Ott, page 433: Confessing sins already forgiven, confession twiceover?

You can confess three types of sin: grievous, venial, and sins already forgiven?

“The repetition of confession is an act of submission and therefore of atonement. In this case the absolution,…, results…” (technobabble) “…in the remission of the temporal punishment of sin which remains.”

So, if one goes to confession and has a penance for temporal punishment due, one can re-confess and have *that *absolution count for the remission of the temporal punishment and, hence, need not do penance?:hmmm:

Uh, I gotta be missing something.

Please, somebody comment.

There is such a thing as ‘devotional confession’ in which you do indeed confess sins that have already been confessed and/or absolved. For example, if you forgot a sin in a previous confession, even though it’s already forgiven it’s a good idea to mention it in your next confession as a reminder to yourself of the sin and an expression of your resolution to conquer it.

So again, to confess sins already confessed gives graces that help in the conquering of future sins and the successful battling of future temptations.

One reason why you might want to make such a confession is that recent confession is one of the conditions for a plenary indulgence, so if you want to gain such an indulgence and can’t remember any sins you want to confess you can go into the confessional and make a devotional confession.

LilyM brings up good points. I’d clarify one thing: we have an obligation to submit all known mortal sins to the loosing power of the keys of the Church. Confessing forgotten sins is not merely a pious practice, but a solemn obligation. Nothing to get scrupulous over, just realize that the obligation is there.

Perhaps what’s missing is among the “technobabble.” Why don’t you post that, and maybe we can decipher something from it.

But in the meantime, I also wanted to point out that in order for a confession to be valid, some sin must be confessed. The absolution must have a sin to work on. Many people confess things that are not sins, but imperfections. Others honestly do not recall any sins since the last confession, but wish to receive the grace of the Sacrament. The solution is to confess a sin already forgiven in the past. “I am sorry for all the sins of my past life, especially murdering my mother.” Or “especially sins of anger.” Or “sins against purity.”


I wonder if that’s ever been said? “I murdered my mom, but lately I haven’t had any venial or mortal sins, just imperfections.” That would be a working of God’s grace if anything is. :smiley:

You’re not kidding! :rotfl:

Could you provide the reference that temporal punishment is lessen by confession…

Well, I thought there’d be more people who had the book and could just pop over to page 433 and comment (so I could save my lazy butt some typing); but here’s the whole thing Ott writes on the subject:

3 objects of confession: grievous sins, venial sins, sins already forgiven

"*Sins already forgiven

 **Those sins which are already forgiven directly 
 by the Church's Power of the Keys are a sufficient 
 object of confession. (Sent. certa.) CIC 902.**

According to the declaration of Benedict XI (D 470), the repetition of confession is an act of submission and therefore of atonement. In this case the absolution, according to the teaching of theologians, results not only in the removal of those obstacles which remain as an effect of the sins already forgiven, and which oppose the efficacy of grace (reliquae peccatorum), but also in the remission of the temporal punishments of sin which remain.*"

The “(Sent. certa.)” means a teaching theologically certain, one of the theological grades of certainty that Ott uses. Another example of Senta. certa. : “Sanctifying grace makes the just man a Temple of the Holy Ghost. (Senta. certa.)”

The “CIC 902” refers to the Codex Iuris Canonici.

The “D 470” stands for H. Denziger–C. Rahner, Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum.

Thanks for the replies everybody. LilyM, “devotional confession” is something I’ve never heard of–thanks.

I guess the question is: Was/is Benedict XI declaration considered a definitive act which is an infallibility teaching which must be adhered to with the obedience of faith. I could not establish any publish Church records to verify that this is Church doctrine. If my memory serves me correct, the last official one concerned the Immaculate Conception -1850’s?

I hope a priest, deacon or brother or religious would provide comments concerning this subject.

My understanding that CIC 902 refers to the Codex luris Canonici, Code of Canon Law 1917; which was replaced by the new Canon Law in 1983.

Number 902 was replaced by 988? 988 states: Each of Christ’s faithful are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins, committed after baptism, of which after careful examination of conscience he or she is aware, which have not yet been directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not been confessed in an individual confession. Section 2 of 988: It is recommended that Christ’s faithful confess also venial sins.

The commentary states:Regarding the confession called “devotion” recommended in c. 988, Section 2, it should be remembered that the sacrament of penance :is not only an instrument directed to destroy sin-the negative aspect-but also a valuable exercise of virtue which is itself expiation, an irreplaceable school of spirituality, a profoundly positive process of regeneration in the confession".

Temporal punishment are now covered in the new Canon Law starting with Canon 992. An indulgence is the remission in the sight of God of the temporal punishment due for sins, the guilt of which has already been forgiven. Confessing one sins again is not mention in the new Canon (or I cannot locate it) for the remission of temporal punishment.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit