I forgot to mention the mortal sins I commited in number, but I’m afraid to repeat the confession because I think it might encourage my scruples.
Go see your regular confessor.
If you do not have one and have scruples --you need to get one.
If one say committed murder 3x and confessed “I committed murder” but forgot due to nervousness to confess the number required to be confessed for mortal sins --but were intending to confess all your mortal sins and where contrite etc --they would be *indirectly absolved *with was confessed.
One would ordinarily then need to mention them in the next confession (that it was 3x)…not “repeat” the confession.
Now a person who struggles with scruples – may be in a different boat than others --they may start wanting to confess all sorts of things that do not need to be confessed and may be given particular direction by their regular confessor.
Often they might be told for example "do not confess past sins unless one is 1. certain they were mortal and 2. certain they were not confessed sufficiently. Or something like that.
But in the case of simply going to confession and forgetting to mention the number of known mortal sins – such can likely be mentioned in the next confession without too much trouble.
Remember though too that after a reasonable examine (not a scrupulous one that goes on and on and on…avoid such) when one does not know the number – one can approximate according to what one knows (without scrupling)…8-10x, 2-3 a week for the last few months, many times, a few times…etc.
Some general things that can be helpful since you mention scruples from another post:
Having had the occasion at times to respond to questions from those who struggle with with scruples I will note here a few things in general one can find in theological works on such:
One must distinguish between a scrupulous conscience and a delicate conscience.
A ‘tender conscience or delicate conscience’ sees the finer distinctions and seeks very much to avoid even very small sins …and …who can judge normally between mortal and venial sin…when in doubt is able to make judgments overcoming his doubt by prudence or abide by good advice etc
as for scruples…or scrupulosity
Scruples or those who are even of a higher degree of scrupulosity take venial sin to be mortal…or non sins to be sins…or are plagued by doubts…unreasonable fears/anxieties about sins…seeing them or fearing them where they need not…etc etc
The french call it the doubting disease (though it is not a disease) for one has lot of problems knowing one knows…thus with “doubt” (or more often rather “apparent doubt”)
Of course there are degrees and it is possible for a person to have generally a delicate conscience or a normal conscience and still have a struggle with scruples in certain areas…or to have very* transient scruples* at the time of their conversion …
and a person may go from one to the other…
one combats scruples with a good regular confessor…
by forming ones conscience…(with such as the Catechism etc)
and with the confessors guidance acting against ones scruples…
possibly by general principles given often historically by confessors to deal with scruples
by trust and joy in living the Christian life…(not necessarily “emotional” by the way)
With the help of your confessor:
Contra scruplos agendum est, et fixo operis pede certandum
(Act contrary to scruples and with a firm foot overcome them)
Overcoming ones scruples…ones fears with a “firm foot”. Learning to act against them under the guidance of your confessor. Dismiss them. Not argue with them. (for example the regular confessor says…“unless you are certain you have committed a mortal sin…go to communion”…and you feel the fear and the doubts and the worries at the time of communion “but perhaps I committed one…?” you tell yourself “I am not certain of any mortal sins and my confessor told me to go” and you act against your fears and go to Communion! or ones confessor says regarding old past sins “only confess old sins if you are certain it was a mortal sin and certain you have not confessed it…(such is often the advice for those who are scrupulous)” one does just that -and if one is mistaken here one it not on you for a it can be the case that those who are scrupulous are in a “different boat” that others.) etc
(in a way one needs be “scrupulous” about attending to ones scruples…)
When scruples arise --turn to God and let them pass by.
Scruples are to be treated like a barking dog or a hissing goose…one does not stop to argue with a barking dog or a hissing goose does one? (image borrowed from a 15th cent. Carthusian).
They are to be “despised”…“dismissed”…
And again a* regular confessor *is very important here…in even coming to know what ones scruples are…and then what to dismiss… It is he who can particularly guide a person with these difficulties.
PS: and if the forgotten mortal sins where indirectly absolved as I noted above – then one does not need to go sooner to confession or abstain for that reason from Holy Communion in the mean time.
My question is this…I always forget to say how many times I have sinned. What is the purpose of telling how many times you have sinned? I have been doing this since I have returned to the church back 3 to 4 months ago, I keep forgetting to say how many times. I do beleive that if you dont say a number you are still absolved of your sins, and the priest has never said anything to me about how many times.
[quote="Judy57, post:5, topic:288226"]
My question is this....I always forget to say how many times I have sinned. What is the purpose of telling how many times you have sinned? I have been doing this since I have returned to the church back 3 to 4 months ago, I keep forgetting to say how many times. I do beleive that if you dont say a number you are still absolved of your sins, and the priest has never said anything to me about how many times.
Such is only required for Mortal sins. Venial sins need not have numbers and need not even be confessed -they can be forgiven in other ways (it is though recommended to confess them...at least some).
In confession we "confess" we accuse ourselves. It is not "interrogation". It is our obligation to confess them. While a Priest may pick up on that one had not said the number and ask you about it --he may assume that it was one time too.
It is our obligation (see canon 988) to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the sin (the moral species of the sin)--such as it was your brother you murdered).
I accuse myself of murder 3x and one was my brother.
If one knowingly hides a mortal sin --the confession is invalid and another mortal sin can be committed by so doing (if one has full knowledge and complete consent in this). Forgetting or honestly not having a clue or being mistaken about the need to do so --that is different. The honestly forgotten mortal sin can be still "indirectly" absolved if one intended to confess all ones mortal sin and was contrite and amended...but just forgot etc. One is then obliged to confess them in the next confession.
Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers explains: jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html
A person who honestly was doing what they thought they were suppose to do and did not mention numbers of mortal sins in past confessions --will then when he realizes this -- make a confession with those numbers (and of course if after one examines --one does not know the number one can approximate according to ones knowledge -- 5-10 times, 2-3 times a month for the last 10 years or so, few times, alot, many times).
All mortal sins need to be "submitted to the keys" -need to be confessed --it is part of the nature of confession (the sacrament has too a juridical nature--one is accusing oneself before God and the Church of ones mortal sins at least and the number is part of that). (though there are a couple exceptions ...it being an impossibility such as forgetting them and never remembering them-or a moral impossibility). But even if say a person is dying and cannot speak --but is absolved. If he later recovers and does not then die --he is obliged to confess any mortal sins that were absolved when he was dying. Same thing with a legit general absolution as the plane is crashing ....if one survives one is obliged to confess any and all mortal sins one is conscious of--even though they were absolved. It is part of the nature of the sacrament.
Venial sins of course do not --and when confessed they can be even rather general and without numbers.
and as I noted above --a person who struggles with scruples -- may be in a different boat than others --they may start wanting to confess all sorts of things that do not need to be confessed and may be given particular direction by their regular confessor.
Often they might be told for example "do not confess past sins unless one is 1. certain they were mortal and 2. certain they were not confessed sufficiently. Or something like that. Or directed in other ways to overcome their scruples.
then carry on as you are doing because if the priest thought you not quite right in something there he can and will say so. You may well get varying answers on here but just let your priest say so but be vagually aware another priest may or may not ask you to and just allow yourself to be guided by the priest in confession rather than what we have to say here…:o
I understand that your an Anglican so your background is not going to be the same as ours. Though of course I know you desire to give some good words of encouragement as a fellow Christian to another.
In this case though they ought not “simply carry on”.
The Priest cannot usually read ones heart (some Saints have had this gift but it is rare)…nor is confession an interrogation. It is a confession. The person there needs to confess their mortal sins --all of them in number and kind etc. That is their obligation and it is of the nature of the Sacrament. And if this was not done they need to get with a Priest and remedy anything needing to be and then go forward from there.
If she (Remembering the she is in fact the opening poster and discussing her like this in in fact rude but:blush:) shouldn’t just carry on the best she can do is ask the priest what she should do instead.
Often people make posts here about confession scared,and get mixed advice from folk and come back and post its all okay. Priests respond different to we guys I can assure you of that.
I think we put the fear into each other, unintentionally and meaning well but few of us are priests and therefore we should not speak as though we are a priest.None of us have the power to say another is wrong ((or right)) in the Confession. Only the Priest hearing that Confession can guide that.
What happens between sinner and priest is private and some will confess number of times and others won’t and its no more right or wrong because some can dig a little deeper than that list and make a full confession. The list and questions are there to help you to begin. Those who have spiritual guidence understand that and I bet those who have had spiritual guidence longer than a year do not give number of times they comit that sin, or that is what I read on here by Catholics themselves.
Fine, if it makes you happy to point out that ‘Im an Anglican Argument’ then so be it
: as i said fine…
Have a restful Lords Day
If you are concerned that you did not confess your sins by number, and cannot remember how many times you committed them (same situation I am in), I would imagine you can just confess that you did not confess certain sins by number and you cannot remember how many times, etc, at your next confession. Your priest should be able to give you direction, and I believe (by the mercy of God) you will be fine.
Just make an attempt (like I will be doing from now on) to confess by number!
What Bookcat said is the way to clear things. Go to a good confessor, explain briefly and take it from there. Forgetfulness, nervousness, can make us not get the number right. Take care of it next time and then you can move on.