Forgotten Sins, Priest Told Me Not to Confess: Do I need to go to Confession again?


#1

I just went to Confession today, and right as the priest was beginning the formula for absolution, I realized that I truly had left out an important detail concerning a sin I confessed. I thought about interrupting to tell the priest, which I've done before, but I kept going back in forth in my head rapidly thinking, "Should I interrupt or is it that big of a deal?" Then, he got to the more necessary part of the absolution, and I just kept my lips shut. As soon as I went for the door, I thought, "Man, I should have spoken up. Why didn't I? I'm going to regret this." I went back to the priest and said, "Fr., my mind isn't at peace, I don't think I confessed with sufficient detail." So, I re-confessed my sins. But, after leaving the church, I remembered two other serious sins that I completely forgot to confess, and I realized that I hadn't even mentioned making an invalid confession within the context of the Confession itself. So, I went on with my day hoping that I could go back to Confession some time soon. Thankfully, another church was having Confessions in the later afternoon, so I went. I entered the Confessional saying, "Father, I actually went to Confession once today, realized that I gave insufficient detail right as the priest was beginning absolution, and I hesitated to interrupt, so I think I made a sacrilegious Confession." He told me it was not, but I still wanted to Confess at least that I hesitated to interrupt with an important detail (if that's necessary). I proceeded to tell him that there were two sins that I completely forgot to Confess. He told me that they were already forgiven, so he was just going to give me a blessing instead. But, I said, "But, Fr., I've read that you still have to confess forgotten sins." He insisted that you did not since it's already forgiven. But, I said, "Fr., can I just bring them to Confession now." He replied, "Do you understand me? You do not need to Confess them. They were already forgiven." I will admit that I have some scrupulosity that I wrestle with from time to time. I felt kind of anxious at this point, so I finally said, "Yes Fr., but can I at least confess sins that I have committed since my last Confession?" He allowed me, so I did confess some venial sins. Then, I said, "And, I also committed these sins... [which I told him... then saying:] which I forgot to Confess in my last Confession." He asked, "Those were sins that you committed before your last Confession?" Then, I panicked that he might become angry with me for this, so I quickly thought of something to add quickly to this and said, "and I think that pondering over those sins may have caused temptations for me today." That wasn't exactly true, which I felt bad about later, but I guess I just panicked. He then almost seemed to have sighed a little and told me to pray a Hail Mary. He then gave me absolution.

But, after leaving I thought, "Did I make it seem as if I believed that I had not made an invalid (therefore, sacrilegious Confession)?" I concluded that I kind of did make it sound so, though I did not believe so. So, I wondered if this actually counted as Confessing the sin. I then realized that the priest may have believed that I was finally following his advice about just forgetting the forgotten sins, and maybe he thought that I wasn't intending to include them in this Confession... which might explain why my penance was so small.

Am I obliged now to bring all of this to Confession again?

I'm so confused, and I don't know what to do. I just wanted to lay it all down in Confession, be done with it, and move on away from it. I just want to do what I'm obliged to do. Do I confess again?

P.S., I know that I'm a scrupulous person, but I think that I truly may have had valid reasons to bring all these things to Confession when I did. I don't think I was truly being scrupulous this time, but I don't want to become to scrupulous now, while I also want to do what the Church obliges us to do.


Nevertheless, if we happen to recall an unconfessed mortal sin, we are called to confess it. As the Code of Canon Law provides:
The faithful are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins committed after baptism, of which after careful examination of conscience they are aware, which have not yet been directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not been confessed in an individual confession (canon 988 §1).
The late eminent theologian Father John Hardon, S.J., elaborates further on this issue in The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Image Books, 1981):
Must we confess grievous sins forgotten in a preceding confession? We must confess grave sins forgotten in a preceding confession because, according to divine law, every known mortal sin committed after baptism must be ‘submitted to the keys’ [cf. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-18], that is personally acknowledged in the sacrament of penance (no. 1373, p. 273).

catholicexchange.com/forgotten-mortal-sins/


#2

[quote="sjcath45, post:1, topic:333765"]
I just went to Confession today, and right as the priest was beginning the formula for absolution, I realized that I truly had left out an important detail concerning a sin I confessed. I thought about interrupting to tell the priest, which I've done before, but I kept going back in forth in my head rapidly thinking, "Should I interrupt or is it that big of a deal?" Then, he got to the more necessary part of the absolution, and I just kept my lips shut. As soon as I went for the door, I thought, "Man, I should have spoken up. Why didn't I? I'm going to regret this." I went back to the priest and said, "Fr., my mind isn't at peace, I don't think I confessed with sufficient detail." So, I re-confessed my sins. But, after leaving the church, I remembered two other serious sins that I completely forgot to confess, and I realized that I hadn't even mentioned making an invalid confession within the context of the Confession itself. So, I went on with my day hoping that I could go back to Confession some time soon. Thankfully, another church was having Confessions in the later afternoon, so I went. I entered the Confessional saying, "Father, I actually went to Confession once today, realized that I gave insufficient detail right as the priest was beginning absolution, and I hesitated to interrupt, so I think I made a sacrilegious Confession." He told me it was not, but I still wanted to Confess at least that I hesitated to interrupt with an important detail (if that's necessary). I proceeded to tell him that there were two sins that I completely forgot to Confess. He told me that they were already forgiven, so he was just going to give me a blessing instead. But, I said, "But, Fr., I've read that you still have to confess forgotten sins." He insisted that you did not since it's already forgiven. But, I said, "Fr., can I just bring them to Confession now." He replied, "Do you understand me? You do not need to Confess them. They were already forgiven." I will admit that I have some scrupulosity that I wrestle with from time to time. I felt kind of anxious at this point, so I finally said, "Yes Fr., but can I at least confess sins that I have committed since my last Confession?" He allowed me, so I did confess some venial sins. Then, I said, "And, I also committed these sins... [which I told him... then saying:] which I forgot to Confess in my last Confession." He asked, "Those were sins that you committed before your last Confession?" Then, I panicked that he might become angry with me for this, so I quickly thought of something to add quickly to this and said, "and I think that pondering over those sins may have caused temptations for me today." That wasn't exactly true, which I felt bad about later, but I guess I just panicked. He then almost seemed to have sighed a little and told me to pray a Hail Mary. He then gave me absolution.

But, after leaving I thought, "Did I make it seem as if I believed that I had not made an invalid (therefore, sacrilegious Confession)?" I concluded that I kind of did make it sound so, though I did not believe so. So, I wondered if this actually counted as Confessing the sin. I then realized that the priest may have believed that I was finally following his advice about just forgetting the forgotten sins, and maybe he thought that I wasn't intending to include them in this Confession... which might explain why my penance was so small.

Am I obliged now to bring all of this to Confession again?

I'm so confused, and I don't know what to do. I just wanted to lay it all down in Confession, be done with it, and move on away from it. I just want to do what I'm obliged to do. Do I confess again?

P.S., I know that I'm a scrupulous person, but I think that I truly may have had valid reasons to bring all these things to Confession when I did. I don't think I was truly being scrupulous this time, but I don't want to become to scrupulous now, while I also want to do what the Church obliges us to do.


Nevertheless, if we happen to recall an unconfessed mortal sin, we are called to confess it. As the Code of Canon Law provides:
The faithful are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins committed after baptism, of which after careful examination of conscience they are aware, which have not yet been directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not been confessed in an individual confession (canon 988 §1).
The late eminent theologian Father John Hardon, S.J., elaborates further on this issue in The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Image Books, 1981):
Must we confess grievous sins forgotten in a preceding confession? We must confess grave sins forgotten in a preceding confession because, according to divine law, every known mortal sin committed after baptism must be ‘submitted to the keys’ [cf. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-18], that is personally acknowledged in the sacrament of penance (no. 1373, p. 273).

catholicexchange.com/forgotten-mortal-sins/

[/quote]

Obey your confessor.


#3

Dearest sjcath,

You need to discuss all of this with a priest outside of Confession. It is very important that you discuss this issue with a priest and NOT on the internet.

Peace.


#4

The priest was right. Those sins were forgiven because you absolved. The confession was a good one at the time it was given. The fact that you forgot sins (which we all do) does not matter. If you had intentionally left out sins, that is a whole other issue. I think you may have a misunderstanding about the Sacrament and should further discuss with the priest.

Yes, you are obligated to confess any mortal sins that you forgot at the next confession. That does not mean you have to re-confess the next day. And it is not because of the forgiveness part of it (you were absolved and forgiven) but rather the penance part of it and being obedient to the Church. In other words, if you omit a mortal sin by accident but otherwise give a good confession and you are absolved you are forgiven of all the sins you have committed. However, the priest will not necessarily give you the penance that is appropriate for you if you forget a sin. That is why it is important to go back at your next confession and confess any mortal sins. Then you can do penance. Why is penance important for a sin that is forgiven, you may ask. It expresses to God your sorrow for your sin, increases your humility and brings into closer unity with Christ Who died to atone for our sins. The penance portion of the Sacrament is critically important for spiritual growth. In the situation you described, I would simply resolve to confess the forgotten sin at the next confession, and do something penitential on my own to express my sorrow for my sin.


#5

You will be much more at peace if you listen to and trust your confessor. *Even if he makes a mistake, it will not fall on you! *God will judge your confessor accordingly.

Best thing to do is to go to one priest for confession, explain you tend towards scrupulosity, and that you would like him to help you with that. He may suggest a separate appointment.

Now, in Confession, if we make a mistake, it doesn't affect our absolution. The only problem is when we *definitely decide *to hold back a sin we know we have committed. So don't worry when little things like what happened today happen, and talk with a priest about how best to address your scrupulosity.


#6

The validity of your confession does not depend on the orthodoxy of the priest. Discuss this with the first priest or with another orthodox priest.


#7

I do not know how old you are, but please realize that feelings of guilt does all sorts of strange things to people. In your case, it causes you to doubt your confessor.
Others on this thread have made valid suggestions. You definately should contact your Parish Rectory and make an appointment to see a priest. You might bring a print-out of this thread with you.
What you need to discuss with him is not just the problem with your last confession, but the underlying reasons reasons for your scrupulosity. You might also consider asking him for a referral to a Catholic Psychological Counselor or Psychiatrist.


#8

[quote="George_Stegmeir, post:7, topic:333765"]
I do not know how old you are, but please realize that feelings of guilt does all sorts of strange things to people. In your case, it causes you to doubt your confessor.
Others on this thread have made valid suggestions. You definately should contact your Parish Rectory and make an appointment to see a priest. You might bring a print-out of this thread with you.
What you need to discuss with him is not just the problem with your last confession, but the underlying reasons reasons for your scrupulosity. You might also consider asking him for a referral to a Catholic Psychological Counselor or Psychiatrist.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#9

[quote="porthos11, post:2, topic:333765"]
Obey your confessor.

[/quote]

How did you do that quote with the moving window?

Linus2nd


#10

My priest has told me the same thing


#11

[quote="Linusthe2nd, post:9, topic:333765"]
How did you do that quote with the moving window?

[/quote]

A Code block. Click on the button with the # sign. Code does not wrap long lines, and it defaults to a monospace font. It's not the best for quotations. It's intended for computer code, but it is also good for ASCII art:


              .======.
              | INRI |
              |      |
              |      |
     .========'      '========.
     |   _      xxxx      _   |
     |  /_;-.__ / _\  _.-;_\  |
     |     `-._`'`_/'`.-'     |
     '========.`\   /`========'
              | |  / |
              |/-.(  |
              |\_._\ |
              | \ \`;|
              |  > |/|
              | / // |
              | |//  |
              | \(\  |
              |  ``  |
              |      |
              |      |
              |      |
              |      |
  \\jgs _  _\\| \//  |//_   _ \// _
 ^ `^`^ ^`` `^ ^` ``^^`  `^^` `^ `^



#12

sjcath45,

You must drive yourself insane with this sort of thinking!

You should find one priest, who you trust, and ask him to be your regular confessor and to help you deal with your scrupulosity. And then obey him.

Best wishes with this.


#13

I totally understand you!!! I struggle with Scruples too and have been very hard on myself in the past sometimes I have been told too much so but some Priests. I usually confess in Westminster Cathedral or the Brompton Oratory in London where it's very traditional- in the old fashioned box kneeling one each side. I very much prefer this & it is how I am used to confessing for years I have done this. I am so used to telling the Priest my sins and then only after I had finished he would give me the Penance & then Absolution but I can't say I have ever had "open dialogue" with my Confessor and have never had a proper Spiritual Director (I prefer going to the old Traditional style box).

I recently had some bad experiences with a Priest in a small parish who was clearly very modern thinking and told me I was wasting his time (more or less) and that I was abusing the Sacrament (he gave me that impression) telling me that I was wrong to Confess my sins every week and to doubt I had made good Confessions and accuse myself of so many things that I should not be Confessing to him & more or less indirectly said "why are you here?". I am so used to just stating my sins one by one- the most serious first but this Priest would make a comment after each sin & then when I continued he said "you are not listening to me, are you even bothered by what I am saying. why are you here if you won't listen to me" I had never had experience like this- I explained I was not used to such a style of Confession and usually Confess in the manner as I explained (I have confessed to 100s of Priests and never had this experience in the same way) I don't judge this Priest- he told me some home truths that I needed to hear.

I went to another smaller parish a few weeks later (I confess every week) and had a very similar experience with some more or less "unsympathetic" Priest yet he gave true advice and home truths. I find this very difficult as I am so used to kneeling in the old box and just telling my sins- a small word of advice and then absolution- I find it almost difficult to Confess in the modern style. I am in the process of joining a religious order and this Priest who was very similar to the one I previously described told me not to bother "why bother, there's no point in your case" he told me I was too hard on myself and punished myself for everything and couldn't be a good religious as I would always been doing wrong and couldn't love people as a religious because I couldn't love myself.

I listened to what he said and I promised I would try to correct myself and try harder yet I felt such consolation and peace when I returned to my regular box for a Traditional style confession behind the screen where I told my sins without being told I am taking too long or accusing myself incorrectly or confessing too much- was given great very simple advice and then given absolution- I am far more comfortable with that. I think some Priests (I hate to critise but it's true) see themselves more as councilors than confessors nowadays and don't always allow people to fully confess their sins & accuse themselves properly.

Don't worry you have tried hard, confessed your sins- worried you were in error not to speak your sins during the absolution and attempted to sort this out- you did the right thing in this case and don't let anyone tell you that you were wrong.

There is a Church teaching called Supplet Ecclesia which is Latin for "The Church Supplies" and it means that if you truly forget to Confess a certain sin, even if it is mortal then if you have truly forgotten not to confess your sins the absolution counts for those sins too because the Church has supplied the power to absolve those sins too- even if you remember them after your confession- as long as you weren't aware you had forgotten them at the time then they are forgiven anyway. However, in this case you remembered your sins meaning that Supplet Ecclesia would not cover you- therefore you did right in making this clear in your next Confession. I would advice you in future to say at the end of your Confession "and for these sins and any sins that have escaped my memory through lack of forgetfulness, understanding or explanation I humbly ask your pardon"- that covers you and ensures that Supplet Ecclesia will take place and is what your are Traditionally supposed to say after accusing yourself of your sins. Sorry for a LONG answer but I really hope that it helps. :thumbsup:


#14

[quote="sjcath45, post:1, topic:333765"]
I just went to Confession today, and right as the priest was beginning the formula for absolution, I realized that I truly had left out an important detail concerning a sin I confessed. I thought about interrupting to tell the priest, which I've done before, but I kept going back in forth in my head rapidly thinking, "Should I interrupt or is it that big of a deal?" Then, he got to the more necessary part of the absolution, and I just kept my lips shut. As soon as I went for the door, I thought, "Man, I should have spoken up. Why didn't I? I'm going to regret this." I went back to the priest and said, "Fr., my mind isn't at peace, I don't think I confessed with sufficient detail." So, I re-confessed my sins. But, after leaving the church, I remembered two other serious sins that I completely forgot to confess, and I realized that I hadn't even mentioned making an invalid confession within the context of the Confession itself. So, I went on with my day hoping that I could go back to Confession some time soon. Thankfully, another church was having Confessions in the later afternoon, so I went. I entered the Confessional saying, "Father, I actually went to Confession once today, realized that I gave insufficient detail right as the priest was beginning absolution, and I hesitated to interrupt, so I think I made a sacrilegious Confession." He told me it was not, but I still wanted to Confess at least that I hesitated to interrupt with an important detail (if that's necessary). I proceeded to tell him that there were two sins that I completely forgot to Confess. He told me that they were already forgiven, so he was just going to give me a blessing instead. But, I said, "But, Fr., I've read that you still have to confess forgotten sins." He insisted that you did not since it's already forgiven. But, I said, "Fr., can I just bring them to Confession now." He replied, "Do you understand me? You do not need to Confess them. They were already forgiven." I will admit that I have some scrupulosity that I wrestle with from time to time. I felt kind of anxious at this point, so I finally said, "Yes Fr., but can I at least confess sins that I have committed since my last Confession?" He allowed me, so I did confess some venial sins. Then, I said, "And, I also committed these sins... [which I told him... then saying:] which I forgot to Confess in my last Confession." He asked, "Those were sins that you committed before your last Confession?" Then, I panicked that he might become angry with me for this, so I quickly thought of something to add quickly to this and said, "and I think that pondering over those sins may have caused temptations for me today." That wasn't exactly true, which I felt bad about later, but I guess I just panicked. He then almost seemed to have sighed a little and told me to pray a Hail Mary. He then gave me absolution.

But, after leaving I thought, "Did I make it seem as if I believed that I had not made an invalid (therefore, sacrilegious Confession)?" I concluded that I kind of did make it sound so, though I did not believe so. So, I wondered if this actually counted as Confessing the sin. I then realized that the priest may have believed that I was finally following his advice about just forgetting the forgotten sins, and maybe he thought that I wasn't intending to include them in this Confession... which might explain why my penance was so small.

Am I obliged now to bring all of this to Confession again?

I'm so confused, and I don't know what to do. I just wanted to lay it all down in Confession, be done with it, and move on away from it. I just want to do what I'm obliged to do. Do I confess again?

P.S., I know that I'm a scrupulous person, but I think that I truly may have had valid reasons to bring all these things to Confession when I did. I don't think I was truly being scrupulous this time, but I don't want to become to scrupulous now, while I also want to do what the Church obliges us to do.


Nevertheless, if we happen to recall an unconfessed mortal sin, we are called to confess it. As the Code of Canon Law provides:
The faithful are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins committed after baptism, of which after careful examination of conscience they are aware, which have not yet been directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not been confessed in an individual confession (canon 988 §1).
The late eminent theologian Father John Hardon, S.J., elaborates further on this issue in The Question and Answer Catholic Catechism (New York: Image Books, 1981):
Must we confess grievous sins forgotten in a preceding confession? We must confess grave sins forgotten in a preceding confession because, according to divine law, every known mortal sin committed after baptism must be ‘submitted to the keys’ [cf. Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-18], that is personally acknowledged in the sacrament of penance (no. 1373, p. 273).

catholicexchange.com/forgotten-mortal-sins/

[/quote]

ENOUGH! Do or do not do whatever your confessor tells you; he is standing in for Jesus and you can trust him.


#15

actually, if we look at our sins, the true of them, we will not forget them to easy, if you said some heavy to anybody in affect, so later you forgot it is some kind of sin but if you said something with real hate and mind-decision to make some evil, you will not forget to easy, etc. if somebody looked a nice woman and there is some piece of fire in heart, but later forgot this, again its not same like cheating wife with the other woman - that memory will not dissapear in a minut.
And we must believe in this: God wants forgive us, and He understand that we are sinful, we are all like men on crosses around Jesus, and He isnt thought that the right one is a nice man, He knew very vell everything about him, better than he personally, But what is Gods wish? Be fair in truth as u can, not more above you can!

If you have a wish to be a good and fair enough, indeed if you dont know consciously and u dont have a intention o lie to God, Free - Go and make peace with Lord i confess always when u need it!


#16

I understand that you want to discuss/debate this topic on line. However, taking a lawyer-like approach to Confession is not correct and neither is doubting or arguing about what the Priest advises you to do. Both, if not sinful are terribly wrong. You must never forget that the Priest is acting in Christ's stead in the confessional. Woulld you do this in the presence of Christ?
The danger of a lawyer-like approach is that you will either give yourself the benefit of the doubt as to the severity of your sins, or conversely, exaggurate the severity of Venial Sins. Neither is yours to do. That is for the Priest to do.
You should consider any advice the Priest gives you in the Confessional as if it came from Christ in person!
Something I learned in a Jesuit Parochial School years ago is that you should approach Confession with the belief, humility, and trust of a child and you must truely regret your sins in the same way.


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.