confession validity

So I was able to go to confession today. Last night while doing an examination of conscious I remembered a sin that I was very ashamed of. Afterward I had a thought about forgetting the sin before. confession so that I wouldn’t have to mention it. Typically when this happens I make an effort to remember the sin, this time I allowed my self to forget. So while giving confession today I did end up not recalling that sin, but I’m sure that if I were to have remembered I would have confessed it. My question is, did my hope of forgetting the night prior invalidate my confession?


If you didn’t remember it, you couldn’t confess it. Your confession was valid. Be at peace. If you recall it at your next confession, you might mention it out of humility before God–but it is not necessary to mention a past sin in confession unless it was a mortal sin that you deliberately concealed–that would be what invalidated a confession. You said you forgot it, so you didn’t deliberately conceal it, and you didn’t even mention if it was mortal or venial. Be at peace, then.


As for your question, I’m not positive but I’m pretty sure we’re not supposed to purposely try to make ourselves forget a mortal sin that we’re supposed to confess. What is the point of confession if we try to make ourselves forget the sins we’re ashamed of (even though we SHOULD be ashamed of all of them, but you get the point). Confess that sin as soon as you possibly can and perhaps not trying to get yourself to forget embarrassing sins anymore would be a good discipline.

I don’t think the OP was trying intentionally to forget a sin, but rather “allowed myself to forget” in their words.


Honestly I feel that my allowing myself to forget the sin constitutes internationally doing so, since I put the sin put of my mind last night. I do plan on confessing it at my next confession. In addition, I’m positive its a mortal sin and one of the sins I did confess was related to it and equally embarrassing.

Thanks for the replies.

I agree with you here…Intentionally desiring to not remember is not a good thing. I don’t think that it invalidated the confession, but you should definitely mention this sin the next time you go.
Otherwise this question is going to keep bugging you…It’s not worth it…and if you think about it, it bugging you winds up being more annoying and embarrassing than confessing it…


Bring the whole matter to confession of what happened…

You can discuss with the Priest the question of invalidity and what you need to do.

I would go soon.

Basically, this is why I started going to the church about twenty minutes before the posted confession time, and doing my examination of conscience at that point, so I wouldn’t be tempted to “accidentally on purpose forget” a mortal sin! Just a thought.

You had the thought of forgetting the sin so you would not have to mention it? You mean the thought just went through your head or that you consented to such? When you say you allowed yourself to forget --you mean intentionally?

Bring the whole matter to confession of what happened…

You can discuss with the Priest the question of invalidity and what you need to do.

I would go soon.

Of course even if one forgets a mortal sin --unintentionally–one still needs to confess it in the next confession when remembered…

Hiding it though means the confession is invalid and one has to confess all the other mortal sins confessed and that sin and usually the hiding…

Of course the question is – was it just a thought that passed through your head – oh maybe I will forget it and not have to say it tomorrow —or something intentional?

And it may make a difference if when it came time for confession did you seek and intend then to confess all your mortal sins (forgetting all that had happened in terms of that sin and the thoughts etc)?

The Priest can guide you.

I believe I forgot about my intention to forget to confess that sin a few hours after the thought ocurred to me. This is because afterwards I kept telling my self to put aside my embarrassment of another sin and confess it because my discomfort couldn’t be worse than the consequences of omitting it. In addition, I was concerned this morning about having forgot some of the sins from my examination of conscious. I wish I would have remembered this son this morning so I would have confessed it.

If your conscience is bothering you, that’s an indication you need to go to Confession,.

I agree, I just hope that I don’t have to re-confess the sins I confessed today.

Lets say I actually intended to try to forget a mortal sin.

The next day – I honestly forget about such --I forget about intending to forget and about the mortal sin.

I now do not remember that I intended to forget and that I put out of my mind the mortal sin the night before nor do I remember the mortal sin in my examine.

I examine my conscience before confession – seeking honestly to find any and all mortal sins and am contrite and amended for all-- and intend to confess all.

It would seem to me that such would be a valid confession. For in reality I “changed course” without remembering I was off course – and sought to make an integral confession etc --confessing all (mortal sins) I then knew I needed to confess. A formally integral confession.

If I remembered such later the other mortal sin and the intending to try to forget and the putting of it out of my mind --I will need to confess it in the next confession after that.

(This is in addition to my above post)

Your choice of language is confusing. There are two options:

a) at the time you were making your confession you genuinely, in spite of making your best efforts to recall all your mortal sins, through no doing of yours did not recall one or more sins - in which case you are fine but should mention them in your next confession, or

b) at the time you were making your confession you recalled one or more mortal sins and deliberately failed to mention it - or at least realised that you had not confessed some unspecified mortal sin without even bothering to try to remember what that sin was - in which case your confession was invalid.

There is no such thing as ‘intentionally forgetting’ - either you genuinely forget, in which case it is unintentional, or you intentionally put something out of mind, in which case it is not forgotten.

Last night while doing an examination of conscious

Normally, I would not be a stickler on this, but in talking about the sacrament of reconciliation, knowing the role of one’s conscience is actually sort of important…

I think option A may be the closest would be option A since the putting the sin put of my mind occurred hours before I went to sleep the night before. Leading up to confession and durring it I had forgotten about the sin and the putting it out of my mind.

Leading up to confession and durring it I had forgotten about the sin and the putting it out of my mind.

Then you are fine. Not only that, but the sin has been forgiven. I was told, at my first confession, that any sins I could not remember at the time of confession were forgiven when I was absolved. As someone with a long and varied “misspent youth,” and a conversion at age 54, I had a lot to confess; I also have a damaged memory thanks to smoking too much marijuana back then, and 3 concussions.

It’s the fact that you couldn’t and/or didn’t remember it at the time of confession that makes the difference. If you had remembered it and deliberately held it back, then your confession would be invalid.

I’m not sure about your thoughts of forgetting, the night before. I’m confused about what actually happened. Did you just think about trying to forget? Or did you make an actual choice to forget? The second would be bad. (But has also been forgiven.)

In either case, if this had happened to me, I would confess having had those thoughts. Remember that you had forgotten about both having those thoughts, and about the sin, before you came to Confession. In my case, I would confess the forgotten sin too. It helps me repent, and forgive myself.

Oh, yeah… I also write them down during my examination of conscience, and take them with me. (no erasing allowed :smiley: !) One priest didn’t like that, but backed down when I told him about the memory damage, and when I promised to burn them afterwards. If I ever run into one that won’t, I’ll find another confessor.

Be careful cherry picking answers. The internet is a big place, and a few people are going to agree with you, whether or not it is in your best interest. Based on your post, I feel you may tend to be scrupulous, meaning you might worry excessively about venial or non-existent sins. I recommend you speak with a trusted priest or councilor, rather than post on the internet and worry yourself more with contradictory answers.

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