Forgiven before confession?

My priest recently taught during RCIA that we are forgiven even before we go to confession, it’s just that we “don’t know it yet”. This to me seems to ring true as I believe our spirit can be forgiven the moment we ask God to forgive us. But, the psychological mind/body hasn’t realized it yet, that is until after we confess.

I can testify to this because I have asked for forgiveness personally to God before and knew he had forgiven me, but I couldn’t shake the guilt so easily until after I confessed.

Is this true and have any popes or the catechism said anything like this before?

Catechism of the Catholic Church
1452 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.51

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

I am afraid that that is a potentially dangerous thing to teach as it may make some think that the Sacrament is not necessary. We can be forgiven through perfect contrition but the confession of mortal sins is still required.

Teaching the all encompassing, ever enduring, divine mercy of God is never wrong!

Prayers and peace!

A simple and so wise a post! God Bless.

However, God wants us to seek his mercy in the Confessional. This is clear. To deny that is an insult to God’s mercy, saying that “our way of seeking mercy is better.”

PaulfromIowa is correct. This is potentially problematic, and the priest should explain what he means in great detail.

You are both right. The Catechism is clear. You must seek forgiveness of mortal sins in the nearest confessional. But the Mercy of God , on hearing our perfect contrition and fervent desire for confession, doesn’t wait for opening hours. He rushes towards us within His loving mercy, taking our hand as we seek reunion with Him and His Church before His Priest acting in His place.
What good Catholic would not yearn for the graces bestowed on us in the Confessional!
This gift is not available in the heart of the perfect penitent,his actions or his desires; but only in the loving gift of the Sacrament granted from our Loving Lord in the fullness of His Church alone.


Only the modernists would interpret this is “we don’t need to actually go to confession.” All this is saying is that if you don’t make it to confession before you die, but you tried to and you were perfectly contrite, you are forgiven. God knows what is in our hearts.

If you are really contrite, wouldn’t you want to rush to a confessional as quickly as possible?


We know that some situations cause delay against our will, and at least for the Latin Church annual confession is the minimum. For the eastern Catholic churches, it should be as soon as possible (per CCEO), which is a different sacramental discipline. Also, it does say that perfect contrition “it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible”, which may not be possible in grave situations.

Also note that venial sins can be forgiven in many ways…prayer, imperfect contrition, perfect contrition, acts of love etc.etc

Though it is very recommended to confess from them regularly.

The priest is correct, in a way, but I agree that the way the teaching was presented here is dangerous. It may be that the OP just misunderstood.

If one has perfect contrition then even a mortal sin can be forgiven, IF the penitant has the firm resolution of confessing to a priest at the earliest practical occasion.

In other words, if a soldier in battle repents of a mortal sin, and has at least SOME “perfect contrition,” and fully intends to go to confession, then he is indeed forgiven at that point were he to not make it through the battle. But his culpability would remain if he reneges on that “promise.”

Thanks for all these answers. I believe I got my answer too. With all due respect to my priest, he did go on in depth about the difference between venial and mortal sins. He was by no way implying that we should skip out on confession. To the contrary, he made me feel the urge to confess that day after my class because I had some serious baggage to unload on him…lol

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