I just got denied absolution at confession, what do I do now?

I usually go to confession on a weekly basis because I constantly fall into venial and mortal sins (ex. Gossip or lust) and I always intend to not commit these sins anymore. However, earlier today, I came into confession for the same sins and the priest talked about how I wasn’t actually firmly intending to not commit these sins anymore but in my heart I knew I was. This made me really doubt whether I was sorry enough, or if I ever could be sorry enough. I sat sobbing in my bed for a while because I wasn’t forgiven and I really did feel sorry. Now, I’m not sure if I can receive communion tomorrow at mass and if I need to go to confession again, or maybe since I knew I was sorry and I knew I was going to try and commit these sins again and the priest didn’t, that maybe God still forgave me. I’m really unsure about that however

Go back to the priest again and get things clarified and do NOT receive the Eucharist until this is done. From what you post, we don’t know whether the priest ‘denied you absolution’ because he didn’t think you were sorry, or because he didn’t think that the sins were mortal, or for some other reason. We don’t know, but the priest you saw does know. Go back to him and get it straight. Ask him to write down, if possible, so that you won’t get confused. Nothing about what your sin was, but rather, “You need to do X in order to receive reconciliation and help yourself to avoid sin”.

That’s what you do now: You do not receive tomorrow, and you go back and talk to the priest and ask him to fully explain until you are CERTAIN you understand exactly what he meant and what you need to do.


Sounds like scrupulosity…

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Go to confession again and tell the priest this story. Make him understand how deeply sorry you are.


Sounds like you need to get this clarified with the priest and agree on an action plan. Talk to him and get it straight what you need to do.


None of us can know why you were denied absolution, but it does seem that you are scrupulous, based on your posting history. It could’ve been that the priest didn’t want to give absolution if the things you confessed weren’t actually sinful, especially if you’re going to confession so frequently.

Seek the help of your priest. It’s not helpful to ask questions on here. All we can do is speculate.



You say you constantly fall into venial and mortal sins.

Being sorry ie having contrition is one component. Having the firm intention to not commit those sins again is another component as you say in your opening post.

Please go and speak with this same priest and ask to have him explain why absolution was refused you. Only he knows the reason why he did what he did.

Go back and see him before you go to Communion, and make a spiritual communion instead.

I entered this thread to tag you but you beat me here.


A really helpful guide to have is an Examination of Conscience. The best I have stumbled across recently is this:

It clearly categorizes the various sins, provides examples from today’s culture and explains a category which may not be sins at all: imperfections.

  • Imperfections are not sins so they do not need to be confessed. No distinction is made on this sheet between venial sins and imperfections because it is not always easy to make the distinction. Some things are imperfections because they are very small, other things are imperfections because they are dispositions of the soul and not willful actions or failures, still others because they are habitual.

I think there is a solution here.
Did the priest say the absolution prayer and say your sins are forgiven or not? Was the priest saying this just as part of his guidance or did he just straight up say I’m not absolving your sins?
This is why I don’t like face to face confessions. If you go behind the screen you don’t run into these problems.

I never heard of a priest denying absolution. That might simply be coincidence, but frankly I never read any sort of doctrine on it or parameters. ( We are copious at putting rules into writing usually).
I can imagine some unintended consequences. Catholics who go to confession exceptionally frequently run a higher risk of a denial.
There is an element of arbitrariness. Discerning someones heart is difficult if not impossible in a confessional. Outside of confessing insincerity, or somehow using the Confessional as a tool ( let’s say to masturbate every week and receive communion every week also… bad example).
Why would a person show up to confess something without contrition? It is like a fraud scheme you can never get away with. And because this is so, denial of absolution puts the Confessor into a position of compounding sin with worse sin. ( Worse, if you had a few venial sins to confess to start with. Now, you are outright trying to defraud the Holy Spirit potentially). Precipitated ironically, by availing to confession frequently. A Christian who goes a few times a year is not likely to be denied absolution to the same extent.

The problem with this is that you are assuming that the priest can’t tell, or that they are doing it because they are being malicious.

A prime example of when a Priest did this as he should, using your masturbation example:
“Forgive me father for I have sinned, I have masturbated and looked at porn.”
“Did you install covenant eyes on your computer, or get rid of the occasion for sin?”
“I cannot absolve you until you do that.”

Obviously the person felt guilt, but there is a difference between guilt/sorrow from contrition/true sorrow.

If you only go to confess your sin, it doesn’t count. You also have to be taking steps to prevent it in the future.

So OP, I’m sorry you were denied absolution. Like others said, talk to your priest. It could be that he doesn’t feel that you are taking the proper steps to overcome the sin. Whatever that sin is, make sure you are actively working to overcome it.

In my case I struggle with porn and masturbation, so now I sleep with a rosary and prayer rope tied around my hands, and I installed covenant eyes on my computer. It doesn’t stop me from falling all the time, but it helps, and I am taking steps to overcome it. If I just went to confession and said, “I did it again” without taking those steps, my priest would have a God given obligation to deny me absolution.

@Maximus1 There are plenty of Saints who have done that, not to include the countless un-canonized priests. They just don’t do it as often because we’ve become the “Church of Holding Hands” rather than the “Church of Saving Souls”.

I am not assuming about the priest. That would Indict my point.
It I in the inability to know the extent of contrition etc. that raises the question I had.
I wrote I had never heard of it. That’s all.

We are called to be the Church that does both.

To clarify, when I say “holds hands” I’m not implying love, I’m talking about codling. We are not supposed to coddle. We are to love, which sometimes is gentle, sometimes is harsh. Just read St. Paul’s letters and you’ll see that they aren’t always “nice.”

He talks about delivering people to Satan for destruction that their souls may be saved. He talks about pummeling his own flesh, he talks about casting out people who keep sinning, and other such things.

Venerable Archbishop Sheen describes what I am referring to as “false compassion”.

So while we should hold hands and guide into Heaven, we aren’t supposed to be the “Church of Holding Hands.”

If you are talking about sexual urges. It’s normal.iwent to high school with Catholic religions teachers. And they couldn’t consul the student’s with any success. They only “silver bullet” is praying in tongues. Romans 8:26

I went to Confession and either the Priest did not assign me a Penance, or I did not understand him (he had an accent). He talked for a while, but I don’t recall hearing a penance. I did hear the absolution though “and I absolve you…”. I didn’t think about the “missing penance” until after I had left the Confession room, and there was a line waiting.

So I just assigned myself a Penance—something similar to what another foreign born Priest has given me that was longer than my average Penance. The Priest talked about some things when he was giving me advice, maybe he was giving me a penance ( I don’t think that was the case). So I said a prayer covering some of the topics he talked about. He spoke fast and had a foreign accent, so I may have missed it. At least I heard the absolution clearly.

Does anyone think what I did was not okay? I have read at least one Priest suggest to people if they forget their penance, to just do a penance that was assigned to you before.

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