Forgiveness without Confession

Hey everyone. I need some help.

I’ve been struggling with a habitual sin, masturbation. I don’t necessarily think it’s an addiction, mostly because I can go a fair amount of time --2 weeks-- without committing it. I’ve been going to confession, daily Mass, and praying in order to stop it.

I was recently fighting the temptation to commit the sin when I finally lost. I feel really upset and guilty now. I feel so bad for having offended God. I really wish I could just go back in time to stop myself from doing it.

I’m really, truly, and honestly sorry for committing this sin. I continuously ask God for forgiveness, but I’m afraid I cannot receive it without going to confession.

I would like to go to daily Mass tomorrow, but I’m afraid I can’t receive the Eucharist without committing sacrilege. I really want forgiveness of my sins so that I may receive it. Is there a way I can receive absolution of my sins without going to confession? I know it’s possible to pull the priest aside before Mass to ask for a quick 5 minutes, but I feel so embarrassed, I don’t want to.

If I wasn’t clear on anything or you need more information, please let me know. Thank you all.


If it is a personal mortal sin, confession is required.

If it is not a personal mortal sin, confession is not required. So an objective mortal sin that is reduced to venial through diminished culpability would not need to be confessed before receiving Eucharist.

In this case, you must decide which category your sin falls into. We cannot make that choice for you. Your confessor can judge this, so if you have ongoing advice from a confessor that your habitual masturbation should not be considered personal mortal sin, you would follow that advice. If you do not have such advice, this may be a topic to discuss in more details at your next confession so you can have a clearer basis for judging these situations in the future.

Please note that “addiction” is not the term used in the catechism discussing circumstances and conditions that may diminish culpability:

“To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.”

Force of acquired habit is the relevant term, and you yourself described it as a habit.

In your situation, I think you should seek further clarity in this matter via confession and directly asking about this.

You may not receive Communion unless you have been to Confession and receive absolution.

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