How Specific Do We Have to Be in the Confessional?

Sometimes when I go to confession, rather than naming exact sins I will just things along the lines of how I might have been immodest, or disrespectful for example (Not that I have been those are just examples). However how into detail do we have to go at Confession? I mean the priest never asked for more detail than that so I mean is that okay? Or should I try to be more specific.

The priest will tell you if he needs more detail. You must be doing fine. :slight_smile:

For mortal sin - one must confess number and kind (and that which changes the kind -like the gold cup you stole was a chalice!).

One cannot be “general” in confessing mortal sins.

For example one cannot say “I did a sexual sin” or “I did a sin against the 6th commandment” one needs to say something like -I accuse myself of adultery 2x

Though one need not use the “technical term” --but one needs to get across the species (kind) involved.

For venial sins one is at liberty to confess or not confess and one needs no numbers and can be more general. Rather general even.

Haha okay, just sometimes I feel like I should be confessing more detail.

See my post above.

Yes the Priest can ask us questions -but confession is well “confession” -we “accuse ourselves” of what we did.

If I said - I did something to hurt a friend - he may not think he needs to ask more -thinking well we did not say it was anything serious - we all hurt our friends in little says from time to time…but we may mean by that - “I burned down my friends house” or “I shot my friend” that would be different!

He cannot read our minds *(usually).

True, I agree! Thanks I will take that into account next time. This brings me to another question though, since I may have not been as detailed at my other confessions, does that mean I was not absolved of all my sins? I mean I was not trying to hold anything back, just I did not know we had to get into full detail.

I will pm you. Might be better.

A good, printed examination of conscience can help. There are examples mentioned throughout these forums if you do a search.

God bless you for wanting to make a good confession!

Okay thanks.

This worries me enormously. I want to convert to Catholicism (was born and raised Orthodox) and obviously I have never been to a confessional - ever (I left the Orthodox Chuch when I was a teenager and I became an agnostic up until a few years ago when I returned to God).

But I can not in any way remember how many times I committed a mortal sin in the past (I am 25 now). I can say with confidence that the number is going to be huge but how big, it would be completely dishonest of me to say. I can only recall precisely my recent sins.

Is there a way around this?

No worries. I too came into Full communion. People have come into Full Communion with the Catholic Church after much much longer life.

One makes a diligent examination of conscience and confesses all mortal sins in number and kind as I noted -And if you forget something (mortal) - and realize it later - you mention it in the next confession. (oh and if say things may not have been actually mortal - one notes that)

What about not recalling how many times? – where after one has examined ones conscience one does not recall the exact number one confesses according to what one knows. This may be for example “around 20 times” “a few times a month for the last 5 years” “10-15 times”, “20 or more” or even if need be “many times” “alot” “at least a few times”. One confesses according to what one knows (which for some things will be exact for others not). We are not expected to be Vulcans (That was 254.2356 times Captain) --we proceed in modo humana -in a human way. Not in modo vulcana.

Such would be a formally integral good confession.

Jesus of Nazareth is the Lamb who takes away our sins-- the Good Shepherd who gives laid down his life for us --who gives us true life! Let us go and meet him in confession knowing he loves us.

“Jesus is called the Lamb: He is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Someone might think: but how can a lamb, which is so weak, a weak little lamb, how can it take away so many sins, so much wickedness? With Love. With his meekness. Jesus never ceased being a lamb: meek, good, full of love, close to the little ones, close to the poor. He was there, among the people, healing everyone, teaching, praying. Jesus, so weak, like a lamb. However, he had the strength to take all our sins upon himself, all of them. “But, Father, you don’t know my life: I have a sin that…, I can’t even carry it with a truck…”. Many times, when we examine our conscience, we find some there that are truly bad! But he carries them. He came for this: to forgive, to make peace in the world, but first in the heart. Perhaps each one of us feels troubled in his heart, perhaps he experiences darkness in his heart, perhaps he feels a little sad over a fault… He has come to take away all of this, He gives us peace, he forgives everything. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away sin”: he takes away sin, it’s root and all! This is salvation Jesus brings about by his love and his meekness. And in listening to what John the Baptist says, who bears witness to Jesus as the Saviour, our confidence in Jesus should grow. Many times we trust a doctor: it is good, because the doctor is there to cure us; we trust in a person: brothers and sisters can help us. It is good to have this human trust among ourselves. But we forget about trust in the Lord: this is the key to success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us trust in the Lord! “Lord, look at my life: I’m in the dark, I have this struggle, I have this sin…”; everything we have: “Look at this: I trust in you!”. And this is a risk we must take: to trust in Him, and He never disappoints.”

~Pope Francis

"Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” who goes in search of lost sheep, who knows his sheep and lays down his life for them (cf. Mt 18:12-14; Lk 15:4-7; Jn 10:2-4, 11-18). He is the way, the right path that leads us to life (cf. Jn 14:6), the light that illuminates the dark valley and overcomes all our fears (cf. Jn 1:9; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46).

He is the generous host who welcomes us and rescues us from our enemies, preparing for us the table of his body and his blood (cf. Mt 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25); Lk 22:19-20) and the definitive table of the messianic banquet in Heaven (cf. Lk 14:15ff; Rev 3:20; 19:9). He is the Royal Shepherd, king in docility and in forgiveness, enthroned on the glorious wood of the cross (cf. Jn 3:13-15; 12:32; 17:4-5)."

~Pope Benedict XVI

That was a beautiful homily of Francis. Thank you for including it.

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