Is his absolution valid?

What if a person confessed a full life time’s worth of sins and forgot many of them until hours later? What if his sins were so many that he confessed them in broad categories of sin rather than the specific details. For example, he targeted his career ambitions to the harm of working associates over an entire career of 40 years thus doing grave harm to their careers and family.

After confession he remembers a “not-confessed” category. Perhaps it was greed or any category one might slot a bunch of sins into. Then he also remembers a few specific sins he wished he confessed.

What if he prayed for a full review of his sins prior to confession? What if he took a few days to prepare? He identified and intended to confess categories or specifics but forgot them in the actual momentous confession.

During the confession he mentioned to the priest he was sure he had forgotten many sins. The priest understood since it had been an entire lifetime since his last confession. He receives absolution.

Shall he confess the forgotten, now remembered sins in subsequent confessions? Is the absolution valid?

Dear Peter,

His confession is valid. He should mention the sins he forgot the next time he goes to Confession–not because they have not been forgiven, but as a sign of humble repentence and gratitude.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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