On confession and people's inability to sincerity


We all know there are humble persons who realise all their faults and sins. We also know that most of us do some denying regarding our mistakes and errors, past and present. Also, most of us have met some of those people who believe they are so holy. Some of them are pretty obvious, most people see what kind of hypocriets they are, others less so. There are those who pretend, sure, and probably show another face entirely to the priest than to the world. But there are also those who lie to themselves and do it so well they don’t knwo they are doing it.

Obviously, people’s confessiosn won’t be perfect. They confess to the best of their ability. What if I am one of those who just can’t see my errors, my faults? I’m absolved anyway, God forgives my sins, I walk away feeling happy and more (hypocritically) holy than ever? It just doesn’t seem right, but nor does it seem right to demand of people to understand all their faults and sins since pretty much nobody actually does.


Catechsim has:1796 Conscience is a judgment of reason by which the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act.

1798 A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. Everyone must avail himself of the means to form his conscience.

1800 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.
1801 Conscience can remain in ignorance or make erroneous judgments. Such ignorance and errors are not always free of guilt.
1802 The Word of God is a light for our path. We must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. This is how moral conscience is formed.

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man "takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin."59 In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits.


Ah. yes. To be dealt with on a case by case basis, then. That’s reasonable. Thank you!


Don’t focus on other people’s holiness or lack thereof. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They may be closer to God than you think.

As for yourself, just do the best you can at every stage of life and maturity. The conscience is formed and educated, first by our parents, then by teachers and priests, sometimes by friends (I have a favorite saying: “The best friends bring out the best in each other.”), and also by ourselves.

Take an active role in your own spiritual development. If you put a little effort into it, you can learn quite a lot about right and wrong and how to live in the Christian way by literally attending (as in paying attention to) Mass and by participating in other faith-building opportunities that may be offered in your parish, like Bible study/discussion groups, or catechism study programs like Why Catholic. Look at the Church bulletin or website, or call the office to see what’s available.

If you are good at self-study, try reading one of the many Catechism books that are available: YouCat, the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or, if you’re feeling brave, the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Let me quote a few paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

II. The Formation of Conscience

1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.

1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.

1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path; we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.

And I pray that the Holy Spirit may assist and guide you on your way.


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