Conflicting Confessions

I have a particular sin that I struggle with from time to time. Earlier in my life I struggled with it constantly. Now, it rears up and I battle it only sporadically. When ever I fall to this sin, I confess it.
Here is my dilemma. Depending on the priest I go to, I am getting conflicting “opinions.” Now to be clear, I have always received absolution, but I’ve actually been told that I need not skip communion if I commit this sin. Also, I’ve been told the other end of the spectrum, to rid myself of this grievous sin… So there is my problem. I’m getting told 2 completely different things concerning the same sin. It is a sin that gets discussed on this forum from time to time. Honestly, I really don’t know what to make of it. I will say this, it is very very difficult to consider it a grave matter when there are priests that tell me it is not a grave matter.
I will say it isn’t just a one off priest that told me it isn’t a grave sin. I don’t keep track of the numbers but while it isn’t a 50/50 split, it probably isn’t very far from that

As far as what the sin is, I don’t think it is pertinent to the conversation. The fact is priests to whom I confess have different opinions on whether or not this needs to be confessed… I don’t want to turn this into a forum debate on a particular sin and get your opinions on the particular sin. I want to know what you all would do when the universal church isn’t so universal.

So, what would you all do?

I would listen to them if they are advising you that it is not a grave matter, and that it should not keep you from receiving Communion.

If you need more clarification, then I would ask to have the sin explained to you in more detail where you can understand it.

Dear friend,

In the history of the Church there may be priests who give very bad pastoral advice, with due respect to their priesthood. Some will allow things like blasphemy, or impurity, or the like. You’ll know which confessor is correct by seeing which one is pious and learned in the Faith. If the priest’s sermons seem very good, if he gives good advice on other things in confession, if he follows the rubrics in the Mass, if he seems holy, prudent, and knowledgable, follow that one.
In other words, the more orthodox priest is correct, from what I know; and try to stick with just that one for regular confession, so that he may get to know how you are in the spiritual life, help with any problems, ect. Works very well, like a physician :smiley:

If you want, the Catechism of the Catholic Church shows a list of objectively (meaning that it is always grave matter, not including knowledge or consent) mortal sins.

Have a great day!

That’s one way of going about it.

But there is also a school of thought which would give the benefit of doubt and respect to any priest’s opinion, and accept whatever he advises in a spirit of humility. The Sacraments are effective “ex opere operato”; they do not depend on the (perceived) “greater” or “lesser” orthodoxy of the priest administering them. :slight_smile:

So, here is the thing, you know it’s a sin. You admit this, therefore, it’s on your conscience and you need to confess it. Remember while it is only required to confess your mortal sins once a year, that is a very minimalist attitude. We should strive to confess all our sins, we should strive to be holy, as God calls us to be.

In answer to what would I do, I would confess it. I try to remember and confess everything that I think displeases God, whether it is a blatant mortal sin, or a simple tiny white lie that kind of just slipped out by mistake.

Remember what St Paul says, “I am the chief sinner”. He isn’t taking the easy road, he is acknowledging all his sins. He is giving us an example to follow, to understand that we all sin, and all sin needs to be forgiven.

Finally, there are many good reference books and even apps out there which guide you through a good confession. They ask questions which make you really stop and think, what do I need to confess? Whether or not this priest says one thing, or another says something else, this sin is obviously tugging on your heart. Don’t be ashamed to go to confession, because maybe, just maybe it’s the one thing that you will wish you did receive absolution for.

If you got conflicting opinions from priests as to whether Jesus was really fully present in the Eucharist, which one would you follow?

I ask this rhetorically to prove a point.

There are things that can easily be verified from the constant teaching of the Church (Tradition), through the various catechisms, through the teachings of the doctors of the Church and other Saints etc. Many of the gravely sinful things are obvious according to reason (it is obvious that blasphemy is a grave sin, for example).

There have been priests in every age that have been heretical in their teachings (either through mistake or outright formal heresy). The teaching that the Church is universal does not mean that every priest is going to be good or correct on their teachings (some are outright wicked priests while others may have been badly formed, or simply mistaken).

In our present time, there are many priests that are rather liberal and teach that impurity, for example, is not grave matter (which the constant teaching of the Church through the ages is been united in affirming that it is always grave matter). Other matters may be more difficult to discern because of circumstances - i.e. whether a certain case of detraction or wrath is a grave sin, for example and the priest will render judgment. We have a certain responsibility to be well formed in our faith and our conscience; not that we can elevate ourselves through our own prideful opinions, but rather that we can judge prudently. We do this not only by learning from our local priests, but also by learning what the Magisterium of the Church teaches about things.

On the flip side of this, we also must be humble and obedient to our confessor who has been placed above us by God. A really good sermon on this is by St. Alphonsus Liguori and can be found here (I recommend listening to it). Yet, we must choose a good, learned, confessor and this requires prudence. As St. Alphonsus teaches, we do not sin when obeying our confessor, unless what he instructs us to do is manifestly sinful, even if our confessor is mistaken.

In general principal, I would do as another poster suggested and obey the teaching of the priest which is holier in his conduct and faithful to the teachings of the Church and in his ministry as a priest. Provided his teaching did not violate something that is manifestly contrary to the teaching of the Church, or to evident reason (i.e. teach that something is not a sin that is manifestly sinful, or instructs one to do something that is manifestly sinful). I would beware, however, of following one simply because it is the easier teaching, or because of ‘feelings’ or because it is something that I simply want to do anyway (as St. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:3 - “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings”). To sum up, I would seek out a holy, orthodox and learned priest to be my confessor and confess to him only if possible and obey his instructions as if they were given by God Himself unless they are obviously sinful (as St. Alphonsus, a doctor of the Church, instructs)

I wanted to comment on your post also. Not to call you out or anything, I just want to add an opposing perspective on what you said.

I am rather of the opinion that it isn’t necessarily helpful to confess every sin which we commit. We do not need Sacramental Confession for venial sins to be forgiven, and going into the confessional with a laundry list of peccadilloes to cover all of one’s basis is often detrimental rather than helpful. It is the sort of thing that leads to the development of scruples, an affliction which I know the bitter taste of well - not to mention it can often distract from contrition for those sins (recollection of those sins is not the same as being sorry for them). Venial sins are forgiven through prayer - the ‘Our Father’ or an act of contrition will do this - acts of charity, alms-giving, penance and the like if done with a sincere will to please God with sincere contrition for our sins. For myself, the ‘tiny white lie that slipped out by mistake’ that you mentioned, I doubt I would confess it at all, unless I had little or no other matter to confess or if it inadvertently had more significant consequences due to circumstances.

That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t confess venial sins; it is right and just to do such a thing. But, rather, I think it is most helpful to stick to the more pressing issues when we approach the confessional. Sins which we are most sorry for, or sins which we struggle with the most (and of course all Mortal Sins, which we are obligated to confess). In addition, keeping it short, simple and to the point will help the confessor direct you effectively on the points which are most pressing, rather than having to wade through a long list of venial sins that are of small consequence to try to determine where the real ‘problem areas’ may be. Kind of like if you went to the doctor, you wouldn’t rattle on about every pimple or scratch that might be on your body, but rather the points that were causing a serious ailment to your health.

In short, we should focus on contrition more than recalling and confessing every tiny sin we commit, because contrition is the most important part and the part which we should spend the most time on - not examination of conscience.

Pax Domini

As a priest who has been a confessor now for many years, and before retiring a formator preparing future confessors, I do not find this to be sound advice at all.

The original poster’s situation is left so abstract that meaningful advice is dangerous.

In point of fact, rather than coming to an anonymous internet forum seeking the opinions of various and sundry unknown people, s/he should seek to understand the judgment s/he is receiving from the confessor(s)…in other words, why have they made the determination they have.

In matters of sensitive conscience, the issue of what allows or precludes approaching the Eucharist is a question of spiritual direction – which should be coming from one spiritual director no matter how many priests one may have occasion to approach for the sacrament of penance.

In point of fact, anyone is ill advised to be guided by multiple directors.

A confessor properly arrives at a judgment as to not only the matter (which is objective) that is being confessed (which we do not know) but also the other surrounding aspects which touch upon the acquisition of subjective moral guilt and which the confessor may find reason to determine to be exculpatory – which we also do not know.

It is completely wrong to compare a judgement on the acquisition of subjective moral guilt to the doctrine of the Real Presence; they are not comparable.

Rather than a presumption that the priest is “liberal” or “heretical”, my presumption is that the difference arises from what is being confessed and how it is confessed as well as a variety of other issues that the confessor weighs in arriving at his judgment. This is all the more so precisely in cases involving a sensitive conscience.

As for the suggestion that a penitent should obey the confessor as they would obey God Himself, this is advice I would never offer, frankly. It is to radically misunderstand the contemporary practices of the sacrament of penance.

Beyond that, those who have made the vow or solemn promise of obedience as a priest or consecrated (after having studied the theology of vows and solemn promises as part of their formation) know that while it is God’s will that obedience to the one to whom the vow or solemn promise concerns is given that does not mean that the thing ordered is actually God’s will.

The penitent’s recourse is to have clarified for him/her the counsel the confessor has provided in order to understand the rational basis for the judgment made. That is far more useful to the penitent than I, as a confessor, fruitlessly attempting to speculate on what may have been in another confessor’s mind…which I obviously cannot know…about issues otherwise unknown to me.

As mentioned in previous posts by fellow members: While it can be true that a confessor might be trying to shield us from scrupulosity, or agonizing over, or beating ourselves up over a particular sin, it is equally true that the Church’s intention has never been to dissuade us from confessing less serious sins.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (bolds mine)
1458 **
Without being strictly necessary,
confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church**. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:

Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” - this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. . . . When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.

In my limited opinion,according to what was posted in the OP, no one (neither confessor nor penitent) has ever said the particular sin is not a sin, so there would be no need to stop confessing it. And it looks like no one said to stop confessing it ; rather, only that it could be permissible to receive Holy Communion without or before confessing it.

The conflict seems to be more centered on an imputation of guilt, or differing views of the point at which sin becomes serious. There are also many cases where a certain sin which most may not commonly consider to be serious can be very serious, and vice versa- where a sin is considered a grave matter may, due to mitigating circumstances, not be deemed a serious sin. Much of it has to do with situational ethics, which, to be effectively applied during a confession, are largely dependent on what input we as penitents can provide.

However, I personally have had confessors who found situational input surrounding a particular sin to be very useful information while others have bluntly told me, “I don’t need to know that. Just tell me/say what you did.” :shrug:


I have been in your position. The first thing I do now is I try to take it one confession at a time.

We are advised to choose our confessors carefully, but today, in our imperfect world, and without an abundance of availability of the sacrament of Reconciliation, we often won’t have the luxury of being able to choose our confessors -a lot of us are lucky if Confession is available at all.

So I take whatever opportunity for confession is available.

Apart from God, there isn’t anyone who knows us better than we know ourselves. And if our conscience is at peace after we have confessed a particular sin,chances are very good that confessing the sin was the proper thing to do. . . no matter what size,color or shape the sin was. :wink:

When it looks as if a potential conflict of pronouncement might arise, concerning how serious a particular sin I committed is - whether that pronouncement comes from my own conscience or from a specific confessor, I try to prepare myself ahead of time, so that when I leave the confessional, I will leave feeling forgiven rather than confused. I came up with this simple little prayer which seems to help a lot:

Jesus, concerning this ( the sin is mentioned here ) , I’m having trouble figuring it out. I know I’m guilty because I committed it, but I’m not sure how serious it is. We both know I’m guilty, but only You know how guilty I am. So I place that judgement in your hands and I ask You, in Your Mercy, to forgive me.

. . . then I get my butt to Confession.

:slight_smile:

Lol, no worries brother, always love to hear another side.

Here is my rebuttal… I agree that going into your confessor and saying, I slipped and said a little white lie to my wife on Wednesday, it was an accident and I regretted it immediately, but on Thursday I blatantly lied to get out of trouble with my boss, on Friday I had unchaste thoughts about a woman in the office but quickly dismissed them, but later on in the day I had unchaste desires and I used the Lords name in vain because I was mad at myself for slipping, then I went home and drank myself into oblivion because I’m an alcoholic then I got into my car…etc, you see where I’m going.

Instead, I’d say, father, I lied, I used the Lords name in vain, I had unchaste thoughts and desires, I have a severe alcohol problem oh and I killed someone while driving drunk. I think the priest is probably capable of figuring out which sins to really focus on and which sins are kind of not as pressing and need not really be addressed at that particular moment.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is when we start to omit sins from confession because they aren’t really that bad, or they might confuse the priest or I don’t wanna bother him, or whatever reason, we open ourselves up to continuously omitting them. Remember a small thing done deliberately is worse than a grave sin done unintentionally.

Finally, and most importantly whatever is pulling on our heart is what really needs to be confessed. I to struggle with a particular sin, unchaste thoughts and desires, and I can tell when I’ve fought a good fight against them and when I have deliberately given into them. However even if I can get a whole week or month from confession to confession without committing a mortal sin I still confess them because it holds me accountable. Because I know that the more I say, well it was just a little sin, I don’t really need to confess it, the more I’m opening up myself to committing that mortal sin.

I think maybe we need to stop looking at it as which sins do I have to confess, and start looking at it as, what have I done to offend God? What may have disrupted my relationship with God, even in the slightest?

Good morning -Thankyou/guide me prayer
Save our country from Hillary/Trump: St Michael prayer
Prayer for those dying: Memorie
Prayer for the Conversion of sinners
Parents prayer (I need to start saying more again)
“Bless you” for the many sneezes the family is encountering.

With all due respect to your position as a priest, I wish to attempt to clarify what I said, and to offer a defense.

In point of fact, rather than coming to an anonymous internet forum seeking the opinions of various and sundry unknown people, s/he should seek to understand the judgment s/he is receiving from the confessor(s)…in other words, why have they made the determination they have.

I agree with you.

In matters of sensitive conscience, the issue of what allows or precludes approaching the Eucharist is a question of spiritual direction – which should be coming from one spiritual director no matter how many priests one may have occasion to approach for the sacrament of penance.

In point of fact, anyone is ill advised to be guided by multiple directors.

I agree fully.

A confessor properly arrives at a judgment as to not only the matter (which is objective) that is being confessed (which we do not know) but also the other surrounding aspects which touch upon the acquisition of subjective moral guilt and which the confessor may find reason to determine to be exculpatory – which we also do not know.

This is true, of course. But, from the way I read the post (which I could have misunderstood) this poster was not asking about what to do in a case where there are disagreements between judgments on the subjective guilt of a certain act, but rather what to do in a case where there is disagreement from various confessors as the the objective moral aspect of a certain act. This is a completely different issue from questioning a judgment of subjective guilt.

To ask ‘is blasphemy grave matter?’ is completely different from ‘was my case of blasphemy a mortal sin?’ and it seems to me that the former was where the discrepancy with the various priests’ advice was, not the latter. If this be the case, then the problem seems to be easy enough to remedy by seeking clarification from the priests and by testing the teaching of the priests to see which is in conformance with the teaching of the Church (especially in the case of sins which are always grave sin).

It is completely wrong to compare a judgement on the acquisition of subjective moral guilt to the doctrine of the Real Presence; they are not comparable.

I wasn’t making any such comparison between subjective moral guilt to the doctrine of the Real Presence, I agree that such a comparison would be wrong. I did make a comparison between a priests teaching on whether a certain act is grave matter (objectively, not subjectively) and whether a priest’s teaching on a doctrine of the Church is objectively heretical. I see that as comparable, because something is either objectively grave matter or it is not, just as a priests teaching on whether or not our Lord is truly present is also either objectively orthodox or heretical. I don’t deny that there sins that are perhaps very hard to judge the objective nature of due to various details and circumstances (detraction, wrath, theft etc), and in these cases it is not so cut and dried as with others.

The only place that I wrote directly about subjective guilt was to basically agree with what you are saying (that the priest will have to judge due to various circumstances etc). I thought that this was apparent in what I wrote, but perhaps I am mistaken.

Rather than a presumption that the priest is “liberal” or “heretical”, my presumption is that the difference arises from what is being confessed and how it is confessed as well as a variety of other issues that the confessor weighs in arriving at his judgment. This is all the more so precisely in cases involving a sensitive conscience.

That is true that there are many factors involved in making a judgment on both the objective and subjective aspects of a particular act, you, no doubt, know this far better than I. My presumption is not that any particular priest is liberal or heretical (if I made such a presumption in my post it was unintentional), we should give the benefit of the doubt wherever possible. My only reason for mentioning it at all is because there are indeed liberal and heretical priests that one would be wise to avoid, and I saw in this conflict of opinion on objectively grave matter a situation that could well be a case of this. If a confessor were to give the advice: ‘Impurity is not grave matter, therefore you don’t have to confess this before receiving Communion next time.’ This would be obviously heresy (and yet there are priests that teach such things) and one would be well advised not to listen to the advice. That was the main point I was trying to make. Not that these priests are heretical, or to assume such, but that heretical priests do exist and to resolve the conflict one ultimately will have to seek clarification (which I, perhaps wrongly, assumed that the poster had probably already done so) and to test the judgment given to see if it is in accordance with the basic teachings of the Church. Providing the situation is unresolved still, one should follow the teaching of the priest(s) that are more learned and trustworthy.

I fail to see the error in this advice.

As for the suggestion that a penitent should obey the confessor as they would obey God Himself, this is advice I would never offer, frankly. It is to radically misunderstand the contemporary practices of the sacrament of penance.

Beyond that, those who have made the vow or solemn promise of obedience as a priest or consecrated (after having studied the theology of vows and solemn promises as part of their formation) know that while it is God’s will that obedience to the one to whom the vow or solemn promise concerns is given that does not mean that the thing ordered is actually God’s will.

Then, in your judgment, was St. Alphonsus mistaken?

I would like to point out, that it is not evident that this sermon of his (or his teaching on obedience to one’s confessor, nor the multitude of other Saints that he quotes in affirmation of his advice) is directed toward priests or consecrated religious only, nor only to those who have made a solemn vow of obedience, but rather it appears that it is directed at anyone who wishes to make advancements in the spiritual life and gain Heaven.

The penitent’s recourse is to have clarified for him/her the counsel the confessor has provided in order to understand the rational basis for the judgment made. That is far more useful to the penitent than I, as a confessor, fruitlessly attempting to speculate on what may have been in another confessor’s mind…which I obviously cannot know…about issues otherwise unknown to me.

That would be helpful, if it hasn’t already been done, and could well resolve the issue at hand.

Again, I mean you no disrespect.

Pax Domini

Well, yes, but that is a rather extreme case and not precisely what I was talking about when I wrote ‘a list of peccadilloes’ (which are very small sins). More like what I was talking about is something like this: “I lied to my wife unintentionally, I cussed without thinking about it, I gave in to self pity, I drank a little too much, I was short tempered with a couple of my co-workers, I ate too much unintentionally, I downloaded a song from the internet without paying for it, I detracted without thinking about it, I boasted, I did some unnecessary work on Sunday, I wasn’t as careful as I should have been driving” (etc). I could go on contriving venial sins, but I don’t think I need to. The point that I am trying to make is these lists can go on forever down to the minutest little sin and detail and even to doubtful things that ‘I should confess just to be sure’ but the reality of it is a long confession of only trivial things (half of them unintentional and perhaps even doubtful that the sin was committed) is on the doorstep (if not already through the door) of scrupulosity, and it is the thinking behind it ‘I must confess ALL of my sins’ that drives this. The truth of it is that we should confess what is most on our conscience, or the sins which we struggle against most often (speaking of venial sins, not mortal sins which we are obligated to confess completely in number and kind), or if we have committed only a few sins since our last confession then confess those. But, we must avoid spending excessive time in examination of conscience or in the construction of huge superficial lists just to cover all of our basis. I know a bit of what I am talking about, because I am a recovering scruple and I know for a fact from experience (in addition to this same advice from faithful priests) that this mentality aggravates the scruples (and I would say even paves the way for such a condition to develop, even if one doesn’t exist presently).

Moreover, it is not necessary to confess the whole drawn out list of every peccadillo and like I said before it may confuse our confessor as to our real problem areas; because the whole confession looks like one big peccadillo. I mean, from the list above you can’t tell much of anything about where the person’s real struggle might be, yet reducing the list to the more pertinent items (including relevant detail and being concise as possible about it) can give the priest a much better idea of where your daily struggle (with venial sin) lies. Of course, the grave sins are obvious, but I wasn’t speaking about those, but rather about the mentality of ‘I must (or at least I am best off) confess(ing) ALL of my venial sins that I can remember’ which is implicit in your argument. And this isn’t true, especially if you are inclined to drag out your examination of conscience for lengthy periods of time (which is what this thinking tends to lead to - because surely if I could remember more sins to confess I will be better off still).

I guess what I’m trying to get at is when we start to omit sins from confession because they aren’t really that bad, or they might confuse the priest or I don’t wanna bother him, or whatever reason, we open ourselves up to continuously omitting them. Remember a small thing done deliberately is worse than a grave sin done unintentionally.

Firstly, continuously omitting them isn’t necessarily bad - it isn’t a sin in any way. As I said, venial sins can be forgiven (truly forgiven) in many ways other than Confession if we are sorry for them and resolve to amend our ways. It isn’t necessary, or necessarily good, to always bring them to confession. It certainly can be good, even very good; the Church does recommend confessing venial sins and we do receive grace to fight inclinations toward sin through the Sacrament (plus a more efficacious remission of temporal punishment), but I think prudence dictates that we avoid excessive rigor-ism. It ultimately depends on the sin, the deliberation used in committing the sin (as you said), the amount of struggle and falls one has from the sin, the state of one’s conscience (normal, scrupulous or lax) etc. Just confessing everything (especially after rather lengthy examinations of conscience) is probably not nearly as helpful as you might think, and could well be actually detrimental by aggravating an inclination toward scruples, for example.

Our focus, in my opinion, should be on contrition for having committed those sins and purpose of amendment so that we do not commit them again (whether we confess them or not), and not primarily focusing on the detection and regurgitating of every sin. If you are spending even half as much time in examination and compiling your list as you are in considering contrition and working on the means by which you are going to prevent oneself from committing them again, then you are doing it wrong. I fail to see how one can have made any practical decisions as to how one intends to avoid the sins we confess if we have a veritable laundry list of mostly superficial sins (10 - 15 or more). If one has not given much thought to our motives for contrition for the sin, or how one is going to beat them, then it isn’t unreasonable to suspect that we aren’t really sorry for it (in which case confessing them won’t be of much benefit to us).

Finally, and most importantly whatever is pulling on our heart is what really needs to be confessed.

That is kind of what I am trying to say in a round about way. We should confess the sins that are most readily on our conscience, those sins which we are most sorry for, those sins which are most egregious (speaking of venial sins, since mortal sins must be confessed for a valid confession) or that we struggle with the most. Not to say we should neglect contrition for all sins, or stop confessing venial sins (because the Church teaches it is a good thing to confess them), but we should not spend excessive amounts of time scouring our conscience and compiling a list for every little sin that we can come up with. We need to focus on areas that we know are real problems and be sincere in our contrition and precise in how we are going to deal with avoiding it in the future. As for the rest, I would consider them so optional as to leave them out entirely or to perhaps confess them if they come up while I am confessing, but make no especial effort to remember them beforehand.

I to struggle with a particular sin, unchaste thoughts and desires, and I can tell when I’ve fought a good fight against them and when I have deliberately given into them. However even if I can get a whole week or month from confession to confession without committing a mortal sin I still confess them because it holds me accountable. Because I know that the more I say, well it was just a little sin, I don’t really need to confess it, the more I’m opening up myself to committing that mortal sin.

I don’t understand what you mean here. Are you saying that you confess merely having an impure thought or desire which you reject?

I disagree with the notion that you are opening yourself up for mortal sin if you don’t confess all of your venial sins. That would be true if you were not sorry for those sins and were doing nothing about them. Venial sins can be forgiven (truly forgiven) through other means - prayer, alms-giving, mortification etc - and it is not necessary to confess them in the Sacrament (ever) to be forgiven.

I think maybe we need to stop looking at it as which sins do I have to confess, and start looking at it as, what have I done to offend God? What may have disrupted my relationship with God, even in the slightest?

It is true if we are merely trying do as little was we can get away with then there is a good chance that we will end up in Hell by the end of it all. I am not saying that. I am saying that excessive rigorism is not going to help your relationship with God, and it may well damage it (scruples are very vicious and very painful spiritually to the one suffering them). I am saying that we should be strategic and fight well the battles that we choose to bring to confession (rather than dividing our attention and expending a lot of energy on a dozen or more peccadilloes). I am not saying ‘stop confessing your venial sins’ I am merely saying that the notion that something disastrous could happen if you don’t confess them all that is implicit in your statements should be toned down a good bit, because it is very rigorist.

Pax Domini

Pax,
Wow so much to comment on! Lol, anyway, good read, I think we are saying the same thing in a round about way. I agree, your example while much more extensive than mine (I never thought of confessing venial sins that way) is probably not a good way to go about confession.

I stand by my statement of using either one of the books or apps to help you figure out what really needs to be confessed. I have this awesome app (Laudate) that does many thing, one of which is it runs through a basic check list and gives you a real good starting place to go to confession. If you answer everything honestly and examine your conscience, you can’t go wrong.

Pax tibi,

Sorry, I can get a little carried away sometimes! :blush:

I went through a phase where my confessions would sound a lot like that, though often mine would be worse because half of them would be doubtful as well (I am not sure if such and such is a mortal sin etc) - I am quite sure that I frustrated a few confessors this way. However, things are better these days and my confessions are normally not nearly as scrupulous or as rambling (thanks in no small part to my spiritual director who is also my regular confessor). I think a lot of people tend to go about confession in this way, kind of like spiritual OCD or something.

A good book on confession (not to mention just an enjoyable read in general) is “Pardon and Peace” by Fr. Alfred Wilson (written back in the 1940’s I believe). Though I have never actually finished reading the whole book all the way through, it has some really great information and perspectives on confession.

I stand by my statement of using either one of the books or apps to help you figure out what really needs to be confessed. I have this awesome app (Laudate) that does many thing, one of which is it runs through a basic check list and gives you a real good starting place to go to confession. If you answer everything honestly and examine your conscience, you can’t go wrong.

I haven’t ever used one of the apps before, (though I have heard about them) so I can’t comment on them either way.

Pax

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