How can Imperfect Contrition really be attained?

I have a question regarding imperfect contrition. I went to Confession recently and I feel I lacked perfect contrition but I also don’t think I felt scared of Hell at that moment. I know very well that I don’t want to go to Hell and suffer, I fear that. If you were to ask me that before I made my confession, I would tell you I fear Hell, and fear not receiving the Eucharist. But due to a lack of preparation for the Sacrament * I wasn’t very sorrowful and I didn’t manage to be struck in fear of Hell, punishment, etc when I confessed. I also forgot the words of the Act of contrition. My question is: Do I have to *think about hell [and fear it then and there] when I confess my sins, in order for them to be forgiven via imperfect contrition, [if I lacked perfect contrition]?
I wish I had prepared better, but it was a last minute decision. I usually take a lot of time to prepare for Confession and I have received the sacrament many times this year, so I thought maybe I wouldn’t do so bad this time. But obviously I was wrong. Should I confess again or am I free to receive Communion?

First if you are repentant and received absolution then you are fine and no need to confess again.

As far as perfect and imperfect contrition goes it’s not as black and white as you seem to think. When one talks about imperfect contrition being caused by a fear of hell, that is not necessarily a condition for imperfect contrition.For most of us we likely have elements of both perfect and imperfect contrition. We confess out of sorrow and love for the lord, but also sometime do so out of fear of dying in a state of mortal sin.

For me it is better to think of perfect contrition being out of love and imperfect contrition being out of something more (or less) than love. It’s about how we view our offenses against God. Are we sorry for hurting Him or just sorry because of a fear of punishment or not being able to do something?

In the end if one is confessing because they are afraid they can’t receive the Eucharist then that is likely imperfect contrition, because it is motivated out of wanting to get something rather than purely out of sorrow for offending God.

You will have to look at “why you went to confession” and if one had contrition (the Priest can assist you). Tis difficult for me to look within your soul :wink:

But it is important to note:

It can be a bit confusing for the language that gets used is what we often associate with “feelings” “emotions”.

But contrition per se* does not require any particular “feelings”*.

It is more in the will (as is sin by the way) and of course grace.

And The language of “fear” does not mean per say that one has to have per se some active “feeling” of fear…

Can a person have “imperfect contrition” and not “think of hell”? Yes. There other reasons for imperfect contrition and one does not have to have an “actual” intention in that that direction. One can go to confession out of not wanting to go to Hell or to be punished or out of consideration of sins ugliness - but not have that “actively on ones mind” explicitly at that moment of confession. And one need not “feel” any particular way. Though of course it can be good to seek such.

So Sam committed a mortal sin - can he without any particular feelings -be contrite and resolved against falling into mortal sin again and thus be absolved? Yes.

Now if he say went to confession -but intended to resume the mortal in the next week --well he would a clear example of not being contrite.

Catechism:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

The mere act of going to confession is an act of imperfect contrition. Be at peace.

You will have to look at “why you went to confession” and if one had contrition (the Priest can assist you). Tis difficult for me to look within your soul :wink:

But it is important to note:

It can be a bit confusing for the language that gets used is what we often associate with “feelings” “emotions”.

But contrition per se* does not require any particular “feelings”*.

It is more in the will (as is sin by the way) and of course grace.

And The language of “fear” does not mean per say that one has to have per se some active “feeling” of fear…

Can a person have “imperfect contrition” and not “think of hell”? Yes. There other reasons for imperfect contrition and one does not have to have an “actual” intention in that that direction. One can go to confession out of not wanting to go to Hell or to be punished or out of consideration of sins ugliness - but not have that “actively on ones mind” explicitly at that moment of confession. And one need not “feel” any particular way. Though of course it can be good to seek such.

So Sam committed a mortal sin - can he without any particular feelings -be contrite and resolved against falling into mortal sin again and thus be absolved? Yes.

Now if he say went to confession -but intended to resume the mortal in the next week --well that would be a clear example of not being contrite.

Catechism:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm

Hi everyone thank you so much for your answers, I have a question though…

The mere act of going to confession is an act of imperfect contrition. Be at peace.

Does this mean that a penitent’s sins are always absolved, provided he should tell the truth and all of his mortal sins?

I wan’t well prepared for Confession, does that mean it is a sin of sacrilege? Again, I don’t intend to do such things, but suddenly my mind just said, “hey why not go for Confession, so you can be sure of receiving the Eucharist worthily.” While there was some time left, I thought I had prepared well, but it turned out I didn’t. If what Running Dude said is true I feel I am absolved and need not worry.

I go so often to Confession because I am always unsure if I have committed the sin of detraction, I don’t really understand what it constitutes, but I always feel guilty of it. I mean sometimes some people are mean to me behind my back, and I usually feel the need to vent about them and their behavior to someone trustworthy like my parents, instead of pretending like nothing happened. I occasionally control these emotions, but sometimes they get the better of me.

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