Few Questions about Mortal Sin

Was in a discussion and a few questions came up that we couldnt’ answer. Hoping you all can help.

  1. We know that God will forgive a mortal sin with perfect contrition prior to that person getting to confession. We know that perfect contrition is sorrow arrising for the love of God. We also know that imperfect contrition, that is sorrow arrising out of fear of hell, is not sufficient for God to forgive a person in mortal sin until Sacremental Confession. So, the question is, can a person have both perfect and imperfect contrition at the same time? That is, can a person be sorrowful for offending God (perfect) and sorrowful for fear of hell (imperfect) at the same time? If so, a person with both could have faith of God forgiving them even before the confessional.

Along those lines, can or should a person who only has imperfect contrition have hope that God would forgive them if something were to happen to them prior to making it to confession?

  1. We’ve always been taught that if a person commits a mortal sin, that person should go to confession as soon as they can. What does this specifically mean? Does it mean the next Saturday confessions are offerred? Does it mean call the priest and make a personal appointment the next day? Does it mean wake up the priest in the middle of the night on the emergency line?

I don’t know if this will help you, but it was once explained to me that perfect contrition is the type persons like St. Francis of Assisi had, and imperfect contrition is the type the rest of us have. Perfect contrition has a supernatural quality to it, so don’t count on it happening, but always pray for it.


Good questions! I don’t really know myself…I am in the same boat though in terms of having both perfect and imperfect contrition.

In terms of the when to go to confession…I think (and this is just my personal opinion) that as long as you tell God you’re sorry, you can wait until the following confession…I’m not really sure though. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help to you.

An act of perfect contrition forgives sins if someone dies before getting to Confession upon the condition it is their intent to get to Confession as soon as possible.

An act of imperfect contrition does NOT forgive sins if they die before getting to Confession.

You can go to Confession at scheduled times or fix up an appointment with a priest to meet at a mutually agreed time.
No you don’t don’t wake the priest in the middle of the night to make an appointment for Confession.

And we cannot ever be sure if our contrition is perfect or not. Only God knows. So that’s a mighty slender thread to hang our salvation upon.

Hello David.

Yes! There are many who think they have perfect contrition, but the truth is it is a supernatural gift of grace that moves the soul who experiences it deeply, and for a length of time. It makes trembling Saints out of sinners. Perfect contrition is just that PERFECT! Many play words games over it though and think that if they are sorry over their sins because they love God and don’t really fear Hell, then ta da! “perfect” contrition. But like I said, it is a supernatural occurance and is very rare and when it does happen, people do stuff like quite jobs and sell all they have and go to monasteries or end all sinful relations and make major changes in their lives. Like most everything else in our day, the idea of perfect contrition has been dumbed-down to suit the modern sensibilities and tastes. And Father Liberalitis has already told everyone they have perfect contrition as long as they say to themselves they love God and are sorry, therefore the contrition is now perfect!

If a soul is touched by perfect contrition and suddenly dies, they go straight to Heaven. One sure measure of this phenomena is in those around the person experiencing it. They notice the change in the person usually better than the person who is in the midst of it. It changes folks and their relations with everyone. It converts /reverts folks. It is none other then the Holy Spirit moving a heart and mind to God. It is the fire of God’s love the Saints write of.


I completely agree David.

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