invalid confession

When I was a child I had a problem with impure actions with myself. It really was a bad habit that happened quite often. What’s bothering me is that I just recalled an occasion where it happened in church. For a time I didn’t even know actually that it was a sin, because my parents didn’t really ever correct me or tell me it was a sin. I can’t say exactly when it happened or how old I was. I don’t believe I would have done it in church if I was aware of it being a mortal sin. I can’t really remember when I learned it was a sin probably around the age of 11-13 when I probably learned it at CCD. Anyway I eventually learned that it was wrong and confessed it. But I never confessed that it happened in church, which I have recently learned would have made the sin more serious. My question is would that confession have been invalid because I didn’t tell the circumstances or was telling the sin in number and kind enough. This event just recently popped back in my mind and it has been bothering me. I was going to mention it at my confession this last Saturday, but I was so embarrassed. My mind keeps telling me that I confessed the way I knew to as a child/ early teen and that was good enough, but I keep feeling very guilty about it.

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0909504007 - Mr.Phi
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You said: “Anyway I eventually learned that it was wrong and confessed it.” Which means that you did not know enough for it to be mortal, so it was not required to confess it.

Catechism states:

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him. Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart 133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

Were you in the part of the church where Mass is celebrated or were you in a bathroom in the church? If the latter, I don’t think that makes it worse.

Hi, Follower. Please discuss this matter with a priest. It isn’t necessary for you to speak with your current priest. You may talk to a priest at a different parish or in a nearby town, either in an appointment, or, if you prefer, in the privacy of confession. Since you speak of an incident that you recently remembered, and which occurred when you were a child, and you confessed that particular sin, but not having committed it in that location (church), because you just remembered it, you also need to recall that sins absolved are totally and completely absolved.

If you had remembered, but were too embarrassed, so deliberately omitted confessing that sin, then THAT would have made your confession deliberately incomplete and imperfect, or a bad confession, so in THAT instance, you would need to make amends and confess that deliberate omission, as well as the sin. But, once God has forgiven you, through his priest, THOSE sins are forgiven. You need to confess those sins only if you again commit them in the future, but those in the past are forgiven. That’s the beauty of confession! It wipes our souls clean and lets us move forward without carrying the burden of our guilt for those previously confessed sins!

However, because you’re disturbed by the fact that you had previously omitted the fact that you’d unknowingly committed sin inside the church, please ease your mind by speaking with a priest. You’ll feel better when you hear his words of explanation; he can help you to better understand this issue. Peace be to you, Follower. Just trust in the Lord and talk to his priest.

When I was a child I had a problem with impure actions with myself. It really was a bad habit that happened quite often. What’s bothering me is that I just recalled an occasion where it happend in church.

I’ve learned to rejoice when these ‘seemingly trivial’ things come into my mind - cuz it means that the Holy Spirit is ‘stirring me’ further to be made ‘white as snow’. When I keep my desire strong to be cleansed, the Holy Spirit retrieves those things that Ego/I would keep hidden. Just because something is ‘out of mind’ doesn’t mean that my life/spiritual life isn’t affected by the hidden shame. The Holy Spirit convicts with Love, not condemnation. Shows me what’s in the way of drawing closer to Chirst and His Promises.

Earlier this year, I made an appointment with a psychologist to do a confession on sexual matters that I’d been ‘collecting’ through convictions (like sexual fantasies … and more) but didn’t know where to drop them. The path opened and I did it. It’s like there’s an invisible alter between me and the other person where I place my filthy rags and the Holy Spirit washes them and gives them back. Ignorant Ego calls it ‘relief’. It is Divine Forgiveness. “Don’t miss it even if you can.”

A couple of days ago, I was doing research on the Wind Gods (Notus, Boreas, etc.) and there was one called Lips as an evil wind. Struck me odd. Researched further and then was suddenly convicted of ‘where my lips had been’. Thud. All the sexual impurity I’d confessed and it never, ever occurred to me in life to think about the lips that profess the Trinity were as impure as some of the words that once denied the Truth of Christ.

I know that when I’m faithful to surrender the ‘little’ things (as Ego calls them) that the Holy Spirit brings to mind, as well as the biggies, the Process continues and I grow. It’s an interesting ‘skimming process’ that never ceases to amaze me. Awareness is the answer; willingness the key. Sometimes I’ll be driving and an ‘insignificant’ memory will come back to me. I say it out loud and then write it down first chance I get or Ego will bury it again. The ‘insignificant’ can be a worm for catching a big fish (as well as worthwile on its own). And the willingness to surrender the ‘small’ grows courage for the heavy. “Line upon line … here a little, there a little.”

I know, from experience, that a priest is not required for confession. “Confess to one another.” Helpful in some circumstances, but not required. Forgiveness comes from Within by the Power of the Holy Spirit. No ‘absolution’ by another person needed. When I’m willing to ‘off-load’, the Holy Spirit provides the other person/forum/avenue to do so. One guy felt ‘pulled’ to confess a particular thing to a stranger on a bus. Forgiveness came for him. Following the Holy Spirit’s lead is ever so fascinating.

One of the many ways that Ego seeks to keep me imprisoned is to say, “You don’t have to say that part, it’s not important.” I may have to drag some details out kicking and screaming, but out they come. I desire to the Healed. To get All, I must give all. The Holy Spirit knows when I’ve withheld something that I’m aware of - and withholds Healing on that issue till I 'fess up all that I know. I learned that by trying ‘short-cuts’ early on.

Yesterday I was watching “Clash of the Gods” on H2. This one had to do with Zeus ravishing/raping Medusa in the temple of Athena. While Zeus not being punished was because he was a god and expected to do such things (so they said), I found the explanation interesting of why Medusa was punished. They said that because the temple was for the purpose of cleansing sin, Medusa had defiled the place set aside for Cleansing.

I don’t know if that’s why you feel an extra layer of conviction, but it’s a possibility. It isn’t so much about the ‘building’ being a church in particular but that 'when two or more gather together in My Name, I am there." Blasphemy on top of personal defilement as prodded by Ego. (I can see it being the same thing as if two people went off to the bathroom together while gathered at someone’s house for a Bible study, for instance, or a spiritual retreat. Satan must particularly rejoice on those occasions.)

Not that you knew it was blasphemy at that age, but the devil within surely knew. I’m not held accountable for what the deceitful heart tells me or tries to get me to do, but I am guilty when I entertain the thoughts or following them into action. For those times I am responsible. Just like the ‘lips’ thing - I didn’t know until the Holy Spirit told me.

Since discovering the Path of the Bible, the framework I use is: When I die and get to the part where they play back my life of sins - I want it to be a blank screen. :slight_smile: I’m not there yet, but I keep working.

I haven’t been back to Catholic Answers in quite a while but an email came from here today and I felt pulled to visit. Another case of, “What I say is what I most need to hear.” It wasn’t until the program on H2 yesterday came into my mind that I recognized why your post gave me the ‘pull’ to write. There is something in this ‘blasphemy’ thing for me that is trying to surface. My initial impression is that the several times I committed adultery when younger (I was single) - that somehow coming between two people who had gathered ‘in His name’ is where the deeper sin may lie. Never thought of it as blasphemy before - and I may be off base (perhaps there is something else I need to be willing to remember). Will do some research.

The Holy Spirit is active within you. Yeah! The angels celebrate your courage to investigate the ‘niggling’ on this issue. Keep going - it’s gets amazing.

Thank you for being a catalyst for more inner healing within me.


If you didn’t know it was a grave sin, confess it the next time around…having knowledge of the gravity of an act is required for the sin to be mortal, so not having knowledge would likely make it venial instead :cool:

Instead of wondering whether you were conscious of it being sinful back then (trying to remember whether it was formally a grave sin), it seems the better path to confess whatever constitutes grave matter (ie. actions that are gravely wrong).

I would just confess the sin as something remembered from youth - and that you are not sure of your culpability back then, but wish to confess it as grave matter - with sorrow for not having confessed it earlier because of shame.

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