Keeping secrets

Hi guys. I’m a bit worried about something.

See, there’s a sinful addiction I’ve been dealing with for a long time behind my parents’ back, and I’ve recently got it into my head that I’m going to have to tell them about it. The thought of this is absolutely terrifying. I know for a fact it would ruin my relationship with both my parents and it would do no good. They would probably mever forgive me. I’ve stopped doing it, I’ve confessed it and done penance, so I know it’s off my soul. I can’t tell if this is me being reluctant to follow God’s will, or the devil inspiring fear and anxiety in me by twisting Bible verses and not letting me stop thinking about this. What do you guys think? Is it a sin to keep this secret? What’s the official teaching?

Guessing by your tone that you are not an adult.

We cannot advise an underage person with regard to honesty to parents. I would suggest you speak to your priest and follow his advice.


Thank you for your reply. I’m 19, so legally an adult, though I have some developmental issues which would account for the tone. I do intend to ask my priest in confession on Saturday, but I also wanted to see if anyone here had an opinion that could maybe ease my uncertainty in the meantime.

I think if you went to confession already, and you have stopped whatever your addiction is, you need not tell your parents, but that is just my opinion.

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You are not required to tell ANYONE your sins. Only your priest in confession. If I doubt ask your priest.


It really depends on the gravity of the sin and the gravity of your guilt of course but sometimes we need to stop the stain of sin from spreading further than it might. Confessing to your priest is very good and should suffice to satisfy your natural instinct to confess.

Telling others may serve a desire to self punish but you know that God knows your life and you’re heart. Perhaps you might do some charitable acts which you might not usually do. Telling your parents may just give them pain and rekindle yours but it is your call, only you can decide this.
God bless.

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Let it be.

You don’t even need to worry about past sins. I mean if you’ve stopped? And confessed?

You’re done.

I think that there is a such thing as too much information. The less they know the better.

What makes you think this is God’s will?

I think it would be best to seek guidance from your pastor.

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Thanks for all your replies. I find that, when I’m feeling the most at peace, it’s plainly obvious that I shouldn’t say anything. Here’s the thing though, I made a handful of petty thefts from around the house because of this habit. I never stole money, and I wasn’t in my right mind by any means, and nobody ever noticed anything. I’m unsure if I must atone for this by telling them about it. I heard from the Catechism that, if atonement can’t be made publicly, it can be made secretly. Does this apply here? If so, what would it mean? Again, I’ve confessed this and done the penance the priest told me to. Is that enough as far as atonement goes; does that mean it’s atoned for? I would still find other ways to do good of course. It’s not that I’m unrepentant or don’t want to atone, it’s that I don’t want to hurt my parents.

I’m also a little worried this whole thing means I care more about my parents than God. I was comfortable with the conclusion to atone in other ways until earlier when I saw the thread about Matthew 10:34-36. Judging from the context, it seems like I have no excuse…is it meaningless that I don’t want to hurt my parents? I’ve seen how they reacted when they found out about my brother’s bad habits and I can’t bear to put them through that again.

Thank you all for putting up with my scruples so far, I really appreciate the help you’ve given me so far. I’m sorry for being so rambly.

Can you replace what you stole?

I threw it out as soon as I came back to my right mind, but I could replace it indirectly–e.g. by not accepting money from my parents so that they have more money to buy new things with in the long run.

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You could always wait till you have a job or work on getting a job. You could try atoning in other ways too like doing extra chores and such, cooking dinner, etc. But all this will seem suspicious either way(including the refusal of money) and it might lead them to asking you whats going on and causing you to lie to them making you feel worse etc. Sorry I’m not really adding anything of worth.

I would discuss this with your priest on whether you should discuss this with your parents. When I have done wrong, I look at it as if I tell the person(s) would it make their life better for knowing, or would it destroy them. If it doesn’t enrich their life for the better, then I will keep the burden to myself and that is my price to pay for sinning. With that said, I would say the best thing you could give your parents is to keep living your new life. Do not deny them the right to buy you things (as a parent it gives us joy). But maybe set time away just to spend and do things with them (also another joy parents love). Living your life to the best you can, is the best thing you can do for them. Don’t beat yourself up to bad, we all have done things. As long as you acknowledge your sins and atone for them and try harder next time. Also down the road if mom or dad does say something about what you have done, then I would acknowledge it and tell them the great remorse you have for doing so.


A beautiful post, HopenHappiness. :slightly_smiling_face:

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As others have said, talk to your priest. I can share my experience having caught my son stealing a reciprocating saw, brand new, that he returned to the store for money to buy drugs. We got him help for the drug use, but it took years for me to regain trust in him. It hurt badly, but I did forgive him. It was just a number of years before I could trust him again. Today, I trust him completely. He is now married and they are parents of baby twins.
I think if you have been to confession and done penance, you might also do some things to help others in need for additional penance. Doing some extra things for your parents would also be good. God Bless!


This. Definitely.

There’s no obligation on you to tell your parents things that are meant for the confessional.

Forget about this and be at peace.

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Thanks again for all of these responses! HopenHappiness’s response was especially insightful and appreciated. I already spend a lot of time with them and try to help them, so if I do more it won’t be suspicious at all. I’m happy for the clarity I’ve received from this thread so far, thank you all again!

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It sounds as if you have a tendency to hold onto things too long-you do know that, as a catholic, you have an obligation to confess your sins to a priest. If he doesn’t tell you to tell offended parties, don’t. You seem to want to ‘add to’ your penance. That’s simply not your job! Confess, then move on!!!

You don’t need to ask anyone for forgiveness but God-through the priest. You could end up hurting your parents, and other people involved. Please, don’t add your burden to theirs!

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