Question about Confession


#1

If the church teaches something is a mortal sin, but I really don’t see it as a big deal especially because it only hurts me what do I when I go to confession? Just not confess this? Can I receive communion? Also the act is almost always a symptom of a mental problem and requires counseling. I do feel as if I have full responsibility but I don’t think it is as big of a deal as the church is making it out to be.


#2

Whatever the Church teaches to be a mortal sin needs to be confessed in order to receive absolution before approaching communion.

It would be for your confessor to discern whether there are any mitigating factors that would make your actions less culpable.


#3

If you understand that the Church teaches that a particular sin is grave, and you freely do it anyway, then it is mortal, and you may not receive communion.

Baltimore Catechism:Q. 280. What is mortal sin?
A. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

Q. 281. Why is this sin called mortal?
A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.

Q. 282. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?
A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: 1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

Q. 283. What do we mean by “grievous matter” with regard to sin?
A. By “grievous matter” with regard to sin we mean that the thought, word or deed by which mortal sin is committed must be either very bad in itself or severely prohibited, and therefore sufficient to make a mortal sin if we deliberately yield to it.

Q. 284. What does “sufficient reflection and full consent of the will” mean?
A. “Sufficient reflection” means that we must know the thought, word or deed to be sinful at the time we are guilty of it; and “full consent of the will” means that we must fully and willfully yield to it.

Q. 285. What are sins committed without reflection or consent called?
A. Sins committed without reflection or consent are called material sins; that is, they would be formal or real sins if we knew their sinfulness at the time we committed them. Thus to eat flesh meat on a day of abstinence without knowing it to be a day of abstinence or without thinking of the prohibition, would be a material sin.

Q. 286. Do past material sins become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness?
A. Past material sins do not become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness, unless we again repeat them with full knowledge and consent.

Q. 287. How can we know what sins are considered mortal?
A. We can know what sins are considered mortal from Holy Scripture; from the teaching of the Church, and from the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.


#4

You have to listen to the teachings of the Church. You cannot introduce your own interpretations.


#5

No sin “only hurts” you when you commit it. You are a part of the Body of Christ. If you, the individual, have a toothache, it doesn’t only hurt the tooth that is in pain. Your entire body feels miserable. Not an excellent analogy, but I hope it helps. When any of us commits a sin, specially a mortal sin, it hurts the entire Church. That is one of the reasons that Jesus requires us to confess to a priest. We need to be reconciled, not just to the Lord, but to the Church.

You don’t see “a big deal” committing a mortal sin that leaves your soul bereft of Sanctifying Grace and in grave danger? One of the reasons that Jesus instituted His Church is that He knows us so well. He knew that we would find it very easy to tell ourselves “it’s not such a big deal” and put ourselves in danger of losing Heaven.

Going to confession regularly, particularly for a habitual mortal sin, is very beneficial. It helps us to fight against the habit. Regular confession is far better than counseling - particularly since, these days, most counselors do not find anything sinful with far too many things!


#6

All of you have told me to go to confession but should I go if Im not sorry, probably won’t stop doing it, and see it as a venial sin at best? I honestly don’t understand why the church teaches it is a mortal sin.


#7

#8

It is not down to you whether or not something is a mortsl sin or not. If the Church teaches that something is sinful, then it is sinful, whether or not you agree. We are not our own Magisterium the definition of what is and what id not sin is not open to personal interpretation. You must confess it


#9

Hi Dancer1409,

Often times, God hides the true effects of our sins from us, because if we saw them for what they really were, we’d be paralyzed by our guilt. This doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want you to have a better understanding, but over time and in smaller doses.

I’d start by praying to the Holy Spirit daily and asking Him to inspire you so you can understand why this sin is so bad. Ask Him to help you to “detest this sin” and “see it for what it really is”.

I’d also start going to confession more regularly. Be honest with the priest and say you struggle with understanding why this sin is mortal. Explain that you want to grow closer to God but you can’t seem to get past this. The priest can help you. It would also be helpful to regularly confess to the same priest.

Finally - understand that contrition isn’t just “sorry or not”. Since you do recognize this as a sin, I’m assuming you have at least a basic level of contrition as you recognizes it offends God. You’re just having trouble understanding the gravity of it. On that sense, welcome to the club! We all struggle with understanding the gravity of sins. That doesn’t mean you’re not sorry or don’t have contrition.

I hope that helps! Please consider praying to the Holy Spirit often to inspire you to a deeper level of understanding about the gravity of this sin. I think it will help! :slight_smile:


#10

Naturally you would not expect absolution if you are not truly sorry for your sins. But I would earnestly urge you to bring this sin up with your pastor. Explain your situation and your feelings to him and allow him to direct you further.

Ultimately we are all subject to God’s judgment for our actions. Something not being a sin in our eyes does not mean that it is not a sin in the eyes of God, who has given us, through Jesus Christ, his Church on earth as a source of his teaching and his grace.


#11

You need to discuss mitigating factors with a confessor or spiritual director.


#12

Exactly.


#13

Hi Dancer!

Being sorry is a fundamental part of confession and a necessary for true repentance (which means “I will never do that again”). If one confesses a sin but truly believes its not a sin and that they will likely do it again there is little or no repentance occurring.

Listen I’m with you. There have been many MANY times in my life where I have rationalized a sin and said “Oh but really it’s no big deal - everyone does it - it’s likely not mortal probably just venial”. But there are fundamental flaws with my rationalization:

First - I was becoming the chief interpreter of what is and what is not a grave matter. I can’t speak for you but I am certainly not in any position to go against God’s True Church and 2000 years of teaching. Once you start doing that it’s a pretty easy downward decent to continuing in dissent to more and more teachings.

Second - Pride got in my way. I just did not want to feel bad about what I was doing. So I naturally I tred to nullify it by saying it really wasn’t a problem. This allowed me to feel ok about the sin and continue in the sin. But at the end of the day it was still a sin.

Third - I really didn’t want to change my ways. I wanted the Church to bend so I could live as I chose not as God commands me. That’s not conforming to Jesus’ will but trying to conform Jesus to my will - and that isn’t going to happen :slight_smile:

Might I suggest something in perfect friendship and love?

Don’t run back to confession mechanically because someone tells you to. Rather pray on it. I mean REALLY pray on it - not just 2-3 seconds at night but go to an Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and ask Jesus if what you are doing is a sin in perfect sincerity and openness (sometimes this is not easy - again because of Pride). Then just sit there staring at the Blessed Sacrament and listen and perfect quietness. Jesus will guide you appropriately in time - that I can promise.

You might see it differently (I certainly did). Then you will be armed appropriately for an amazing confession (and TRUE repentance) that may change your life.

I will pray for you and happy to help you in any way possible. It’s not always an easy road - and I certainly fall from time to time - but once I truly embraced the Church’s teaching I have found a new peace.

God Bless you!


#14

We are obliged to confess all mortal sins. And of course one must repent of them. Intend and resolve not to commit mortal sin again.

(Note too: If I has hidden a mortal sin that was confessed- or not been repentant of it -one needs to bring this up in confession and work with the Priest to repair it -if there were other mortal sins confessed -tell him)

All sin harms others. We are not in this life alone -and sin harms the Church -ones brothers and sisters. Goodness helps others.

Mental health issues - are matters to work on with a professional (I have seen a site advertised – catholictherapists.com)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd -he loves you. Let us renew our YES to him and thus to his Church - all that she Teaches.


#15

As for all Christians - “renewal of our mind” that St. Paul and Pope Benedict XVI talked about is very important:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=11306730#post11306730


#16

If in your case with a sincere conscience you do not believe a certain sin to be mortal , you must stand firm and not feel obliged to confess it , all the time being open to the workings of the Holy Spirit , in whatever form they come , so that your conscience may be informed as to the truth .


#17

We are to* correct* the errors of our judgment of conscience.


#18

Of course one must correct errors , but a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.


#19

To place this quote in the context in which it should be understood:

1790 A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or already committed.

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.

1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

1793 If - on the contrary - the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.
CCC, Article 6, Moral Conscience


#20

Yes, but that conscience must be formed in line with the teachings of the Church. It is not simply enough to say, “I do not believe that this is a mortal sin, therefore it is not a mortal sin”. Your conscience must be “informed” with Church teaching. And particularly when one is very aware that the Church teaches that such an act is indeed a mortal sin. Even ignorance of this would not be sufficient as it is the duty of all Catholics to educate themselves as to the teachings of the Church and must accept all of the teachings of the Church, every last one.

A person cannot say, “The Church teaches me this, but my conscience tells me otherwise, and therefore I must follow my conscience”. If your conscience is not in line with Church teaching then your conscience is not properly formed and you have a duty to form it according to Church teaching. Church teaching is never wrong and when it seems to clash with personal conscience the only conclusion a Catholic can reach is that their conscience is not properly informed.


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