Code of Canon Law 988 states:
Can. 988 §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.
My question concerns the phrase “kind and number”. Some render this “name and number” which furthers my confusion as I shall demonstrate, and hope for someone to correct.
Now, let us take an example scenario to illustrate my confusion (please do not apply this to me, this is merely an example to get my point across):
1.) A penitent has engaged in impure thoughts of both single and married persons. When confessing their sins, how are they to name their sins?
One way to name the sin is “consented to impure thoughts”. Another would be “consenting to impure thoughts of both single and married persons.”
Which is correct?
Ok, now let us look at a similar example.
A penitent has engaged in impure thoughts of another person of the same gender (again, please do not read into this, it is merely an example )
One way to name the sin is “consented to impure thoughts”, but I would argue that the sin is not impure thoughts, but rather “homosexual impure thoughts”, as the nature of the sin is different. At least, some would “name” it as a different “kind” of sin.
Do you see where this is going? What is the proper level of “naming” the “kind” of sin? I am really bothered that I have received different answers (or confused looks) from people on this, as they say “what does it matter?”. It matters a lot. As a penitent, I believe I have a right to a clear, authoritative exegesis of the Canon law to which I am held.
2.) The second issue concerns “combined sins”. For example:
A penitent commits the sins of theft, and drunkenness over a period of many years (again, please do not apply this to me, it is merely an example people. ). Let us assume that all are mortal.
They confess their sins by saying “Father, over a period of years I stole things many times and was drunk many times”.
Now, there were occasions where the penitent stole while they were drunk. This, I would argue is a different “kind” of sin, and should be confessed as “over a period of years, I stole things while i was drunk”. (please do not digress into “if you were drunk it may not have been mortal”… substitute another sin instead if you like for the sake of the discussion).
So my issue concerns “combined” sins. Are those not different than regular instances? I argue yes. I would “name” this as a different sin. Your sin here is drunken thievery, not simply thievery.
Thank for any clarification you can provide. I don’t know why this is so hard to clear up!
I would also ask that you please not attempt to excuse my questions as “being scrupulous”. The faithful have a right to understand the Church’s teaching.