Do we REALLY Need To Go To Confession To Be Forgiven?

:shrug:I was just wondering, if you have commited a mortal sin, do you need to go to confession to be forgiven or is it enough to be truely sorry and pray for forgivness at home or church?

Thanks for reading,


You ever heard of a kid going into a store, and taking something that didn’t belong to them?

Then, they get home, and their mother finds out and takes them back to the store.

Now, to make it ‘right’, the parent could just have them put the stolen item back on the shelf. I mean, really, that would fix things, right?

But the usual reaction is to go to the shopkeeper, and have the child look him in the eye, acknowledge what was done, and then apologize.:thumbsup:

That physical act means a lot.

As for our apologies to God: in the Genesis story, God knows everything, but He asked Adam and Eve what they had done. He didn’t need to. But they needed to acknowledge what they had done.

Just a few passages later, Cain killed Abel. Again, God asked him what happened. God KNOWS everything, but that act was necessary as part of the forgiveness.:slight_smile:

Getting back to a more contemporary action: Imagine your kid comes home from school, goes into his room, and shuts the door. You go to ask what happened. ‘I did something bad at school and need to be punished’.

Cute… but are they REALLY sorry if they don’t even SAY what they did? “I’m sorry, but I won’t tell you for what”:shrug:

We are told to pray to God for what we want. “He knows what you need before you do”, I often hear. But why then, do we need to pray?

It is part of our relationship with God. We need to pray to Him, and sometimes, that prayer is for forgiveness. We have the priest there to represent God for us. He has hte authority to forgive our sins. Not just because, but because that was passed down through succession since Christ gave His disciples that authority:thumbsup:

You cannot be forgiven of a mortal sin outside the sacrament of Reconciliation without the firm intent to go to Confession as soon as possible and, on top of that, perfect contrition for the sin or sins committed.

Nope its not enough.

If you want it recorded on paper, then yes. :slight_smile:

But, if you just want to confess in the comforts of your home, that’s acceptable. I look at it this way: You are only forgiven when you finally learn from your mistake and ultimately forgive yourself. :yup:

Ironically Yours, Blade and Blood

Keep your trap shut when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Thank you.

God gave us sacramental reconcilation so we could be forgiven our sins. It would be foolish to throw away the great gift of His Mercy!

Only forgiven when you forgive yourself?:confused:

I don’t know what faith you belong to, but forgiving yourself really doesn’t cut it in Catholicism or in Christianity either for that matter.

Now if you worship yourself, then maybe you have a point:thumbsup:

Oh, stop it; of course I know what I’m talking about, or else I wouldn’t have said anything. :tsktsk: You know that.

Ironically Yours. :heart:

You must go to confession to be forgiven of a mortal sin. And confession is thoroughly Biblical so don’t let the Protestants convince you otherwise.

That’s a funny statement coming from an ex-Catholic :rolleyes:

yes you do need to go to confession for the forgiveness of mortal sins and its also recommended for venial ones too :slight_smile:

Brushy, if you are a Catholic, and commit mortal sin, you need to go to confession. I know you were probably really young (7) when you had your first confession, and a lot of the teaching probably ‘went over your head’. People in the last 4 decades have underutilized confession, have been poorly catechized, and in many cases have been outright lied to. But since you’re asking (Good for you! :thumbsup:), you are being given God’s grace to get a good, definitive answer. So here is from the Catechism:

1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."95 There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven."96 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.97 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.
1485 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,” Jesus showed himself to his apostles. “He breathed on them, and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”’ (*Jn *20:19, 22-23).
1486 The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.
1487 The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone.
1488 To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world.
1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.
1490 The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy.
1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.
1492 Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called “perfect” contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called "imperfect."
1493 **One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. **
1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of “satisfaction” or “penance” to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.
1495 **Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ. **
1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  • reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
  • reconciliation with the Church;
  • remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
  • remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
  • peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
  • an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.
    **1497 Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church. **
    1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.

<<<<Please pay particular attention to the parts underlined in the Catechism above.

Lest anyone be misled, nothing is recorded on paper. Even when teaching First Reconciliation classes, I am not allowed to record attendance at the ceremony itself, at the end, or give out certificates, or anything like that. And when you go to Confession later on, after your First Confession, nobody would even think about recording the event on paper or in any other way.

But, if you just want to confess in the comforts of your home, that’s acceptable. I look at it this way: You are only forgiven when you finally learn from your mistake and ultimately forgive yourself. :yup:

:rolleyes: I think you watch too much television.

IF you are a Catholic as long as Confession is available to you and it is possible for you to get there, you are required to confess in the Sacrament your mortal sins at least once a year.

Just go, even if you don’t think you “need” to. The graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation are wonderful, and you still get them even if you only confess venial sins. :thumbsup:

‘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.’ (CCC 1452)

God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself. Through the ministry of his Church, may God grant you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Protestants will object that it is one thing to say Christ forgives our sins, but quite another to say that a priest needs to forgive our sins too. Catholics do not separate confession to a priest from confession to God. Rather, we believe that we can confess our sins to God through a priest, and we believe that God forgives us through the ministry of priests. The fact that it is not the priest alone who forgives us is evident in the way he absolves “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

Yet, there is sense that the priest always acts in the person of the Church, as well as in the person of Christ. This is because the Church is the Body of Christ, and when we sin, we injure not only the individual whom we wronged, but the whole Body of Christ. Acting as a spokesperson for the whole community, the priest is also declaring us reconciled with the Church. As a fellow sinner, the priests is even interceding for us with God on behalf of the entire community! We see this in the following passage from the letter of James:

Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person is very powerful. (James 5:14-16)

Some people resist confession because they are unaware of any sin, or simply do not feel sorrow for their sins and do not believe their sins merit any type of atonement. I’m not a trained psychologist, but I believe that this is the unhealthy attitude of a sociopath.

If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

I may be progressive, and I may believe that conservatives sometimes are too narrowly interpreting Scripture and Tradition, too strictly interpreting justice, and too mercilessly treating sin. Yet, I do believe that we can turn away from God and we can do harm to other people.

The only “entrance requirement” to Christianity is admitting we are sinners in need of God’s help. Recovering addicts know that the first step to healing and wholeness is to admit you have a problem. We must confess that we are sinners in need of salvation in order to receive salvation!

But must we confess our sins to a priest? Even if we acknowledge that the practice of confession is somewhat implied in Scripture, and may be healthy in some instances, are we obligated to confess our sins to a priest?

Personally, I think this type of question is about as meaningful as a child asking if she or he is obligated to eat dessert. I do not think of confession necessarily as something I have to do in order to be saved.

It is true that the Church teaches that we have an obligation to confess our sins at least once a year at Easter time. Furthermore, Saint Paul tells us the following:

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. (1 Cor 11:27)

The Church has maintained since the time of Trent that mortal sins should be confessed before receiving Eucharist. This lead many people in the pre-Vatican II era to confess their sins weekly.

However, we already alluded to the fact that in the early Church, confession was a rare practice, and the practice of weekly confession may have encouraged the sin of scrupulosity more than helping people experience the mercy of Christ. (Scrupulosity is a nurotic focus on fault tending to the sin of despair). I do not believe that most people are committing so many truly mortal sins that weekly confession should be considered necessary. At the same time, a more regular habit of confession than once a year can be a wonderful spiritual discipline.

If I read you correctly you are saying that going to confession is optional except once a year and that mortal sins **should **be confessed before receiving Holy Communion.

Is that what you are maintaining or am I reading you wrong.

I wish. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ironically Yours. :heart:


Forgiveness comes from God alone. He might forgive any sins at any time.

Absolution reconciles us to the Church and brings about that forgiveness which comes from God. Absolution is the means by which God offers us His forgiveness.

Now, having said that, one needs also to keep the following in mind: Since God has established absolution as the means for us to be forgiven, then that also means that if we reject the absolution (ie the sacrament of Confession) then we are likewise rejecting the forgiveness. Praying for forgivess in private is a good first step, but it’s only a start.

One who is truly sorry for a serious sin would also seek God’s mercy in the way that He established–confession.

Rejecting confession (or even to simply say that we don’t need it) is a way of taking God’s mercy for granted.

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