Sin of presumption?

I just got back from confession, and as I was examining my conscience beforehand I tried to consider whether I had committed a sin of presumption or not. In the past I confessed this because I heard it was like sinning almost apathetically with the thought that you can just go to confession afterwards. Often times I’m not sure if this is actively in my mindset though.

In this case, I had really been trying to resist temptation for a particular sin and didn’t plan on going to confession that day. I failed to resist the temptation and went to confession this afternoon, and often in such cases I tend to get rather demoralized and find it much harder to resist sin when I feel I need to go to confession. With this being the case it’s almost like a domino effect; once I feel I’ve committed a mortal sin it just suddenly gets so much harder for me to resist temptation when I feel I’m already in a state of grave sin and I end up committing the sin more than once.

Often times, “just to be safe” I’ve mentioned the presumption aspect in confessions and making my uncertainty about it known. One time a priest told me that I didn’t need to confess this type of presumption and that sin of presumption was believing you’re forgiven without ever repenting.

It’s just very confusing to me because it almost requires thorough psycho analysis to examine my own motivations in committing a particular sin. Did I sin just because of the strength of the temptation? Or did I sin because of the temptation combined with knowing that I was going to confession later anyway so I felt it ultimately wouldn’t matter? These kinds of questions disturb me, because I never really feel certain of what my mindset was. And if there was the thought of “Im going to confession anyway” I don’t truly know if this was a thought I was aware of when committing the sin or if it was just swirling around in my subconscious, making the temptation more appealing.

At first I didn’t think I should confess such a thing today because I wasn’t certain that I explicitly had such thoughts, but later I said I might as well mention it just to be safe. But then during the confession I forgot and remembered as the priest was about to absolve me. I wondered if I should have interrupted him and added this to my confession, but quickly decided to stay silent reasoning that I wasn’t totally sure that I committed such a sin anyway. Was my confession valid?

Simplicity is crucial to a good Confession. So much analysing is fruitless; God certainly doesn’t inspire it. Simply “pour your heart out” in Confession. This was the advice given to me by a priest a while back. It has dramatically simplified my Confessions.

If by chance you forget to confess a mortal sin, you will still be forgiven. Simply bring it up at your next Confession. If you forget it completely, you are still forgiven, just as those who have been living in sin for years are forgiven when they repent, despite the near impossibility of remembering so many sins.

Presumption is: “God will forgive me, so I might as well commit this sin.” My understanding of presumption is not great, though, so I can’t say when it becomes a mortal sin.

**Some quotes
“… in this sacrament I only require a contrite and humble heart, with *sincere *will never to offend Me again, and sincere confession. In that case I forgive without delay, and thence comes a perfect amendment.”
– Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary

"The Council of Trent tells us that we are bound to confess all mortal sins of which we are conscious… you cannot simultaneously be conscious of doubt about sin and of sin”

  • Fr. Alfred Wilson

“When scrupulosity centres upon venial sins, mental anxiety is a pure waste of energy since their confession is optional because they do not separate us from God.”
– Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“The scrupulous person should say firmly: “God knows my sin; He doesn’t want to tell it to myself, which is what I’m really trying to do. He only wants me to be sorry for what it is. Even if God did let me see my guilt as He sees it, would I then have God’s view of myself? Would I have any real conception of His pity for my weakness, of the gladness with which He pardons me, of the generous grace He wants to give me? Yet these are the things it would profit me most to know. Why cannot I trust Him and tell Him simply?”
– Fr. Hubert McEvoy, SJ.

“If there is still a serious outstanding sin which He wishes you to confess, it is up to Him to bring it to your mind; and if He does not trouble to do so, it is safe to conclude that He wishes bygones to be bygones. If He does not recall the sin to your mind, He has no one to blame but Himself. Of one thing we can be certain and it is this: He will not half-do anything; whatever He does, He will do thoroughly and well. If He chooses to recall a sin to your mind, He will recall it with clarity and certainty, and not in a vague, foggy, disturbing way. His inspirations never destroy our peace of mind.”

  • Fr. Alfred Wilson

This can be helpful in terms of when one remembers something suddenly…from Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers fame:

A good thing to remember here is that bad habits can form like this so there is a particular value in resisting. Also, one may be able to make a prefect act of contrition are be forgiven in that moment, yet still go to sacramental confession later.


You reminded me of a relevant quote:

“When a demon suggests a bad thought, it is easy to resist the temptation; but if one does not immediately repel it, a second demon comes at once to help the first. Afterwards, in proportion as resistance is delayed, still other demons come and combine their efforts, and when one has to battle against seven devils all at once, it is very difficult not to succumb.”

  • Fr. Paul of Moll
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