So with regard to sexual acts with myself EXCLUDING the actual solitary sin, was it necessary to describe exactly what i did, as this morning I had a general confession and termed the acts as “disordered perverse sexual acts with myself”. Was it sufficient? The priest asked if i felt i had confessed everything, and i suddenly thought should i describe the things i did, but then thought the solitary sin is not described in detail, right? (i.e what you actually do)
I think its the devil playing on my mind.
What do you guys think though?
Should i not be getting these feelings after confession, does it mean confession wasnt valid?
You did just fine. You tell the priest what the sin was and how many times it was committed. They don’t need details, or if they do, they will ask. I’ve asked the priest before on impure thoughts whether or not you had to say what kind, i.e. homo- vs. heterosexual fantasy, and it was irrelevant. God just appreciates you owning up to your sins.
[quote=Magicsilence]…but then thought the solitary sin is not described in detail, right? (i.e what you actually do)
Maybe, maybe not. If I confess that I stole money, it may interest the priest to know if I did so with a handgun at a liquor store. We should include information that affects the severity of the act, though we need not go into all the particulars (the make/model of the gun, etc). Likewise, our motives may be a factor (I stole a loaf of bread because my sister’s child was starving and we were close to death, etc).
Suppose, for example, that I were to confess the sin of masturbation. It would be relevant to tell whether I did so with the use of pornography, which is a mitigating factor (since pornography contributes to the exploitation and objectification of God’s children).
I find the best kind of details to give in confession are the kind relating my motivations, what I was really trying to obtain, the level of malice I detect in myself, how aware I was of what I was doing - details that reveal hidden thoughts. Bring them to light. The more detail I give - particularly if it reflects badly upon myself - the more I benefit by the grace given in confession, and the more confident I feel later in the presence of God and man.
Consider this: if a wealthy man made himself available to all people to pay their debts, would you just bring your past due phone bill? Wouldn’t you want to delineate every single possible debt you have so as to be free of every burden? And the more debts he pays off, the more cause for gratitude you have.
Luke 7:40 And Jesus answering, said to him: Simon, I have somewhat to say to thee. But he said: Master, say it. 41 A certain creditor had two debtors, the one who owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? 43 Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly.
Conclusion: give details pertaining to any aspect that could be considered an offense to God, which you would like to be paid by the merits of Christ. It gives value to His suffering and freedom to you.
One caveat: if you deliberately exclude to confess a grave sin, then you forfeit everything, and that act nullifies any absolution.
I know this, but i didnt exclude a grave sin, but termed a number of sins under “disordered perverse sexual acts with myself”. Im really cooked up about it because originally I was going to say the sins, then i remembered another one which was different, and then when reading a list of mortal sins it said
Masturbation or other impure acts with self
So I figured i could term them under this, but i guess that means i was hiding it from my confessor by not actually saying them, its just its really hard to say these sins, I dont think any priest anywhere has ever heard this sin before. And it really hurts, because this was supposed to be my general confession that ive been building up to for months, so if it wasnt valid, then im going to have to do it again.
Candidly, I think you’re over-analyzing this and forgetting that God knows what is in your heart. He knows what you are sorry for even if you didn’t exactly spell it out in the confessional. It sounds more like you’re having a harder time forgiving yourself over these sins. Christ wants you to lay your burden down at the cross. What you are doing now is a form of pride. Trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness. That’s what He wants from all of us.
If they legitimately fall under a category, and in your heart you revealed and pointed out to God what was too complex to describe, then that may be sufficient.
This is something I can’t really judge. You are the one who will have to determine if you were deliberately hiding it, and confess that as false modesty if you did. If you aren’t sure, then examine your conscience more deeply. It is critical that you are as sure as possible.
This may be crossing over into a different sin, though. Perhaps you are prone to exaggeration or evasiveness in some other area of your life? It could be interfering with making a good confession. So instead of focusing on which category the impure act(s) might fall under, maybe focus on your honesty or some other related point that you know about.
My best results for examination of conscience have been while praying a rosary slowly and privately. I myself have to ask God to help me examine my conscience. I have such complex, deep, hard-to-pinpoint faults that I rely on God to tell me what they are, and I have to write them down when He shows me because I would never be able to recall or repeat it later in confession otherwise.
But the question is, what makes it hard? Embarrassment? Technical details? Memory lapse? Pride? Lack of trust?
You might be suffering from scruples, which is a condition of not being sure whether you did or are doing something wrong. It is an indication of a lively conscience that is, however, not properly formed. It is good to care whether you are doing things right. But you suffer because you are not sure.
Try to find reading material, preferably by cannonized saints, that covers the aspects in your case.
[quote=StCsDavid]Candidly, I think you’re over-analyzing this and forgetting that God knows what is in your heart. He knows what you are sorry for even if you didn’t exactly spell it out in the confessional.
Yes, God knows our hearts, but one of the benefits of confession is collecting grace to overcome faults. We need to know what we are sorry for, too. Unspoken thoughts can easily be denied, forgotten, or presumed as not being our own, and open us up to doubts. Once spoken, it can be remembered better, and as being our own. And if we are able to verbalize it in the court of mercy, then it has tremendous benefit for us.
I didn’t think that about him at this point. I think he is trying his best to properly lay his burden down, to be obedient.
Yes, this is the bottom line. But don’t be lukewarm about it, still try your best.
[quote=hurst]Yes, God knows our hearts, but one of the benefits of confession is collecting grace to overcome faults. We need to know what we are sorry for, too. Unspoken thoughts can easily be denied, forgotten, or presumed as not being our own, and open us up to doubts. Once spoken, it can be remembered better, and as being our own. And if we are able to verbalize it in the court of mercy, then it has tremendous benefit for us.
True, however, if one is repentant, is it your position that the person received less grace in the confessional simply because one didn’t go into exact detail of the sin he committed?
This and other posts of yours make me wonder if you suffer from scrupulosity. It’s often a symptom of Obsessive-Cumpulsive Disorder. It seems to me that you’re worrying needlessly—perhaps talking to a priest about this might be useful.
[quote=StCsDavid]True, however, if one is repentant, is it your position that the person received less grace in the confessional simply because one didn’t go into exact detail of the sin he committed?
In general, yes. But it also depends on what you mean by “detail”.
If you mean specifying the sin in more detail to identify what it consists of, then absolutely YES.
But if you mean particulars of the action, such as describing physical appearances or visual representations, then absolutely NOT. In fact, thinking you have to express those kind of details in order to convince yourself that you have made a good confession is considered a form of pride and self-seeking and self-reliance according to what I read.
For example, compare these:
I lied twice
I lied twice to an older lady in a ticket booth. The second time I paused in astonishment first, and held my cash more tightly. My plan was have a straight face and look innocent. I gradually started to respond and spoke in smooth tones. I looked at the glass, which was rounded and had an opening for passing the money through. The tickets were red with black ink, by the way.
I lied about my age to get into a rated R movie, and when asked if I was really that old, I lied again, knowing I was lying but pretending I wasn’t.
There is more grace obtained by saying (3) than (1) because it specifies the nature of the sin in more detail. Saying (2) is not appropriate because those details are not relevant to the nature of the sin, even if you later realize you feel guilty about each one of those actions.
I understand what you are saying; however it seems like a rather subjective standard in determining the quantity of grace received. Perhaps a great deal of courage was needed just to confess the sin sans the more specific detail. I find it hard to believe that Our Lord is thinking, “I’ll give you two scoops of grace for confessing the sin, but four scoops if you give me the details.” I’m not disagreeing with the importance of providing as much relevant detail as possible as it helps both you and the priest communicate which aids in the direction he can give you. I just wouldn’t necessarily equate that as the recipe to gain more grace. If a person is sincerely remorseful for one’s sins and repents, then examples 1,2, or 3 would achieve the same amount of grace. Additionally, a good confessor would take the opportunity to extract more detail if needed based on the gravity of the sin.
That’s my opinion. I could be wrong…wouldn’t be the first time