Sins forgotten in Confession


#1

After many decades away from the Sacraments and the Church, I returned and made what I genuinely believed was a good and honest Confession. I thought I had covered all the mortal sins during my time away from the Church and received Absolution.
Subsequently, I have made a number of good Confessions and received Communion. However, as time has gone by, I have remembered mortal sins that occurred during my time away from the Church and which were not confessed to in that original Confession.
My question is, since I honestly forgot those sins, was my Absolution total, or was it invalid? And, should I now in Confession relate those sins I had forgotten?


#2

Forgotten mortal sins are to be confessed (in the next confession once one realizes it).

Jimmy Akin Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers: jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html

I assume you just did not realize that you forgot them -- and now after those confessions you now realize this.

It is one thing for me to realize that that I need to confess such and such mortal sin and another to not have a clue and realize it later.

That you meant to make a good confession and thought you were confessing all you needed to....

The Priest can assist you in confession --just tell him what happened.

(note for those with scruples -- ones regular confessor can guide one)


#3

Yes, you should confess these sins once you remember them. I believe that technically, the sins are considered to be forgiven if you had contrition for them and all the sins of your previous life, BUT, it doesn’t hurt to confess them now. Remember to confess the kind and number of times of that particular sin. It might be good to take some time and go back over your entire life and make sure you “clean up” properly this time…Although some sins are not known at the time, even of confession, and when you educated yourself more, you discover that some actions you thought were OK, were not.

Bottom line, yes, you should confess mortal sins.


#4

[quote="Simbakins, post:1, topic:323682"]
After many decades away from the Sacraments and the Church, I returned and made what I genuinely believed was a good and honest Confession. I thought I had covered all the mortal sins during my time away from the Church and received Absolution.
Subsequently, I have made a number of good Confessions and received Communion. However, as time has gone by, I have remembered mortal sins that occurred during my time away from the Church and which were not confessed to in that original Confession.
My question is, since I honestly forgot those sins, was my Absolution total, or was it invalid? And, should I now in Confession relate those sins I had forgotten?

[/quote]

You should confess them the next time you go to confession. Yes, those confessions were valid and your sins were forgiven. Also, you are not now in a state of mortal sin because you happen to remember them. You may want to mention to the priest the next time you are in confession that you remembered certain sins after being away from the Church for "X" years. He may try to counsel you in some way and help you with scrupulosity


#5

[quote="Bklynguy, post:4, topic:323682"]
You should confess them the next time you go to confession. Yes, those confessions were valid and your sins were forgiven. Also, you are not now in a state of mortal sin because you happen to remember them.

[/quote]

Why confess them now if they were already forgiven and he is no longer in mortal sin? :confused:


#6

[quote="SHoJ, post:5, topic:323682"]
Why confess them now if they were already forgiven and he is no longer in mortal sin? :confused:

[/quote]

I could be wrong, but I think it's because church law says that you must confess them, and breaking church law is a sin in itself.


#7

[quote="SHoJ, post:5, topic:323682"]
Why confess them now if they were already forgiven and he is no longer in mortal sin? :confused:

[/quote]

One is obliged to....(mortal sins that is)

jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers)

(note for those with scruples -- ones regular confessor can guide one...I mention this cause those with such difficulties can start to want to confess all sorts of things not needful....etc)


#8

[quote="Bookcat, post:7, topic:323682"]
One is obliged to....(mortal sins that is)

jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers)

[/quote]

Okay, so Jimmy Akins says so, but what about the CCC? Have I not read it (CCC 1422 - 1498) closely enough? Because I find nowhere in "The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" section that we must confess mortal sins if we remember them at a later date.

Please, can you show me where in the Catechism, it say that we must confess mortal sins that we forgot but later remember. The reason I am asking this is because my priest has cut me off in the past when I tried to confess an "old" mortal sin that I later remembered, telling me it had already been absolved during my previous confession and to move on.


#9

I can address that.

Catechism of the Council of Trent (Pius V) from Turin edition of 1914.* Sins Forgotten*
But should the confession seem defective, either because the penitent forgot some grievous sins, or because, although intent on confessing all his sins, he did not examine the recesses of his conscience with sufficient accuracy, he is not bound to repeat his confession. It will be sufficient, when he recollects the sins which he had forgotten, to confess them to a priest on a future occasion.

fordham.edu/halsall/mod/romancat.html Baltimore Catechism No. 3: Q. 793. Is our Confession worthy if, without our fault, we forget to confess a mortal sin?
A. If without our fault we forget to confess a mortal sin, our Confession is worthy, and the sin is forgiven; but it must be told in Confession if it again comes to our mind.

ourladyswarriors.org/faith/bc3-19.htm
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:**1456 ** Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.” 54 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf. Ex 20:17; Mt 5:28.

When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know."55
1484 "Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession."95 There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: "My son, your sins are forgiven."96 He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them.97 He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.
95 OP [Ordo paenitentiae] 31.
96 Mk 2:5.
97 Cf. Mk 2:17.

By the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Prot. N. 697/99/L (in the year 1999): "The norms in force are found in particular in the Ordo Paenitentiae of the Rituale Romanum and in the Codex Iuris Canonici (cfr. cann. 959-991, and cann. 960-962, in particular) and are based on the constant doctrine of the Church, as well as the traditional practice of the Latin Church, and therefore, it is not possible to modify them or to derogate from them for any reason."
Reference: catholicculture.org/cultu…iew.cfm?id=973Canon Law (CIC): Can. 960 Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and with the Church. Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such confession, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means also.

Can 988 - 1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and in number all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience.


#10

So one basically has to know Canon law to know everything a catholic should and shouldn't do. I think THAT sort of "legalism" is one of the reasons that people fall away from the Church. Some may say "good riddance to bad rubbish" about those who leave for this reason, but we poor "regular folk"seem doomed to hell because we'll never get it all right. :(


#11

[quote="SHoJ, post:10, topic:323682"]
So one basically has to know Canon law to know everything a catholic should and shouldn't do. I think THAT sort of "legalism" is one of the reasons that people fall away from the Church. Some may say "good riddance to bad rubbish" about those who leave for this reason, but we poor "regular folk"seem doomed to hell because we'll never get it all right. :(

[/quote]

No, it is all presented without needing to know any canon law. The catechisms and church catechism classes teach it.


#12

[quote="SHoJ, post:8, topic:323682"]
Okay, so Jimmy Akins says so, but what about the CCC? Have I not read it (CCC 1422 - 1498) closely enough? Because I find nowhere in "The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" section that we must confess mortal sins if we remember them at a later date.

Please, can you show me where in the Catechism, it say that we must confess mortal sins that we forgot but later remember. The reason I am asking this is because my priest has cut me off in the past when I tried to confess an "old" mortal sin that I later remembered, telling me it had already been absolved during my previous confession and to move on.

[/quote]

First off note that the Catechism (and I am a great CCC promoter) is not an exhaustive source and one needs to take into account other sources (such as Canon Law etc).

As for the Catechism:

1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: "All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly."54

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm#VII

The Compendium of the Catechism --a short text intended for all --issued by Pope Benedict XVI notes:

  1. Which sins must be confessed?

All grave sins not yet confessed, which a careful examination of conscience brings to mind, must be brought to the sacrament of Penance. The confession of serious sins is the only ordinary way to obtain forgiveness.

vatican.va/archive/compendium_ccc/documents/archive_2005_compendium-ccc_en.html

Readers can read it there or get a copy at their Catholic bookstore etc or here shop.catholic.com/compendium-to-the-catechism-of-the-catholic-church.html

Note well: Grave sin means mortal sin (mortal sin = grave sin = serious sin)

Vico has already provided some of the other sources.

Such is the nature of the Sacrament. All mortal sins are to be confessed. If one forgot one and was sorry for it etc -- it was forgiven with the rest -- but if one remember it one still needs to confess it. Such is the nature of the Sacrament.

(as noted above --some struggle out there with scrupulosity and can start to want to confess all sorts of unneeded things --they need a regular confessor to follow the direction of)


#13

[quote="SHoJ, post:10, topic:323682"]
So one basically has to know Canon law to know everything a catholic should and shouldn't do. I think THAT sort of "legalism" is one of the reasons that people fall away from the Church. Some may say "good riddance to bad rubbish" about those who leave for this reason, but we poor "regular folk"seem doomed to hell because we'll never get it all right. :(

[/quote]

The important point is to do your best and confess at your next confession if you remember. If you forget, then there are no worries. Certainly after not having gone to confession for many decades, one can start to think at subsequent confessions, "Now, did I confess this or not? I was supposed to confess the sins I forgot, but now that I have been back in the Church for a while and have been to multiple confessions, I don't remember if I concessed this. Do I have to keep re-confessing over and over each time I think about this?" Well, the answer is no. You don't have to keep dredging up things from your past and start to think, "Now, I don't remember if I confessed this or not." What this law is mostly for is that you go to confession and meant to confess sins A, B, and C. But, you forgot A and only confessed B and C. The next time you go, you should confess A if you remember it at the time.


#14

I can so relate to the opening post of this thread. My "first" Confession and only one so far upon returning to the Church was one hour in length and time was not spent in contemplation and banter, it had been 32 years + since my last Confession and I had done A WHOLE LOT!

You can honestly forget details, for example, I confessed the sin of violating the 8th commandment, I gave an approximate TOTAL amount, I gave specifics on what I remembered at that moment, what I failed to do was give one or two specifics of what was included in the total amount, I did NOT deliberately withhold that information, I was nervous and forgot to mention it. I had made a general statement about the various overall forms that I had taken to violate that commandment.

God knows our heart and our mind, God knows if we truly did our best or if we were trying to get by with something.

It could be very easy at time to commit the sin of despair and doubt the infinite forgiving mercy of God and that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a gift of grace in and of itself.


#15

I was born Catholic and nominally raised Catholic, but once I was an adult, I left the church on numerous occasions. During these years, I believed myself to be a committed “Follower of Jesus” and I attended many protectant churched, yet I would always return to the church and meet with a priest to confess my sins and get a good footing back in the faith. In April of 2012, I finally found a church that is now my home and I am now fully committed to the Catholic faith. Now, as a re-vert to Catholicism, I am consistently convicted by the Holy Spirit to examine myself. I have made four or five confessions since April of 2012, and each time my intention was to give a full confession. Then, a sin will come to mind and I am full of contrition, so I go to confession and confess the sin that I previously did not understand. Now I am questioning myself as to whether in the past 20 or 30 years I confessed mortal sins I had committed. I am reaching back two and three decades and though throughout the decades I made confession I know I wasn’t blatant about some of my sins. I was ashamed about my actions during a time that I thought I was such a good person living a life for Jesus as a “Follower of Jesus.” I know that I received absolution after my confessions, and I clearly remember my priest saying absolution for all of my sins, but I am obsessed with confirming that all of my sins were confessed.

I’m happy I read this post and the replies. I now know I need a confessor and cover all of my sins with him. My problem is, in our church there is only one priest and no deacon. We have a school as well as the parish and my priest is very active in other social justice commitments. I have made two private meetings with my priest, but each time I felt guilty about taking his time, for he is truly stretched. I may need to find a confessor in another church, but I will bring this to my priest first.

Thank you for having the information I needed to read.

May God bless you all.


#16

No, you must confess those sins. Maybe you should write them down so you don't forget them again. There are people who go into confession with a list of sins in their hand. This is perfectly acceptable. :thumbsup:

P.S. You received absolution for the sins you confessed in that original confession. Just because you forgot a few sins doesn't make the absolution invalid.


#17

While I made a good confession when I came back to the church I made a general confession five years later, just before I was received into the Lay Carmelite Order. I went back as far as I could remember (I was 49 years old) and wrote down all the mortal sins I could remember committing, even if I had confessed them in the past - some I had not. I came up with 13 written pages after the week-long process of examining my conscience.

I'd made an appointment with a very loving priest who agreed to meet with me and hear my general confession. It was a wonderful, humbling, and healing experience. Since I had a written list I didn't forget A, B, or C and it only took about 45 minutes. I've heard of some general confessions taking 90-120 minutes, but I wasn't seeking a lot of advice - just getting everything out there, laying my soul bare before my Lord and God. The priest told me a just few things about the wonders of God's infinite mercy, said the words of absolution, then gave me a great big hug.

This was all last year. Since returning to the church I've tried to go to confession bimonthly - then monthly - then biweekly. Now it's about every week. I mostly confess venial sins but if I remember an old (or new!!!) mortal sin I'm sure to bring it up.


#18

I was able to contact my priest, via Flock Notes, after posting my situation. He assured me that my sins are absolved but he will meet with me to celebrate God's absolution and the forgiveness which is provided through Our Lord Jesus; at that time I will verbally confess all of the forgotten sins. Thank You - With Love In Our Lord - Karen


#19

If you thought something was OK and it turns out it was not, how is that a mortal sin? Knowledge that something is a sin is required.


#20

[quote="SHoJ, post:8, topic:323682"]
Okay, so Jimmy Akins says so, but what about the CCC? Have I not read it (CCC 1422 - 1498) closely enough? Because I find nowhere in "The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" section that we must confess mortal sins if we remember them at a later date.

Please, can you show me where in the Catechism, it say that we must confess mortal sins that we forgot but later remember. The reason I am asking this is because my priest has cut me off in the past when I tried to confess an "old" mortal sin that I later remembered, telling me it had already been absolved during my previous confession and to move on.

[/quote]

I was told in my catechism that as long as a person is honest and tells all he sins he can remember, he is absolved. It was explained to me like this: "God doesn't send people to hell on a technicality."

I think it is generally advised to tell the sin the next time you go to confession, but it isn't necessary to run out immediately to confession, or to refrain from the eucharist. You are indeed in a state of grace. I think the reason it is recommended to confess at your next confession (whenever that may be) is both to formally relieve your conscience and possibly to obtain guidance/counsel from the priest.


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