I didn't pray an Act of Contrition---Confession still good?


#1

Good afternoon! I have a quick question, and I'm hoping that a board member here can help. I recently went to reconciliation. I confessed my sins, received counsel and then Father absolved me. However, he never asked me to pray an Act of Contrition. My son went after me, and he said that the priest didn't ask him to either. Is my confession still good, or do I need to go again?:shrug:


#2

Presuming you made a valid Confession on your end, then yes. Whether or not someone ha sufficient contrition is not dependent on whether or not they recite the Act of Contrition, nor does one have to say it in order for absolution to be valid. I usually say it before I go to Confession, and if I'm confessing some place the priest doesn't ask for it, I pray it outside after.


#3

On a similar note, my confessor doesn't ever ask me to pray an act of contrition at the end of the confession. I normally do anyways once I'm out of the confession box, but have been very curious about if that is a required part of the sacrament.


#4

[quote="Abundant, post:1, topic:304451"]
Good afternoon! I have a quick question, and I'm hoping that a board member here can help. I recently went to reconciliation. I confessed my sins, received counsel and then Father absolved me. However, he never asked me to pray an Act of Contrition. My son went after me, and he said that the priest didn't ask him to either. Is my confession still good, or do I need to go again?:shrug:

[/quote]

Generally speaking, the act of contrition is not REQUIRED as part of confession as a prayer per se.

The priest assesses that the person is contrite before absolution is given, and often as a SIGN of that contrition, the penitent is asked to recite an act of contrition (and there is a general prayer for that, though it is not the ONLY act of contrition one could make!). Perhaps the priest was sufficiently assured of your contrition and felt that he could immediately move to absolution.

For a confession to be valid the following things must be present:
1) you must have some form of actual contrition for your sins (either perfect or imperfect)
2) you must confess all your mortal sins that you remember (in number and in kind)
3) The priest must speak the words of absolution with the absolute minimum form being "I absolve you"... though the proper form is longer than that.


#5

[quote="Actaeon, post:4, topic:304451"]

1) you must have some form of actual contrition for your sins (either perfect or imperfect)
2) you must confess all your mortal sins that you remember (in number and in kind)
3) The priest must speak the words of absolution with the absolute minimum form being "I absolve you"... though the proper form is longer than that.

[/quote]

Really? So... what if , in my past confessions, I did not number my sins, either due to lack of memory or due to embarrassment?


#6

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:5, topic:304451"]
Really? So... what if , in my past confessions, I did not number my sins, either due to lack of memory or due to embarrassment?

[/quote]

One would need to address this in confession.

If I say commit 3 murders ( mortal sins!) and I go to confession and confess only "murder" --intentionally not saying 3 for I do not want him to know I murdered so many...well that is a problem. Such can be an invalid confession and add sin (a new mortal sin) ....and bring the need to repeat in confession that and any other mortal sins that were confessed.

Now what if I made the honest mistake and "forgot" but intended to make a complete confession of all mortal sins ..well that is a different story. The forgotten mortal sins would simply be mentioned in the next confession (they would be "indirectly absolved" -assuming of course one was contrite etc for all mortal sins...)

(such is of course only referring to mortal sins)


#7

[quote="Bookcat, post:6, topic:304451"]
One would need to address this in confession.

If I say commit 3 murders ( mortal sins!) and I go to confession and confess only "murder" --intentionally not saying 3 for I do not want him to know I murdered so many...well that is a problem. Such can be an invalid confession and add sin ....and bring the need to repeat in confession that and any other mortal sins that were confessed.

Now what if I made the honest mistake and "forgot" but intended to make a complete confession of all mortal sins ..well that is a different story. The forgotten mortal sins would simply be mentioned in the next confession (they would be "indirectly absolved" -assuming of course one was contrite etc for all mortal sins...)

[/quote]

Hmm, I'll have to reflect on this. Thank you.


#8

CCC

1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly."54

When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some*, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know."

(referring to *mortal sins...)

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm#VII

Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers:

jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html

(now there are those out there who struggle with scruples --they can start to want to confess all sorts of things then need not or worry where they need not--such persons need a regular confessor who knows of their difficulties who can assist them)


#9

More from Jimmy Akin: jimmyakin.com/2012/03/confessing-by-kind-and-number.html


#10

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:5, topic:304451"]
Really? So... what if , in my past confessions, I did not number my sins, either due to lack of memory or due to embarrassment?

[/quote]

If you didn't know, then it's excusable... but now you know!

Generally speaking, you don't have to give a specific number either. A general inclination is good enough for most things. For example, a person struggling with masturbation might confess that they are guilty of such, and the implication is that the number is "lots". So if there's a number implied by the confession of the sin itself, one doesn't necessarily need to make an overt statement of number. Here there is a possibility that the person actually committed the sin only a few times or once, and if that is the case, then they MIGHT make a quantitative statement so that the priest understands that they are NOT guilty of repeating the act a multitude of times.

Where it becomes more of an issue is with sins that are more rare... such as the previous poster's example of murder. If you murdered 3 people, that's grossly different than simply saying you murdered (which would seem to imply one murder). So in cases where defining a specific number gives a more clear picture of scope, a quantitative statement SHOULD be made.


#11

[quote="Actaeon, post:10, topic:304451"]
If you didn't know, then it's excusable... but now you know!

Generally speaking, you don't have to give a specific number either. A general inclination is good enough for most things. For example, a person struggling with masturbation might confess that they are guilty of such, and the implication is that the number is "lots". So if there's a number implied by the confession of the sin itself, one doesn't necessarily need to make an overt statement of number. Here there is a possibility that the person actually committed the sin only a few times or once, and if that is the case, then they MIGHT make a quantitative statement so that the priest understands that they are NOT guilty of repeating the act a multitude of times.

Where it becomes more of an issue is with sins that are more rare... such as the previous poster's example of murder. If you murdered 3 people, that's grossly different than simply saying you murdered (which would seem to imply one murder). So in cases where defining a specific number gives a more clear picture of scope, a quantitative statement SHOULD be made.

[/quote]

See above posts.

If one knows the number --one is obliged to confess it. Approximations can be made if one say one does not know the number after a good examination.

One can then approx according to what one does know.

(as for say a person committing murder only one time and saying just "murder" well I would think yes the 1 is implied)


#12

Bookcat, let me begin by asking you something: what is the purpose behind the canon law which states that sins must be confessed in kind and number? I propose that the purpose is for diagnostic reasons: to understand the depth and bredth of the sin, and the nature it takes in the penitent’s life. Towards that end, specificity is important insofar as it provides clarity to the priest in absolving the penitent and providing good counsel.

Second, I hope you’ll note that I already made a distinction between uncategorical sins (ones where any reasonable effort by the Catholic in question would fail to turn up a specific number) and categorical sins (those where it is simple to produce a number). Simply put, there are some sins where a person who struggles with that sin are going to have an exceptionally difficult time counting the instances of sin, and in such cases the church does not REQUIRE them to in order to attend confession, they can simply give indication of the general frequency of the sin and still receive absolution. Imagine the absurdity if a person who struggled with masturbation and hadn’t attended confession in a year were REQUIRED to specifically recount all instances exactly in order to receive valid absolution… they would NEVER be cleared if they didn’t have a tally-sheet with them for all the times they sinned!

So to repeat, the purpose of confessing number and kind of sin with specificity, especially in the area of confessing number of sins, is for diagnostic purposes by the priest as to the nature and bredth of the sin in the person’s life (in order to provide proper counsel and penance), therefore there is no need to confess a specific number if such a number is not realistically available.


#13

[quote="Actaeon, post:12, topic:304451"]
Bookcat, let me begin by asking you something: what is the purpose behind the canon law which states that sins must be confessed in kind and number? I propose that the purpose is for diagnostic reasons: to understand the depth and bredth of the sin, and the nature it takes in the penitent's life. Towards that end, specificity is important insofar as it provides clarity to the priest in absolving the penitent and providing good counsel.

[/quote]

Such is part of it but not the main reason.

The main reason is the accusation *of all mortal sins in number and kind. They must be confessed in number and kind not just to assist the penitent etc but as part of the nature of confession. It is part of the *juridical nature of Confession.

This is what I did. This is how many times (for mortal sin) --this is what I confess and seek penance and absolution for. I accuse myself of....

The 'diagnostic' aspect is good but it is not the main aspect.


#14

[quote="Actaeon, post:12, topic:304451"]

Second, I hope you'll note that I already made a distinction between uncategorical sins (ones where any reasonable effort by the Catholic in question would fail to turn up a specific number) and categorical sins (those where it is simple to produce a number).

[/quote]

Sure there are times when one does not know the number -- one* then *may approximate according to ones knowledge from the examination (formal integrity though not material integrity -due to lack of knowledge).

If one knows it was 5 times one says 5 times. It may be that from ones examination one does not know how many per se --but that one knows it was around 10x or it was around 2-3x a year for the last 20 some odd years...or it may be even such that one needs to say "several times" or "many times".

One is not required to be Mr. Spock (it was 27.23569x) --one proceeds in an integral modo humano, or "in a human manner"

...not in modo vulcano :)


#15

And as I noted way up above...there are those out there with various degrees of scruples...they need to have a regular confessor to direct them.


#16

[quote="ProdglArchitect, post:5, topic:304451"]
Really? So... what if , in my past confessions, I did not number my sins, either due to lack of memory or due to embarrassment?

[/quote]

Emarassment should read "pride". Fear of embarrassment is pride which can be a sin of itself. We all need to to be humble, mostly me.


#17

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