Sinful to not go to confession?


So I have an opportunity to go to confession, but I also have a final exam. If I go to confession, I may not be able to study as much. Is it sinful to wait until Sunday when there is another opportunity


Why do you need to go to confession as soon as possible?

Not that confession isn’t necessary, but usually going once a month is sufficient. You’re technically only required to go once a year, IIRC.


Frequent confession of venial sins is good -but one need not take every opportunity. If one has mortal sin at any time - run to confession.


If you have mortal sin to be confessed go ASAP. Otherwise, confession can wait until Sunday. If you want to receive communion you need to go to confession for mortal sin(s). Until you do go to confession make a perfect act of contrition–it’s good for the soul and will prepare you for confession. :slight_smile:


Actually, we are not required to go to confession once a year, rather we are required to receive communion once a year (if possible). This is why many people go around Christmas and/or Easter so they can receive communion over the holidays. Only those with mortal sin must go to confession but it is highly encouraged for those with venial sins, as well. :slight_smile:


Yes we are.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part III, Section I, Chapter III, Article III


2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor…

**The second precept (“You shall confess your sins at least once a year”) **ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness.83

83 Cf. CIC, can. 989

Code of Canon Law, Book IV, Part I, Title IV, Chapter III

Can. 989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.


No, but if you have a mortal sin you should go.

Treat it as a study break. Exams are important, but so are breaks. And personally I’ve found that when I give my time to God, He gives me back so much more. I am able to work much more efficiently and have never felt that time with Him has taken away from my studying. :slight_smile:


Aquinas says : <<the opinion seems probable of those who say that a man is not bound to confess at once, though it is dangerous to delay>>

It is not sinful to not confess right away, though it may not be prudent to delay unnecessarily. You must, however, make an act of perfect contrition as soon as possible - where perfect contrition rises from the love of God Who has been grievously offended (while imperfect contrition, called attrition, arises principally from some other motives, such as loss of heaven, fear of hell, the heinousness of sin, etc.).

<<Regarding the time at which confession had to be made, some held that one was obliged to confess as soon as possible after sinning; others with Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas that it sufficed to confess within the time limits prescribed by the Church (Paschal Time); and this more lenient view finally prevailed.>> So you are not obliged to confess immediately after you commit a grave sin, though you are recommended to do so.

However, please note that to confess is more than just to state one’s sins. There are conditions on your side to be fulfilled for valid confession which constitute the quasi materia of the Sacrament: contrition, confession, and satisfaction.

In a special way, the contrition must be present before you confess.

<<Contrition, whether it be perfect or imperfect, must be at once (a) interior, (b) supernatural, © universal, and (d) sovereign.

Interior: real and sincere sorrow of heart, and not merely an external manifestation of repentance.

Supernatural: contrition ought to be prompted by God’s grace and aroused by motives which spring from faith, as opposed to merely natural motives, such as loss of honour, fortune, and the like.

Universal: real contrition includes “a firm purpose of not sinning in the future”; consequently he who repents must resolve to avoid all sin. One sin cannot be forgiven while another remains for which their is no repentance.>> Though each grave sin must be confessed in kind and in number, suffices an act of sorrow which implicitly included all sins - meaning, if one inadvertently forgets a certain sin, the confession is not invalidated (except if the penitent voluntarily witholds to confess a grave sin of which he is aware).

Sovereign: true contrition includes the firm will never to sin again, so that no mater what evil may come, such evil must be preferred to sin. Contrition which must be sovereign appretiative, i.e., in regarding sin as the greatest possible evil.

Without these, and thus a good examination of conscience, the confession may as well be invalid, so don’t underestimate them.

Can. 987 To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.

Of course, satisfaction after your confession is done is also essential.

(Quotes are from Catholic Encyclopedia)


Confession is a sacrament of mercy. Therefore, one must approach the confessional with confidence and joy. Without Confession there is no salvation.


Which is exactly the point Della was making. We are obliged to confess our GRAVE sins. This does not mean venial sins.


I’d go. Your soul is more important than your academic studies.

It’s not like it’s going to take that much time away from studying, and it’s good to take a break every now and then anyway.



[quote]Originally Posted by TarkanAttila
You’re technically only required to go once a year


Originally Posted by Della
Actually, we are not required to go to confession once a year

Originally Posted by R_C

Can. 989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess

faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.


So much talk about joy in these days, and no talk about tears and penance.

Let’s remember recent words of Pope Francis:

the mystery of the cross can only be understood, a little bit, by kneeling, in prayer, but also through tears. They are the tears that bring us close to this mystery. If we let ourselves cry, we can then recognize the cry of the penitent, the cry of the brother and the sister who are looking upon so much human misery. We are a society that has forgotten the experience of weeping, of ‘suffering with’; the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep. We too can ask the Lord for the gift of tears. It is a beautiful grace…to weep praying for everything: for what is good, for our sins, for graces, for joy itself. It prepares us to see Jesus.

Tell me: Do you cry? Or have we lost tears? I remember that in the old Missals there is a very beautiful prayer to ask the gift of tears.

The Prayer the Pope refers to is this:

Almighty and most merciful God, who brought forth a font of living water from the rock for the sake of your thirsting people: draw forth tears of stinging remorse from the hardness of our heart; in order that we may be able to bewail our sins, and, you being merciful, merit to accept their remission.

Contrition, which is part of the matter of this Sacrament, is defined by some theologians as a tearful sorrow and humility of mind, arising from remembrance of sin and fear of the Judgment. This may include tears - especially during a thorough examination of conscience or while confessing corageously, but what matters is a tearful heart, a contrite heart.

Aquinas states:

confession is an act of the virtue of penance. First of all it takes its origin in the horror which one conceives for the shamefulness of sin, and in this respect confession should be “full of shame,” so as not to be a boastful account of one’s sins, by reason of some worldly vanity accompanying it. Then it goes on to deplore the sin committed, and in this respect it is said to be “tearful.” We must understand this to refer to tears of the heart. Thirdly, it culminates in self-abjection, and in this respect it should be “humble,” so that one confesses one’s misery and weakness.

True joy is supernatural.


**Do you cry? **Or have we lost tears?



I’m sorry, but at the risk of sounding uncharitable, this query sounds like a cop-out to me.
Unless you are scrupulous, a good examination of conscience and a simple confession should not take more than 1/2 hour…unless, of course you have committed heinous sins such as mass murder or serial rape, or you turn Confession into a psycho-counseling session.
Having 2 advanced degrees, I have found that the wisest course of study for final exams is to study a couple or several days before the exam, and not to study the night before the exam. In that way, you will be well rested and have a clear head for the exam. Cramming the night before, while helping a marginal student to get a passing grade, rarely results in a really good grade.
In any case, taking the exam while in a state of grace, might just bring you a bit of luck!


I think it is okay to wait a few days if you have to because of a serious reason like needing to study for an exam.


The thread title was misleading. I thought you meant not go to confession. Period. Study in confidence. Take your exam. Go to confession the next time you can. I doubt seriously you’ll find a Sunday confession, but all parishes are different. You’ll most likely be looking at the following Saturday. It’s fine.

As a future guideline about what is and isn’t sin, here’s a fine little guide from the CCC:

1849 and forward (Not posted here)


1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."127

1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man."128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.


1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134


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