Serious confession problem - need advice quick!

So I went to confession today, confessed all my sins, had remembered some mortal ones from the past and the Priest wouldn’t let me confess them; he said “those are already forgiven you don’t have to confess them”, so I said (politely) “I thought that if we remember a mortal sin we’re obligated to confess it?” and he said “nope” and that was that . . . I mean part of me was relieved because some of them were embarrassing but I mean . . . what now?! Can I take communion tomorrow? Wth do I do? I wanted to confess, Priest told me not to . . . what do I do now? I mean if I pressed the point he probably would have let me but at the same time I didn’t want to be rude or holier-than-thou y’know?

Also, about latae sententiae excommunication . . . I used to be infatuated with secret societies and talked about 'em a lot and tried to join one. I mean I confessed all this long ago. But like . . . is the excommunication lifted by my repentance or what? Since promoting/seeking to join secret societies carries that penalty.

Apparently being an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic carries latae sententiae excommunication as well . . . wth! I’ve never heard of a revert doing anything to get the excommunication lifted or even showing awareness that they were excommunicated. What are we supposed to do?

My understanding would be that your priest is right–if you have the desire to confess these sins you are forgiven them. If you are troubled still by them, I would strongly advise going to another priest and confessing again; belt and braces can’t do any harm!

God bless! :thumbsup:

First, yes, take your Communion tomorrow and be blessed as you received the Lord’s body.

Second, take heart that the forgiveness of God has no bound. The Sacrament of Confession must be taken with the knowledge that God forgives sins if one repents of them. There are no sins that cannot be forgiven except the sin against the Holy Spirit.

The Sacrament of Confession is as much effective as the heart of the penitent. It is the state of your heart that is important. You can go for confession but if you are not sorry or regretting your sins, you do not make a good confession. Once you go with the right disposition and the priest absolves you, you can consider that your sins are forgiven and your confession is valid. There are sins that you could not remember but when you go for confession and feel remorse for all of them including the one you cannot remember, they are forgiven too.

BTW, you don’t have to confess a sin twice unless you commit the same sin again. So maybe that’s the context of what the priest said to you.

The problem with us sometimes is that it is difficult to really believe that God forgives our sins because of the feeling of guilt or because of the gravity of sins committed. This is exactly why Jesus died for us. All the burden of sins had been taken by his death so that we are free when we confess our sin.

So, have a blessed mass and thank God once again how he loves you and how easily he can forgive your sin. All it takes is that remorse of heart and a simple step to the confessional.

I am not too sure about the involvement in the secret society thing. To know whether it is a sin or not, the principle of the Commandments of God and of the Church still applies. Did you by joining the secret society contravene the Commandments? It is a sin if it is a yes. Depend on the nature of the secret society, most likely the sins are about the specific action or activity you are doing in there.

God bless you.

When a person “retruns” to the Catholic Faith they speak with their Pastor and he guides them back to the Sacraments, it’s not as simple as deciding to go to confession yourself. He will then lift the excommunication if there was one.

they were occult secret societies, then I rejoined the church, then fell away again and thought about joining one so apparently now I’m excommunicated

this ****ign sucks so much, i’ve been doing so well for the past few months, now I find out that it’s all been a big sham.


not mad at you, dont take this post the wrong way, im furious at myself, very distressed, I really don’t have much in the world, my mom is very depressed and distant, always has been, which really screws up a guy’s head, I have no friends, my little brother doesn’t like hanging with me, I finally found God and now I find out that I don’t even have him.

“Hey Mom, mind driving me to Richmond tomorrow, I did something so bad that I have to get the bishop himself to forgive me.”


Okay, apparently since I didn’t know it was an excommunicable offense (or at least I don’t think I did, I might’ve run across the list before but I’d forgotten it) I’m not excommunicated.

But what if I did? I can’t freakin’ remember this was like 6 months ago. I know that I was aware of latae sententiae but I’m not sure if I knew or did not know what offenses specifically fell under it.

I hate scrupulosity so much, but I want solid info here, if I need to go to the bishop I want to know that.

I just went to confession for it :\

I didn’t know I had to do anything else.

I mean obviously lapsing was the matter of the confession, but I never heard a priest say anything about excommunication.

You confessed…done…your life is different now,right? you follow Jesus. Go to Mass tomorrow and receive communion…God Bless you:)…Stop beating yourself up, we all make mistakes.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
:slight_smile:

Council of Trent, Session XIV

Chapter V.

On confession.

From the institution of the Sacrament of Penance as already explained, the Universal Church has always understood, that the entire confession of sins was also instituted by the Lord, and is of divine right necessary for all who have fallen after Baptism; because that our Lord Jesus Christ, when about to ascend from earth to heaven, left priests His own vicars, as presidents and judges, unto whom all the mortal crimes, into which the faithful of Christ may have fallen, should be carried, in order that, in accordance with the power of the keys, they may pronounce the sentence of forgiveness or retention of sins. For it is manifest, that priests could not have exercised this judgment without knowledge of the cause; neither indeed could they have observed equity in enjoining punishments, if the said faithful should have declared their sins in general only, and not rather specifically, and one by one. Whence it is gathered that all the mortal sins, of which, after a diligent examination of themselves, they are conscious, must needs be by penitents enumerated in confession, even though those sins be most hidden, and committed only against the two last precepts of the Decalogue, - sins which sometimes wound the soul more grievously, and are more dangerous, than those which are committed outwardly. For venial sins, whereby we are not excluded from the grace of God, and into which we fall more frequently, although they be rightly and profitably, and without any presumption declared in Confession, as the custom of pious persons demonstrates, yet may they be omitted without guilt, and be expiated by many other remedies. But, whereas all mortal sins, even those of thought, render men children of wrath, and enemies of God, it is necessary to seek also for the pardon of them all from God, with an open and modest confession. Wherefore, while the faithful of Christ are careful to confess all the sins which occur to their memory, they without doubt lay them all bare before the mercy of God to be pardoned: whereas they who act otherwise, and knowingly keep back certain sins, such set nothing before the divine bounty to be forgiven through the priest: for if the sick be ashamed to show his wound to the physician, his medical art cures not that which it knows not of. We gather furthermore, that those circumstances which change the species of the sin are also to be explained in confession, because that, without them, the sins themselves are neither entirely set forth by the penitents, nor are they known clearly to the judges; and it cannot be that they can estimate rightly the grievousness of the crimes, and impose on the penitents, the punishment which ought to be inflicted, on account of them. Whence it is unreasonable to teach, that these circumstances have been invented by idle men; or, that one circumstance only is to be confessed, to wit, that one has sinned against a brother. But it is also impious to assert, that confession, enjoined to be made in this manner, is impossible, or to call it a slaughter-house of consciences: for it is certain, that in the Church nothing else is required of penitents, but that, after each has examined himself diligently, and searched all the folds and recesses of his conscience, he confess those sins by which he shall remember that he has mortally offended his Lord and God: whilst the other sins, which do not occur to him after diligent thought, are understood to be included as a whole in that same confession; for which sins we confidently say with the prophet; “From my secret sins cleanse me, O Lord.” Now, the very difficulty of a confession like this, and the shame of making known one’s sins, might indeed seem a grievous thing, were it not alleviated by the so many and so great advantages and consolations, which are most assuredly bestowed by absolution upon all who worthily approach to this sacrament… Wherefore, whereas the secret sacramental confession, which was in use from the beginning in Holy Church, and is still also in use, has always been commended by the most holy and the most ancient Fathers with a great and unanimous consent, the vain calumny of those is manifestly refuted, who are not ashamed to teach, that confession is alien from the divine command, and is a human invention, and that it took its rise from the Fathers assembled in the Council of Lateran: for the Church did not, through the Council of Lateran, ordain that the faithful of Christ should confess, - a thing which it knew to be necessary, and to be instituted of divine right, - but that the precept of Confession should be complied with, at least once a year, by all and each, when they have attained to years of discretion. Whence, throughout the whole Church, the salutary custom is, to the great benefit of the souls of the faithful, now observed, of confessing at that most sacred and most acceptable time of Lent, - a custom which this Holy Synod most highly approves of and embraces, as pious and worthy of being retained.

In other words, you must confess all mortal sins (in number and species) that you have committed after Baptism. This is bound upon you under the assent of faith. You cannot receive Holy Communion until this is done (with the other parts of Penance), as is said above, if you knowingly withhold certain sins, you set NOTHING before the divine bounty to be forgiven (i.e., you’re still in a state of mortal sin). Even while Trent states, “the other sins, which do not occur to him after diligent thought, are understood to be included as a whole in that same confession,” that doesn’t remove the necessity of the confession of those mortal sins in species and number once one DOES remember them.

Council of Trent, Session XIII

Chapter VII.

On the preparation to be given that one may worthily receive the Sacred Eucharist.

If it is unbeseeming for any one to approach to any of the sacred functions, unless he approach holily; assuredly, the more the holiness and divinity of this Heavenly Sacrament are understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to give heed that he approach not to receive it but with great reverence and holiness, especially as we read in the Apostle those words full of terror; “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.” Wherefore, he who would communicate, ought to recall to mind the precept of the Apostle; “Let a man prove himself.” Now ecclesiastical usage declares that necessary proof to be, that no one, conscious to himself of mortal sin, how contrite soever he may seem to himself, ought to approach to the Sacred Eucharist without previous Sacramental Confession. This the Holy Synod hath decreed is to be invariably observed by all Christians, even by those priests on whom it may be incumbent by their office to celebrate, provided the opportunity of a confessor do not fail them; but if, in an urgent necessity, a priest should celebrate without previous confession, let him confess as soon as possible.

So, you must, if you are conscious of unconfessed mortal sin, have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance…confessing ALL of your mortal sins (I understand in time that you can only confess what you remember/are conscious of). Simply because a priest can celebrate “in an urgent necessity” without previous confession does not mean that concession was given to the laity.

Code of Canon Law

Can. 1355 §1. Provided that the penalty has not been reserved to the Apostolic See, the following can remit an imposed or declared penalty established by law:
1/ the ordinary who initiated the trial to impose or declare a penalty or who personally or through another imposed or declared it by decree;
2/ the ordinary of the place where the offender is present, after the ordinary mentioned under n. 1 has been consulted unless this is impossible because of extraordinary circumstances.
§2. If the penalty has not been reserved to the Apostolic See, an ordinary can remit a latae sententiae penalty established by law but not yet declared for his subjects and those who are present in his territory or who committed the offense there; any bishop can also do this in the act of sacramental confession.
Can. 1356 §1. The following can remit a ferendae sententiae or latae sententiae penalty established by a precept not issued by the Apostolic See:
1/ the ordinary of the place where the offender is present;
2/ if the penalty has been imposed or declared, the ordinary who initiated the trial to impose or declare the penalty or who personally or through another imposed or declared it by decree.
§2. The author of the precept must be consulted before remission is made unless this is impossible because of extraordinary circumstances.
Can. 1357 §1. Without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 508 and 976, a confessor can remit in the internal sacramental forum an undeclared latae sententiae censure of excommunication or interdict if it is burdensome for the penitent to remain in the state of grave sin during the time necessary for the competent superior to make provision.
§2. In granting the remission, the confessor is to impose on the penitent, under the penalty of reincidence, the obligation of making recourse within a month to the competent superior or to a priest endowed with the faculty and the obligation of obeying his mandates; in the meantime he is to impose a suitable penance and, insofar as it is demanded, reparation of any scandal and damage; however, recourse can also be made through the confessor, without mention of the name.
§3. After they have recovered, those for whom an imposed or declared censure or one reserved to the Apostolic See has been remitted according to the norm of ⇒ can. 976 are also obliged to make recourse.
Can. 1358 §1. Remission of a censure cannot be granted unless the offender has withdrawn from contumacy according to the norm of ⇒ can. 1347, §2; it cannot be denied, however, to a person who withdraws from contumacy.
§2. The person who remits a censure can make provision according to the norm of ⇒ can. 1348 or can even impose a penance.
Can. 1359 If several penalties bind a person, a remission is valid only for the penalties expressed in it; a general remission, however, takes away all penalties except those which the offender in bad faith omitted in the petition.
Can. 1360 The remission of a penalty extorted by grave fear is invalid.
Can. 1361 §1. A remission can also be given conditionally or to a person who is absent.
§2. A remission in the external forum is to be given in writing unless a grave cause suggests otherwise.
§3. Care is to be taken that the petition of remission or the remission itself is not divulged except insofar as it is either useful to protect the reputation of the offender or necessary to repair scandal.

If you were excommunicated latae sententiae, then you are bound to have that lifted by the way provided in Canon Law. I quoted Canon Law above in the case that the excommunication is not reserved to the Apostolic See. If you truly were excommunicated, then you are also bound by what Canon Law provides for those excommunicated.

I, in fact, had to go to the priest (he was given the jurisdiction to do so) to have my latae sententiae excommunication lifted a few years ago (for apostasy). There is provision in the Roman Ritual for it.

Don’t take my word for any of this, tho, you can read all these documents yourself.

Can. 1331 §1. An excommunicated person is forbidden:
1/ to have any ministerial participation in celebrating the sacrifice of the Eucharist or any other ceremonies of worship whatsoever;
2/ to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals and to receive the sacraments;
3/ to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, or functions whatsoever or to place acts of governance.
§2. If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender:
1/ who wishes to act against the prescript of §1, n. 1 must be prevented from doing so, or the liturgical action must be stopped unless a grave cause precludes this;
2/ invalidly places acts of governance which are illicit according to the norm of §1, n. 3;
3/ is forbidden to benefit from privileges previously granted;
4/ cannot acquire validly a dignity, office, or other function in the Church;
5/ does not appropriate the benefits of a dignity, office, any function, or pension, which the offender has in the Church.

I hope you find what you seek…

– Nicole

I know for a fact that most bishops, if not all, give their parish priests authority to lift excommunications incurred as a result of having had an abortion. Given the tragically large number of women (and men) who have been involved in an abortion at some point in their lives, it would be highly impractical and burdensome to insist that they all have to be personally absolved by their bishop before they can return to the Church.

If a provision like this is allowed for penitents confessing a sin as grave as abortion, I would think that it is allowed for most other “excommunicable” offenses as well. The only time a bishop really needs to get involved in lifting an excommunication would be if the offense caused some kind of serious public scandal, or if the offense was committed by a fellow priest. In other instances, I would think, it would make sense for him to delegate that authority to all priests as part of their faculties (authorization to offer Mass, hear confessions, etc. in that diocese).

So unless the priest told you otherwise, you can presume you are no longer excommunicated (if you ever were at all) and can receive Communion. If for some reason you had committed an excommunicable offense that only the bishop could absolve you from, it would be the priest’s responsibility to tell you so.

Also, when you say you “fell away again (from the Church) and thought about joining (a secret society) so apparently now I’m excommunicated” what exactly do you mean? I know there are such things as sins of thought, and some of them are mortal or serious, but you can’t be excommunicated just for THINKING about anything – there has to be action as well.

When the Code refers to “promoting” or “seeking to join” a banned secret society, it probably means more than just, say, visiting their websites, reading books about them, writing to them for information, or talking to a friend about them. In order for the excommunication to kick in, you would have to actually start the admission process, take part in an initiation ceremony, participate in a membership or recruitment drive or otherwise actively encourage others to join. And you would also have to KNOW, at the time, that by doing so, you were committing a sin serious enough to incur excommunication.

Finally, were the “sins from the past” that you remembered sins that you had already confessed? You only have to confess them once, not every single time you remember them. Also, you do not have to be mathematically exact about number and kind – your best guess is sufficient (“I haven’t gone to Mass for about 2 years,” “I visited a psychic several times,” “I’ve gotten into this habit for about the last 6 months,” etc.) This the sacrament of Divine Mercy and forgiveness, not an IRS audit :o

I see no reason to second-guess the priest in this case. Go ahead and receive Jesus tomorrow as you want to.

Likewise, if you define “heretics” and “apostates” broadly enough to include every single person who has ever left the Catholic Church, stopped practicing their faith, or expressed disbelief or disobedience to any of Her teachings at some point in their lives, it would be extremely impractical to insist that they all go through their bishop before they can come back to the Church. This is another case in which bishops would delegate their authority to lift an excommunication to parish priests.

The mortal sins I remembered were ones I forgot to confess.

Believe me, whoever was quoting Trent, I understand about the obligation to confess past mortal sins! I was very distressed by what the Priest did.

I’m thinking that to omit past mortal sins that you remember from a confession is obviously grave matter, but clearly there wasn’t full consent here . . . I wanted to confess them, I planned to confess them, I felt sorry for them, etc, but then the Priest would not let me, I tried to convince him but didn’t push the point because . . . well it’d be disrespectful.

Maybe I am excommunicated. I don’t know. This really really sucks.

I mean apostasy heresy schism all excommunicable, how many reverts are there on this forum and how many went to the Bishop?!

I’m not sure if the Bishop has delegated this authority to his priests in this parish or not. Maybe for abortion and not for the other ones, dunno. I guess I can shoot an email to one of the better ones around.

Let me just say again . . . this really really SUCKS.

(“well you should’ve thought about that before you denied the existence of God” yeah thanks jerk, I know someone’s gonna think that)

Oh my goodness, John 92, relax, you have been forgiven! Your priest said that you are, so you are! For those steeped in scrupulosity, I am sorry for the stress you put upon yourselves and others. Jesus loves us and I don’t believe He placed His emphasis on the law but instead emphasized loving and forgiving one another. :wink:

You do not have to go to your bishop if there is a priest in your parish who has the jurisdiction to lift excommunications that are not reserved to the bishop or the Holy See as provided in Canon Law.

If your priest did not intend to lift your excommunication when you came to him, then it was not lifted. I went over this in detail with my own priest. The Ritual has to be followed. Read the quote I also posted from Canon Law…and check out the whole section from Canon Law online at the Vatican website.

And…like in the quotes I posted from Trent on the Eucharist and Penance…if you have not confessed all of the mortal sins (and completed the parts of Penance, received absolution) of which you are conscious, no matter how contrite you think you may be, you will not receive Communion worthily if you try to receive it, but rather receive a judgment unto yourself…and of course…a big hint…if you believe you’re excommunicated, you shouldn’t be attempting to receive anyway.

If you fit the definition of one of the three from Can. 751, then you would be excommunicated:

Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.

Here’s the quote saying these three from Can. 751 excommunicate you:

Can. 1364 §1. Without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 194, §1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication; in addition, a cleric can be punished with the penalties mentioned in ⇒ can. 1336, §1, nn. 1, 2, and 3.

– Nicole

Somwhow I am doubting that anyone ever “excommunicated” you, did they, John 92?

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.