Incomplete Penance = Invalid Confession?

Two priests told me this was true but I always understood the opposite, especially since some priests don’t give a penance

It is not possible for a confession to be valid or invalid. The issue is whether the absolution is valid, and the answer is that it does not depend on carrying out any assigned penance. Absolution occurs at the moment the priest says, “I absolve you.” It doesn’t twist in the wind for a few hours or days waiting for you to complete your penance, and then magically become valid all of a sudden.

I think it goes without saying that it would be a further sin to deliberately omit to perform your penance, but if you died of a massive coronary immediately upon stepping out of the confessional before you could do the penance, you can rest assured that the absolution validly occurred.

Incomplete Penance ≠ Invalid absolution

:smiley:

Incomplete Penance ≠ Invalid absolution

:smiley:

Once absolution has been given, it’s given. The penance does not affect the absolution

There are three integral parts of penance, namely contrition, confession, and satisfaction. Because penance is now imposed for performance after the granting of absolution, failure to perform an assigned penance does not invalidate absolution. However, a positive intent to exclude any penance for one’s sin points to a defect in contrition, which could invalidate the absolution. That’s why a traditional form of the act of contrition declares one’s resolution to “confess my sins, do penance, and amend my life.” But this goes beyond simply forgetting to do one’s penance or willfully neglecting to do it after having confessed with a real intent to make satisfaction for one’s sins.

What is an incomplete penance? Do you have an example of what you mean by that?

Priest tells you to pray 3 Hail Marys and you pray just one or none at all.

Right, or the priest told you to do two hours of service for the poor, and you haven’t yet figured out how or when to carry it out.

Oh. Well say the prayers and get working.

I confessed that I was continuing to neglect my health by delaying my annual exams. I was given a month to get that taken care of. (Which was great, because it forced me to stop procrastinating.)

"Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused.
CCC# 1459

it is immaterial to the validity of the sacrament what the penitent does or does not do in regard to a penance, as has been answered here many times, including in the last couple of days

I one is opposed to the penance…at the time of the confession…that is one thing.

But if one intends to do the penance but later forgets or does not do so…that does not make the confession invalid.

But of course if one deliberately does not do the penance (we are not talking of reasonable delay here(…then that is a New sin! and may need to be confessed.

Yes there are things that can make a confession invalid…(like hiding a mortal sin) but such is not one of them.

As to a Priest not giving a penance…but of course he is supposed to…and one can ask him to…if he refuses…it is not your fault…give yourself one (like from other confessions…or in your next confession to another Priest…mention this and ask him to give you more of one for the past :slight_smile:

I one is opposed to the penance…at the time of the confession…that is one thing.

But if one intends to do the penance but later forgets or does not do so…that does not make the confession invalid.

But of course if one deliberately does not do the penance (we are not talking of reasonable delay here(…then that is a New sin! and may need to be confessed.

Yes there are things that can make a confession invalid…(like hiding a mortal sin) but such is not one of them.

As to a Priest not giving a penance…but of course he is supposed to…and one can ask him to…if he refuses…it is not your fault…I think one can give yourself one (like from other confessions…or in your next confession to another Priest…mention this and ask him to give you more of one for the past :slight_smile:

I hold a view that withholding sins does not invalidate the Confession. If you analyze what goes on in Confession, it all boils down to the priest absolving you of your sins. If you are in a hospital in a coma, a priest can still validly absolve you with you not confessing a single sin at all.

Deliberate withholding of sins instead constitutes a profination of the Sacrament and you commit another mortal sin. So while your other sins were absolved, you come away from the confessional still tainted with sin.

Such is not the view of the Catholic Church. (in regards to Mortal sins…venial sins can be forgiven in other ways…and indirectly)

If one mortal sin is withheld knowingly (not forgotten etc and we are talking about mortal sins one is conscious of…not “doubtful of”)…NO SINS are absolved.But one can acquire more as you note.

There is much more than just the Absolution going on.

And a person in a coma…is not a good example. Yes it is “possible” for them to be absolved and never recover to confess their mortal sins…but this does not change what I noted.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly."54

When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and **knowingly withhold** some, **place** **nothing **before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know."55 

(of course the Catechism meansssss mortal sins…and if one forgets honestly…such can be absolved indirectly…but need to be confessed the next confession)

Can you point me to where the Church says this? I held this view because I am not sufficiently convinced there is such a teaching. Maybe I’m misinterpreting something in the CCC.

Okay, instead of coma, lets say general absolutions. While the Church has discouraged it, its still valid albeit illicit.

Just did (one place) see the post prior to this :slight_smile:

As to General Absolution …the person must intend to confess all mortal sins as soon as possible.

If they do not intend to do so…or are not repentant --no valid absolution.

(of course such are to be very rare…only under unusual special circumstances.)

To be legalistic here, it says nothing that the absolution would be invalid since a person still can be absolved without confessing sins. That is why I said that withholding sins does not invalidate the absolution but profanes the Sacrament which causes one to sin right away.

ah…“putting nothing” to be absolved means…no sin is absolved.

The Priest may say the correct words with the right intent…but there is no sins present to be absolved (nothing is being put there for Absolution)

Like taking away the baby right before the water hits it in baptism :slight_smile:

Confessing mortal sins is an all or nothing thing.

(again we are not talking about forgetting etc as noted above)

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