Is making restitution necessary to be forgiven?


Dear Apologist,

When I was in my early to mid teens I shoplifted things from stores :frowning: Until not very long ago I also used software that I didn’t buy and I listened to music I didn’t pay for. I want to be forgiven for these sins. I really regret them and have repented.

The problem is that I have read about needing to make restitution and I don’t know how I can do that. Do I go to a store I shoplifted from and tell them I did it and give them money? Do I go to a software company and give them money? I guess another problem is that I don’t have very much money at all. I have some, but there’s also the issue of needing to save for college.

What do I need to do? Will I be forgiven if I don’t make restitution?

Thanks! :slight_smile:


Dear A,

Restitution is not necessary to be forgiven, but it is necessary. The priest will not withhold absolution until you make restitution. But he will expect you to do so insofar as possible. In your situation, paying the store and software company doesn’t sound practical nor all that feasible. I would suggest giving help to the poor financially when you can, but also through service. There are many things you can do, i.e., reading to the sick and elderly or just visiting them, volunteering at a soup kitchen, etc.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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