First Confession, still feel unforgiven


Hi all! I’m completing RCIA soon, and just had my first confession the other day. The problem is, I still feel unforgiven for the tattoos I have. I have searched about tattoos on this forum, and it says the Church doesn’t have a problem with them, but I still feel guilty about them.

My problem, other than OCD, is the concept that God can forgive me for them even though they’re still on my body. This voice in my head keeps saying I need to get a job to pay to get them removed. However, that wasn’t part of my penance. The priest also said tattoos are really no big deal and the devil is going to try to make me feel bad about them.

Maybe I’m still stuck in my ex-Protestant mindset, having a hard time believing I can really be forgiven without having to get them removed. By the way, they aren’t immoral tattoos…my daughter’s name, a cross…stuff like that.

Any advice?


Just pray to the Lord to help you not be disturbed by the tattoos.

Be at peace, your sins are forgiven. Focus on that!


the first thing to do as a Convert ( I should know also being a Convert) that we have to accept what the priest says, OK you got them at a stage in your life when you thought they were lovely, now you don’t but its not a sin, and you said yourself you don’t have anything that is obscene. The Priest has said they are OK so you have to put your trust in the Lord through the Priest. This will become very important when you do go to Confession with something troubling. Trust.

God bless on your Wonderful journey, its such a buzz becoming a Catholic with so much to do and learn, Prayers,Reading, Adoration, one can also join a lot of Catholic organizations, Holy Hour for Adoration, Retreats, even to go onto this Forum can keep you busy.

Walk with the Lord.


There are times when I don’t feel forgiven after confession either. But I try to remind myself that I walk by faith, not by sight or by feelings.


Father God, I have sinned against others, against myself, and against You. I am unworthy to be Your child. I have offended Your goodness and Your dream of who I really am. I may have denied You the joy of blessings that You wish for me and for others through me. You alone know the entire consequences of my failure. Yet Jesus assures us that You joyfully celebrate my return from sin, and run to welcome and reclaim me as Your own.
Help me to value myself as Your child, knowing that all worth and holiness comes from You.

In trust, I will not accuse myself for sins already forgiven and absolved or for temptation if I have not actually sinned.

Look on those tasks of love and service that I failed to undertake or to complete, and bring them to completion. Please bring out of my past failures, such fruits of these new opportunities enhanced beyond all previous expectation, for from our human betrayal of Your divine plan of Creation, Your mercy wrought the magnificent plan of redemption that reverberates through time and eternity!

In Your mercy, please transform into good all that in weakness or ignorance I may spoil. Please give blessing that is abundant beyond original possibility, to anyone I ever harm or deprived. May I so belong to You, may I be so transformed by Your love, that nothing in my life impedes Your will. This, my soul, in trusting confidence, implores.


A man who has a vasectomy is not required to have it reversed as a condition of forgiveness. We all make mistakes and some of them cannot be reversed. In fact, most sins leave permanent consequences. The idea of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is that you are sorry for your sins and you are forgiven. Many women have had abortions. There is no going back on that and the scar on their psyche is as permanent as any tattoo. So, we need to get past our sins and let God be God. No sin is greater than God. If your tattoos are not offensive then I can’t see the sin in the first place but I know the scriptures in Deuteronomy that some refer to for this. Satan would not be happier than to know that you do not feel forgiven. You are restored to your full union with God after a good confession. Know that peace and let your tattoos be a reminder of that peace. Maybe instead of looking at them as a reminder of some failure look at them as a reminder of success; the success only found in the forgiveness of Christ. Pax Christi…teachccd


The problem is the OCD, work on that with someone.


Remember what Jesus told the apostles!

“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

The priest who gave you absolution is endowed by Christ with the ability to declare your sins forgiven. If he gave you absolution, you were forgiven. Try not to concentrate on how you “feel”. Use what you know about Christ. Have faith! He keeps his promises!



My friend, it was “for freedom that Christ set us free” (Galatians 5:1). Those feelings of being unforgiven can be entrapping and guilting - and your confessor is right, the devil is going to try to make you feel bad about them even though they’re not a problem. He does that with me all the time. But the Bible tells us that “we see the [outward] actions of men, but God judges the heart” - so even if you have them on your body still, it’s not the outward appearance that God is looking for, but rather what’s in the heart. Jesus also mentioned this to the Pharisees when he called them “white-washed tombs”: a great outward appearance but a vile inward disposition. So the outer body is, of course, to be cared for, but really it’s what’s in the heart that’s more important :thumbsup: Blessings friend, on your journey to Catholicism!!


I’ve seen a lot of people who like to use the Bible against people with tattoos. Yes, it does say something in the Bible against tattoos. However, it was the reason behind it that was the issue. At that time, people would sometimes mark their bodies when someone died as a means of appeasing the deities who controlled the world of the dead. So, it was more the pagan practices behind the tattooing they were being warned not to follow, not the tattooing itself.

As for not feeling forgiven after your first confession, I’m a convert myself and had the same experience. There was something I’d done in my past that I’d carried guilt around for years and and still couldn’t get past, even after being forgiven in Confession. Several months later, I found myself talking about it with a (now) friend of mine, and it wasn’t something I talked about with my closest friends, let alone someone I didn’t know well. That conversation helped me understand that while yes, what I’d done was bad, God had found a way to turn it around and use it to influence my life for good.

So my thought here is this: don’t worry too much about not feeling forgiven yet. I’ve found that God will always put someone or something in our path with whatever it is we may need to hear (or see) at that time. I have yet to be left floundering for too long and my guess is you won’t be either.


First off , don’t worry about feelings or the lack of feelings. Secondly, pray for the grace to trust in God’s mercy and to conquer scrupulosity. Thirdly and finally, when you are tempted to doubt about your tattoos just say “get behind me Satan!”


Your confessor has already given you advice and we cannot add or take away from that. It sounds like he was correct when he mentioned that DEVIL was going to try and make you feel bad about your tattoos. This might be a good time for you to read, “Divine Mercy in my Soul”, just in time for Easter.


Thank you for all the advice everyone! I am definitely taking it to heart!


The wonderful thing about the sacraments is that they are “physical signs instituted by Christ to give grace.” IOW, we know the sacrament has been effected because Christ does it, not because we feel it or whatever. We can trust Christ to do what He says He will do, we can experience physically the physical aspects of the sacrament, so we know it has happened.

Would you not forgive your friend for breaking a vase even tho the vase remains broken? Well, Christ loves us more and better than we can love anyone.

You are forgiven.

And welcome to the Church :slight_smile:


Whenever in the need of casting out satan, another great prayer to recite is the St. Michael prayer:thumbsup:


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