EDITED: Confessing same sin to two priests



In Confession, what if i confess a sin to a Priest and the same sin to another Priest and get different answers if it is sin or not? Being a Priest is Persona Christi, which Priest is correct and theologically speaking, Jesus wouldn’t be against Himself. There has to be a simple answer. Please help me to know it! Thanks!



Priests act in persona Christi, but they are still human beings with different opinions on things. Sometimes they even disagree with the Cathechism.:frowning:


There HAS to be a simple answer you say? But we live in a very un-simple time.

There are Catholics who cry out: “How come this was a sin when I was a kid but now it’s not!?!”

It depends on what you are talking about.

If you are talking about a sin which the Church has always called a sin, but a particular priest is buying into contemporary secular beliefs that it is not a sin, then you have a rogue priest and you might want to shop for a better confessor.

If it is a sin that requires a more full explanation somehow and the priest is not grasping it in its entirety or you are not explaining it clearly, go again and explain it better.

If you don’t understand whether something is a sin, ask for more counsel on discernment.
My favorite confessors have usually been at more traditional churches, especially the Latin mass churches. I prefer priests who spend time with you and help you figure things out better so you don’t keep falling in that sin or you don’t keep mistaking something for a sin. They don’t seem to be in a hurry (even if they are in a hurry).

Reconciliation is an important Sacrament and many church members have minimized its importance since Vatican 2. It got kind of confusing in there with some strange interpretations, avoidances, and neglect in seminary education. Some children have received First Communion but not their First Confession! Yet, First Confession always comes first.

Truth remains true. That should be simple. But some of our spiritual counsellors have been misled on certain truths. “The greatest sin of our generation is that we have lost our sense of sin”

However ALL priests are ordained to pardon your sins, whether they are good confessors or not.


It would be better if you were speaking of an actual case, a true Confession,
although you may be, we don’t have any relevant information, so we cannot
speak in any specifics. Therefore we could suppose that your proposal is
theoretical in nature. Theoretically speaking, you would have to had received
penance from the priest who said “it” was not a sin first, then confessed to
the second priest who said “it” was a sin, otherwise you would have not made
If a sin is so venial as to have a different interpretation from two different priests,
then it must be small, or your representation of its nature not completely the
same in both instances.
Whatever the case, you must make penance according to the priest
who said “it” was indeed a sin.


Why would you make the same confession to two different priests? If prist A said it was not a sin you should have asked for further explanation then. Perhaps he misunderstood you or perhaps you are a bit scrupulous.
If you are scrupulous than it is best to always confess to the same priest. Follow his guidance on what is a sin and what might mitigate your culpability.


My concern is the same as Ms Sally’s…how would this ever come up?

No wait…I know now…
You confess and act/ask if it is sinful and your confessor agrees that it is.
Later you commit the same act - confess this to a different priest who says that it was not sinful…
Is this the case??

Assuming that it is, one can only say - as others have said above - that there may be different reasons why this might occur.
There might be nuances in the instances where one time it was sinful and another time not…
There may be miscommunication such as:

  • The priest may have misunderstood you in your description…
  • You may have misunderstood the priest…
    For example…It might have been a case where the priest who said it was not a sin meant that it was not a “mortal sin” and therefore did not need to be confessed…

This is why it is a good thing to have a regular (and orthodox) confessor - especially for matters that one is unsure of. Then if one DOES go to another confessor and hears something contradictory - one can simply let it go because this priest does not know you that well - or you can mention this difference to your regular confessor (without names of course) for clarification.



Sometimes if a priest thinks you’ve mentioned something that is not sinful in confession he will just come out and say so without you even asking. I had a situation where I confessed a bunch of sins that I knew were venial and the priest said something like ‘none of those are serious sins.’ :shrug: Perhaps he wasn’t so used to people confessing only venial sins, or else thought I might be scrupulous or something.


The priest acts in Persona Christi when he performs absolution. The rest of his conversation is hopefully guided by the Holy Spirit.

It’s tough when two “experts” disagree. I would check the Catechism and see if either priest is in agreement/disagreement. If a priest is not in agreement with the Catechism, he’s wrong.

If an answer is not found in the Catechism, ask yourself whether this act brings you closer to Christ. If the answer is “No”, consider it a sin and don’t repeat it.


I think that if my confessor said that to me - I would respond - yes father but they point to something deeper (one or more of the “deadly sins”) and that is what concerns me.



[quote="MtnDwellar, post:8, topic:311130"]
The priest acts in Persona Christi when he performs absolution. The rest of his conversation is hopefully guided by the Holy Spirit.


So what the Priest says is a sin or not a sin isn't in the act of Persona Christi, only the absolution based on what the Priest heard?


So it is good to seek absolution of venial sins too, even if not required? I guess that could make for a long confession and the Priest might not have time…


Thank you for all of the posting! I appreciate them.

It had to do with catch and release fishing, thinking the Catechism mentioned not to harm animals if not intended to eat them or use them for some benefit or something. The Priest said my intent was not to harm the animal, but to enjoy myself or something… I cannot remember the exact words of the Priest. So the Priest said catch and release fishing wasn’t a sin. I posted directly on that question somewhere else.

I did feel relieved for maybe the first time? even in confession to hear a Priest speak on behalf of God, so as not to be held responsible for my sins.

I don’t think i was trying to purposely harm the minnows or worms or even the fish that i caught and released… Maybe i was though in some way?? scrupulosity…


So what the Priest says is a sin or not a sin isn’t in the act of Persona Christi, only the absolution based on what the Priest heard?


Acting “in Persona Christi” only applies to hearing and absolving sins. It doesn’t apply to advice given. Some priests give bad advice. Some think that some sins are not sins (I was once told that it wasn’t a sin to partake in protestant communion). Whatever sins you confess are forgiven even if the priest doesn’t think it is a sin.

It is good to confess venial sins (particularly ones that you frequently commit). If you have a long list of venial sins to confess, make an appointment with the priest so that you don’t slow down the line.

Always confess your mortal sins first and your venial sins last. That way, if you are taking up to much time, the priest can absolve you and you can finish confessing venial sins another time. :slight_smile:


What does that quote mean, especially the second part? Are all sins related to demons? A demon under every rock? Thanks!


“If we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness.” - St John Chrysostom

When we drive out demons, we make the Sign of the Cross (whether a layman sees a demon or a priest is doing an exorcism).

The Sign of the Cross is also of aid in healing sickness because we laypeople use it in prayer and the priest uses it in the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. :thumbsup:

Not every sin is related to demons but, sometimes demons will tempt us to sin. :slight_smile:


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