Sin. Confession. Worried

Hello all,

I need a bit of advice. I am in the process of reverting back to the Church after many years away. Right now, I am waiting to meet my local priest and discuss the convalidation of my marriage, to enable me to exit from my current state of mortal sin and be able to partake in the Eucharist once more.

That is not the problem, however. I have the matter of confession to tackle as well. It has been nearly thirty years since my last one, and in that time I’ve pretty much done everything to be frowned upon, bar murder!

It is going to be one heck of an embarrassing confession, but I understand you absolutely MUST confess all that you can recall, or it is sacriligious.

Can somebody tell me what are mortal sins? Is it sins in contravention of the Ten Commandments, or is it a wider scope? For example, I am in a state of mortal sin for marrying in a civil ceremony. Will it be sacriligious to be forgiven for mortal sins that I am unaware of, or have forgotten?

Hope some of that makes sense. Of course, looking my local priest in the eye again will be hardest of all… :o

Welcome back!:thumbsup:

As long as you confess all that you can remember and are not deliberately forgetting certain sins, you will be absolved from all of them. No worries!

As far as the scope of mortal sin, I’m not quite sure. You should consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m sure you will find your answer there.

Hi Thomas-it can be a frightening thought-confessing all the sins over the years-I know-my case was 20 years, not 30 as is your case yet the priest has heard it all, I am sure. Remember the seal of confession-he is not allowed to discuss what was discussed in the confessional, even if threatened with death. I know it’s tough yet once you confess, a big burden will be lifted from your shoulders, I am speaking from experience. Stay strong-Jesus loves you and the priest will understand. :slight_smile: You will do fine. And welcome home :hug1:

There are three conditions for mortal sins to have occurred:

*]The sin has to involve grave matter.

*]The person has to know that the sin involves grave matter.

*]The person has to then willingly and fully choose to sin.
Here’s a link to the section of The Catechism of the Catholic Church that describes all this much better and more fully.

As for confessing after 30 years… I returned to the sacrament after about 15 years, but I’ll bet my sins were worse than yours :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously, my first confession back took less than ten minutes, and that included confessing the sins I remembered, having the priest ask some questions to help me uncover some I hadn’t thought of, and getting some advice on my having my son baptized. I tend to keep my part of the sacrament very straight forward and short - no long explanations, just the facts.

So it doesn’t have to be a great big huge deal. It’s just a great big huge load off your soul. Go ASAP! You’ll be so glad you did.

And welcome back :extrahappy:


It will help you immensely to make a thorough examination of conscience, and possibly to take some notes while you do so. A good examination of conscience will take you through every possible aspect of sin, such as the Ten Commandments, or the Seven Deadly Sins, as I like to reflect sometimes. A good parish will provide a sheet to penitents for this purpose, and it should include hints for making a good confession as well as one or two Acts of Contrition. Just bring the sheet, and a list of your sins, if you made one, into your confession. It will help you greatly if you make an appointment with the priest, so you don’t hold up the “line” at the weekly scheduled time. Make a resolution to go to frequent confession from here on out. It will help you greatly to reflect on your past life and discuss it with the priest as you strive to be a better person and stay away from sin. I commend you for abstaining from the Eucharist until your soul is clean. God bless you.

The #1 thing to remember is THIS: You are confessing to God. The priest stands in place of Christ, he is His instrument. Why are you going to confession? You are sorry for your sins. You are sorry you have not responded well enough to God’s love. You want to return to Christ and His Church.

You should not be worried; Jesus is with you. The priest is doing his job. He is used to confession. “Nothing is new under the sun” – he’s heard it all before.

As for mortal sins, the best thing to do is to consult the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to enlighten you; ask Him that he may give you the grace to be truly sorry for your sins.

A mortal sin is ultimately a rejection of God’s love. What have you done that said “NO” to God. What have you done to reject God, the Creator, and instead turn towards mere creatures?

We are all sinners. God is merciful. Do not be scared.

Thanks everyone.

Each reply gives encouragement and a blueprint as to what I am expected to say. The page on the Catechism is a great help - I need to buy myself a copy of the CCC.

One further question though, regarding confession: If the priest stands in the place of Christ, and I am confessing to God, why can’t I do just that? Make a confession in prayer?

I’m not dodging the confession, I promise you! That is something that I need to do. I need God’s forgiveness, however difficult it will be to say some of the things I’ve done.

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

John 20:23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Seriously though don’t be worried, I was 25 when I made my first confession, and there were some real corkers in there I can assure you! An initial confession (either ever or after a long time) is a time of great mercy and grace.


Theologically, it is possible to have your sins forgiven outside of confession, as long as one is sorry to God out of the love of God and desires to go to the sacrament. This is** perfect contrition**.

Imperfect contrition (also called attrition) is where one is sorry, but not out of the love of God. Maybe it is for the fear of hell or loss of Heaven.

Mortal sin cannot be forgiven with imperfect contrition. After all, a mortal sin denotes a complete turn from God, and if one is not sorry out of the love of God for having offended God he cannot be forgiven. But one can be forgiven of his mortal sin(s) if he only has imperfect contrition in the sacrament of Penance.

See Attrition*. *

The Sacrament of Confession is a gift, not a burden. It is easier to be forgiven with it than without it (This is obvious when one understands the difference between perfect and imperfect contrition.)

That Jesus established this sacrament is completely biblical, and it was practiced by early Christianity. See The Sacrament of Penance.Or for a basic overview of biblical evidence, see:
*]How to Defend the Sacrament of Confession
*]The Forgiveness of Sins

Just wanted to say welcome home. Everyone’s answers are pretty amazing so far, but just know that the courage and strength to say what you need to say come with the grace of seeking confession. He wouldn’t lead you to it if He couldn’t lead you through it.

Welcome back. :hug1:

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