Forgotten Mortal Sins

I’m starting to do the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and I started to think about mortal sin again. Now my past years have to have more mortal sin then I remember. And I know that one mortal sin not confessed will send you to hell. So, id like to ask my priest at confession to absolve me of all my sin; including the past. Is there some way to explain that to him? And if he does absolve them, and I remember them exactly later, do I have to confess to them again?

If you do not remember a sin, it cannot be told. You are absolved of all sins, when you confess with proper contrition. If you remember a particular mortal sin later, then tell it in the next confession even though it has already been forgiven.

That would be one deliberately withheld mortal sin, one that you went into confessions with an intention of not confessing.

If, due to human failing, you forget about a sin, it IS absolved when you go to Confession.

But if you remember such a sin, it is still a good idea to bring to Confession, so that you might receive guidance on how to avoid the sin, and the appropriate penance to atone for it.

Also, as part of the Spiritual Exercises, there is (or should be) an opportunity for a General Confession. That is a chance for you to spend time with a confessor going over all of the sins which you can remember. The purpose is to allow the priest director to identify patterns of sin in your life and assist you in avoiding them. Please avail yourself of that opportunity

Just one more thing. There is one sin that I confessed months ago. But something inside says I didn’t confess correctly. As in, I said it but have no idea how many times I had done it exactly. Anything specific on that?


Did you confess you committed the sin only once? Confess again saying you did it multiple times/ many times/ whatever is appropriate.

Did you confess that you did it a specific number of times but were far off in number? Confess again saying you did it multiple times/ many times/ whatever is appropriate.

Did you confess that you did it multiple but an unspecified number of times? Do not confess again. The priest would have asked if more details were needed. To confess again would be scrupulous; you must believe in God and in His Mercy and in the grace and promises of the Sacraments of His Church.

I suppose you mean you examined and did not know how many so you approximated.

If one examines and one does not know the actual number one may approximate according to what one does know…like “2-3 times” or “around 10 times” or “2-3 times a month for the last 5 years” or even it may need to be “many times” …“a few times” etc.

Jimmy Akin of CA:

Sounds like a scruple. Confess it next time you go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and after you confess all your sins, say "for these and all the sins of my life, I am heartily sorry. " This will take care of any sins you have forgotten to confess.

Since you are doing the Excercises of St. Ignatius, the devil would love to destroy your inner peace and shake your confidence in a God. He is called the great Accuser for a reason. He wishes you to spend all your time ruminating over past mistakes to bring your focus on your unworthiness instead of God’s great mercy. He hates God’s mercy and does not want to admit that God is Love and Goodness.

Humble yourself peacefully to God and pray psalm 51. Then believe that God has forgiven and forgotten your sin and move on with the Excercises.

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