More Confession questions


#1

I have heard that a sin cannot be mortal unless a.) the matter is grave, and b.) the guilty party has full knowledge and intention, but it seems that some sin is mortal regardless of whether the sinner was aware of it; the lack of knowledge should lessen the sinner’s culpability, yet the sin itself would still be mortal. Is this accurate? Would the priest tell me if any of the “doubtfully mortal” sins committed since my last confession (and subsequent Holy Communions) were mortal? And if I received the Eucharist in unknown mortal sin, would it still be a sacrilege?
Also, what if I bring suspected venial sins to Confession that may only be imperfections? I understand that it is a good practise to re-confess a mortal sin from the past to be sure that there is something worth absolving; but would the priest let me know if something that I was confessing wasn’t actually a sin? I know that it is an abuse of the sacrament to deliberately fail to confess known mortal sin; is it also an abuse to bring “sins” that are just imperfections?
Thanks.


#2

I can answer a couple of these, but someone more knowledgeable will have to answer the others :)

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:1, topic:305626"]
I have heard that a sin cannot be mortal unless a.) the matter is grave, and b.) the guilty party has full knowledge and intention,

[/quote]

true

but it seems that some sin is mortal regardless of whether the sinner was aware of it; the lack of knowledge should lessen the sinner's culpability, yet the sin itself would still be mortal. Is this accurate?

no - if you have no idea it is grave matter, it cannot be a mortal sin.

Would the priest tell me if any of the "doubtfully mortal" sins committed since my last confession (and subsequent Holy Communions) were mortal?

Just ask - that's what I do if I'm not sure, likely the priest will tell you

And if I received the Eucharist in unknown mortal sin, would it still be a sacrilege?

If you were unaware a sin you committed was grave matter it cannot be a mortal sin

Hope this helps :)


#3

“it is a good practise to re-confess a mortal sin from the past to be sure that there is something worth absolving”

I think you are noticing the difference between objective sin and subjective sin. Some act may be objectively grave which may become, with knowledge, a subjective mortal sin, or it would be a subjective venial sin without knowledge. But the knowledge does not have to be understanding of why it is a sin, rather that the Church teaches that it is grave sin and knowing that salvation is lost by a mortal sin.

Merriam-Webster

subjective (adjective)
4 a * *
(1)
: ["]peculiar]("http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peculiar[1) to a particular individual : personal <subjective judgments>
(2) : modified or affected by personal views, experience, or background <a subjective account of the incident>

About this: "it is a good practise to re-confess a mortal sin from the past to be sure that there is something worth absolving’.

That is not the reason for mentioning a mortal sin from the past. It is already absolved. The purpose is that there must be contrition for a valid confession, and it may be difficult to achieve with a venial sin.

From the Baltimore Catechism No. 3:

Q. 782. What should one do who has only venial sins to confess?
A. One who has only venial sins to confess should tell also some sin already confessed in his past life for which he knows he is truly sorry; because it is not easy to be truly sorry for slight sins and imperfections, and yet we must be sorry for the sins confessed that our confession may be valid – hence we add some past sin for which we are truly sorry to those for which we may not be sufficiently sorry.


#4

Not really, contrition is hatred of all sin, not necessarily a particular sin. It is perfectly fine to confess only veinal sins or even general faults such as I sometimes lose my temper. However it is good to dwell a while on our sinfulness and even pass sins and to examine ourselves to ensure we are contrite. But scrupulosity must be avoided, if someone is coming to confession, it is a fair bet that they are sufficiently contrite (particularly in this day and age) The above quote addresses a quite different time were many would habitually confess their sins eg before receiving communion or on a first Friday etc, thus the warning on the necessity of contrition.

To the OP, one cannot commit a mortal sin unless there is full knowledge, however for a number of sins such knowledge is presumed. This is because they are sufficiently grave that no education is required to known how wrong they are e.g murder. They are said to offend against the natural law.


#5

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. When does one commit a mortal sin?

1855-1861
1874

One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent. This sin destroys charity in us, deprives us of sanctifying grace, and, if unrepented, leads us to the eternal death of hell. It can be forgiven in the ordinary way by means of the sacraments of Baptism and of Penance or Reconciliation.

  1. When does one commit a venial sin?

1862-1864
1875

One commits a venial sin, which is essentially different from a mortal sin, when the matter involved is less serious or, even if it is grave, when full knowledge or complete consent are absent. Venial sin does not break the covenant with God but it weakens charity and manifests a disordered affection for created goods. It impedes the progress of a soul in the exercise of the virtues and in the practice of moral good. It merits temporal punishment which purifies.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

Catechism:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s1c1a8.htm#IV


#6

Thank you all for your replies - that is a lot of information and I appreciate it. I am still new to Catholicism and the sacraments make me nervous. I'm grateful for the knowledgeable and friendly people on these forums.

Since I cannot commit a subjectively mortal sin without intending to, am I still required to confess objectively mortal sins that were subjectively venial in my next confession? Or would I be exempt from this requirement since, for me, it was venial? (I'd confess it anyway, I'm just wondering if I'm under the obligation to do so.)


#7

[quote="SecretaryMonday, post:6, topic:305626"]

Since I cannot commit a subjectively mortal sin without intending to, am I still required to confess objectively mortal sins that were subjectively venial in my next confession? Or would I be exempt from this requirement since, for me, it was venial? (I'd confess it anyway, I'm just wondering if I'm under the obligation to do so.)

[/quote]

"Intending" to or not is not part of the criteria per se. In other words one does not have to "intend to commit a mortal sin" - "I am going to commit a mortal sin". One does though need a grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent" to commit a mortal sin (see above post).

Now does one need to confess a sin that was grave matter but done without the needed knowledge or deliberate consent? No. For such would be by definition a venial sin. forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=10045841&postcount=5 (if a sin at all)

One is only required to confess grave sins (that one commits..)(mortal sin = grave sin =serious sin --same thing).

Though it is very good to confess venial sins (they can be forgiven though in many ways). And if one does confess such --one notes it was venial or lacked the needed aspects for mortal sin so he does not think your confessing a mortal sin there.

As to "doubtful mortal sins" (like I am doubtful if I gave complete consent to it) the general recommendation is that those of an ordinary conscience should confess them (noting they are doubtful) and especially those of a lax conscience (again noting the doubt).

Those who struggle with scruples are often rather recommended to not confess them directly (if they do they too would not it is doubtful).


#8

I go to the same priest and since he’s my regular confessor, if…okay, when… I “confess” imperfections, he certainly calls me on it;) because he knows I don’t know what’s what yet. I don’t know if that’s true with all priests.
Kris


#9

[quote="Bookcat, post:7, topic:305626"]
"Intending" to or not is not part of the criteria per se. In other words one does not have to "intend to commit a mortal sin" - "I am going to commit a mortal sin". One does though need a grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate consent" to commit a mortal sin (see above post).

[/quote]

Thanks for the clarification.


closed #10

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