Omitting sins in confession?


I confessed my sins, but I had forgotten a sin (inadequate time examining my conscience before last confession) that I wasn't sure was mortal, but I thought that it could be. I remembered it after I had said, "for these and all my sins I'm truly sorry" and right before beginning my Act of Contrition. I am quite scrupulous, so I generally try to just plow ahead in confession unless I'm absolutely positive that I need to go back or bring something addition up. Is this sacrilege?


I’m a new Catholic but I think that as long as you didn’t intentionally omit confessing a sin you are ok, however at the first chance you can you must confess it, especially if it might be a mortal sin. That is always very serious. Being aware of sin and making attempts is a good sign. God bless you!



Agreed, except that I would advise “next” chance, rather than “first” chance, to emphasise that this absolution is complete and valid, and he does not need to hurry back to fix his confession.

Jimmy Akin (below) provides an excellent summary of how to proceed if you remember an extra sin while still in the confessional, but after you’ve completed your confession.

What If You Suddenly Remember in Confession?

His advise is that it depends on when in the confesion the penitent remembers the sin. The following advice seems to apply to the OP’s case…

Therefore, I would say that once “control” of the exchange has been shifted back to the priest (i.e., when the penitent has finished his act of confession), the penitent is not obligated to slam on the breaks for a suddenly remembered sin. He is permitted to retain it until next time, and his intent to make a complete confession suffices, even though he suddenly realized afterwards that it wasn’t complete.


Calm down! All is not lost - you are not the only one who has forgotton a sin during confession. But, you are safe because G*d knows what’s in your heart and has allowed the priest, acting in His behalf, to absolve you of your sins. You didn’t commit a sin because you didn’t withold the sin on purpose.
So, you are OK with receiving Holy Communion tomorrow. However, I would go to Confession next week and report this to the priest, in addition to telling him your other sins.
Just a suggestion, if you ever realize that you forgot something in Confession in the future, don’t hesitate to tell the priest that you forgot something…even if you have started to say your Act of Contrition, or he has started to absolve you. He won’t mind…I’m sure he has probably experienced this before with other people. If you do this, then you won’t have to bare your soul on the internet.


We’re limited, finite, imperfect human beings. None of us have perfect memory. None of us have perfect contrition. We strive for perfection knowing we can’t reach it in this mortal life.

Luckily for us, forgiveness does not depend on how perfectly we’re contrite nor on how perfectly we confess. Forgiveness depends on the salvation of God that comes to us through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ as a free gift to those who don’t reject it. Christ’s redemptive work is sufficient for our forgiveness regardless of how well or how poorly you attempt to repent of your evil deeds.

IOW, don’t sweat it. You’re forgiven.

As a matter of form, though, in order to receive fuller grace and the spiritual guidance of the Church, if you forgot a truly mortal sin, then mention it next time you go to confession… not because you weren’t forgiven, but to receive the spiritual advice of your confessor and to be assured of full reconciliation with the Church and to receive an appropriate penance if your confessor thinks such a sin warrants one.


I had this problem before! In fact, I decided not to receive communion even though I’ve just gone to confession!

If you forgot a sin and did not intentionally conceal it, it isn’t sacrilege. All of your sins are forgiven and you can in fact already receive Holy Communion even if that sin is mortal. Just make sure to mention it during your next Confession.


[quote="Colorad007, post:1, topic:309166"]

<...> I wasn't sure was mortal, but I thought that it could be. <...>


So many good answers....
Mr. Akin's article covers basically what we Teach our RCIA candidates/catechumenates when we cover this sacrament and is generally sound advice. Of course, we cover this topic over a three month period leading up their first confessions (candidates) and we help the catechumenates prepare for the sacrament so that their first time isn't "on their own" and they have that nice friendly face of Fr. to practice with :) before they have to start doing this on their own!


Keep in mind that for there to be a Mortal sin requires that one have **full knowledge **that the act was of grave nature, that that act was done with free will, and with intent. One does not accidentally commit a Mortal Sin; thus, the omission of a Mortal Sin, IMHO, could only be done by intent.
See: CCC: 1450 thru 1470:: Specifically 1456; 1852 thru 1864:: Specifically Mortal Sin CCC 1855, 1857.
CCC 1456 deals with the actual confession of mortal sins: " (...) All Mortal Sins (...) are conscious of (...)"
CCC 1857 defines Mortal sin: "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*'" (RP 17 sec 12)

CCC: Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed)

So, given that you weren't sure the omitted sin was Mortal or not falls under 1857 in that the sin isn't mortal thus not in violation of 1456; however, because you felt the act was/is sinful in nature, it is still a sin that as others pointed out should be covered under your intent to receive a valid sacrament and, if you remember, you should bring it to your next confession. (personally, I've had to start a small list that I shred afterwards... no name on the list... and often just a key word, number, or letter ;-) getting old isn't all they advertise it to be!)


I went to confession in a Greek Orthodox church once. My priest told me that even if I had forgotten to say something, to not worry about it for just the act of going and confessing as much as I could remember was enough. He didn’t require me to bring out a long list of everything I had ever done, but to just say whatever was on my heart. They will have you kneel at the end as the priests puts his omophorion around you, and adds the clause that God forgive us for “everything we have said and everything we have failed to say whether knowingly or unknowingly.” He includes all those sins which were voluntary and involuntary in the prayer. (The omophorion is what the priest wears around his neck that’s made of cloth or silk). I hope that helps…


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