
Thanks you in advance!

There are people who are way more smarter than I am who can probably answer this far better than I can but here goes, my understanding is that once you are forgiven, you are forgiven and that maybe you suffer from what they call excessive scruples(I spelled that wrong didn’t I:confused:? Anyway praying that you get the answers you are looking for.

If you are worried, it might put your mind at rest to just confess all this… but once you confess it, remember God has forgiven it, and don’t keep on thinking about it. Trust me the priests have heard it all, don’t worry about what the priest would think.

I concur with the idea of telling everything, just as you have here. And your way of estimating numbers is exactly right.

Do tell the priest you are same sex attracted - he may have valuable advice for you, and sometimes this can affect the gravity of a sin.

And for you, in case you are not aware, the Courage apostolate can be very helpful to you. The website can tell you if there is a chapter near you.

God bless you for doing the right thing.

Betsy

Monica hits the nail on the head. Priests have heard everything there is to confess. If you confess them all, you will most likely be commended for your honesty.

I already posted a long question earlier, and thanks to all who responded! I appreciate the advice it really helped. There is only one specific question I still would like some help with:

When if confession, confessing impure thoughts and desires lustful glances, is it necessary to mention that I am same-sex attracted and most of those thoughts were directed to men? Or is it acceptable to mention the sin alone? Thank you once again in advance.

i’m not sure if its required, but its best practice to be as specific as possible about your sins, if you can

Confess your actual sins. Pray for Satan to get behind you, and the Out Lady of the Rosary to lead you to Jesus Christ. Pray the Rosary daily and your direction and understanding will become clearer. And I’ll pray for you.

God Bless. GT

Praise God for your spirit of repentance!!

Here’s what I would say on something like this:

When you begin your next confession, mention to the priest that you have not been fully honest or open in your past confessions and that you would like to now make a full confession. Then mention, as best as you can remember, all the mortal sins that you feel you did not truly confess, both in kind and in number.

– When sins stretch over the course of years, how do I even begin to think of the number. For example, my struggle with impure actions by myself. Do I have to mention it started when I was around 11 and continued until I was 21, and usually occurred so many times a week or day?

I think what you’ve said here is plenty enough.

*-- Is it enough to mention looking at indecent material, or do I have to mention exactly what it was. *

Maybe other’s could better guide you on this question, but I’m pretty sure that saying indecent material is adequate. The priest will understand what you mean, he doesn’t need the particular details.

– Is it a mortal sin if a young child saw the inappropriate material I was looking at through my own carelessness and selfishness having it visible?

This situation would be considered scandal and would appear to be of grave matter. I would confess it.

– Finally, do I need to confess immature stuff from my high school years? Kissing a girl or dancing with girls inappropriately at our high school dances?

Have these been confessed before? If there are things from your high school years that are mortal sins that you did not confess, then confess them again.

You know, it may be worthwhile for your own circumstances and desires to schedule an appointment with a priest to do a sort of “general confession.” That way you don’t have to stress about what you did or did not confess correctly in previous confessions.

But be at peace, friend. You have a very holy desire for repentance and that is a grace from God. Don’t stress over the details. Do your best to confess in kind and number the mortal sins you feel that you did not properly confess in the first place. And then be prepared for the wonderful grace of God in His gift of absolution!!!

*-- Is it enough to mention looking at indecent material, or do I have to mention exactly what it was. *

I would mention the medium in which it was viewed. It could help with some advice.

If that was a Catholic priest you confessed to and he said that God now forgives you for ALL of your sins you must believe he was speaking for our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God has forgiven you ALL those sins. To doubt that would be a serious doubt regarding the sacrament of Confession. So forget about dragging out the details of the sins you committed in the past.

When Jesus forgave that woman of the many adulteries, He didn’t ask her to detail all her adulteries, He just said, ‘Your sins are forgiven you’. The priest told you much the same thing.

If you sin in future though, just confess it at the soonest opportunity.

You are only required to mention the actual sin. It is irrelevant to confession what your born sexuality is. We all strive to avoid sex/lust outside of marriage - and that’s the bottom line.

I don’t know if you have to, but it might be a good idea… just to help you. It can be difficult, but priests know people struggle with this too.

Sacrament of Reconcilaition

Excerpt from A Simple Prayer Book by Catholic Truth Society

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

*Remember that the sacrament is above all an act of
God’s love. It is a personal moment to be lived in a
relationship of love with God. It is not routine, nor an
ordeal to be gone through, but is very much part of the
personal renewal which takes place in each person. You
are invited, in the light of God’s love, to recognise the
sinfulness of your life, to have true sorrow for your sins,
and a firm intention to avoid them in future. *

Essential elements of a good confession

To make a good confession, we should:

  1. Pray first, asking God to help us.
  2. Make a sincere examination of conscience to see how
    we have sinned since our last confession.
  3. Confess our sins simply, with humility and honesty.
  4. Make our act of contrition with heartfelt sorrow and a
    “firm purpose of amendment”, being determined that
    we will avoid the occasions of sin.
  5. Devoutly carry out the penance prescribed and pray
    in thanksgiving for God’s overflowing love
    and mercy.

Prayer before Confession

Almighty and merciful God,
you have brought me here in the name of your Son
to receive your mercy and grace in my time of need.
Open my eyes to see the evil I have done.
Touch my heart and convert me to yourself.
Where sin has separated me from you,
may your love unite me to you again:
where sin has brought weakness,
may your power heal and strengthen;
where sin has brought death,
may your Spirit raise to new life.
Give me a new heart to love you,
so that my life may reflect the image of your Son.
May the world see the glory
of Christ revealed in your Church,
and come to know that he is the one whom
you have sent, Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Amen

**The Confiteor **

I confess to almighty God that I have sinned through my
own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I
have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask
blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, to
pray for me to the Lord our God.

An Act of Contrition

o my God, I am sorry and beg pardon for all my sins, and
detest them above all things, because they deserve your
dreadful punishments, because they have crucified my
loving Saviour Jesus Christ, and, most of all, because
they offend your infinite goodness; and I firmly resolve,
by the help of your grace, never to offend you again, and
carefully to avoid the occasions of sin.

**EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE **

*Careful preparation is vital in order to make the most of this
encounter with our loving heavenly Father. Find some time
to be alone and quiet to reflect on your life, your relationship
with God and others. An examination of conscience provides
us with what we are going to say in the confessional. Without
time given to such examination our confession is in danger of
being incomplete. There are many ways: one is to use a
gospel passage, especially one of the many healing miracles
or occasions of forgiveness (eg Luke 15:11-32; John 4:5-42;
Mat 18:21-35; Luke 18:9-14).lmagine you are the person
being healed or forgiven by Jesus. Read the scripture
passage, imagine you are in the scene, and listen to the
words of Jesus. He speaks to you! What do you say?
Alternatively, Jesus summed up and extended the Ten
Commandments by his two great commandments (Mark
12:28-42): Love God and your neighbour. *

Mortal sin is sin whose object is a grave matter and which
is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate
consent (Catechism 1857). We must confess all mortal
sins. We are not obliged to confess all venial sins.
We commit venial sin when, in a less serious matter,
we do not observe the standard prescribed by the moral
law, or when we disobey the moral law in a grave
matter, but without full knowledge or without
complete consent (Catechism 1862). Confession of
venial sins is an act of devotion . We need not be
unduly anxious to confess them all, but may rather
choose to focus on areas of our life that are most in
need of God’s grace.
*The following examination of conscience can help us
to measure our lives by the objective standard of
Christ’s teaching. We may also consider more generally
how we may have failed in our lives to live fully as
disciples of Christ. *

**Sins against God **
Have I rejected my faith, refused to find out more about it?
Have I forgotten my daily prayers or said them badly?
Have I experimented with the occult or put my trust in
fortune tellers or horoscopes?
Have I blasphemed against God or used bad language?
Have I shown disrespect for holy things, places or people?
Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holydays through my
own fault?
Have I let myself be distracted at Mass or distracted others?
Have I received Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin?
Have I received Holy Communion without proper
reverence, care or thanksgiving?

Sins against myself and others
Have I been impatient, angry or jealous?
Have I brooded over injuries or refused to forgive?
Have I taken part in or encouraged abortion, the
destruction of human embryos, euthanasia or any other
means of taking human life?
Have I been verbally or physically violent to others?
Have I been racist in my thoughts, words or deeds?
Have I hurt anyone by speaking badly about them?
Have I betrayed confidences without good cause or
revealed things simply to hurt others?
Have I judged others rashly?
Have I been drunk or used illegal drugs?
Have I driven dangerously or inconsiderately?
Have I spoken in an obscene way?
Have I looked at obscene pictures, films or books?
Have I been involved in any impure behaviour on my
own or with someone else?
Have I been vain, proud, selfish or self-seeking?
Have I told lies to excuse myself, to hurt others or to
make myself look more important?
Have I stolen anything?
Have I failed to contribute to the support of the Church in
proportion to my means?
Have I been disobedient, rude or insolent to those in
authority over me?
Have I been harsh, overbearing or sarcastic to those under
my authority?
Have I cheated my employers or employees?
Have I misused or damaged the property of others?
Have I set my heart greedily on possessing things?
Have I given scandal or bad example?
Have I been lazy at my work, study or domestic duties?
Have I been jealous of others - of their looks, their
popularity, their good work?
Have I encouraged others to do wrong in any way?

**For spouses **
Have I neglected to foster the warmth of my love and
affection for my spouse?
Have I prolonged disagreements through resentment or
failing to apologise when I have been in the wrong?
Have I mistreated my spouse verbally, emotionally or
physically?
Have I used artificial means of birth control?
Have I been unfaithful to my spouse in any way?

For parents
Have I neglected to teach my children to pray?
Have I neglected the religious education of my children?
Have I failed to bring my children to Sunday Mass?
Have I argued with my spouse in front of my children?
Have I failed to exercise vigilance over what my children
read, see on television or on the internet?
Have I been harsh or overbearing to my children?
Have I neglected my children’s welfare in any way?

**For young people **
Have I been disobedient to my parents?
Have I been unhelpful at home?
Have I failed to try to understand my parents and talk
with them?
Have I upset the peace of my home for selfish reasons?
Have I lost control when I have been angry?
Have I sulked or been sarcastic instead of asking for help?
Have I failed to work properly at school?
Have I treated teachers or other adults with disrespect?
Have I played unfairly at games or sports?
Have I taken part in fights?

GOING TO CONFESSION

*(You may take this prayer book with you to Confession) *

**Reception **
The priest welcomes the penitent warmly. The penitent
and priest begin by making the sign of the cross, while
saying: In the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest invites you to
trust in God. You may indicate your state of life, and
anything else which may help the priest as confessor.

**The Word of God **

The priest may invite you to reflect on a passage from Holy
Scripture, speaking of God’s mercy and call to conversion.

Reconciliation

Then you can speak in your own words or you can say:
**Bless me Father for I have sinned. My last confession
was … ago **(say roughly how long) **and these are my sins. **
Now tell your sins simply in your own words. When you
have finished, let the priest know. You can use these
words if you wish: **I am sorry for all these sins and for
any that I cannot now remember. **
Listen carefully to the advice of the priest and ask the
Holy Spirit to help him to say what is best to help you to
grow in the Christian life. You can ask him questions if you
want. The priest may propose an Act of Penance, which
should serve not only to make up for the past but also to
help begin a new life and provide an antidote to weakness.
It may take the form of prayer, self-denial, and especially of
service to one’s neighbour and works of mercy.
Then the priest invites you to say a prayer of sorrow
(an Act of Contrition), such as:
**O my God, because you are so good, I am very
sorry that I have sinned against you, and by the help
of your grace I will not sin again. **
Wait while the priest says the prayer of “Absolution”
(where Christ forgives you all your sins). Make the sign
of the cross as the priest says: I absolve you from your
sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and
of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The priest may say a few
final words of encouragement to you as you leave.

**After Confession **
Take some time in the quiet of the Church to reflect on the
grace of the sacrament and to thank God for his mercy
and forgiveness. Here is a prayer of thanksgiving:

Father, in your love you have brought me from evil to
good and from misery to happiness. Through your
blessings give me the courage of perseverance. Amen.

Remember the four Cs

Our contrite confession has to be Clear, Concise, Concrete, and Complete.

Always amazes me, we have no problem telling our sins to complete strangers but hesitant to tell them to a priest (in the person of Christ) who will forgive, cure us and give us the remedy that we need. Another of those temptation from the world, the devil, and the flesh…

Just speak to a priest as plainly as you have written here…

‘Father, I do not know how/whether I should confess this…’

Pray for me after your good confession.

Yes… one need needs to confess in number and kind all mortal sins…and the fact that you made “bad confessions”. And if they were truly bad…that is withholding knowingly mortal sins…then the other things were also not absolved…so any mortal sins would need to be confessed and the priest told what you are doing…along with any other mortal sins committed since then.

though it is possible that later one made good faith confessions so confessions since then could be valid (particularly it would seem that one where you told him you made bad confessions…would likely be good for you were doing what he told you) …but talk with a good Priest. Make an appointment and sit down with him. Do not overly stress about exact numbers if you do not know…and the Priest can help if you ask him.

(It depends though…if one is scrupulous…then they should follow their confessor.

What is normally told one who has scruples is that one should not confess things from the past unless they are certain that they were mortal and certain they were not confessed…)

In any case …find a good Priest and put yourself in his hands…and then after wards put your hand to the plow and do not look back (unless something comes to your mind that was unconfessed and mortal…which one can just mention in the next confession for it was absolved for you will at that point have intended to confess them all…)

(and yes i think you would need to say it was same sex…but then only if they are mortal…that is done with full knowledge and complete consent)

Yes, his sins have been forgiven. But he is also bound to mention in his next confession all mortal sins by kind and number.

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