How Detailed does a Confession Need to be?


#1

Hello Everyone,

Lately I have been having some difficulties understanding the exact details of confessions. How detailed does it need to really be?

For example If someone was in an argument, does he need to say "I made others angry" or is saying "I was inconsiderate to others and their emoitions" enough?

Another example: If someone caused another person to sin, does he need to say "I caused someone to sin by (name of sin)" or is saying I caused someone to sin enough?

I think these two examples are enough to give you all an idea of what I am asking. This question has always been a tough one for me, Often I have difficulties pharsing myself during confession.

Please advise,
Thank you!


#2

It needs to be specific enough to let the priest know EXACTLY what the issue is.
They don't need a whole story.....they need to know exact sins (without trying to hide your heart/mind) and the frequency of the committing it.

Cut out all the excuses, and stories. You go in there and you literally accuse yourself specifically of each crime.

Like a doctor, they need to know what your sicknesses are and how servere they are.

Just say "I accuse myself of ___ sin (against my ____ ). X times.

Michael


#3

This is how I would handle your examples:

1 I was not in control of myself/emotions with _____(friend/mom etc etc) and caused that person to go over the edge as well X times.

  1. Just saying that you caused someone to sin is too vague because you are not giving the serverity of the crime. So I would say, "I caused my friend to sin by edging him on and purposefuly pushing their buttons". Two sins : I edged someone to argue with me VS I edged someone to kill a guy are two HUGE different sins .....serverity of sin must be acknowledged.

#4

[quote="mcw013, post:1, topic:317597"]
Hello Everyone,

Lately I have been having some difficulties understanding the exact details of confessions. How detailed does it need to really be?

For example If someone was in an argument, does he need to say "I made others angry" or is saying "I was inconsiderate to others and their emoitions" enough?

Another example: If someone caused another person to sin, does he need to say "I caused someone to sin by (name of sin)" or is saying I caused someone to sin enough?

I think these two examples are enough to give you all an idea of what I am asking. This question has always been a tough one for me, Often I have difficulties pharsing myself during confession.

Please advise,
Thank you!

[/quote]

When I made confessions, I was specific but didn't confess every detail. I would say, for example, that I had sex with one man but wouldn't describe it blow by blow. Or I would say that I consulted Tarot cards. Usually the priest wouldn't ask me for more detail.


#5

You are obligated to confess mortal sins in both number and kind. You can confess venial sins, too (and it's a good practice), but not obligatory.

If something changes the nature of the act, then you should include it. To use an extreme example (that Bookcat always uses ;)), if you killed your mother, you wouldn't just say "I killed someone". Killing your mother is even more serious and adds to the sin. So you would need to mention it.

I don't know that you can "make" someone else angry. You can't make people do things. You might do something (such as being inconsiderate, manipulative, etc.) that makes it easy for them to be angry. But if that's the case, then that's what you confess.

The bottom line, though, is that if you are wondering what to say, simply ask the priest. He'll be more than happy to guide you in your level of specificity.


#6

The language you use isn’t important as long as you get the point across as to what you did.


#7

Frequency and Nature of mortal sins. From my understanding, its less important to confess the act than it is to confess the sin. So, for example, someone who routinely views pornographic material, and whatever else that entails, on a regular basis would confess to "lust and impurity on several occasions", or something of the sort.

So, in the above example, the sin is not so much the viewing of the material, but the lust/inchasity/impurity associated with it.

Similarly, if you had a partiuclarly bad argument that you feel compelled to confess, you would probably confess the anger/hatred/judgement/greed/jealousy/etc. that motivated the argument, rather than the argument itself.


#8

Thank you everyone for the replies everyone. I have a better idea now.


#9

In my life, I've confessed to very chatty priests and to very down-to-business ones. The latter told me it wasn't necessary to do anything but list the type of sin. For instance, it is not necessary to say "I slept with my boyfriend last week after the Prom in the back of his van , on Elm Street." The better way is "I committed fornication once". The priest has been trained to elicit any other pertinent info if necessary.

Also, if a sin is objectively mortal, you need to mention the number of times. (Whether or not you personally feel you are subjectively responsible. That's for the priest to decide.)

For instance, I knew someone who felt it was okay to miss Sunday Mass in order to get together with friends. He knew it was objectively considered a mortal sin, but felt that he was not subjectively responsible because he wasn't doing it out of spite or out of disdain for Mass. He felt he did not need to confess it. But he was mistaken...we need to confess things that are objectively considered mortal sins in number and kind, the priest is the one who sheds light on whether or not it might have been serious (subjectively). Not us.


#10

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