Contrition

Hi All!,

So I almost always as long as time is permitting meditate on the Lord’s Passion for at least 30 minutes before I go to confession. I end with a few prayers and ask God that I may make a good confession and that I may have perfect contrition for my sins. I got thinking the other day about contrition, specifically imperfect contrition. I was wondering if imperfect contrition means fear/sorrow of all of God’s punishments. So if you do not want to suffer his Temporal punishments is that imperfect contrition or is it only not wanting his eternal punishment?

God Bless

Catechism:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

(note that the grace of contrition of charity can coexist with lesser motives as well)

(note too that regarding venial sins --they can be forgiven in many ways --not just perfect contrition – prayer, Holy Communion, lectio divina, contrition etc etc–though it is good to confess at least some of them for various reasons)

Hi Zooman77,

Excellent question! It’s a good practice you’ve developed working on deepening your contrition. It’s a practice that I highly encourage.

As you can see from the CCC quotes that Bookcat posted, imperfect contrition certainly includes fear of Hell / punishment, but it is not limited to that. The example I like to give is if someone were to engage in gluttony and then become sorry after the gain an excessive amount of weight.

This contrition is certainly imperfect because they are not sorry out of love of God or even recognizing the offense to God, but they are sorry due to the ugliness of the sin itself. Because sin always carries unhealthy / harmful effects with it, that will suffice for imperfect contrition. However, such a contrition has nothing to do with fear of punishment.

I hope that helps!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.