I withheld a sin in confession, but I don't know if the sin was mortal or venial. Did I commit sacrilige?

I was making my confession and I was feeling extremely anxious, and there was a rather humiliating sin I remembered and I wanted to confess it, but I wasn’t sure if it was mortal or venial and it was humiliating, so I chose not to say anything about it. Later, I confessed this sin (but didn’t mention that I’d withheld it from a previous confession) and the priest told me it was venial. BUT, is it a mortal sin to withhold a sin you’re not sure is mortal or venial from confession? The sin was committed when I was an adolescent and I had no knowledge of the differences between mortal or venial sin (was raised protestant).

You need to trust your confessor. Your sins have been absolved. If you struggle with scrupulosity/anxiety, that is something to discuss with an experienced confessor.

Usually an embarrassing sin is mortal but if the priest said no…so be it.

After confessing it, you should have gone all the way & say you withheld it previously. :shrug:

Yeah, I should have gone all the way but I was scared and could hardly speak and so cut it short. Is it a mortal sin to withhold a sin from confession when you aren’t sure it is a mortal sin? Is that a sacrilege?

You cannot commit mortal sin unknowingly or by accident. Therefore you have not withheld a mortal sin in the circumstances you describe.

I suggest you owe it to yourself to try and understand the nature of the sin in question.

Agreed. I converted to the Catholic faith a few years ago and it’s been a difficult transition from Protestantism as far as deciphering what is mortal sin and what is not. I’m so used to just confessing everything to Jesus privately and not ever even considering that some sins are worse than others and have more difficult consequences. It’s hard. Yes there are the three rules, a mortal sin is always committed with full knowledge, free will and be grave matter. But it’s not always that simple. And yes, I need to bring this to my confessor but he will absolve me and not help me sort out the matter knowing the nature of sin and so next month I’ll be in the same boat as I am now. And this is eating me alive because I don’t want to offend Our Lord, but every time I go to confession for something else and intend to bring this up I choke. I feel like I’m going to he’ll, but I jus can’t talk about it. Please help me understand if the intention to withhold from confession a sin you’re not sure is mortal is a sacrilege. Also, if anyone knows of any good webpages about the nature of sin but that aren’t too difficult to read, that’d be mighty helpful too.

as for the embarrassing sins being the mortal ones, I disagree. Every sin is embarrassing…

Should you intentionally seek to remain ignorant of the nature of the sin in question, that is a wrong act, and thus you fail to properly prepare for confession. You do not need to use confession as the opportunity to resolve the question about the sin in question - you can ask us, you can use the Ask an Apologist facility on this site, or you can separately see a priest.

I see no sacrilege at this point. But your course is clear.

You did confess it once so it shouldn’t be as hard in future…

Your best bet is stop committing that sin! :thumbsup:

The usual advice is if you are unsure confess it. That is the only way you are going to find out. You must have heard by now that there is not much you can confess to a priest that he hasn’t already heard.

See if your parish has a guide on how to make an examination of conscience. It goes through the examination of conscience for each commandment. For example under the 1st commandment it lists…

occult, atheism, leaving the Church, superstition, marriage outside the Church, despair, etc.

You should never purposely withhold a sin from a priest. If you are not sure if the sin is mortal vs. venial, simply confess it.

I know what you mean about feeling embarrassed to confess to priest about some sins. I sometimes feel that way with my pastor, even though he has heard everything. So I typically, confess to a priest at the Cathedral, which is near my office.

There is nothing wrong with going to a different parish to confess or using the screen if that makes you feel less nervous.

I personally like to use the screen. I even use the screen when it’s appointment or if the priest saw me come in. In those situations, I simply say to him “Father, if you don’t mind, I’m going to kneel behind the screen because it helps me to focus”

But there is no reason to feel bad… many priests have heard confessions of adultery, theft, and some of them have even taken confessions of murder & rape. They have literally heard it all.

God Bless

If you commit a sin, confess it.

If you don’t confess sins that you are able to remember committing in a confession, the confession is invalid.

Don’t despair. Confess your sins including the ones committed that you confessed during this previous confession, with the sin omitted in your next confession.

*If you don’t confess mortal sins that you are able to remember then it is a sacrilege.

Mortal sin that is.

and I would not put it that way for other reasons too “are able to remember” could mean all sorts of things. The Church does not require that we say take a year out of our life and spend it examining for mortal sins. :slight_smile: We proceed* in humano modo *-- in a human way (not in a Vulcan way…) and according to reason…

But yes one is not to conceal a mortal sin - that would yes make it invalid and can add sin…

(I am not saying here that the OP did this - they can discuss if need be these questions with their confessor…if any remain)

We are not obligated to confess doubtful sins per the teaching of The Church. You cannot commit a sacrilege without knowing it at the time. Bottom line, you are not obligated to confess doubtful sins. It is recommended that you take the “When in doubt, confess it” approach if you have a normal or lax conscience. But this is harmful if you have a scrupulous conscience. The Scrupulous are not to confess doubtful sins because it is only feeding their scrupulosity instead of helping them. Talk to a priest about things like this. You will only get conflicting opinions on here, even some harmful ones. Take care and God bless.

Everything you said is true, but doubtful sins refer to whether you doubt you’ve commited a sin, not necessarily b/t mortal and venial sins, I believe.

But if you doubt whether something is mortal or venial and you’re scrupulous, then I think you should not confess it.

Regardless of conscience, you should never confess it as certain, only as doubtful, that it was mortal or venial. (referring to gray cases of grave matter)

Just responding here to this here. I responded to the original person up above…so this is only addressing here the subject of “doubtful sins” in themselves.

“Doubtful sins” refer also to if one is doubtful one committed a mortal sin (say for one is doubtful that one had full advertance or gave complete consent to commit a mortal sin…etc). So for example one knows one gave some consent to bad thoughts but one is doubtful that one gave deliberate (complete consent)…so one knows it was a venial sin at least but one is doubtful that it was a mortal sin.

Generally speaking a person who does not struggle with with scruples can be well advised to confess such - noting there is doubt.

Those who are scrupulous are often advised not to directly confess such.

Those who are lax ought to be urged to do so (noting still there was doubt).

I have heard, possibly at CAF, that is you are unsure if it’s mortal, venial, or maybe not sinful, than it’s not mortal. With a lack of certainty, all the conditions for mortal sin are not met.

I recently confessed something that I thought was a mortal sin, and, due to the circumstances, the priest told me that it was NOT a sin.

Of course, if anyone disagrees, you can correct me.

You mean after you did Y your looking back at Y? Hey did I sin when I did Y? Hey was that a mortal sin?

It *could *indicate such (and for example such can be a sound principle that a person with scruples might be given by their confessor…or a person might follow who has a rather **delicate conscience and who would thus know quite well that they had committed a mortal sin…their confessor can advise them ).

That though is one time where the examination of conscience comes in.

My situation involves lying to a person who has been very abusive to me. Without giving out much detail, this was a circumstance where telling the truth to another person would result in the person abusing me, and even worse consequences. I know that lying is a sin, but feared the consequences that would follow.

Please do not advise me here, as you don’t know all the details, and interaction with the second party was unavoidable.

To those reading this, I’m just explaining that my priest said it’s not a sin, and this is a very conservative priest. In that situation, if I told the truth, the consequences would be dire for me, and likely destroy my life.

Prior to seeing the priest, I thought that lying is ALWAYS sinful, and one must accept the consequences of truth, no matter now dire.

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