Delaying Confession due to improper disposition


Hi everyone! I know this may seem like a dumb question, but here goes anyway.

Suppose a Catholic finds themselves in a state of mortal sin, and knows that they must go to Confession to be absolved. But the Catholic, due to struggling with acceptance of church teaching, does not feel that what they did was mortal sin.

Because this person, at the present time, finds themselves unable to abide by church teaching and be in the proper mental state to receive absolution (that is repentant and determined to not commit the same sins again), should the Catholic in question put off going to the sacrament of Confession until they are repentant, able to accept church teaching and live their life by it, and do their best to not commit the same sins again?

Hope this wasn’t confusing.


To be in a state of mortal sin they must have commited something that might be considered grave matter, that they had free will when doing it and they had the knowledge of knowing they were doing wrong.

No if you know through your conscience that what you were about is wrong OR if the church has defined something clearly as being wrong through her ancient experience and Divine given authority…both ways could be considered ways of sinning if you go against either


The Catholic should: Make an appointment to meet and speak with a Priest …he can assist one in having the proper disposition- with overcoming ones difficulties in accepting Church Teaching…and any difficulty with repentance. And of course pray - God can give you the grace to overcome your difficulties. Let us take to heart the words of Jesus - repent and believe the Gospel! his desire for us to have life in abundance. True life.

Once one realizes the* reality* of the Church - whose Church she is - with whose authority - and that it is as Sacred Scripture puts it “an obedience of Faith” - things can go rather smoothly. Faith seeking understanding.

(one may also call the apologist line and overcome those difficulties).

In Jesus of Nazareth and thus in his Church and Sacraments is true life!

(PS: there have been those who have historically entered the confessional without conversion -only to convert within - and even later become a blessed (almost a canonized Saint) in the Church! - I am not saying here for the person to attempt to receive absolution without repentance - but I am noting this to give hope that the grace of God splendidly take hold of one…)


Hi SBushman5278,

Great question! Thanks for asking!

In this particular scenario I’m assuming the person 1) Knows that the Church teaches it’s a mortal sin and 2) Freely chose to do it anyway. In such a case, this person should go to confession. Perfect intellectual consent of Church teaching is not required for a Confession. We all have our struggles and at times doubts in various forms. Further more, delaying going to Confession is one of the worst ways to try to see why something is bad. Confession itself is how someone who doubts the severity of a particular sin can become more and more aware of how serious a sin it is.

In addition to Confession, I’d recommend they take time to try to understand why the Church teaches what it teaches. Make an appointment with a priest, attend a class, do research, etc. They should also spend lots of time in prayer and ask God to inspire their mind and heart and to give them a repulsion of sin. Often times, when someone goes to Confession often, they slowly develop a repulsion to the sin they used to have trouble discerning the evil.

So, in short, if someone is having intellectual hang ups about why something is a sin, the solution is to go to Confession MORE frequently.

Hope that helps!


No, the person should not delay confession.

Confession is a sacrament that will heal his soul and restore him to a state of grace. The person will be reconciled with God and with the Church.

I pray that the person would pray to God for the grace to accept Church teachings, not just because of all the benefits of confession, but to obtain true repentance for offending God.
Through confession, the person will gain spiritual consolation and an increase of spiritual strength to avoid the near occasion of sin.

I think a lot of Catholics mistakenly think they have to change BEFORE they confess, but it is the sacrament of confession (God working through the sacrament) that changes US.


Go to confession. Confess other sins and share with the priest whatever the struggle is with this particular sin. Let the priest take it from there.


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