I just went to confession tonight and confessed that I suddenly remembered a confession from almost 3 years ago (my first confession in 7 years) and that I was worried it might have been bad. I knew back then that I was supposed to confess mortal sins since my last confession and the number of times but for some reason, I confessed the frequency that a habitual sin was at the time, even though I had committed the sin more frequently at other times during the previous 7 years. I told the priest tonight that I kind of remembered thinking at the time of my confession that the frequency of the sin didn’t sound so bad and that I felt glad that I had been able to reduce the frequency. I went on to say that I was pretty sure it crossed my mind at the time that I had committed the sin more frequently in the previous 7 years. But after I said that, I wasn’t so sure that it had really crossed my mind, so I told the priest later on in the confession that it was hard to remember what I was thinking at the time, especially since I had been living in darkness, and that I didn’t want to say I had made a bad confession or that I hadn’t. Okay, so after I get home, I started to think that I am really not so sure that I had been thinking those things at the time of my previous confession. I had thought beforehand about what I was going to say and had it all typed up, so I just read what I had written to the priest. I confessed that I was sorry that I did not confess the complete number of times that I committed the sin in those 7 years; however, now that I think about it, I don’t think I realized at the time of my confession 2.75 years ago that I was sinning. I did tell the priest that if I had thought at the time that I might have been making a bad confession, that I would have changed the number of times I committed the sin because the whole reason I went to confession was b/c I had been living a bad life and was afraid of Hell. I do think that is true, but now that I think of it, I may have been blinded to the number of times b/c I had been living in darkness and perhaps I thought my confession was accurate. I just do not know for sure. I told the priest I may be culpable for ignorance b/c I had failed to learn my faith properly. That part is true. But I was truly repentant of the sin at the time and the confession turned my life around. (I also told the priest I had repented of the sin at the time and with God’s grace have never committed it again.) Do you think I need to go back and explain to the priest that the things I told him I “kind of remembered thinking” during confession and that I was “pretty sure I was thinking at the time” may not be true at all? You see, I agonize so much over what to say in confession–neither wanting to exaggerate or excuse my sins–that sometimes I think my mind may make up things that aren’t really accurate. Did this make whole confession bad tonight? I am thinking about going back and reconfessing.
I can see that you want to get this right. I think it would be helpful to make two lists: what you are certain of and what you are not certain of. For the certain list decide if you knew they were serious and deliberately committed. If so, then write down the number of times that you can remember, or an estimate if you cannot remember the number. Once you lists are done, decide which sins on the certain list that you already confessed. Any remaining, just confess next time.
The only thing I am certain of is that in my confession 2.75 years ago, I confessed the current frequency of a certain sin rather than the total number of times during the previous 7 years. I have doubts that I knowingly made a bad confession. That would have been foolish of me since I was afraid of going to Hell and wanted to confess my sins and turn my life around. However, I suddenly became bothered by the fear that I might have made a bad confession. I have confessed the number of times that I have committed the sin in question–that is no longer an issue. What I am worried about is that I confessed tonight to “kind of” thinking things and “pretty sure I thought things” during that past confession that I may not have really thought–in other words, they are doubtful. That’s why I said later on in the confession that it’s hard to remember what I was thinking and that I did not want to say for certain whether or not I had made a bad confession. The priest forgave me of all of my past sins since I have been confessing frequently for the past 2.75 years and confessing sins from the 14 years since my baptism whenever they came to mind. I thought I was absolved “once and for all” tonight until I got home and started questioning the truthfulness of what I had confessed that I had been thinking during that confession 2.75 years ago. Did I make a bad confession tonight? Do you think I am absolved until I make my next confession and I mention my concerns to the priest?
Trust your priest to ask for any clarification necessary to absolve you before he does so. If he doesn’t ask for clarification or any questions, then your confession is good if you have not *deliberately *held back a mortal sin.
As to your previous confession, your intention was to make a clean breast of things, not to deliberately hold anything back, so that confession was good too.
If you honestly erred, don’t worry - your sins were forgiven. You just explain the mistake the next time you go to confession. If you feel you would like to go back and receive the sacrament again there is nothing wrong with that, either.
You seem a bit scrupulous (like me!). God is not a bureaucrat. As long as you were honest and tried your best, you’re fine.
One only makes a bad confession if one does so deliberately, and the fact that you are not certain about something entails that your actions were not deliberate.
If actions are not pre-mediated, they are not mortal sins. They are possibly venial, which means that you don’t necessarily have to go to Confession again to clear your debts with God. Just say a good Act of Contrition.
However, if going to Confession again would allow you to lift the burden of conscience, by all means go!
Be at peace!