How long does confession last?

If I go to confession and then mortal sin an hour later did my confession cover it?

Obviously not. You can only confess sins you’ve already committed.

-Fr ACEGC

11 Likes

Can you confess “all future” sins to the priest at confession?

See Padre’s response above…

4 Likes

No, you cannot. To go to confession with the intention of sinning afterward and trying to “cover it” with confessing future sins is the sin of presumption and doesn’t represent an attitude of contrition.

May I ask why you want to know this?

-Fr ACEGC

7 Likes

I suppose you could say those words. But you certainly would not be absolved of them.

1 Like

Once confessed always confessed…lol

5 Likes

Just was wondering because God is outside time.

We aren’t, though, and we can’t and mustn’t presume on God’s mercy.

16 Likes

Yes, but He knows we are not.

Confession isn’t just an exercise we go through. It is God offering us the opportunity to reconcile ourselves for our sins against Him. That’s why you have to have contrition for your sins before you can be absolved. You can’t have contrition for sins you’ve never committed.

1 Like

Can one have true contrition if they know they will probably fall back into sin? Like don’t most people say the same thing at confession everytime they go? Sometimes I think priest won’t even absolve because it’s always the same sins.

1 Like

This reminds me of something I saw on TV when I was a kid. In a preview for a new Western movie (or TV show), the bad guy is in a confessional and says something like “forgive me, Father. I’ve committed assault, arson, and murder.” The priest asks “when did you do these things” to which the bad guy responds “I haven’t yet.”

It makes for kind of a cool scene, but it confused me briefly. I thought how could someone confess something they haven’t done yet. I think I quickly realized that this would not be valid, because you can’t be sorry for a sin you are still planning on doing.

2 Likes

Contrition means that you intend to make an effort not to do them again, not that you will necessarily succeed. It’s about what your will is ordered toward. Intending to sin again is not the same as intending not to but failing in your resolve.

4 Likes

The priest (if he is a good one, and knows how life actually is), will absolve even if you are confessing the same thing for the 1 millionth time. True contrition is “I am sorry I did this, and though I know I will probably fall again, it is my firm intent to not do so”. In this context “sorry” and “intent” are acts of the will not feelings, you are saying that "even if I don’t feel bad about sin x, I know it was wrong (before God) and therefore, it is my resolve (intent) that I shall not repeat it, in our human weakness we likely will, but our resolve is more about a goal, a going forward, I will strive to not repeat this sin, and if I do, I will come back and ask for forgiveness again. Contrition isn’t about probability, it is about willful intent, by trying to confess something with the intent to do it again, you are not (in your heart) telling God that you are sorry, you are saying “I want to do my will, but I want you to approve it and send me to heaven anyway”.

2 Likes

The priest, if he’s doing what he’s supposed to, will default to absolving someone provided they actually confessed sins, and that they didn’t manifest an objective state of unrepentance (e.g. someone confesses to using contraception but states that they won’t quit; someone is living in an invalid marriage).

-Fr ACEGC

4 Likes

Thanks for posting this, Father. I hear and read a lot that seems to go against this. Some people seem to presume the default is always mercy when it comes to sin. I take from this post is that it is always better to error on the side of caution so to speak.

Confession lasts between 3 and 10 minutes for me. If I have a five minute confession, I have five minutes to tell the priest all of the sins I’ve committed between my last confession and this one. If you tell your priest, “I plan to commit fornication/get drunk exactly an hour after confession”, you probably won’t receive absolution for any of the sins you confessed.

You can’t receive absolution for sins you haven’t committed “yet”, and this sort of thinking would suggest that the penitent isn’t penitent at all.

Confession is not retroactive

True contrition depends on you. Do you truly want to overcome your sin or are you just going through the motions because you think confession is a free pass? If you’re trying and failing, God still knows you’re trying. And I think (though the good Father @edward_george1 might correct me here) that God cares more about the fact that you’re still trying and asking for forgiveness when you fail than the mere fact that you faltered.

The Old, Old Story & The Same Again by Fr. Alfred Wilson - The first one - “The Old, Old Story” is about 3/4 of the way down the page, and is immediately followed by “The Same Again”

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.