I'm not sure if I had achieved perfect contrition


#1

Last time I went to confession, it was early morning and I hadn’t slept much, but I knew I had to do it because, as a priest told me, after committing a mortal sin one should go as soon as possible. Although it was a Sunday, I didn’t have time later that day, so I woke up early and went to the morning Mass. I hadn’t really prepared for the confession, but I knew exactly what I had done wrong and that I want to have my sins forgiven. So after confessing my sins and about to receive absolution from the priest, I realized I hadn’t achieved perfect contrition before the confession. Still half asleep, I panicked and tried to… achieve it, but I wasn’t really sure if I did. After the confession, I decided I probably was alright and calmly went to receive the Eucharist.

However, after that I still had some doubt that I had had perfect contrition. So I searched on the internet for more information about contrition (in my teenage years, I don’t really know much about Catholic theology, so I’m trying to find out how everything works) and realized my confession hadn’t been valid if I had only imperfect contrition.

The problem is, after the confession I could hardly remember what I was thinking and how I felt about it, and now, after several days of thinking about it, I’m really unsure if I had the perfect contrition or not. As I hadn’t had enough sleep, I didn’t have any feelings like sorrow, fear or anything, but I’m also not sure I was motivated only by love of God. It felt like I just had to go and get my soul clean. (Usually I feel more sorrow, probably because I simply have better physical conscience by having enough sleep.) I also was aware of temporal punishment and knew that confession and consequent indulgence would remove it and clear my life from all stain of previous sin. I’m just not sure that it happened this time (I fear I might have not had perfect contrition, not that God didn’t forgive me if I did).

My question is: Although I wasn’t sure about the contrition, are my sins forgiven? Since I am not sure if I had perfect contrition, I can’t be sure I received absolution (if that is not right, I’m sorry, please correct me), so what should I do to ensure my mortal sins are forgiven? Should I retell them at my next confession? Or should I think everything is alright and name last Sunday as my previous good confession?

Thanks in advance.


#2

Remember that the absolution of sins via the sacrament of reconciliation is due to the grace of God and is not dependent on one’s feelings.
You may want to talk to the priest again so you can put your mind at ease


#3

You do not need to have perfect contrition to worthily receive absolution. Imperfect contrition is sufficient.


#4

Not sure where you got this (the part I bolded), but it’s not correct. I think either you were mislead or misunderstood. We cannot receive forgiveness OUTSIDE of the Sacrament of Confession without perfect contrition (and the resolution to get to Confession as soon as possible). Imperfect contrition, however, is enough if we DO receive the Sacrament.

My question is: Although I wasn’t sure about the contrition, are my sins forgiven? Since I am not sure if I had perfect contrition, I can’t be sure I received absolution (if that is not right, I’m sorry, please correct me), so what should I do to ensure my mortal sins are forgiven? Should I retell them at my next confession? Or should I think everything is alright and name last Sunday as my previous good confession?

ISTM your confession was valid and your sins have been forgiven (the priest said, “I absolve you,” “your sins are forgiven,” or something similar, right?). You do not have to confess them again, but if a particular sin still bothers you, it doesn’t hurt to bring it up again in your next Confession.

Notice that it says that imperfect contrition disposes us to obtain forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.

Still, it’s good that you’re striving for perfect contrition! :thumbsup:


#5

Is this also true for mortal sins?

Does this mean that if I have imperfect contrition when I go to confession, my mortal sins are also forgiven?

Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.

And my last question, does the sole intention and will not to sin gives imperfect contrition?

Thanks for all the answers, you put a great weight off my heart :slight_smile:


#6

I think you’re misunderstanding a few things.

Perfect contrition forgives mortal sin even before Confession. However, this does include the resolve to go to Confession at the soonest possible opportunity. Without this resolve, there is no forgiveness.

Imperfect contrition does not forgive mortal sin before confession, but is the minimum requirement to confess and be absolved worthily. When you are absolved, even with imperfect contrition, all your sins are forgiven, including all mortal sins.

To receive absolution worthily, it is only necessary to have imperfect contrition. The Sacrament “completes” it so to speak.


#7

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52

Yes imperfect contrition - be it out of the ugliness of sin or the fear of hell etc - yes suffices in confession for the absolution of mortal sin (one of course confesses all ones mortal sins in number and kind).

(And contrition is not a matter of any required feelings …though such is a good to have…tis more a matter of grace and will).


#8

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