Should I repeat my confession?

I confessed some very embarassing stuff a with the last few years, but I didn’t know that I needed to note the number of times that those sins were committed. So I just said, “I did A. I did B. I did C.” I really don’t want to reconfess because it was so difficult the first time, so I’m wondering if I’m obligated to mention the number of times these sins were committed when I next confess. I’ve heard from priests that the number doesn’t matter, but I’ve also read posters here who have noted something contrary. I’m also very scrupulous, so I really try to avoid confessing things over and over again, if I can help it. But I’m not about to omit something that I believe should be confessed with the number of times it was committed.

Any thoughts?

Forgive yourself…move on. And have a Merry Christmas!!

From my understanding, as long as contrition is present, innocent or accidental omissions are still forgiven. So, if you truly didn’t know you needed to confess the number of sins, and the Priest did not ask, I’d say you’re good.

My thoughts…
find one priest to act as your confessor and listen to him,
and only him. You confessed, you have been forgiven and now it is time to move forward. Rejoice in the mercy & love of God, and move forward. Stop looking back. Now that you know, make sure to add numbers when possible. I confess monthy, with my spiritual director, who is fine with the use of “many”, “a few”, “once or twice”. It’s not about a list of “check marks” it’s about having a profound conversion of heart.

Please stop obsessing about this and consider finding a spiritual director who can act as your confessor, it has made a huge difference in my spriritual life.

Peace be with you on your journey.

Yes you are correct that one is obliged to confess the number of the mortal sins --Lust, murder 2x, adultery 3X…etc. (venial sins do not “need” to be confessed and if they are they do not need to be by number…)

If one forgets mortal sins…one mentions it in the next confession.

Now since you mention you struggle with scrupulosity – discuss this with your regular confessor. He should be able to direct you.

It can depend on your particular difficulties and the nature of what you forgot…as to what your next step is… (at times those with scrupulosity can be in a very different boat then those without such difficulties…)

Were you absolved? This might have been a general confession. We are cautioned against repeating sins already confessed to. If the priest absolved you, you should not reconfess the sins. As I said, in a general confession it’s more about the sin than the number of times committed. In other words, there are two ways to confess before the priest and receive absolution.

Yes you should quantify the sins.

General confession in the sort you are referring to is regarding mortal sins already confessed in number and kind etc…not about those which where confessed for the first time. Sins that are not required to be confessed at that time…for they were already.

Such is not what the person is referring to here.

I rarely list the number of times I’ve committed a particular sin, other than occasionally saying “one or two times,” “a few times,” or something like that. I think maybe when I was a kid in the '60’s and '70’s I may have given the priest a number, but if so, I haven’t since then. Usually I don’t even say “a few time,” just list the sins I’ve committed, and the priests I’ve confessed to have had no problem with that, at all.

Such is fine for your venial sins.

We only are obligated to confess the number when they are mortal sins.

(and sometimes we may not know the number and need to give an est)

I’m not understanding your answer. It sounds like the first confession the OP had might have been a general confession if the OP did not have to recount the number of times, or was not asked.

And no, a general confession is when the number of years that has passed since the last good confession, or because of the inability by the penitent to verbalize, or being overwhelmed by the gravity of sin, requires the assistance of a priest who guides you through a series of questions. And then absolves you.

Even in general confession, the priest said the sins cannot be reconfessed in a subsequent confession – which I confirmed.

A general confession is no different in receiving absolution – it’s merely that the priest guides the confession. And those sins cannot be reconfessed. I know because I checked with two priests on this in two parishes. So, if the confession that the OP is asking about was general confession , I’m “guessing” or “suggesting” that it might have been a general confession, because he was not asked for the number of times, then he cannot reconfess those sins.

Usually the penitent says “I want to make a general confession” and the priest knows what to do. Depending on the sin, the priest may ask how ongoing this is, but generally does not say “how many times” because the gravity of the sin is enough of it’s own. I don’t know the mind of the priest, but I was not asked because of the sin being confessed.

In any case, once a past sin is absolved it cannot be reconfessed. If it happens again, then it’s confessed again.

Let’s say it’s been years since my last confession. I go and make a general confession and I say it’s been 5 years since my last confession and I want a general confession. When the issue of missing Mass comes up and I confess “yes”, and the priest absolves me (I can clarify that it’s been many times during 5 years, the priest knows that it’s an ongoing or repetive sin. He then absolves me. I cannot go to another priest and say I missed dozens or a hundred Masses previously because I am absolved.

Now, if I then miss Mass again in the upcoming weeks, after that general good confession, I must confess that I missed Mass one time – but not repeat the already absolved missed Masses that I have already confessed to during the general confession. I must say “I missed Mass one time.”

General confession and the regular confession confer absolution – it’s the method of getting to the sin that differes.

The question that seems to come up with general confession, since the first priest brought this up right away after conferring absolution, is that the person may be tempted to reconfess those sins, again. Remember, the usual wording is “it has been one month since my last confession” and those are the sins that are to be confessed since the last good confession. Othewise, I’d be confessing sins from every general confession if I never thought I was absolved.

Anyway, sins confessed to before a priest and for which you received absolution are not to reconfessed no matter whether you offered or whether the priest asked you for a number of times, unless you commit the sin anew.

I see no reason to have to confess because you forgot to say how many times. Not all priests will interject with “how many times” even though they probably should.

I would just remember to do it in the future.

(Again I will add for some readers those with scrupulosity can be in a very different boat then those without such difficulties…so for those out there with such struggles --make sure you have a regular confessor to direct you.)

We are obliged to…in terms of mortal sins.

Such is not correct.

A bit from **Jimmy Akin **(Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers):

A reader writes:

I am aware that if one goes to confession and supplies the requisite contrition, then all sins which the person committed are absolved--provided that the person does not intentionally conceal any mortal sins.


Also, I have been told by several priests that this means that if one remembers a mortal sin after confession, they should know that they are forgiven for it so long as they mention it the next time they go to confession. 

Correct, though this should be formulated a little differently. You are forgiven if you meant to confess all your mortal sins and just forgot one. Having been forgiven of the one you forgot, you are still obligated to confess it the next time you go to confession. It’s not that your forgiveness of it is conditional on you adopting the intention to confess it next time. That sin has already been forgiven. It’s that you incur a new sin if you refuse to adopt the intention of confessing it. (

Canon Law:

Can. 988 §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in **kind and number **all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.

(grave sin = mortal sin by the way)

(again those who are scrupulous…it is important to have a regular confessor…and you may be in a different boat…discuss it with him).

I know. But since he or she has already been absolved of those sins, I don’t think it makes sense to go back and confess again just to insert numbers. Unless you’re saying the fact that he left out the numbers makes the confession invalid.

If I commit murder 5x and I later repent and due to my stress I forget to say that it was five times (the Priest will assume it was 1x) but I with contrition intended to confess all my mortal sins…yes they were absolved.

But if I realize it …I need to in my next confession (unless I forget again) to confess that it was 5x. If I do not…then there is new sin…for we are *obliged *to confess all our mortal sins in number and kind. Tis not a suggestion…

(again those out there with scrupulosity…see your regular confessor)

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