Equivocal understanding in confession

I confessed something that was bad ( a very very indirect participation in IMO, a non-violent rape/seduction -something for which there is no one word -through the medium of pornography) and therefore it hit me outside, if he really thought that I was describing a real rape or a fictional one (after all pornography is known for its fictions).

However, I never explicitly qualified it as such. Also, the priest was traditional so I’m sure he isn’t one to underestimate the word “rape” and priests in general are no strangers to sick stuff.

Yet what if he didn’t understand the word “rape” in the way I understood it? There’s a chance he didn’t but my fear of looking like an over-anxious idiot, and the fact that there was probably someone else there made me decide not to rectify the situation.

Was that a good idea or not? And what happens if a confessor misunderstands?

In short, if you are sorry for your sin, described it in an honest way to the priest, and received absolution, it’s a good confession.

If the priest needs more information or clarification, he will ask. As long as you don’t deliberately misrepresent the sin, then you should assume it was a good confession.

You always have the option of bringing this up with your priest next time, just to give yourself peace of mind.

So I’m guessing that how the priest interprets a sin is not connected with the effectiveness of the absolution?

To clarify, I meant bring up the entire thing (basically what was just posted here), not just listing it again to “fix” the confession retroactively.

I’m still not sure what you mean. You said it was “optional”, which seems to mean in this context “not needed to fix the confession, since everything went well”?

As in, pass it by him even if you do come to the conclusion it was fine, to eliminate any lingering doubts.

But the question is, whether my doubts are justified, not whether I should go back to ask him.

If I don’t get answer here then, I’ll ask him.

In technical terms, I’d say you confessed the wrong genus of sin, not just the wrong species, so yes, you’re justified in having qualms. It also depends on what your intention was, though. If you meant to hit the nail on the head and just failed to, then that would be different than if you had just intentionally avoided making the right statement.

In short, I think you should just go back and talk to him.

My bad, make that more specific: you didn’t even get the species right (got my terms mixed up). Go and talk to him.

Forget my last two posts.

Moral of the story is, don’t try to do theology on a Friday night.

Any replies to this query?

As a layperson, my understanding is this: the priest acts in persona Christi. God knows what you’ve done. You are under the obligation to confess all mortal sins by number and kind. Obscuring the " kind" deliberately is a different sin and indicates a lack of repentance, which calls into question the validity of the absolution - not because the priest didn’t understand you, but because you lied.

If the “kind” is obscured but not deliberately, and the priest did not ask for clarification, then the absolution is valid. However, it is best to avoid trying to be deliberately vague on the hope that the priest won’t question you. If there is remaining doubt, it’s best to consult the priest to be sure and to help you prepare for future confessions.

Sometimes there can be a doubt whether withholding information was deliberate or not (momentary panic etc.) In this case, better to check than suffer from doubt.

There you go.

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