MERGED: Confessing Horrible Sins/First time confession/Absolved

My grandmother, a devout Catholic, and very important person in my life, recently passed away. Since then, I have regularly attended Mass and prayed the rosary daily.

I want to renew my commitment to Catholicism, but I do have a heavy burden pulling at my heart.

I have not confessed since I was very young; almost a decade ago.

In the time since my last confession, I have committed some horrible, heinous, heinous acts which haunt me daily. These are not common sins at all.

I have asked God in prayers many, many times for forgiveness over the years, but never feel better.

I don’t know how I could ever speak out loud some of the awful things I’ve done in my life.

I try to be a better person, and pray daily for forgiveness and the opportunity to help more people than I’ve hurt.

If I had to write down the sins I’ve committed since my last confession and read them all to a priest, I honestly believe he would be horrified and not stand the sight of me again.

The truth is, I don’t think I could ever confess my sins to another person. But I never feel the forgiveness I ask for in my prayers.

I don’t know what to do.

Go to confession. You’re in need of absolution.
It might help if you go in a confessional booth or behind a screen…anonymously, and not face to face.
Whatever you have done, whether you think so or not, the priest has heard it all.
He will never, ever judge you. The Lord knows your sins and will forgive you. But you have to go to confession. The moment you resolve to go to confession, your intention alone will bring forgiveness. Tell it all without reservation. In the future, it will get easier.
The heavens rejoice more over one repentant sinner than over a hundred righteous. (Someone in this forum can give the exact quote from scripture.)
You are most beloved of Christ. You are the beautiful lost lamb which He leaves the flock to bring back into the fold. You are the prodigal returning! Rejoice! :thumbsup:
God bless you.

You should go to confession. Believe me, I know how you feel. I’ve also done some horrible things to God, but I received the Sacrament and feel great now. You’ll feel sooooooooooo relieved when the priest gives you the absolution.

I think you should ask God for strength and courage to confess those horrible sins. I’ll pray for you.

Btw, that Scripture is from Luke 15:7
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
(New International Version, ©2010)

This Scripture says it all.
God bless.

Dear outtosea,

this is most surely a temptation. Jesus wants to forgive you so much and He is waiting for you in this Sacrament. The priest is there to give you God’s mercy, not to judge you :slight_smile: both God and the priest wish good for you. But the devil doesn’t want you to confess or be forgiven.

Don’t be afraid :slight_smile:

I used to be a Protestant and had some horrible, awful things on my conscience, and also not the type of sins I could ever picture myself saying to someone else… they were my deepest secrets. I prayed for forgiveness but still felt them there. Then when I became Catholic, I went to my first Confession… and it took a lot to say them… I was very scared and nervous, even shaking. I felt certain the priest would never look at me the same way again. But when he absolved me, I felt SO forgiven, the best I’ve ever felt in my life - no exaggeration. I came out of there knowing I’m reunited with God. It was beautiful! All you need to do is just be completely open with the priest, don’t hide any sin, and trust in God’s mercy. His mercy is infinite. :slight_smile: as for saying these sins to the priest… it’s hard to surprise them… they’ve heard so much. But even if it’s a first for the priest hearing these sins, - he is there to offer you absolution… it’s hard to judge someone when you’re giving God’s forgiveness to them :slight_smile: I also heard that after Confession, they pray to forget everything they heard. The priest didn’t treat me any differently afterwards.

It’s worth it!! sometimes we just have to take the risk :slight_smile: if you’re worried just go to an anonymous confession… behind a screen… also remember to not receive the Eucharist until you go to Confession… and that is wonderful that you are praying the Rosary and going to Mass, ask Our Lady to help you :slight_smile:

God bless you! don’t fear :slight_smile:

You don’t feel the forgiveness because you have not had a sacramental confession about these sins. Go. Tell the priest that you are scared, mortified, have been praying daily and attending Mass after a long absence, and are having difficulty admitting what you have done. He will help you through it. Unless he is fresh out of seminary, it may surprise you that he has undoubtedly heard some really bad stuff. To spend a good part of one’s life as a priest is to encounter at some point some pretty awful sins that, believe it or not, could be as bad or even worse than yours. Sometimes even priests commit heavy sins that they then have to confess to fellow priests. You would be surprised. (Such as fathering children, paying for that woman’s abortion, stealing from the parish collection basket, having homosexual affairs, using illicit drugs, visiting porn websites.)

You will be in my prayers at Mass this week. Pray to Faustyna and to Mary, for courage and faith that you will be forgiven, because you will-- if you are sincerely sorry. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven from a sorrowful heart, by an infinitely merciful God.

“Though your sins be like scarlet, they will be white as snow.” (Is 1:18)

God Bless You outtosea!

As Monica4316 mentioned, it’s true that the devil wants to keep us as far from God’s grace and love as he can. The more you think the priest would be horrified at you, the ‘happier’ that makes the enemy (for lack of a better term); he wants you to believe that what you’ve done is so awful that you could never possibly say it out loud in confession. The priest would faint. You’d be exposed as a horrible sinner, worse than anyone ever.

The devil is a liar. *And that’s a lie. *

But maybe you think “If I knew someone who did what I did, ugh. I would hate them. I would be disgusted.” Recall that God told us that His ways are not our ways-you might be disgusted. But God loves you, and confession is a sacrament that not only signifies His grace, it gives it. Besides, shame and sorrow can make for good contrition. :slight_smile:

**Also remember that when you confess to your priest, he is in persona Christi. **

I think Bud McFarlane wrote that confessing your sins to a priest is like “whispering into the ear of Christ.” Go to your priest and confess.


What if the sins one has committed are against the law and if one were to confess to a police officer or judiciary, would likely result in a jail term? How does a penitent catholic deal with those types of sins. Do priests get those types of confessions all the time? Just a question.

I don’t know if the person’s penance would be to turn themselves in or not… that depends I guess… some have said that priests are not allowed to give this as a penance, I am not sure about what’s allowed or not… I just know that priests are definitely not allowed to tell the content of the confession to anyone, even during trial (and if they do, they are no longer priests)

The seal of confession is inviolable, a priest who breaks this is automatically excommunicated. In fact i believe a council stated that a priest who breaks this seal is to do perpetual penance in a monastery for the rest of their earthly lives.

As to what happens, a priest may withold absolution yes but i don;t think that its ordered to be witheld in case of serious crime. I know that the rule is that they can suggest and advise that one hands themselves in, but they as per the rule cannot reveal what has been confessed to them to anyone.

Three principles:

If you are afraid to do something, do that unless that is evil. You are the boss of your life, not your past

Phil 2:5 … Jesus Christ [6] Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: [7] But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. [8] He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.
We are his followers

The priest knows that after hi said the words of absolution, your sins are forgiven, and you became again the child of God. He will see this clean child in you

i always like telling this story. I had a “horrible” sin that I was afraid to confess. I got up the nerve and confessed it, face to face, fearing that the priest, who I knew, whould never want to be around me again and would look upon me as this terrible person. Know what happened? After we finished confession he told me about a job at his parish…which I took…and we are now very good friends.

^ Just following up from Joann’s post:

OP, and anyone else thinking about the reaction of the hearer: Consider your reaction when someone admits to you privately, (or in the case of a public figure, ‘confesses’ publicly) something horrible they have done (a wrong, a sin, a crime, an error). Is your first thought: What a scumbag! No, your first thought is, Wow, What courage. And then your next private thought is, ‘I wish I had the courage to do that.’

Believe it or not, this is often how priests react in the confessional – as they reveal later, in general, about the experience of being a confessor: it is humbling, partly because they are awed by the courage and honesty of some penitents. Once I had a sin I didn’t want to admit to myself – let alone face to face to a priest I admired and knew me. The instant I said the sin, he said: “You are so honest!” I felt that that was Jesus speaking.

Let Jesus speak to you.

I am a revert and a lapsed Catholic who returned to the Church about 10 years ago. I had or thought I had the same problem, but believe me priests have heard it all. Don’t be afraid. I don’t know if you are familiar with Fr. Corapi, but he is an example, did drugs everything you could think of or more. Find an understanding priest, make an appointment if you can. You will feel much better after Confessing. Unless you are a serial murderer I’m sure the sins that are so horrible to you are not really as bad as they could be.

Yes, go to confession. After many years away from the Church my soul was stained with many sins. After a heartfelt confession, I did indeed feel much better. I know God forgave me for those sins after receiving the sacrament. After that, I now had to forgive myself - and that was the hard part. All I can say is that time will heal those old wounds. God will welcome you with open arms!

God’s Mercy is a wonderful thing. Go to confession.

Several years ago, I went to confession to a priest I knew with a list of sins that I knew would cause him to gasp in horror. He did not. He did not so much as bat an eye. It was so, so wonderful to float out of that confessional free of all those things that had weighed me down. So worth it.

Several months ago, I went to confession with my regular confsesor. I had just been there a few weeks before, but God had shown me some other stuff one day in Adoration, so I found myself back at confession. It was a list, and most of it was stuff that I had never verbalized to anyone. He had one word when I was finished - “wonderful”. Later that week, in an email in reply to another topic, he mentioned that he and Jesus would like for me to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

Go. Pray for courage. Ask the Blessed Mother to go with you. You will feel so much better when you are finished.

I will pray for you, too, and I hope that everyone who reads this thread will say a prayer for you.

You may be out to sea, but Jesus made his priests fishers of men. I hope you end up in a net soon!


Thank you, everyone, for the prayers and encouragement.

I’d like to tell everyone I did go to confession today. I didn’t hold anything back.

I wish I could say the experience was totally uplifting… the truth is, I still feel very, very low for the things I’ve done, and find it difficult to accept that I can truly be forgiven. But I will try.

I’ve been going to a Catholic church for a few weeks now, after a life changing event that happened to me in early December that made me want to renew my faith.

I really enjoy this church, especially the priest.

A few things kept this from being the life-changing experience I prayed it would be.

Unfortunately, when the girl ahead of me in line came out, she closed the door behind her, which locked us out. The priest had to come out and open the door: of course he saw my face.

I wanted to be confirmed at this church, but am now honestly feeling like I have to find a new church out of shame. Like I alluded to earlier, I let out some horrible, horrible things I have done. I appreciate the comments (“they’ve heard it all,” etc. Again, let me assure you I had VERY grave sins).

As you all said he would be, he was very, very kind. In fact, it made me feel worse that he was so nice. I don’t know. And there was no penance, just forgiveness.

I did have a slight problem: I listed many, many sins I’ve done over the course of ten plus years… The worst of which are things I’ve long since put behind me…

The priest, of course, not knowing this, suggested I seek counseling for these issues. I’m not sure if this was penance, or mandatory. But the truth is, like I’ve said, short of confessing, these are parts of my life I have long put behind me and moved on from…

Am I doing something wrong by NOT seeking the counseling?

Also, he suggested I make amends with my parents. I have a great relationship with both of my parents now and have for awhile.

I didn’t want to be petty and say, “Well, yes Father, but I’ve ALREADY done so and so…”

Do I need to do anything?

I just gratefully accepted the forgiveness. But I’m still on a journey…

That is wonderful that you went to Confession!! :smiley: God has forgiven you :slight_smile: I think maybe you are not feeling that yet because you might be still holding on to the guilt and maybe you have some doubts whether God has truly forgiven you? am I correct? Try to just accept God’s kindness, which is free… He is more merciful to the sinners than to the just. Remember the parable of the lost sheep, and how there is more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents, than over one righteous person? You said the priest was very nice and that kind of put you off, but I think that just shows how God sees this situation :slight_smile: in Confession, God works through the priest… maybe He is trying to tell you something with this :wink: I think it might help you to try just understanding more about God’s mercy. Remember we can’t deserve forgiveness…it’s given precisely when we sinned, when we don’t deserve it. Have you ever looked into the Divine Mercy devotion? :slight_smile:
Here is a short video about it:

To answer your second question, I believe you are only obligated to do the penance. If the priest gave you other suggestions that are no longer applicable (seek counselling for something you already overcame, or repair a relationship that is already repaired) - of course then it’s just not applicable and you probably don’t have to do it. You only need to do the penance, if there’s any. If the priest told you he’s not giving you a penance, then you don’t HAVE to do anything else for your confession to be valid. If in doubt, you could always go and ask him what he meant.

About finding a new parish… you said the priest already saw your face, and then he was very kind and not judgemental to you about your sins. I think it’s very safe to assume that he would continue being like this :slight_smile: I think you should let go of the shame because God has forgiven you :slight_smile: perhaps it’s easier said than done, i know… but try to just trust Him.

God bless :slight_smile:

I will echo what Monica suggested about Divine Mercy. There may be a way to search for Divine Mercy dedicated perpetual chapels. There is one in my area, for example. There may be one in the OP’s region. And websites, etc., featuring DM and Faustyna, naturally!

I think what you are experiencing is the need for reparation, and please be assured that many of us have similar experiences (still – for sins long ago confessed), in the area of making reparation and truly internalizing, confidently, the forgiveness. That part may take awhile, but naturally I hope it happens for you sooner rather than later. In your position, I would (and I need to for myself!) pray for faith. In that regard, I would read/meditate on the gospel passages that feature sinners being forgiven and Jesus praising them for their faith (sometimes even before forgiveness).

Also, here’s what I would do. I would go back to that or a different confessor, state that you had that long absence, committed horrendous but now-confessed sins, and are struggling with the conviction that you have been forgiven and with the task of forgiving yourself. See what he says.

Finally, I would ask in such a follow-up confession for resources for spiritual directors. This can be a great task for spiritual direction.

I have been more and more approaching Faustyna’s intercession for internalizing the peace of forgiveness, and TRUST. Remember, that was Jesus’ revelation to her, “Jesus, I trust in you.” He definitely wants us to trust him, so pray for the gift of that trust. I say this with zero sense of superiority, but with every ounce of empathy, having been in the same place spiritually, and still struggling with the effects of old sins…

God bless you, child.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I came across this thread. I identify so much with the OP. I am currently in the RCIA process and have been looking towards the first confession with a mixed sense of dread and longing. Dread, because I have done some truly horrendous things in my life and those sins haunt me on a daily basis. Longing because though I start each and every prayer that I say by asking God to forgive me for my sins and to help me be a better man, I don’t feel forgiven. Frankly, I am strongly looking forward to the process but I am scared as all get out at the same time.

One of the things that I am most frightened of is that I will feel the same way after receiving the sacrament of reconciliation as I do now. That scares me a great deal.

Anyway, I’m new here so I will keep this short for now but I wanted to say thanks for this thread and commend the OP for the courage of his/her post starting this off.

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