I’ve been active as a Catholic for the last 5 years or so-- but it’s very much been a gradual process of discovery, understanding, and acceptance. I wish I was one of those people who had a St. Paul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moments of total conversion and assent to all Church teachings, but it didn’t quite happen that way. It’s taken me awhile to realize that making Christ the center of my life entails practical sacrifices and responsibilities-- as does any other loving relationship.
However, until recently I persisted in doing things I knew in my heart to be wrong because they didn’t seem like a big deal. After a lot of praying, I’ve since resolved to try my best to “go and sin no more” and would like nothing more than to receive absolution from a priest, but I feel terrible because I have made a few confessions in the past where I omitted several sins that, at the time, I didn’t intend to discontinue, like cohabitation/contraception, etc. Is there some protocol for confessing about omitting sins in previous confessions? I dread walking into the confessional and saying “It’s been… well, I’ve probably never made a good confession, though I’ve been here before.” What should I do?
You simply go to Confession and confess to the priest what you have just told us here which is that in previous Confessions (all of them or most of them or some of them) you were not contrite and deliberately did not confess certain mortal sins.
By the way in these particular Confessions what you did would mean absolution was not valid even for the sins you did confess.
If you think that you are the first person to “omit” things during a confession, you are wrong. Simply go back and tell the priest you are very sorry, but you omitted these things. If we were above this kind of thing, there would be no need to have confession, correct?
If you are for some reason, NOT ready to give up a mortal sin, I would suggest making an appointment with a priest to discuss the problem. He may be able to shed a light, or offer you a perspective that you have not considered before.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
The others have given good advice. Don’t forget the bad communions you may have received. It may help you to read the Catechism on Penance and Confession. This should give you courage. Remember, God forgives all - if we are truely repentent and are firmly resolved to amend our lives.
And don’t think you have to remember every time you may have committed ( i.e. impure thoughts, desires, feelings, etc.), because it may be impossible. In that case you just estimate the number. Pay more attention to meditating on the reasons for sorrow for having offended God than to actually trying to remember everything. An hour for the entire examine should be enough, otherwise you may become scrupulous. God doesn’t expect you to undergo a regular curcifixion. One reliable Confessor advised to spend no more than thirty minutes on the examine.
I think you will do fine. Have courage, " …Be not afraid…, " John Paul II.
If Sam say goes to confession and confess these mortal sins: Murder 2x, Missing Mass 3x, fornication 3x — but knowingly hid the “adultery 2x” --say out of shame or refusal to repent…
And then later makes another bad confession in the next confession where he confessed another sin of Missing Mass and for lying in court under oath…
What does he need to confess?
He has to get back to his last good confession…
He needs to confess that he made the two bad confessions and confess the mortal sins from those confessions and the hidden mortal sins of Adultery 2x.
Murder 2x, Missing Mass 4 x, fornication 3x, “adultery 2x”, lying under oath (and two bad confessions…) (and if he went to Holy Communion -such too…)
(I assume here Sam only made those confessions…normally he basically he has to go back to the good confession before the bad confessions --and he only needs of course to confess mortal sins…not venial.)
The Priest can assist you. …Fear not! The Priest has heard far far worse…
Make an appointment with the Priest --and do this prior to Holy Communion…
If you want to go behind the screen – tell him that --he can even wait in the confessional for you at a particular time -or one can call a Monastery.
Sorry, this is wrong. Because previous confessions were bad confessions because of deliberately not confessing some sin(s) that the Church tells us are mortal sins, then none of the sins confessed in those confessions were absolved.
What the OP needs to do is to go into the confessional and tell the priest that there are sins he or she committed that he or she never confessed. The priest will then ask how long ago was the last good confession. All mortal sins committed since that last good confession must be confessed, including receiving the Eucharist while not in a state of grace. It can be daunting, and it may not be possible to list every different sin and the approximate number of times it was committed, but with a good examination of conscience and a sincere desire to confess all, everything will be absolved. In the future, should the person remember a mortal sin that was not confessed in that good confession, it should be mentioned at the next confession.
The OP will be so thankful after making a good confession! I know I was when I did the same thing years ago.
Don’t forget that Road-to-Damascus moment St. Paul had was followed by seven or so years of learning and reflection before he began his active ministry. He, too, had to learn to make Christ the center of his life and all the sacrifices and responsibilities it entailed.
As for your confession - deliberately holding back and not confessing a mortal sin invalidates your confession(s). You’ll need to confess every mortal sin as best as you can remember, including the sins of deliberately not confessing a mortal sin and your sacrilegious communions. If you think this will take too long, make an appointment to see the priest for confession outside the regular time. You may even consider making a general confession - I did that two years ago and the experience was wonderful.