I know the church says to go to confession at least once a year. But my question is… Is it a sin if you don’t go to confession within a year?
Yes, it is.
I thought we were only obliged to confess if we had committed mortal sins?
Confession is only required for mortal sin. If we make it an anuual requirement to confess venial sins under penalty of mortal sin then we are creating a vicious circle. And if we assume that everyone has committed some mortal sin in the previous year that is a might big assumption.
It is a sin to disobey legitimate authority. In order to set a minimum standard of behaviors the Church has defined the Precepts. In regard to confession the precepts says:
The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.
[RIGHT]From CCC article 2042[/RIGHT]
As a legitimate authority, the Church’s requirement to do this to be obeyed. To not do so is a sin.
Canon Law 989 *All the faithful who have reached the age of discretion are bound faithfully to confess their grave sins at least once a year. *
Yes, that is true, but it is helpful to check the footnote to CCC 2042 for clarification on exactly what this requirement entails. The footnote points us to the Code of Canon Law. Here is what the cited Canon 989 says in it’s entirety:
After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.
The requirement is for grave sins (i.e. mortal sins).
Of course it is very beneficial to go much more often than that, even if one has committed only venial sins. But let’s make sure to be clear on what the Church is actually saying before we accuse others of sinning.