Repeated Confession

Does anyone have anxiety over confessing the same sins over and over again, say every week? Any advice on overcoming such anxiety? While I have not gone to the same priest multiple weeks in a row, I do worry if I did, him thinking I am not serious in overcoming said sins… Thanks.

Confessing the same sins over and over again happens because we have formed sinful habits. Unfortunately, sinful habits are very easy to form and very difficult to overcome. All priests understand this and know that penitents who are serious about overcoming such sins will go through a time when they will be confessing the same sins over and over again. Hopefully, the number of times the sins are committed will gradually reduce over time, until, eventually, they are overcome.

It is recommended that you have a regular confessor - go to the same priest for confession regularly. That is because a regular confessor will get to know your soul and your efforts at overcoming sinful habits and can help you with advice on how to avoid committing those sins.

Yes, sometimes a confessor will think that a penitent is not serious in overcoming habitual sins - if he or she shows no signs of improvement. And don’t get anxious if, after a number of weeks or months of slow improvement, suddenly you regress and have to confess an increased number of sins. We all fall. What is important is getting up again after the fall. If this has happened, increase your prayers and mortification in reparation and prayer for an increase in God’s Grace.

I think we all find ourselves in that situation, as bad habits are hard to break. I try my best to get better, even if only a little bit. I know if I keep trying to overcome the sin, and I continue to receive God’s grace through confession, I will eventually overcome it.

Someone - I think Scott Hahn - said in a talk about Confession that he told his confessor he was embarassed/discouraged because it seemed like he came back every week with the same sins, and his confessor said “what, you want some new ones?”

The point being that we are works-in-progress, and we will never be perfected on this side of Heaven - so we keep at it, trying to yield ourselves more and more fully to the direction of the Holy Spirit, and grateful for the gift of Reconciliation for the times we fail.

If the sins are venial, why not choose just one of them for an all-out assault? Naturally, you should always try not to sin at all, but you can put special effort toward getting rid of one of them. Tell this to the priest and ask for specific help with one sin at a time. Then you’ll really be trying and he’ll know it and be able to help. You’ll soon be picking them off one by one - won’t that be great?

Of course, if your sins are mortal, then you really must make a huge effort to avoid them all.


YES! And I worry that I’m missing other venial sins because I can’t call them to mind. No advice…I’m always terrified before confession…:blush:

I’m going through this right now and truthfully it is difficult, but I’m able to do it every week. My sin is swearing and having been very receptive to incorporating various swear words into my vocabulary throughout my life, they had become such a common place in my speech that I really wasn’t even aware I said them most of the time. Like previous posts stated I have become quite a regular at weekly confession and Father knows that I’m trying to really work on this. The first few weeks saying the same thing over and over and him never really commenting on it, I broke the ice and said that I still had used bad language, but had greatly improved since I began. Father laughed and told me that’s good. Now he continues to offer advice every week like " don’t throw in the towel when you slip up" and “make a note of the times you swear and see what causes it”. Every week it gets a little better and Father is literally coaching me through it. When you can get past the nerves of the whole confession deal, you realize he’s there to help.

Thanks to all who replied.

NO NEED TO WORRY. :slight_smile:

Venial sins need not be confessed…though it is recommended highly…

I would not try to “get em all by name” unless you only have 5 or so…

Rather include the rest under “and all the sins of my life”…

It is good to do as Betsy noted above…and pick some to particularly work on…

I am not saying one can only then confess those…but confess those…and a few others…and intend the rest (this is only for venial sins).

Also note --do not wait for confession…venial sins can be forgiven in many ways…prayer, Holy Communion etc…

Hi All, I too am going through this problem. Seems like I keep confessing the same 2 or 3 sins every time I’m in the Confessional. But it is working. After several confessions in a row, confessing to the same sins, Father started giving out a little more difficult penance, because I wasn’t making progress (at least I felt like I wasn’t). {Besides his penance I gave myself some extra penance.} Swearing was my big one. When I am searching for a word to say instead of the swear word and can’t find one, I just say “expletive deleted”! It works. It shows that at least I am trying to break this very bad habit. When I told him about this at my last confession, he smiled and said 'Whatever works!" I have a hunch that he may be going to use that one for a few others.

One of the other ones is gossiping - at least listening to it when a friend calls. She has been my friend for over 50 yrs and I don’t think that anyone will break her of it, BUT listening to it is just as bad as saying it. This one is going to be a little harder to break. When she starts in, I put her on speaker, turn up the TV, pray, do dishes etc. I let her vent, and I just don’t listen anymore. The same stuff over and over again is getting to me. Besides the penance (again alot tougher than before) that I had to do for that one, Father suggested that everytime she starts in to try to steer her away and then don’t talk to her the next day either in person or on the phone. If she calls, don’t answer and don’t call her. If she still doesn’t get the hint, then we may have to have 2 days of no contact. My soul is at stake here too. So I’m following his advice.

Dakota -

have you told her explicitly that you are trying to free yourself from the sin of gossip, and so you need to ask her not to “vent” that way to you any more? Otherwise she’s just going to be totally confused. And who knows, maybe if she becomes aware of the sin, she will be able to break free of it as well. With God, all things are possible!

Gossip is a difficult one and is so very common. I even find many priests and sisters engage in gossip. In fact one sister told me that it is a problem in her monastery that they needed to address it. I find it is one of my tendencies as well but I am working through it. I did discover that there is a difference between gossip and venting. Sometimes it is cathartic to do a bit of venting, even if it involves talking about a person. But I am selective as to who I vent to. I usually do it with my spiritual director or trusted friend who I know will not continue the conversation beyond the two of us. Whenever I am conscious of beginning to gossip I think, “would I want someone talking about me to others?” That usually stops it, but sometimes I am not even conscious I am doing it, and it is difficult in the staff lounge when everyone is doing it. But I have got a better at avoiding it and yes, that came with confessing it over and over again. Pray to our Blessed Mother to help you to stop gossiping.

I didn’t actually manage to read through the posts, but wanted to add my two cents anyway. I spoke with my confessor about this once, as I have the same problem with repeat offenses. His reply was to ask if I thought perhaps I should be more creative with my sins. :smiley: I wouldn’t sweat it. We all go through stuff like this, that’s why we have confession!

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