If I Am Not Sure If I Comitted A Mortal Sin,Should I Confess It As A Mortal Sin Just To Be Safe?


If you want to get more details about my circumstances, I made a previous post about the sin of presumption that you can find in the forum.


You can confess venial sins as well as mortal sins. Moreover, there is no requirement that you label your sins as mortal or venial when you are telling those sins to your confessor.


Hmm…I was taught to label sins to the priest, especially if they’re mortal. I’m a teenager and I’m assuming that most here are older than me, so maybe there’s been changes made to how you’re taught to confess?Maybe i wont label my sins then. I’d like more opinions on this please.


Never heard of labeling sins.


I have never, in my life, heard of labeling ones sins in Confession as being Mortal or Venial. That is for the priest to decide.
And, by the way, One thing I learned from the Jesuits as a boy was: “When in doubt, confess.”


Hi Lisette1,

You’re a teenager; no one should be expecting you to know whether or not your sins are mortal or venial. Not that you shouldn’t know; I think it’s wonderful to have a knowledge of moral theology so as to know whether your sins are venial or mortal, but no one can require that of you. That’s the job of your confessor. Your job is to confess all the sins you can remember.

Now, of course, we are only obliged to confess mortal sins. This does mean, however, that we ought to learn what sins constitute objective matter, and try, to the best of our ability to remember if we consented. If you honestly can’t remember, then very likely you did not fully consent, and thus it was not mortal sin.

I don’t mean to make your conscience lax, of course. A delicate conscience is a wonderful thing. I suffer from severe scrupulosity, although I’m learning how to deal with it.

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,


As I posted in the beginning, this uncertainty concerned the sin of presumption, which is usually mortal.

Having read more of presumption, I found out that part of it is expecting to go to heaven regardless of the grave sin you’ve just commited. It abuses God’s forgiveness. I never thought that as I sinned, and was actually expecting to go to hell. I was thinking “hopefully, my parents will make the time to take me to confession tomorrow.”- is that presumptuous? If it is, would it still be a mortal sin or could it be a venial sin since I was certainly not expecting to go to heaven?

Also, I found out that presumption is also *not being repentant *and expecting to just be forgiven everytime- I did truly regret and feel awful about my sin.

I’d like more opinions please. And I thank everyone for their replies.


I’ve been Catholic for 16 years and I’ve never heard of labelling our sins as mortal or venial. I simply confess my sins, in kind and number as best as I’m able. When I am confused about the seriousness of a sin, or if something was a sin, I ask the priest. He then asks me some questions about the circumstances and advises me. Helps immensely.

I think that while we can have some idea as to the seriousness of our sins, we can’t have an absolute knowledge of them and their seriousness like God does. I just do my best, not only in Confession, but beforehand in praying to the Holy Spirit for light and guidance. God knows our hearts- He knows us better than we know ourselves.


What you’re saying sounds a little bit like despair, more than presumption, and despair is also mortal. Nonetheless, if you were not aware of committing it, you cannot be culpable, at least to the extent required for it to be mortal sin. All mortal sins need to be fully consented to. If not, they are either temptations resisted, which, far from being sinful, are actually meritorious, or venially sinful, if we are delinquent in resisting them.

You can confess this if you’d like, but I if I were you, I’d ask my confessor if he thought I was being scrupulous in this case. Scrupulosity can have fantastically negative effects on your spiritual life.

Again, I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,


I don’t mean to make your conscience lax, of course. A delicate conscience is a wonderful thing. I suffer from severe scrupulosity, although I’m learning how to deal with it.

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,

Thanks for your reply. I didn’t really think about being scrupulous person- then I remembered all the near-obessesive thoughts I have about my actions being venial/mortal, breaking my sins down on a microscopic level, and basically going around in circles in my head.


Can you explain despair to me more please?

I haven’t thought of it deeply, but I guess I am scrupulous- I think obsessively about whether my sins are mortal/venial, break them down to a microscopic level, worry, and basically go around in circles in my head.

I have thought about it now and have determined that I did not commit a mortal sin.


Better to be safe than sorry.


If one confesses something that is doubtful mortal sin-simply say it is* doubtful*…or say that your not sure.


Bring this question to a Priest in confession - and if you do struggle with scruples (which may be temporary by the way -such can happen when someone starts off seeking to follow Christ more closely) -the age old practice in the Church is to have a regular confessor who knows your soul and can direct you. And often those with scruple are directed by their confessor to not confess directly “doubtful sins”. He can guide you.


Ok, so I went to Confession and told the priest that this was a doubtful mortal sin and how I could be scrupulous at times. He told me that it was a good thing to tell him about this sin even though it was in doubt and that they should always be told even if your are not sure. Also, I got the sense that he did not think I was being scrupulous because said that he would tell me if he thought I was. It went well.:slight_smile:


A good rule of thumb for one who is not scrupulous is it is go ahead and confess doubtful mortal sins (as “doubtful” or “not sure”).

Where as a person who is scrupulous is often advised by their confessor to not confess that which is doubtful.


Despair is giving up on the hope of repentance.

If your confessor did not think that you’re scrupulous, than trust his judgment. While from what you’re saying, you sound a little scrupulous to me (obsessing over whether sins are venial or mortal), I’m not your confessor or spiritual director, and I can only counsel you to follow his counsel.

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,


This is a little off-topic, but if someone commits a sin presumptuously (like taking the Eucharist when unsure if they are in a state of grace), and confess the sin, but don’t say that they did it presumptuously, does that invalidate the confession?


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