Necessary detail in confession


#1

I am a regular poster, but I've created a new account for the purpose of this question. I've given out too much personal information under my other identity for me to feel comfortable with my anonymity in asking this question.

My pastor is my regular confessor. I recently found myself in an awkward situation (of my own making) because I had failed to do something that I had promised him I would do. Instead of admitting this, I lied to him about it. I'm currently working on fixing the situation, but I obviously need to go to confession. Is the fact that I lied to my pastor necessary detail that affects the gravity of the sin? Do I need to mention in confession that it was him I lied to, or just that I lied?


#2

To be on the safe side, tell him you "lied to a priest". If it was in the confessional, you need to mention that too.


#3

I don't think you need to say it was him you lied to. BUt I agree with the above poster that you might say you lied to a priest, or someone in authority.


#4

When I once told a fib to my pastor, I admitted it to him in confession. I found it to be a humbling, but ultimately beneficial, step in my spiritual journey.


#5

Canon law states that to make a valid and good confession, one must mention the sin in number and kind.

Speaking technically, if you had killed someone and simply said "I have murdered 4 times", this would be a valid and contrite confession; remember that it is Christ that absolves you through the intercession of the Priest. Christ knows your sins. He also knows if you truly wish to receive forgiveness. Do not worry about specifying too much, you may if you wish, but it would be apt that you undertake great penance if the sin is severely grave.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law
Canon 988 – §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, for which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience.
§2. It is to be recommended to the Christian faithful that venial sins also be confessed.


#6

[quote="DeusSalusNostra, post:5, topic:324152"]
Canon law states that to make a valid and good confession, one must mention the sin in number and kind.

Speaking technically, if you had killed someone and simply said "I have murdered 4 times", this would be a valid and contrite confession; remember that it is Christ that absolves you through the intercession of the Priest. Christ knows your sins. He also knows if you truly wish to receive forgiveness. Do not worry about specifying too much, you may if you wish, but it would be apt that you undertake great penance if the sin is severely grave.

[/quote]

But if you had killed your father, you would have to say that because it changes the circumstances and is an additional sin as well as more grave.


#7

It would indeed be honorable to confess more detail, but not necessary. In such a case, it would be necessary to confess to murder and disloyalty to your parents, which is indeed a grave sin.

In regards to the Original Poster "New Name", I would advise maybe to visit a different Priest for Confession rather than your Pastor, this is perfectly acceptable. Also, remember that is alright and acceptable for you to say "I lied to a Priest", but it is not necessary for the complete remission of the sin.

The original poster is asking about the necessary detail here. Not the add-ons and conversations that go on within the confessional box. Remember, if the Priest interrogates you slightly or questions you about the sin, it would be a good idea to talk with him about the issue.

God bless :gopray2:


#8

I think you will find that if you own up to him in confession that you will be 100% relieved about it and between the both of you work out what to do next about he asked you to do. Just be 100% honest in confession and you will then feel free of the guilt. If you only partially confess you will still feel the that pull over you because you know it was him. May as well just ‘out it’ to him and start afresh with what he asked you to do. Tell him too why you didn’t do it or couldn’t do it. Be 100% simply honest with him. You will find that much more refreshing than the games we play on ourselves for not being honest.


#9

Thank you to all who replied to this thread. I made it to confession last night, to a priest in a different parish. I feel forgiven, but unsettled. I suspect I'll end up telling my priest anyway, though not in confession, because lies build upon more lies and I need a clean start.


#10

[quote="New_Name, post:9, topic:324152"]
Thank you to all who replied to this thread. I made it to confession last night, to a priest in a different parish. I feel forgiven, but unsettled. I suspect I'll end up telling my priest anyway, though not in confession, because lies build upon more lies and I need a clean start.

[/quote]

I admire your courage and desire to be humble.
Yes, I think it's one thing (and an important thing) to confess our sins to God through a priest in the sacrament of Reconciliation -- and another thing to ask the person we sinned against to forgive us (not always necessary, usually more difficult, and probably a holy thing to do).


#11

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