Forgotten Sins

I've seen a lot of posts on CAF about what to do if you forget sins during a general confession. The consensus seems to be "the sin is forgiven, just mention it at your next confession".

I am curious where this understanding is coming from?

When I say to the priest "Father, i remembered some sins i forgot to say in a previous confession, should i say them now?" they basically say "there is no need to confess it, it has already been forgiven". this is four different priests now that have all told me basically that it is not necessary to confess it.

So my question is, where is this understanding of "just mention it at your next confession" coming from? What church document can you point me to?

And for those who say it must be mentioned, if it is not mentioned at your next confession, is this another sin and/or does it invalidate your confession? (again, please cite something official).

thanks for helping me to understand.

My understanding is priests have to deal with a few people who stay hung up on certain issues and never let them go, and thus wish to bring the issue up every confession, forever. That is considerable different than desire to specifically name a sin. Generally speaking it would seem confess each sin once and only once complies with the proper teaching. Often normal people have a hidden sin which they refuse to mention in the confessional, and this may occur for years. Eventually many confess that sin. It is important the priest allow them to thoroughly confess that sin. So in summary it would seem the priests are referring to one issue and the forum participants are probably referring to a different issue.

an example of what i mean is here:

[quote="tyler, post:1, topic:181275"]

So my question is, where is this understanding of "just mention it at your next confession" coming from? What church document can you point me to?



Here are few likely sources:

Code of Canon Law 988

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.

Summa Theologica:*

He does not profit by his neglect, since he does not receive such full pardon, as he would otherwise have received, nor is his merit so great. Moreover he is bound to confess the sin when he calls it to mind. (Supplement, 10, 5, reply obj. 3)

Catechism of the Council of Trent:

But should the confession seem defective, either because the penitent forgot some grievous sins, or because, although intent on confessing all his sins, he did not examine the recesses of his conscience with sufficient accuracy, he is not bound to repeat his confession. It will be sufficient, when he recollects the sins which he had forgotten, to confess them to a priest on a future occasion.


thanks VC. that's exactly the type of documentation i was looking for!

thanks so much.

now i just gotta figure out if those sins i forgot were mortal or not. that whole "full knowledge" thing always trips me up.

thanks again.


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