Plenary Confession


#1

In a few places reading I have come across the term plenary confession, but I don't really understand it fully. I haven't found any sources that explicitly explain everything about it, but from what I have gathered from context it means something like a confession in which a person sincerely confesses with contrition every sin that they are able to remember, and therefore they are forgiven of all their sins, even the ones they aren't able to remember. Is that accurate?


#2

I think you are referring to the requirement to confess all mortal sins that one can remember since their last confession, or since baptism, whichever applies. So long as it is a sincere accounting, those sins and any mortal sins you have forgotten are remitted.

This requirement does not apply to small (venial) sins, but it is encouraged to confess those as well. Here is the one passage from the Catechism that seems closest to your question:

**1456 **Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.” When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, “for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know.”


#3

Does confessing every sin one remembers, including venial sin, also result in absolution for venial sins that have slipped one’s memory?


#4

[quote="Bakmoon, post:1, topic:292290"]
In a few places reading I have come across the term plenary confession, but I don't really understand it fully. I haven't found any sources that explicitly explain everything about it, but from what I have gathered from context it means something like a confession in which a person sincerely confesses with contrition every sin that they are able to remember, and therefore they are forgiven of all their sins, even the ones they aren't able to remember. Is that accurate?

[/quote]

Yes, but it goes by the name "general confession", and you make an appointment with a priest for this, since it can take an hour or more. You also have to prepare yourself in advance, generally over several days.


#5

[quote="Rainaldo, post:4, topic:292290"]
Yes, but it goes by the name "general confession", and you make an appointment with a priest for this, since it can take an hour or more. You also have to prepare yourself in advance, generally over several days.

[/quote]

I'm thinking Bakmoon means an ordinary confession which should be an "integral confession" (full, complete, contains all remembered mortal sins since last time, since the word "plenary" is similar to "full"), not the more rare "general confession" (which likely includes numerous sins that are already confessed and forgiven under the power of the keys, and has nothing specific to it about forgotten sins that isn't already covered by an ordinary integral confession), but you may be right that he meant a "general confession".

Bakmoon, there are two terms in play here "integral confession" and "general confession". Another possibility is you are thinking of "general absolution", which is extremely rare.


#6

[quote="Bakmoon, post:1, topic:292290"]
In a few places reading I have come across the term plenary confession, but I don't really understand it fully. I haven't found any sources that explicitly explain everything about it, but from what I have gathered from context it means something like a confession in which a person sincerely confesses with contrition every sin that they are able to remember, and therefore they are forgiven of all their sins, even the ones they aren't able to remember. Is that accurate?

[/quote]

Suppose confession is like cleaning the houses.
In my village, people clean the house every week. But, once a year, before the Feast of Our lady Mother of Men (nice title), they make a thorough cleaning, moving furniture and cleaning all the places that usually not cleaned and wash the walls and ceiling.


#7

[quote="Bakmoon, post:3, topic:292290"]
Does confessing every sin one remembers, including venial sin, also result in absolution for venial sins that have slipped one's memory?

[/quote]

To get venial sins included, you don't need to list all the venial sins you can remember. You just need an ordinary confession. Ordinary confessions can consist of just one venial sin if you want, so long as you are not deliberately leaving out a mortal sin. A confession must be "integral" which means you confess all the remembered mortal sins since your last confession, or baptism if this is your first confession. Even an old sin that your were already forgiven for is something you could take to confession and have a confession.

If one wants venial sins forgiven, you don't even need to go to confession. There are lots of ways, like prayer, repentance with fervent charity, receiving communion worthily, doing acts of penance, doing works of love, going to the sacrament of confession, etc.


#8

[quote="Bakmoon, post:1, topic:292290"]
In a few places reading I have come across the term plenary confession, but I don't really understand it fully. I haven't found any sources that explicitly explain everything about it, but from what I have gathered from context it means something like a confession in which a person sincerely confesses with contrition every sin that they are able to remember, and therefore they are forgiven of all their sins, even the ones they aren't able to remember. Is that accurate?

[/quote]

Plenary confession is a full confession, as opposed to a partial confession.


#9

[quote="Bakmoon, post:3, topic:292290"]
Does confessing every sin one remembers, including venial sin, also result in absolution for venial sins that have slipped one's memory?

[/quote]

Venial sins do not have to be confessed because they do not separate you from God.


#10

[quote="thistle, post:9, topic:292290"]
Venial sins do not have to be confessed because they do not separate you from God.

[/quote]

What about Purgatory? Not being granted access to the Beatific vision seems like temporary separation to me.


#11

Do you mean "plenary indulgence?"


#12

[quote="InJesusItrust, post:10, topic:292290"]
What about Purgatory? Not being granted access to the Beatific vision seems like temporary separation to me.

[/quote]

CCC 1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin.** However venial sin does not break the covenant with God.** With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.


#13

"...every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory."

CCC 1472
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm


#14

[quote="Vico, post:13, topic:292290"]
"...every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory."

CCC 1472
vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm

[/quote]

Not sure if you are responding to my post or not and if so, what point are you making. Are you agreeing with me or not or in fact responding to another poster's comment?


#15

[quote="thistle, post:14, topic:292290"]
Not sure if you are responding to my post or not and if so, what point are you making. Are you agreeing with me or not or in fact responding to another poster's comment?

[/quote]

In response to InJesusItrust, I post the cause for lack of Beatific vision until "after they have been purified after death", which is purification of the attachments (secondary effect of sin).

papalencyclicals.net/Ben12/B12bdeus.html


#16

[quote="Vico, post:15, topic:292290"]
In response to InJesusItrust, I post the cause for lack of Beatific vision until "after they have been purified after death", which is purification of the attachments (secondary effect of sin).

papalencyclicals.net/Ben12/B12bdeus.html

[/quote]

Okay. Thanks.


#17

[quote="YoungTradCath, post:11, topic:292290"]
Do you mean "plenary indulgence?"

[/quote]

Thank you. I believe I mixed the term general confession and plenary indulgence, and that's how I got it mixed up.


#18

Ah, general confession (general absolution). That has been permitted by bishops in some situations where the priest has little time to hear confessions.

Catechism of the Catholic Church1483 In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required.92 The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist.93 A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.94

1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."95 There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven."96 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.97 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm

Also see: Code of Canon Law, Can. 961,


#19

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