I’ve heard it’s kinda a requirement for Catholics to confess a mortal sin at least once a year. But what if one hasn’t comitted a mortal sin within the year? Is it possible to go that long without comitting any mortal sins?
With the grace of God you can go your entire life without sinning.
Yes, I believe that it is possible for people to stop committing mortal sins - however, I think it is much more difficult to do this, without the graces of the Sacraments.
The people I know who are without serious sin in their lives, attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation a lot more frequently than just once a year - they go once a week, whether they need to or not, and they also attend Mass and receive Holy Communion daily, as well; they don’t limit themselves to once a week on Sundays. This, I believe, is the way to true holiness.
I believe the Church requires us to go to confession once a year, but we don’t have to have a mortal sin to go to confession.
1 John 1:8-10
If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.
If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
So it is very possible to go the rest of your life without committing a mortal sin. But the fact that we are sinners would facilitate the necessity to go to confession regularly as an acknowledgement that we are indeed sinners and in need of forgiveness regardless.
I, too, believe it is possible to stop sinning. But it does require much diligence and struggle. We live in a world where it is easy to sin, not necessarily mortal sins, but venial sins, our faults. We can go to confession with our faults–pride, gossip, a bad habit, and confess to them, thereby receiving graces to make us even stronger to combat sin. Sometimes it is harder to reveal our faults than actual sin. Daily Mass and communion sure helps if you are fortunate to be able to do this.
I believe also we can stop commiting mortal sin. We do need to get to confession often, at least once a month and confess our venial sins and temptations. The graces we recieve from all the sacraments give us the strength we need to avoid sin. Going to Eucharistic Adoration often and spending time with Jesus really helps.
I’m not sure if “possible” is quite the way I would think of it. All things are certainly possible with God, but so too it is certainly more than a mere possibility that we may sin in ways that we are not likely to see or think of. Searching for sayings of the Desert Fathers on this idea (a habit I try to nourish for my own edification), I found these two that are quite revealing and hopefully relevant to your question:
A brother questioned Abba Poemen in this way, ‘My thoughts trouble me, making me put my sins aside, and concern myself with my brother’s faults’. The old man told him the following story about Abba Dioscorus (the monk), 'In his cell he wept over himself, while his disciple was sitting in another cell. When the latter came to see the old man he asked him, “Father, why are you weeping?” “I am weeping over my sins,” the old man answered him. Then his disciple said, “You do not have any sins, Father.” The old man replied, “Truly, my child, if I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep for them.”
Abba Cyrus of Alexandria was asked about the temptation of fornication, and he replied, 'If you do not think about it, you have no hope, for if you are not thinking about it, you are doing it. I mean, he who does not fight against the sin and resist it in his spirit will commit the sin physically. It is very true that he who is fornicating in fact is not worried about thinking about it.
I would apply Cyrus of Alexandria’s thinking about fornication to all sins, because I could imagine a situation in which, due to our own sense of security (“oh, I haven’t committed any sins since ####; I am doing very well/don’t need to go to confession/etc.”), we may find ourselves the victims of our own hubris, which in itself is a sinful attitude to persist in. Better to think yourself always guilty before God and grow in humility and spiritual struggle than to think yourself innocent and miss such an opportunity, no?
Of course, I have been told that I am far too severe, so I’m not sure how helpful this view is to anyone else…
Can. 989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.
However, Mortal sin should really be confessed as soon as it is committed.
Then you should confess your venial sins.
That depends upon the person. But, I think in the course of a year we likely do many things that seriously offend God, or a repetition of venial things that add up and should be confessed.
So, we are only fooling ourselves if we don’t think we have *anything *to confess. You can use an examination of conscience to see where you need to grow in virtue and holiness.
The Pope goes to confession frequently. That should tell us all how we rationalize the things we do and tell ourselves they aren’t sinful or aren’t serious.
Obviously it is recommended to go to Confession regularly. Its a good habit to get into but it is not required if there are no mortal sins to confess. It is not required to confess venial sins no matter how often they occur. Venial sins are removed by a act of contrition which can be done at home or anywhere. They are also removed at Mass.
Theoretically, if someone goes their entire life without committing a mortal sin there would be no requirement for them to go to Confession in all that time.
It is possible to live w/o mortal sin for while, may be for over a year, or longer, but no one can be authentic judge of himself or herself, so everyone should go to confession at least yearly, and let the priest decide or just give absolution any way.
I had just asked this question yesterday to my pastor, who is also a Canon Law attorney, and he said the same thing.
That’s a good theory, but in practice, the only people you ever meet who are that holy, go to Confession once a week.
I have a New Testament published by Scepter Publishers with daily reading that take me through the New Testament twice a year. Today the readings were from Matthew19:16-22 where the young man told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments. I have always doubted this statement probably because I have broken all the commandments. I have even reveled in breaking some of them. My Immaculate Mother had to wade into a cesspool to scoop me up and bring me to her Son and salvation.
I go to daily mass (except Wednesday when my work schedule forbids it) and I go to confession at least once a week whether I need it or not. I usually need it. Regular confession keeps my sole sensitive to sins such as character assignation (commandments 5, 8) and looking at body parts rather than human beings (commandments 6, 9) Excuse me if I don’t confess to mortal sins on line, but I do commit them.
Your post gives me hope that someday I may go for at least a few weeks without a mortal sin.
Given that only one human being in the history of the world has ever gone through life without sinning, its hard to imagine one person going through a year without committing a mortal sin.
Again I ask why is it so unbelievable? In order for a sin to be mortal the three conditions have to be met. That means you have to know it is a mortal sin and then decide to do it anyway, basically saying “I don’t care if this offends God, I want to do this and I will.” So if I am on vacation and decide that I don’t want to go to Mass because I am having too much fun, then that is a mortal sin. If I happen to wake up late and find out the last mass is finished for the day, that is not a mortal sin. Also I guess it depends on what think is mortal sin or not. My confessor has a doctorate in morality and is pretty conservative so I pretty much go by what consels me on. I don’t think I have confessed a mortal sin to him in a number of years. If you are close to the Lord, and conform your life to His will, I really think it is not uncommon to not commit mortal sin…and if you do, you know it right away. but venial sin is another story.
All of the great saints when to confession frequently.
I agree, and also…Its noble to say I want to be Catholic, Sacrements etc. But it also seems many humans rest in their own human nature around this point, which is sinful btw [our nature]. And yes there are Catholics whom I would venture to say may well be Saints and just unknown. And I have met many inspirations in the Catholic Church. But then humility is a quality which I have found most impressive in humans.
I do just as mentioned here, and many of us do. Its a Devotion we don’t seem to view as a thorn in our side. I would much rather contribute 1-hour daily of my time-management to Gods Plan and Will, then to say, “I should have done that”.
There are many here for example who went to confession yesterday for the Reparartion of the First Saturday devotion to Our Lady. And many probly had NO-Sin. They went for Others, who can’t find it in themself to accept Gods will. There are many who come here to put back into the pot, so to speak.
IMHO its impossible to stop all sin, “moral sins” without a doubt one could stop. Venial is a Cross we pretty much carry in life. Myself and many who has sought this goal have found it illusive at times, though not always. You can certainly string periods of time together, which I believe are a Grace from God. Its enough to help you see clearly what can be done, a window if you will.
Is there a man/woman who completely stopped sinning? There’s a point where it dawns on us, that you simply observe someone and must admit they are very good people. At this point we must leave the rest to God. And Incourage them as they inspire us! There are Saints here among us, you can be assured of this.
I could also say this with honestly. I have sinned and lived that life. So I have seen both sides of the story. Even a sinner, need not use the fact that He/She is a sinner to validate their behavior. Thats not acceptable. And many have gone from sinner to great Catholics and even Saints. So there’s no excuse’s.
St Augustine sinned for what 40-years? Apostle Paul? There are so many you can draw strength from if you seriously seek this path. I am very impressed with the Sisters who consecrate their lives to God. Not that the Priests don’t deserve mention. I"m just saying that restrictions on the Sisters is very, very difficult.
Mary was filled with grace which enabled her to resist temptation and sin. None of us are filled with grace as her, thus it is impossible for us not to sin.
Yes, but there is a difference between committing mortal sins and venial sins. St Therese’s spiritual director wrote that he believed she never committed a mortal sin in her life. Now one could argue that she was a saint. True, but we are all called to be saints.
What is there to do in confession if you don’t need it? I’m still new to all this, and haven’t yet been to confession (not baptized yet, going through RCIA). I always understood it as you go into the booth and confess your sins to the preist. If you haven’t comitted any since last you did it, then what do you do in there?