Detail in confession


#1

Is it acceptable/proper to confess somewhat vaguely? For example, to confess that one has committed a sin against chastity, without detailing what kind of sin? I have sufficient embarrassment (and contrition) about this sin and am not certain I can speak the words, even under the seal of confession.


#2

Im in RCIA right now and my priest actually told us not to go into great detail. The sin against chastity wording you used is exactly the way he said it when he gave examples. He said that he ddint need the gory details only the sin and that your sorry for it.


#3

[quote="nova147, post:1, topic:308360"]
Is it acceptable/proper to confess somewhat vaguely? For example, to confess that one has committed a sin against chastity, without detailing what kind of sin?

[/quote]

No.


#4

[quote="thomc1980, post:2, topic:308360"]
Im in RCIA right now and my priest actually told us not to go into great detail. The sin against chastity wording you used is exactly the way he said it when he gave examples.

[/quote]

Such would be incorrect --so some misunderstanding is present.


#5

One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the kind -- like it was your brother you murdered! or the gold cup you stole was from the Church (hence sacrilege))

Venial sins are recommended to be confessed. They can also be forgiven in many other ways.

Of course after a good examination we may not ...remember everything..that is ok...we do what we can..God forgives the forgotten ones too (we need of course to be sorry for all our mortal sins...and amended)...then if we later remember one we forgot..we are to confess it in the next confession after we remember it. (this is different from if we intentionally hide a mortal sin...)

If something is doubtful one notes it is doubtful in some way. While one is not strictly obliged to confess doubtful mortal sins -- it is normally recommended to (though those with scruples may be recommended not to).

Also we may not know the numbers ...we do what can ....and if we do not know..we make an approximation according to our knowledge from our examinination ...3-5x, 5-10 a month for the last 20 years, somewhere around 50 times, around 10x, or it was several times definately more than 10 ....it may be that one has to say: "a few times", "several times" "many times" "many many times" etc

Of course one needs contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.

Here from the Catechism:

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm#VII

Here is a guide sold by Catholic Answers: shop.catholic.com/product.php?productid=137&cat=25&page=1

From Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers:

jimmyakin.com/2007/03/specific_confes.html

The Priest has heard it all before...just confess behind the screen and be matter a fact --do not worry about this ..he has likely heard much worse.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd ..he loves you --in him is * true life*

(and thus in confession is true life!)


#6

"First, a word about what adequate detail is: We are expected–to the best of our reasonable ability–to confess our mortal sins in number (how many times you did it) and kind. Kind is where the question of specificity comes in, and the rule is that we are to confess specifically enough that anything that affects the species of the sin is mentioned.

To understand that, one needs to have a grasp of the difference between genus and species. Genus is the general category to which a sin belongs. Species is the variation that distinguishes one sin from others in the same general category.

For example, saying “I committed a sexual sin” would cover only the genus of the act but does not address the species of sexual sin that has been committed. One would thus **need **to say “I committed adultery” or “I committed fornication” or “I committed a homosexual act” or “I committed masturbation” or “I committed incest” or whatever the case may be. Adultery, fornication, homosexual acts, masturbation, incest, etc., are all the various species of sexual sin."

–Jimmy Akin senior apologist of Catholic Answers (link above)

There are various ways one can say the species --but it still needs to be said.


#7

[quote="nova147, post:1, topic:308360"]
Is it acceptable/proper to confess somewhat vaguely? For example, to confess that one has committed a sin against chastity, without detailing what kind of sin? I have sufficient embarrassment (and contrition) about this sin and am not certain I can speak the words, even under the seal of confession.

[/quote]

I should clarify. You should **not **confess vaguely, but rather modestly. You must be detailed enough in the sin so that the priest can know exactly what it is, but no so detailed the it is immodestly graphic.

You MUST be detailed enough, however, the the priest to tell what the sin was and how grave it was.


#8

[quote="dshix, post:7, topic:308360"]
I should clarify. You should **not **confess vaguely, but rather modestly. You must be detailed enough in the sin so that the priest can know exactly what it is, but no so detailed the it is immodestly graphic.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#9

I tend to not give a lot of detail, but I am specific. I figure, if the priest needs more detail, he’ll ask for it. Sometimes he does, usually he doesn’t.


#10

[quote="babochka, post:9, topic:308360"]
if the priest needs more detail, he'll ask for it.

[/quote]

Such is true...but we need to keep in mind that it is not an interrogation --but a confession.

A self-accusation.

I accuse myself of murder 3x, perjury 2x, missing Sunday Mass 5x, Fornication 2x, adultery, lustful thoughts 2x, car theft 5x (I returned them).....etc

Not

I accuse myself of harming others, some things against chasity, stealing some stuff and some other not good things...

and then see if the Priest asks for more....

(not that your saying such!..you note that one is to give enough info)


#11

[quote="Bookcat, post:10, topic:308360"]
Such is true...but we need to keep in mind that it is not an interrogation --but a confession.

A self-accusation.

I accuse myself of murder 3x, perjury 2x, missing Sunday Mass 5x, Fornication 2x, adultery, lustful thoughts 2x, car theft 5x (I returned them).....etc

Not

I accuse myself of harming others, some things against chasity, stealing some stuff and some other not good things...

and then see of the Priest asks for more....

(not that your saying such!..you note that one is to give enough info)

[/quote]

Well put! heh.


#12

[quote="thomc1980, post:2, topic:308360"]
Im in RCIA right now and my priest actually told us not to go into great detail. The sin against chastity wording you used is exactly the way he said it when he gave examples. He said that he ddint need the gory details only the sin and that your sorry for it.

[/quote]

My priest told me the same thing. I know a friend who tled me she confesses in 10 Commandment form they viloated the XYZ commandment in general way etc. I think if a priest needs to know more than what you confess they'll ask what specifically you mean if your confession is too vague.

Mary.


#13

Just say enough to get the point across. The priest is not interested in the gory details, if he needs more information, he will ask.


#14

Excellent posts/answers...

Jimmy Akin's Q&A answer is...excellent catechetical instruction:--substantive, precise and clear...and pastoral to top it off...

Pax Christi


#15

Such is NOT sufficient for an integral confession of mortal sins.

Venial sins yes.

I accuse myself of venial sins against the fourth commandment would fly. But if I beat up my parents – no.

See Jimmy Akin jimmyakin.com/2007/03/specific_confes.html


#16

Thank you all for your replies. They have been helpful. Pray that I make a good confession. I am a convert, and even after 8 years, confession is still a very difficult practice for me. I really hope to begin making monthly confessions in order to get past this difficulty.


#17

[quote="Bookcat, post:10, topic:308360"]
Such is true...but we need to keep in mind that it is not an interrogation --but a confession.

A self-accusation.

I accuse myself of murder 3x, perjury 2x, missing Sunday Mass 5x, Fornication 2x, adultery, lustful thoughts 2x, car theft 5x (I returned them).....etc

Not

I accuse myself of harming others, some things against chasity, stealing some stuff and some other not good things...

and then see if the Priest asks for more....

(not that your saying such!..you note that one is to give enough info)

[/quote]

X2!!! Sometimes I'll ask questions in Confession, but usually not. As tough as it is for penitents to know what to say, it's equally tough for confessors to know what to ask, or rather, how much to ask. The reality is that we live in a culture that is very easily offended. At the end of the day, I have to trust that my penitents are being truthful.

FWIW, Cardinal Dolan wrote this in his book Priests for the Third Millenium:

The Church insists on an integral confession: specific, blunt, thorough. No generic stuff like,"Since my last confession I have failed to love." Whoopee! No. It is: How? When? Where? As Chesterton said, "Sin is one thing we do not do in the abstract." Since my last confession I have failed in chastity." Not good enough! How? Where? When? With whom? How often? Is the Church hung up on numbers and specifics? No! It is just that she wisely knows that honesty demands specifics, and the essence of the sacrament is honesty. Thus the value of a regular confessor, or of making confession part of spiritual direction--honesty is easier. (Page 251)


#18

[quote="buc_fan33, post:17, topic:308360"]

FWIW, Cardinal Dolan wrote this in his book Priests for the Third Millenium:

[/quote]

Sounds like a good book!


#19

One of the best I’ve ever read!


#20

I had it explained to me like this: if I go into the confessional and say, "I've had impure thoughts 10 times in the last month," when in reality I've been sleeping with my boss, I not only have made a bad confession, I've committed sacrilege doing it. Of course I've had impure thoughts, I have also had a lot more than impure thoughts.:D However, if I go in and I say, "In the past month I have committed adultery 10 times," that's generally enough. (And no, I haven't been sleeping with my boss. No offense to my boss, but eeww ;) Nice guy, but not my husband.)
Kris


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