Do we need to confess multiple instances of our sin?


For example, if Bob has led another person into sin, deliberately or not, and Bob says this in confession, but later realizes/remembers that he have led that same person into another different sin as well, do Bob have to mention this the next time he goes to confession? Or are any instances of leading this person into sin forgiven without any need to mention it again?


The standard rule for confessional material I’ve always heard is kind and number, so if it truly a second instance of a sin was forgotten in the first confession, it ought to be brought up in the next. But then again, it is not necessary to list every venial sin, but I couldn’t say if we are dealing with grave or venial sins without specifics.


Hi ZoonCorp,

To start - sins that are truly forgotten are forgiven as well. So in Bob’s case, those sins would be forgiven. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to bring up forgotten sins in confession, but be sure to note that you’ve already been to confession, and are just confessing it for ease of conscience. However, the sin is forgiven regardless.

Venial sins are not required to be confessed (forgotten or known) are not required to be explicitly confessed for forgiveness, but it’s a good idea to do as unchecked venial sins often lead to mortal sins.

Long story short - Bob does not have to confess that sin, it was already forgiven. However, if Bob so chooses, he may bring it up in confession for ease of conscience.


I know many many people will disagree…but I’ve always just said
Father, at this time I struggle with:…and tell the kinds of things/instances that are sinful for me.
He never tells me I’m doing it wrong, or asks “how many times and what are the details?”
Peace to you, and kudos for desiring to make a good confession. God bless you.


To clarify a bit - If it was mortal he is obliged to confess a forgotten mortal sin in the next confession after he recalls it.

If venial -there is no obligation as you noted.


One is obliged - to confess all mortal sins in number and kind -and if one forgets one – one is obliged to confess it when it is recalled (in the next confession).

As Jimmy Akin senior Apologist of Catholic Answers staff puts it:

“You are forgiven if you meant to confess all your mortal sins and just forgot one. Having been forgiven of the one you forgot, you are still obligated to confess it the next time you go to confession. It’s not that your forgiveness of it is conditional on you adopting the intention to confess it next time. That sin has already been forgiven. It’s that you incur a new sin if you refuse to adopt the intention of confessing it.”

(I will note for some readers that some may struggle with scruples about confession and need particular direction from a regular confessor).


In terms of venial sins --yes that is correct.

If mortal sins are meant such would not be correct. The Priest may ask but he may assume you have meant only one time. Normally they cannot read hearts…

It is not a question of just many people disagreeing - but rather with the Catholic Church disagreeing (see Canon Law and other such texts). One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind. It is our obligation. It is *confession *not interrogation. I am to “confess”.

And such speaks too as to validity. If I committed murder 3x and knowingly hid that it was 3 times – and say just murder -such would render the confession invalid and can be a new mortal sin that I will need to confess along with any other mortal sins -when I repeat the confession (for they were not absolved) (and if I tried to goto confession since then with mortal sins…that too can need to be dealt with in the same way).

(now as I noted above some readers may be quite scrupulous about confession and can may need particular direction from a regular confessor -they may be in a different boat depending on their struggles).


To clarify a few things that have been said above by other posters, from the Code of Canon Law:

Canon 988 – §1. A member of the Christian faithful is** obliged **to confess in kind **and number **all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, for which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience.
§2. It is to be recommended to the Christian faithful that venial sins also be confessed.


Thanks for clarifying, that is correct.

The sin is forgiven and Bob is now in a state of grace. But if Bob deliberately chooses not to confess the forgotten sin in his next confession, then Bob has incurred a new mortal sin of not having the intent to confess. It essentially amounts to sacrilege of Reconciliation.

However, there’s no requirement to immediately run to confession for forgotten mortal sins that have been forgiven in Confession already. So Bob can continue to receive Communion and go to Confession at his next regularly scheduled time.

Usually, most people don’t bother clarifying it to that extent, but I see how my words could be misinterpreted to imply that one is never required to confess a past forgotten mortal sin. I was more focused on clarifying that the sin is still forgiven and one may receive Communion.

Thanks again for the clarification!


I was thinking about venial sins, yes.
My confessor has told me that the sin the OP was referring to was not mortal, but many here have stated that it is indeed mortal.
My intention with my remark, was to stress that one should try to obtain a regular confessor, as my personal opinion is that this leads to more growth, more directed help.
I guess I’m no being very clear. Fear. Everyone is afraid. Ashamed. Sorrowful. But that is precisely what a confessor is for. If the person has returned to the confessional with the same sin several times…as you are required to list mortal sins in kind, you can receive better counsel (in addition to the absolution we all seek) by having a regular confessor.


Yes regarding venial sins.

As to the sin referred to -it was not specified as far as I see. So we do not know if it was grave scandal or venial scandal. But yes venial sins of scandal need not be confessed.


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