Should I confess forgotten venial sins?

I just came back from confession, and realized that I forgot to tell about some venial sins. Is it necessary for me to mention them at my next confession?

Depending on your load of grave sin when you go in next time. We are not obligated to confess venial sins. If you are in doubt about which may be venial and which may be grave, do take it in and ask for help in understanding. It is always good to provide context or give the situation when there is gray on the matter.

Venial sin is something that is good to confess when you have no serious sin to confess. Since venial sins are basically the opposites of virtues, by confessing and discussing them, you learn how to deal with them better, and in many cases, God will grant you graces to deal with them.

[quote=PMV]I just came back from confession, and realized that I forgot to tell about some venial sins. Is it necessary for me to mention them at my next confession?

When you receive absolution all of your sins are forgiven, including the forgotten ones. However, if the sins remain a problem then the next time might be the right time to bring up the issues that are worrying you.

As the others have been saying. A forgotten venial sin is nothing to lose sleep over, because (as it has been said) it has been forgiven. And I believe the same rule applies to mortal sins, if you did honestly forget to confess them. 'Course, that sort of thing doesn’t happen very often, does it?

Thanks for the responses. Also, do you think it’s beneficial to go to confession after *just *committing venial sins?

Two points I can add:

with regard to venial sins, don’t forget that receiving the Eucharist cleanses all venial sins!

second, as someone suggeted here a while ago, at the end of my confession of sins I always say “I am sorry for any sins I may have honestly forgotten or was not aware of”. It’s not necessary per the comments above, but it eases my conscience later if I think of something I forgot :o

[quote=PMV]Thanks for the responses. Also, do you think it’s beneficial to go to confession after *just *committing venial sins?

No. It sounds like a practice that could easily lead to scrupulosity, and that’s not a good thing.
Besides, if one confessed after every venial sin, we’d be going to confession several times a day.

I see no problem with going to confession and confessing venial sins as long as it was part of your routine. For example if you go to confession every two weeks and it comes time for a confession and you only have venial sins, I would say go ahead and continue on with your typical confession schedule. I would not go out of the way to confess venial sins outside of a schedule, because everytime you bless yourself with holy water, say the penitential rite in mass, and receive the Eucharist your venial sins are taken away. The Eucharist also gives you the grace to combat committing mortal sins in the future.


I agree with Matt. I think I misunderstood the question. It’s not necessary to confess just after committing any venial sin. (i.e.–don’t make a special trip.) But neither should you postpone regular confession just because you have only venial sins.

My understanding is that the “Kyrie” at start of mass is sufficient to absolve venial sins. Eucharist does not forgive sins, venial or mortal.

It is not necessary to make use of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation for the absolution of venial sin, but there are powerful graces, unavailable through other means, that are obtained through the sacrament.

This is a summary (almost word for word mostly) of Chapter One of “Frequent Confession: It’s Place in the Spiritual Life”, by Benedict Baur. I highly recommend the book:*[font=Verdana]A person may go to confession because he is guilty of various weaknesses and bad habits, and strugles with his inordinate desires and his self-love. He wishes to purify his soul from every stain of sin, and to keep it pure and to keep his will directed toward God. He seeks inner purification, strength of will, and new strength to strive after perfect union with Christ.*

There are other means by which venial sins are forgiven, however when we go to confession we receive a Sacrament. The merits of the death of Christ are applied to those who have sinned after Baptism; this action falls upon our aversion from sin, and elevates us.

This grace is the strengthening and deepening of the supernatural life that already exists in our souls, and an increase in our love for God. It stimulates our will to acts of love of God and of contrition for our sins.

This grace not only blots out sin, but also undoes its evil effects on our souls more fully than when venial sins are forgiven outside of confession. It cures the soul from the weakness that follows venial sin, from the weariness and coldness toward the things of God, and from the inclination toward worldliness. It delivers the soul from its reawakened inordinate inclinations and instincts.

It does all of this by the power of Christ.

An important advantage of sacramental confession is that it engenders a more careful examination of conscience and a more sincere attitude of contrition than we are inclined to make when we make use of other means of confession. Indeed, this is an essential part of the sacrament, and the measure of the effect of the sacrament is determined by it. It depends on our personal attitude toward our sins and on our turning back to Christ and to God. In the sacrament of Penance our personal acts of penance do not remain purely personal but are linked with the sufferings and death of Christ, from whom the power of the sacrament comes.

Another advantage to frequent confession is that our sins are confessed to the Priest in his capacity as representative of Christ, and thus, in a sense, to the Church and the entire Christian community. We do not need to rely on our own subjective feeling as to whether or not our sins have “really” been forgiven.

Frequent confession looks not only backward to our past failings, but forward to the future. It aims at the positive goal of strengthening our will in our struggle to acquire Christian virtue, to become pure and pleasing in God’s sight, and to make the spirit reign over the passions and weaknesses of the old man. It helps to foster a Christlike disposition, hatred of everything that displeases God, a desire to make satisfaction for our sins, and a readiness to accept all of the sacrifices and sufferings that the Lord may aloow to come upon us.

*It provides an opportunity to avail oneself of wise spiritual direction.*[/font]

[quote=neophyte]My understanding is that the “Kyrie” at start of mass is sufficient to absolve venial sins. Eucharist does not forgive sins, venial or mortal.

Receiving the Eucharist does absolve venial sins, but not mortal.



I do believe it is beneficial to go to confession with only venial sins to confess. Do you have a regular confessor? Tell him you believe you would benefit immensely from regular confession and that you would like to come more often and would weekly/biweekly/monthly (as often as you think - he can tell you if he thinks differently) would be okay?

Everyone’s situation is different and everyone would benefit greatly from regular confession. Although the precept says confession once a year - don’t limit yourself - allow the Holy Spirit to work in you and if that means confession more often - you’ll be immensely blessed for it.

If you want to explore this concept further - get a hold of Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Frances de Sales or any of the other books listed in the many threads about frequent confession.


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