Sigh... a bad confession?


#1

I was asking some advice on participating in an activity during confession, and I mentioned that I had stood up for the Catholic view against some people that wanted to add a sinful element to the activity. The priest asked a question for clarity regarding the circumstances under which I spoke out. Although his question on the setting was close and just a little off the mark, I simply replied in the affirmative out of… fear of being trivial? Expediency? I don’t know, but I felt guilty about it as left.

I hope you’ll pardon my ignorance on this, as my understandings of the technicalities of confession are still being formed (I’m a newer Catholic). I thought to myself as I was leaving Church, why didn’t I just clarify it? I know it’s wrong to conceal or lie during confession, so I thought it might be worthwhile to bring this up during next week’s Reconciliation.


#2

I think that you are being scrupulous. You did not conceal or falsify anything about a sin that you were confessing. You simply think that you should have responded differently to his question about a peripheral matter. If you see him again, simply mention it to him. Of interest to you might be the following:

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH SCRUPULOSITY

  1. Do not repeat prayers, no matter how badly they may have been prayed, even if the prayers were given to you as a penance during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

  2. Do not repeat the confession of sins that have already been confessed and which have never been re-committed.

  3. If you doubt the earnestness of your sorrow in Confession, consider the sorrow as having been adequate.

  4. If you are doubtful as to whether a past action committed was sinful, mention it simply to your confessor.

  5. If you are worrying that maybe you never confessed a certain sin from your past, consider it confessed. If you know for a fact that you have never confessed that sin, then confess it simply. The Holy Spirit does not torment us with doubts and/or guilt; rather, He always brings peace as He awakens our conscience to our sins.
    (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11: “Indeed, sorrow for God’s sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you.”)

  6. Examine your conscience for no longer than three minutes each day, and for no longer than about ten minutes before you go to Confession.

  7. If you have prayed at the time of temptation, you can be sure you did not commit a mortal sin.

  8. If you have a history of scrupulosity, and you have made a General Confession at some time in your past, do not make another General Confession. Once a month is a good norm for the frequency of a regular Confession.

  9. If possible, go to Confession to the same confessor-priest.

  10. Most importantly, cultivate a humble heart by complete obedience to the direction of your confessor. Be patient with yourself. Love is the goal of all our lives. It is important to remember that scrupulosity usually (and, quite often, ultimately) stems from one’s personal pride or arrogance, as though the scrupulous person holds this personal opinion: “I have a higher norm than most normal people.”


#3

[quote="po18guy, post:2, topic:335901"]
I think that you are being scrupulous. You did not conceal or falsify anything about a sin that you were confessing. You simply think that you should have responded differently to his question about a peripheral matter. If you see him again, simply mention it to him. Of interest to you might be the following:

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THOSE WHO STRUGGLE WITH SCRUPULOSITY
1. Do not repeat prayers, no matter how badly they may have been prayed, even if the prayers were given to you as a penance during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).

  1. Do not repeat the confession of sins that have already been confessed and which have never been re-committed.

  2. If you doubt the earnestness of your sorrow in Confession, consider the sorrow as having been adequate.

  3. If you are doubtful as to whether a past action committed was sinful, mention it simply to your confessor.

  4. If you are worrying that maybe you never confessed a certain sin from your past, consider it confessed. If you know for a fact that you have never confessed that sin, then confess it simply. The Holy Spirit does not torment us with doubts and/or guilt; rather, He always brings peace as He awakens our conscience to our sins.
    (cf. 2 Corinthians 7:10-11: “Indeed, sorrow for God’s sake produces a repentance without regrets, leading to salvation, whereas worldly sorrow brings death. Just look at the fruit of this sorrow which stems from God. What a measure of holy zeal it has brought you.”)

  5. Examine your conscience for no longer than three minutes each day, and for no longer than about ten minutes before you go to Confession.

  6. If you have prayed at the time of temptation, you can be sure you did not commit a mortal sin.

  7. If you have a history of scrupulosity, and you have made a General Confession at some time in your past, do not make another General Confession. Once a month is a good norm for the frequency of a regular Confession.

  8. If possible, go to Confession to the same confessor-priest.

  9. Most importantly, cultivate a humble heart by complete obedience to the direction of your confessor. Be patient with yourself. Love is the goal of all our lives. It is important to remember that scrupulosity usually (and, quite often, ultimately) stems from one’s personal pride or arrogance, as though the scrupulous person holds this personal opinion: “I have a higher norm than most normal people.”

[/quote]

Great advice. I am also a new Catholic, and have had similar questions/concerns in the past. In fact, I told a little fib during my first confession not related to my particular sins - the Priest expressed concern for me, asked me a question about my circumstances, and I basically told him things were fine when they weren't actually - something I often do out of pride. (I should probably confess it now - to obtain the graces I need to overcome that).

I still feel like I'm not doing it right when I go into the confession booth. The last time I went, I ended up sobbing and forgetting most of what I was going to say. But when we go in with good intentions, and we don't deliberately withhold, our sins are forgiven. Also, these days priests are so busy and the confessional lines so long, that I feel it is our duty to refrain from scrupulosity - out of love and respect for others.


#4

The Lord knows what we are made of. He does not expect perfection, as He did not create us perfect. Scrupulosity is becoming a major problem these days, and it can lead to doubts about God’s mercy - which we must never do.

As to confession, we nearly always forget something. Make a list before hand and carry it with you. Type and number of sins is all you need, as you are there for absolution, not for spiritual direction. If no one is waiting, you might mention that and ask for a few pointers. Most priests are happy to comply with such requests, providing no one else is waiting in line.

BTW, the commandments are from the Fathers of Mercy, a parish mission preaching order. One of their members, Fr. Wade Menezes, is regularly seen preaching homilies on EWTN.


#5

Your conscience has to guide you. Only you can decide If the priest’s understanding was close…just a little off mark…but he had the substance of the situation…think about this aspect…is that accurate. If it is…your later comments about not clarifying are just a scrupulous mind…and should dissipate…but if you continue to worry over it…scrupulous or not…take it to the priest in confession…let the priest clarify the disposition of the past confession…let him decide if its a scrupulous mind or if your conscience is correctly telling correctly you that you misled the first confessor by your lack of clarification…

Bottom line: don’t let anyone else except an experienced Confessor-priest decide if you are being scrupulous…don’t judge yourself…and none of us on the forums have ever heard a confession…not one…only a priest-confessor can help you…if it continues to bother your conscience.

Pax Christi


#6

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