Confession Validity...

Hello everyone. As I have mentioned before, I recently returned to the Church after living in sin for nearly a decade. The question I have today pertains to the confessions I have made since then.

In the past, I had often wished grave harm on others, to the point of wishing death upon them. At the first confession I made after returning, I confessed this as “I have often wished harm on others.” I worded it like this because I was embarrassed to go into more detail, though I would have explained it thus if the priest had prompted (he did not.) Afterward, I thought about it, and realized that with my vagueness, my description may not have been sufficient for the priest to understand the severity of the sin, and thus resulted in the confession being invalidated.

I have spoken with three different priests in subsequent confessions about this issue. One of them commented that it certainly made the sin more severe, but he did not make any comment about it invalidating the initial confession. The other two said that the intitial confession was “probably” not invalidated, with one of them commenting something like “Father probably understood what you meant, since basically everyone has had these thoughts at some point,” and the other commenting something like “now, if you had actually been making specific plans to kill somebody, that may have invalidated the confession” (I had not.)

My concern is the word “probably.” I believe that I am a scrupulous individual, and therefore, such weasel words as “probably” don’t sit well with me when it comes to the state of my soul. Should I understand what the two aforementioned priests said to mean “yes, your confession was valid, now move on with your life” or should I pursue further council somewhere?

Thanks, and please pray for me, that I might overcome my difficulties!

You don’t have to tell every detail of your sins. Just stating the sin and repenting from it is all that is required.

Ok, look - if you did an examination of conscience, confessed to the best of your ability and without the intention of witholding anything, and the priest absolved you, then Christ has forgiven your sins. Know this as a fact!

We are mandated to confess mortal sins in kind and number, and mention circumstances that may change the sin.

When we are away from the Church for many years, we may not remember how many times we wished someone would die. We may remember it was many times, or only a handful. We may remember whether it was strangers, relatives, close family, ourselves, or a combination of these.

We tell the priest we were away from the confessional for quite a while (if you remember how many years since your last confession or for how long you were away, mention it), and confess the sin to the best of your ability, with repentance. Then leave it in the Lord’s hands.

If the priest absolves you, be assured that Christ has forgiven you, now and always and forever and ever, and He will not hold that sin against you, not even on the day of the final judgment.

Forget about validity of past confessions. Unless you lied to the confessor with the intention of deceiving him, I do not see how they could have been invalid.

This is what you may want to do: schedule an appointment with a confessor, that he may also give you some spiritual direction on the matter. If you mention that you were away for quite some time, he will surely be willing to help you.

And be at peace! God is quite the forgiving and merciful savior :slight_smile:

Let. It. Go.

Do not presume that your sin is greater than God’s mercy.

You have validly confessed this sin at least twice (if not three times). To do so again (unless you commit it again) is to doubt the validity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which two priests have already told you was was valid. Now you’re coming to a bunch of lay persons for confirmation of what you’ve already been told by experts.

Please, please, trust your confessor. It sounds like you may be slipping into scrupulosity so don’t keep hopping from one priest to another looking for a ‘second opinion.’ Stick with one confessor if you can and trust his counsel.

May God give you peace.

If there was any doubt to begin with, you have already resolved the matter with subsequent Confessions.

Desiring the death of others in our hearts is very common for those who are living without any aim towards their destiny with God. You need only look at a Youtube comments section; you will read acts of hatred all the time. When the inhibitions go down in a society, and the deaths of a certain group of people suddenly becomes socially acceptable, we see how such a large portion of the population consents to it. When I confessed on the matter of wrath in the past, I said that I committed murder in my heart. It is not reserved to a few sick people. Murder is as common as lust or pride.

It is good for a person. even after Confession, to still shiver over the memory of their past, because we are not yet in Heaven, and that memory of darkness is a shield to keep us from going back. We shun it, in the same way a person retracts in healthy fear from a spider or a snake. You should not feel out of place if your past sins disturb you. This is exactly how it ought to be. But!.. Believe in God. You belong to him again. You are forgiven.

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