How bad is withholding a sin in confession?


May I make a suggestion?
If you’re praying all the time, leading a pro-life group and going to daily Mass, you really need to be going to confession more often than this.
When you slip up and commit an impure act, go to confession at the next opportunity, like that week. Don’t wait around for a couple months.
Frequent confession helps give you grace and make you stronger to fight off the sin. Also, if you’re going to daily Mass and presumably receiving Holy Communion, it’s kind of problematic to be receiving with a lot of unconfessed impure acts on your soul.

Before you call me judgmental, I did all the same things you did when I was in college; only confessed a couple times a year, didn’t mention masturbation or other sexual sins because I was embarrassed and hoped they just got absolved anyway. This was not a great path to go down. For the last 2 years I’ve been going to confession twice a month as well as frequent daily Mass, rosaries etc and it’s helped a lot. I now almost never commit sins that I used to commit a few times a week.


Deliberately witholding a mortal sin in confession is so bad, that it results in sacrilege. Your confession is invalid, and you leave with more sin than you came in with.


Dude, I don’t want to minimize things, but like 99.999% of 20 year old Catholic men are struggling with porn and masturbation. You’re not some bizarre deviant. If this priest hears confessions from college students, he probably hears the words “porn” and “masturbation” from virtually all of them.

He’s not going to be shocked or react weirdly when you say it.


Were these sins mortal sins though?


And probably 98.999% of 20 year old Catholic women have masturbated or at least had a prolonged dirty thought, whether they were inspired by Internet porn or a Hallmark channel movie.


In addition to confessing the sin of making a bad confession, just to be clear.


Chris Hemsworth’s dimples are a helluva drug.

On a serious note, it’s funny how, as you mentioned, this habit is probably only slightly less prevalent in women, but almost everyone who is really tormented by it seems to be male.


I’m a priest. I hear confessions. I’ve heard everything… None of it bothers me or any other priest.

Don’t overthink it. Don’t play mind games. Just say what you did.



Go back to Confession, confess your sins and that you withheld those sins. Go behind the screen (you have a right to anonymous confession!)


I think women and men deal with the act in their heads differently, and of course women other than big public feminist types tend to be quieter about their sexual behaviors due to the huge potential for being judged by society, including one’s very own female peers, one’s male romantic partners, and labeled an s- or a w- or various other words I can’t use on CAF.

Women in general do not get much support for any of their sexual choices, whether they are choosing to have sex or not have sex.


In addition to the great feedback you have already received about going back and making a full Confession, I’ll just add that—for me at least—it is often very helpful to begin my Confession with the worst and/or most embarrassing sin(s). Get the hard stuff out of the way before you have the opportunity to chicken out.


YOU MUST CONFESS these sins. REALIZE the Priest has heard it all much worse than what you would confess I am sure. You will be FREED of those sins once confessed and asked forgiveness for. Don’t forget to mention that you’ve purposefully withheld these sins because of your shame and embarrassment. Father will understand and he will help you with this. My Priest saw once I was struggling with certain sins in Confession and he said you can tell me anything. He is in the person of Christ when he is hearing our Confession and realize you’re hiding nothing from Christ cause He knows all of your sins already but he wants you to humble yourself and confess them, be sorry for them, repent and ask forgiveness.

JUST DO IT and be free from all of this burden. It will be easier than you think. Whether Father knows you personally or not he will not be ashamed of you or remember hat you told him out of the Confessional. JUST GO AND MAKE A COMPLETE GOOD HONEST CONFESSION!


You know just as well as anyone that those priests have heard EVERYTHING.
Just blurt it out and be done man.
If you’re uncomfortable saying “the M word” maybe just say “I disrespected my body sexually” or something.

Good luck, we’re pulling for you!


Deliberately withholding a mortal sin invalidates the confession and is a mortal sin in itself.


@Tis_Bearself , you are to be commended for your frankness and openess in your post .

I had a break from CAF for a few weeks , but occasionally I had a peep to see what was going on .

Your posts stood out .

There was a magnanimous spirit about them , and a wide and tolerant understanding of viewpoints , not necessarily ones you shared , a rare quality on forums .


I’m just trying to keep others from falling into the same pits that I did. If it helps somebody then it wasn’t all for naught.


Forgetting a mortal sin is one thing but knowingly withholding a mortal sin in confession is grave sin in itself and mortal if you knew that and did it anyway. I think the way you felt is similar to my own experience. I know the feeling when I make a good confession compared to when I may not have and in the latter case I return ASAP.

Return to confession and mention all these things including your omission. Priests have heard it all, don’t worry about what you need to say.


That’s a good one. Or “Gratifying myself” - I’m sure everyone know what that means.


I am confused though, are masterbation and pornographic images mortal sins? I mean I know they are very bad but whenever I’m tempted to those it feels like I’m in a trance and I just lose control (obviously I endulged the first temptation so there is a first choice) and it’s like 5 minutes later or just 1 minute later I snap back to reality and think “what am I doing?” And then I pray for forgiveness. So yes I made an initial choice but it’s like I lost the ability to fully understand or consent to what I’m doing, but at the same time I deeply regret it.

So is it a mortal sin?


You should discuss it with a priest in confession. For some people it is, for others it might not be. Regardless, though, don’t be too ashamed to talk about it. Masturbation is like the most common, boring sin there is. The priest isn’t going to recoil in horror.

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