Confession - Saying your sins out loud


I recently received the Sacrament of Confession. I originally scheduled a meeting and then a confession but after I talked to the priest he just said the words of absolution before I could say any of my sins out loud. I asked him about this and he said that the Church teaches that God knows all my sins and that it was unnecessary as long as those sins weren’t burning on my heart. I have had a confession with this priest before and all the sins I’ve committed he should already know about. Is this still a valid confession?

Thanks, NKaloms


I’m not an expert, but this sounds suspicious. Part of confession is acknowledging your sins. Also, how is the priest going to give you a proper penance if he does not even know what your sins were?


I would recommend that you go to confession to another priest, and not this one. He is mistaken; the Church explicitly teaches that “the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament [of Reconciliation]” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1424).

This priest might be a nice man, but his theology is deficient. :man_shrugging:


Do you have a prior history of confession with this priest? If you commonly say the same sins every time perhaps he felt he already knew them enough to give absolution without you saying. For example, say a teenager always confesses the sin of impure thoughts each week, I could see a priest assuming he already knows what the teenager is going to say and just absolve the sins right away. Whatever his reasoning, I don’t think it is right to do this. The sacraments must follow a certain form, and I’m pretty sure that includes having to vocally confess the sins (number & kind). If this only happened one time, I would go back to the priest and discuss it with him. If he insists, see if you can find another priest for confession. Priests are not perfect. They can make mistakes or as Gorgias wrote, have deficient theology.


It reminds me of my Father telling me he went to a Catholic get together of some type, they wrote their sins on a piece of paper and then the priest had them burn the paper in a fire in the church. He said the flames got so high, it almost caught something on fire inside the church.



As others have said, there may be special reasons this priest has done this for you, in this instance, however it does sound suspicious.

Either way, you must be completely re-assured that the absolution is valid, even if the confession form was suspect. Those sins you didn’t have a chance to confess are forgiven!

If any un-confessed sins were mortal sins then they are absolved, but it may be necessary to mention them next time you go to confession. You are not obliged to hurry back, or to refrain from communion until then.

I had a similar experience once, and at my next confession with another priest I told him about it and he just said “We’ll include those sins in this confession”, without obliging me to confess them.


I this is a charitable assumption, and I agree with your sentiments. It’s best just to think the priest assumed he knew what the sins were by virtue of regular confessions.

In any event, it’s still not right.


The priest was wrong to do this. You must confess your sins out loud to a priest in order to receive absolution…

A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience. Can. 988

In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is equally a judge and a physician and has been established by God as a minister of divine justice and mercy, so that he has regard for the divine honor and the salvation of souls. Can. 978

It is absolutely necessary for a priest to hear your sins audibly.



It is not.

Auricular confession is the ordinary means of confessing ones sins.

Absolution, however, does not depend on auricular confession.

In danger of death, an in other situations where it is not possible for the penitent to speak the sins aloud, absolution is both licit and valid. Therefore, it is not “absolutely necessary.”

A priest might have a good reason for not requiring an auricular confession, or he might have a misguided and wrongheaded reason, or somewhere in between. Regardless of the reason, the absolution is still valid.


Hi Father, thanks for the info. I retract that last statement.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the situation which the OP described was not one in which the penitent was dying, mute, or otherwise unable to make a proper confession. I guess i would put it in that context that it’s necessary to audibly confess you sins.


No, it’s not necessary.

It is recommended. It is the usual way. It is expected. It is proper. &c.

It is not necessary.


Thanks so much, Father, for clarifying that!


Would the sins have to be confessed in a subsequent confession?


Mortal sins should be, as much as they can be remembered without being scrupulous. Venial sins, no.


I agree with the other posters.

You must say your sins.
Notice the story of the Prodigal Son…he “got his sins” out before the father forgave him.

Think of “Reconciliation” in the big.

Through reconciliation, we are “reconciling” a lot of things.

We’re not just reconciling with God through the priest.
We’re reconciling with the Church
But, crucially, we’re also reconciling our will, with our intellect, with our body.

Having to put words to our sins is an act of the intellect. And it can’t be done unless the “will” moves you to get to confession…and your body has to follow/obey your will/intellect.

So there’s a lot more happening at Confession than most people realize.


Thanks to everyone who answered! I was able to find a different priest to hear my confession. Thanks again! - NKaloms


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