I need some advice please

I am unsure if my first confession was valid. I had many years of sins to confess so I was having difficulty remembering a lot. So I said there were many lies that I’m sure I’ve told and then later on I remembered a specific one but I didn’t say it. I was then confirmed and then received my first communion. I am now very concerned about if the sacraments were valid. Can someone please help! I am so new to all this and very confused!

If it was just a matter of forgetting particular sins, it sounds like you made a valid confession. So breathe easy. :slight_smile:

But you should confess any specific sins that you forgot in your next confession.

Thank you for responding! I remembered it during my confession but then we started talking about other things. I am just concerned that since I didn’t say that specific lie I told it would be invalid. Or would it be valid if I said I told many lies over the years? I am so confused! :confused:
I am also thinking that if it wasn’t a valid confession would the other sacraments I received be invalid as well?
Thanks for your help!

The other sacraments are likely valid too. They do not rely on the condition of your soul to be valid.

The issue is whether you deliberately withheld the sin or just missed it-- if it was just missed, then your absolution is most likely valid. The way you are describing it sounds like you did not intentionally withhold confessing that particular sin, so it would not affect the validity of the sacrament.

Did you lie during your confession? It doesn’t sound like it.

God knows we’re human. Sin requires intent to be sin; otherwise, it’s just a mistake. You aren’t punished for honest mistakes – even if they occur during a Sacrament.

From what you’ve told us, I would say that your confession was valid. And WhollyRoamin is correct; the other sacraments do not depend on whether the confession was valid or not, so they wouldn’t be affected either way.

Thank you both so much! I guess I am wondering now if that particular lie was covered by me saying something like “I’ve told many lies in the past.” Or are the specific details more important? Either way I will confess it next time. I just want to be sure in the future. I feel much better about it now.
For future reference, if something is withheld during confession then it would be invalid and then you would need to confess everything all over again?
Thanks again for your help!

Father would have directed you to be more specific if he needed you to elaborate.

Either way I will confess it next time. I just want to be sure in the future.

That is a good plan.

For future reference, if something is withheld during confession then it would be invalid and then you would need to confess everything all over again?
Thanks again for your help!

AFAIK, if you are deliberately withholding sins from your confession, then your absolution is not valid. You’re also lying to a priest that way, so the confession list gets longer. :frowning: But if it was an innocent mistake, then just say it next time you’re at confession.

This is what you’re supposed to do: “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.” Canon 988, section 1. “To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.” Canon 987.

As for the priest, “In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is equally a judge and a physician and has been established by God as a minister of divine justice and mercy, so that he has regard for the divine honor and the salvation of souls.” Canon 978, section 1. “In posing questions, the priest is to proceed with prudence and discretion, attentive to the condition and age of the penitent, and is to refrain from asking the name of an accomplice.” Canon 979. “If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.” Canon 980.

It’s not supposed to be about every little detail; that’s not what interests the priest. The priest doesn’t care about your history with your co-worker, what projects you’ve been working on together, and who eats what for lunch; he cares about why you lied to her, how often, and what you intend to do about it in the future. It’s more of a how-can-we-fix-this-and-get-you-back-on-the-straight-and-narrow-path exercise, if you see what I mean.

And the problem isn’t in failing to tell him about something; it’s in deliberately omitting something. As long as it’s accidental, it’s not a sin.

I understand now. Thank you all. I just want to get it right so I don’t have doubts like this in the future. I know there is a lot more to learn since my journey in the Catholic faith has only just begun. Thank you for your time!

Speaking of which, welcome home!

There is so much to learn that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. Remember, the Church has been answering “What if I . . . ?” questions for 2000 years; you won’t learn everything overnight. In fact, given the sheer volume of things there are to study (not to mention the incredible unknowableness of the mystery of God), you simply won’t learn everything ever. The nice thing is that you don’t need to worry about all the little details. It isn’t as legalistic as it sometimes seems. Start off with the big things (Jesus is risen!) and focus on them. The rest will come with time.

But since absolution covers all sins confessed and those that were innocently forgotten, why bring it up in next confession? Doesn’t that undermine the sacrament?

No. It honors the sacrament.

How? The Church says God’s grace covers everything mentioned and everything legitimately forgotten. If a person brings it up next confession, that’s like saying they know what God does through the sacrament, but just in case God’s not keeping up with things I’d better mention it.

Gosh, you would have converts who didn’t make confession until they were decades into their lives and cradle Catholics who have been away for years upon years (in both cases, simply people with years of sin to account for) coming back week after week for the rest of their lives with stuff they suddenly remembered. That defeats the purpose, which is reconciliation and renewal. It’s one thing to say the sacrament depends on honesty and repentance and a true desire to change – as it does – but it’s another thing to say it hinges in the least on a person’s memory.

The validity of the sacrament is not diminished or contingent on your good or bad memory of sins committed.

As long as you don’t intentionally omit a sin (by kidding yourself, “oh I forgot”).

Something I say when I go to confession is, " father for all these sins and the ones I cannot recall, I aks forgiveness."

You (and I ) might second guess yourself but, true contrition and repentance make for a good confession.

The sacrament of penance is an inexhaustable source of renewable grace! So the best way to preclude a “lapse of memory” as it pertains to the worrying that comes from un-confessed sins is, to confess more than just once a year.

Personally, I try to confess every week but often times I end up going once a month. You get the picture.

Hope this helps.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

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