How bad is withholding a sin in confession?


They are grave sins. Some sins are grave, some are not but these definitely are. For them to be mortal you also have to have full knowledge and awareness that they are grave sins AND you committed them with deliberate and complete consent.

For a grave sin if you met all 3 conditions and withheld the sin in confession anyway to get absolution then that’s a mortal sin in itself which invalidates your confession. It sounds like you possibly did not meet all 3 conditions in this case because you didn’t know they were grave sins. But now you do.

A priest would be a better judge of that than anyone on this forum though including me. Still wouldn’t hurt to talk to a priest about it or return to confession and mention these things.


I just went to confession and confessed all my sins including masterbation and pornographic images and a bad confession! :smiley:

I was really focused on making a good confession and not being nervous that I didn’t 100% hear what the penance was. I’m pretty sure he said “pray for the Middle East” which is what he usually says. So I said a Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Hail Holy Queen for that. Is that good?


Good to hear!


Remember that mortal sin is voluntary. Sometimes there is failure due to bad habits, against the will.

1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.
2352 … 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.



Thank you for your courage in discussing this here. You can’t go wrong by staying close to God. Go to confession as much as you need to stay close to God. Confession is a powerful sacrament. It changed everything in my life since I started going more often.


We are not to confess our sins in public, we can boast of our weaknesses, but when you confess your sins publicly, it draws false pity, scandal and sometimes approval. It is very sacrilegious to partially confess ones sin, even to exagerate or to diminish your blame, or to act mortifying when your not, it’s good to be sorrowful for your sins.

If one is not truly sorrowful for ones sin the least thing that is required of you is firm amendment, desire to obtain true sorrow for your sins and to be reconciled with God.

Two Articles on confession at ONEPETERFIVE

  1. Forgive Me Father For I Have Sinned -Part II: Making A Good Confession by Father RT

  2. Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned – Part I: Why Confession? by Father RT

Amaxing Article on the Holy Eucharist: Eating Fire and Spirit: The Most Wondrous of All God’s Gifts

Peter Kwasniewski May 30, 2018 has many articles truly worth reading on at ONEPETERFIVE.


I made a better confession a few weeks ago and have not had any problem or temptations since. Not sure I understand your public comment or how it’s relevent but thank you for the response nonetheless


You can ask for a non Face to face confession. Go to a different parish if that’s easier, Ive done that before. Look at the floor and say I have masturbated and looked at pornography and I am working on it. The priest is standing in the place of Jesus and lots of graces are waiting for you


I was worried sick about confession as a new convert and now I love it. Converted in April. Priests are very special people they are literally like loving fathers. I have a favourite priest he’s Irish and once said ‘fake news! Tell me a real sin ‘ when he sensed I was holding back and being scrupulous haha


I’ve since done one confession behind the curtain and one face-to-face and both times I said the sins and actually the face-to-face the priest gave me some really nice advice. That advice with all the advice of everyone else here and a program I’ve been doing and just fighting strong, it’s not even something that’s tempting for me anymore. I used to be tempted like 5 times a day and fall 1-3 times of those 5. Now I’m not even tempted and when I was once a week ago I quickly said a prayer and the temptation ended. :grinning:

The embarrassment of confession has also been a motivator to stay strong and I’ve already seen huge improvements in my mindset and overall happiness because of no porn or masturbation for multiple weeks now


Literal miracle we are so blessed xxx


Objectively, yes… but if one goes into the confession with the good intention to make a full confession, panics in the moment and withholds something…I would argue that there wasn’t sufficient “full intent” to warrant culpability for sacrilege. Of course, one should still bring the entire issue to the confessional either way.


I’m not too sure what any of this has to do with what I’ve posted, but I will make a few comments on what you’ve said.

I highly doubt Fr. Pacwa does this, since it would violate the seal of confession. Making someone do something that outs him as having committed a sin as a condition for absolution is most definitely direct violation of the seal, and the priest would be excommunicated for that. It would be just like requiring a murderer to turn himself in to the police as a condition for absolution. A confessor may strongly encourage either of the above, but it cannot be required as a condition for absolution.

Again, you’re mostly just telling me what you kind of remember that Fr. Pacwa said, but if he said that, it’s a little presumptuous of the motives of his brother priests (without a source, I can’t actually be sure that he said this). There are good reasons to give easy penances. Penance isn’t like the punishment for a crime (hence there aren’t really sentencing guidelines). It’s more like medicine for a wounded soul. I have heard the old story many times of the priest who gave light penances to notorious sinners or to those who had been away from confession for a long time because he himself was fasting on behalf of the penitent. But I think that regardless, it’s a little presumptuous to say a priest is being “vastly negligent in his vocation and duties” to give light penances. Did Fr. Pacwa say that, or did you?

I don’t usually pray for this, it just happens. It is most likely some kind of grace from the Holy Spirit. It might also just be the sheer volume of fire–most people confess the same dozen or so things, and they all run together. It truly isn’t very exciting to remember any of it. Hearing confessions is actually kind of boring on that end of it. I say that, and it shocks people, but it’s true–hearing sins isn’t exciting. Hearing people seek the mercy of God, and then pronouncing his forgiveness over them, that’s the exciting part.

This isn’t really that big of a deal, or not nearly so big a deal as people would imagine that it is. Again, I hardly remember any of it. It’s not like I lie awake at night obsessing over the awful things people have done and feeling tempted toward doing them–I truly don’t remember any of it, or the vast majority of it anyway.


Totally not true, and in fact a proposition condemned by the Church. It doesn’t matter if your confessor is the biggest scumbag on earth. If you confess properly, and he absolves you according to the correct form, then your confession is valid. Matter, form, and intent, that’s all that’s necessary for a valid sacrament–that doesn’t include any mention, you will notice, of a good minister. If it did, there would never be any sacraments.

Again, I’m not sure what most of these points you raise have to do with what I posted on this thread (perhaps you meant to reply to something else I wrote?). I appreciate your advice, but I assure you, I received a good bit of training in hearing confessions and have a good bit of experience therewith (I’ve heard about 8,000 confessions, by my math, and I’m still relatively new at this).

Perhaps @Don_Ruggero would have something to contribute, given that he’s vastly more experienced than I am?



I know of Fr. Pacwa and that he is on YouTube and EWTN. But again, I’m saying that without a source, it’s difficult to imagine Fr. Pacwa saying some of that, especially the part that would be a violation of the seal of confession.


As I said in my original reply to this thread, don’t overthink, don’t play mind games. Go to confession, say what you did, get absolved, go do your penance. The Lord sets up a very simple interface for us because it’s important that we receive his forgiveness. He makes it very easy for us. Far easier than he had it when winning that forgiveness for us.


As another poster alrady suggested, you could try using gentler terms. The words commonly used (as in your above quote) are civilized English, but I personally find that they still feel “coarse” during confession, and that may be part of what makes you feel bad. You could speak of “sexual imagery” and “self-gratification”. The priest will know what you mean.


You’re overthinking it. That’s what I’m talking about. You can’t play mind games with the devil and expect to win, he’s got a superior intellect. Sorrow for sin is not necessarily an emotional state; it’s simply a desire to be forgiven. If you go to confession and confess your sin, you manifest that desire.

It’s only as hard as you want to make it. God has made it very easy. Go to confession.


This site is not worthy of the praise you seem to give.
Yes, you are entitled to your opinion…and I to mine.
It is clearly anti Pope Francis, and publicly so.


Honestly where do you get this somewhat extreme stuff from?

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