Some confusion about confession


#1

I’m planning on going to confession tomorrow. As I was looking through the examination of conscience, there were some mortal sins I remember from a long time ago (several years ago) that I’m not sure that I confessed, and other ones that I confessed but didn’t state the number of times (I wasn’t hiding it, I just always forgot to do it because I went irregularly, wasn’t used to confession and got too nervous to remember).
Back then, I probably went to confession once a year so everything is kind of fuzzy because I went so infrequently. I’ve been going to confession regularly now but I just suddenly thought about those sins now- and it bothers me a little bit. Am I supposed to re confess them?
If yes, do I mention that I wasn’t sure if I confessed it or wasn’t specific enough in the past… or what?


#2

If you genuinely forgot the sins, you did no wrong and it would be best not to dwell on it. However, if it continues to bother you, you can confess them and say to your priest that you were not sure if you confessed them in the past; after saying so, listen to what your priest says. He would know best in this situation.


#3

You do not have to, as long as they were truthfully forgotten in your previous sacramental confessions, and you were truthfully contrite for all previously committed sins.

BUT, it may be good for your sould to speak them aloud. If you do this, let your confessor know that they were prior to your previous confession, and truthfully forgotten at that time, but you want to "get them off your mind, now."

The 2nd part above is merely a suggestion.


#4

[quote="snowflakeinlove, post:1, topic:309566"]
I'm planning on going to confession tomorrow. As I was looking through the examination of conscience, there were some mortal sins I remember from a long time ago (several years ago) that I'm not sure that I confessed, and other ones that I confessed but didn't state the number of times (I wasn't hiding it, I just always forgot to do it because I went irregularly, wasn't used to confession and got too nervous to remember).
Back then, I probably went to confession once a year so everything is kind of fuzzy because I went so infrequently. I've been going to confession regularly now but I just suddenly thought about those sins now- and it bothers me a little bit. Am I supposed to re confess them?
If yes, do I mention that I wasn't sure if I confessed it or wasn't specific enough in the past... or what?

[/quote]

Yes. Just be honest with the priest (Jesus) and tell him that you remembered some sins you may not have confessed. Be sure you don't keep going over these same sins, though. You might want to make a list just to be sure you don't leave anything out this time, but be sure to destroy the list once you are out of the confessional. If you are going to need more than 7-10 minutes, please try to make an appointment outside of confession hours, unless you don't have a line of people waiting to confess after you.

Technically, the sins you did confess are absolved, but I have found for my own peace of mind, I may have to go back once and "clean up" a little more thoroughly. But I also have to trust that the absolution "took," and not doubt God's mercy and power.


#5

[quote="Big_Feet, post:3, topic:309566"]
You do not have to, as long as they were truthfully forgotten in your previous sacramental confessions, and you were truthfully contrite for all previously committed sins.

BUT, it may be good for your sould to speak them aloud. If you do this, let your confessor know that they were prior to your previous confession, and truthfully forgotten at that time, but you want to "get them off your mind, now."

The 2nd part above is merely a suggestion.

[/quote]

One is obliged to confess forgotten mortal sins...tis not a suggestion.


#6

I will repost some bits of my posts from the past.

One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the kind -- like it was your brother you murdered! or the gold cup you stole was from the Church (hence sacrilege))

Venial sins are recommended to be confessed. They can also be forgiven in many other ways.

Of course after a good examination we may not ...remember everything..that is ok...we do what we can..God forgives the forgotten ones too (we need of course to be sorry for all our mortal sins...and amended)...then if we later remember one we forgot..we are to confess it in the next confession after we remember it. (this is different from if we intentionally hide a mortal sin...which would make it an invalid confession and require a full reconfession of mortal sins..and that one...)

If something is doubtful one notes it is doubtful in some way. While one is not strictly obliged to confess doubtful mortal sins -- it is normally recommended to (though those with scruples may be recommended not to).

Also we may not know the numbers ...we do what can ....and if we do not know..we make an approximation according to our knowledge from our examinination ...3-5x, 5-10 a month for the last 20 years, somewhere around 50 times, around 10x, or it was several times definately more than 10 ....it may be that one has to say: "a few times", "several times" "many times" "many many times" etc

Of course one needs contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.

Honestly forgetting to confess mortal sins

-is well --forgetting to do so. Hiding such is a different story. Assuming one was contrite and amended and intending to confess all mortal sins --and just forgot to say some ---

they are absolved indirectly.

Such can be said too of the case of a person who honestly who say did not have a clue they had to confess all their mortal sins or give the number....

One is to confess them in the next confession. Of course ones memory could honestly slip again despite ones intent etc to remember.

--Father I just realized I confessed murder before but forgot to say it was really 3 murders....

(Now I will note for some out there -- who struggle with scruples -- they may be in a different boat in some cases. For some seek to confess all sorts of un-needful things --they need a regular confessor who can guide them)

jimmyakin.com/2007/03/specific_confes.html (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers).

As to forgotten mortal sins: jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html

As to "doubtful mortal sins" (like I am doubtful if I gave complete consent to it) the general recommendation is that those of an ordinary conscience should confess them (noting they are doubtful) and especially those of a lax conscience (again noting the doubt). Though there is not a strict obligation to confess them.

Those who struggle with scruples are often rather recommended to not confess them directly (if they do they too would not it is doubtful).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd ..he loves you --in him is* true life *

(and thus in confession is true life!)


#7

Thank you for all your replies. :)

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:4, topic:309566"]
Yes. Just be honest with the priest (Jesus) and tell him that you remembered some sins you may not have confessed. Be sure you don't keep going over these same sins, though. You might want to make a list just to be sure you don't leave anything out this time, but be sure to destroy the list once you are out of the confessional. If you are going to need more than 7-10 minutes, please try to make an appointment outside of confession hours, unless you don't have a line of people waiting to confess after you.

[/quote]

Thank you this is what I will do. I was confused before because I'm not really sure if I actually forgot to confess them, or if I just forgot that I confessed them so I wasn't sure if it was ok to confess it again.


#8

[quote="snowflakeinlove, post:1, topic:309566"]
Am I supposed to re confess them?
If yes, do I mention that I wasn't sure if I confessed it or wasn't specific enough in the past... or what?

[/quote]

I will repost some bits of my posts from the past.

One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the kind -- like it was your brother you murdered! or the gold cup you stole was from the Church (hence sacrilege))

Venial sins are recommended to be confessed. They can also be forgiven in many other ways.

Of course after a good examination we may not ...remember everything..that is ok...we do what we can..God forgives the forgotten ones too (we need of course to be sorry for all our mortal sins...and amended)...then if we later remember one we forgot..we are to confess it in the next confession after we remember it. (this is different from if we intentionally hide a mortal sin...which would make it an invalid confession and require a full reconfession of mortal sins..and that one...)

If something is doubtful one notes it is doubtful in some way. While one is not strictly obliged to confess doubtful mortal sins -- it is normally recommended to (though those with scruples may be recommended not to).

Also we may not know the numbers ...we do what can ....and if we do not know..we make an approximation according to our knowledge from our examinination ...3-5x, 5-10 a month for the last 20 years, somewhere around 50 times, around 10x, or it was several times definately more than 10 ....it may be that one has to say: "a few times", "several times" "many times" "many many times" etc

Of course one needs contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.

Honestly forgetting to confess mortal sins

-is well --forgetting to do so. Hiding such is a different story. Assuming one was contrite and amended and intending to confess all mortal sins --and just forgot to say some ---

they are absolved indirectly.

Such can be said too of the case of a person who honestly who say did not have a clue they had to confess all their mortal sins or give the number....

One is to confess them in the next confession. Of course ones memory could honestly slip again despite ones intent etc to remember.

--Father I just realized I confessed murder before but forgot to say it was really 3 murders....

(Now I will note for some out there -- who struggle with scruples -- they may be in a different boat in some cases. For some seek to confess all sorts of un-needful things --they need a regular confessor who can guide them)

jimmyakin.com/2007/03/specific_confes.html (Jimmy Akin of Catholic Answers).

As to forgotten mortal sins: jimmyakin.com/2006/09/a_reader_writes_1.html

As to "doubtful mortal sins" (like I am doubtful if I gave complete consent to it) the general recommendation is that those of an ordinary conscience should confess them (noting they are doubtful) and especially those of a lax conscience (again noting the doubt). Though there is not a strict obligation to confess them.

Those who struggle with scruples are often rather recommended to not confess them directly (if they do they too would not it is doubtful).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd ..he loves you --in him is* true life *

(and thus in confession is true life!)


#9

[quote="Bookcat, post:5, topic:309566"]
One is obliged to confess forgotten mortal sins...tis not a suggestion.

[/quote]

Understood. Now, I have another one, then:

If one was unaware of the sin being committed as being mortal at the time of committing the sin, is it truly a mortal sin? As the 3 factors needed for a sin to be mortal have not been met, correct?

Grave matter : Knowledge of such : Willingness to and freely committing.

So, then, the necessity to confess further is abrogated, as the factor of knowledge at the time of the sin was not there to make it mortal.


#10

I went through this same phase in my faith walk. I realized that I needed to "mop up" a bit, so I called my priest and he set up a time for a General Confession where I went back and did my best to confess all mortal sins (X times a week for 12 years, etc...). He was very patient and gave me a mild penance (guess he thought my preparation was penance enough), and I left that office dancing on air. It was the best feeling in the world, and it gave me peace of mind.


#11

If you are in perpetual mortal sin you may not be allowed confession nor communion. Talk with a Priest first to save potential embarrassment


#12

[quote="Alloy1, post:11, topic:309566"]
If you are in perpetual mortal sin you may not be allowed confession nor communion. Talk with a Priest first to save potential embarrassment

[/quote]

???

I don't see how this can be implied from the OP. There are a lot of assumptions in making that statement.

Nevertheless, the OP in getting their ducks in a row, and that is something to be applauded. Very few Catholics reach this level of self-awareness in their pursuit of holiness.

I will be praying for you, snowflake :thumbsup:


#13

Talk to your priest about it. I can tell you now, however, that if you tried to confess every sin you could think of, all your sins are forgiven. If you remember a serious sin afterwards, mention it the next time you go to confession.


#14

Thank you to all who replied! I appreciate it.

[quote="Bookcat, post:8, topic:309566"]
I will repost some bits of my posts from the past.

One is obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (and circumstance that changes the kind -- like it was your brother you murdered! or the gold cup you stole was from the Church (hence sacrilege))

[/quote]

Thank you for posting all of that! It really helped clear a lot of things up for me.

I will be praying for you, snowflake

Thank you :)


#15

I am a convert to the catholic church. I converted about 6 years ago. Im was over 60 years old at the time. Having been an evangelical christian for many years confession wasw new to me. Well I did of course confess my sins in prayer to God every time I sinned. When I became catholic I confessed all of my recent remembered sins. There were sins that I figured I had already confessed to God privately in my past life. My question is, should I have confessed all of my past sins in my first confesion even though some of them may have been a mortal sin now that I am catholic? This is something that occasionally comes to mind when reading this forum.
Thanks to any that has an answer for me. I think it would be difficult to remember all sins commited before I became catholic but if I should do something about this then I will need to try.
Thanks, Dave


#16

[quote="Big_Feet, post:9, topic:309566"]
Understood. Now, I have another one, then:

If one was unaware of the sin being committed as being mortal at the time of committing the sin, is it truly a mortal sin? As the 3 factors needed for a sin to be mortal have not been met, correct?

Grave matter : Knowledge of such : Willingness to and freely committing.

So, then, the necessity to confess further is abrogated, as the factor of knowledge at the time of the sin was not there to make it mortal.

[/quote]

One does need grave matter, full knowledge and deliberate (complete) consent.

See Compendium quote above (and CCC for more).

Now -- If I have no clue that Y is a mortal sin (grave matter) and I do it honestly thinking it is good...(or a "small sin") well one say that the needed knowledge yes would be missing.

However I need not know all the "theology" involved or even the term "mortal sin" or even be a Catholic in order to commit such.

Much can be known via natural moral law ...can be known via reason without the benefit of Divine Revelation.

I can never have heard the term mortal sin -- and yet to use a clear example --commit murder and be guilty of the mortal sin of murder....

The person would need to examine their conscience in light of when it was done.

To take the example of converts....they too would confess all their mortal sins if any -- and in terms of those things of grave matter but which they are doubtful about -it can be a good idea for converts to confess even those they are doubtful they were mortal at the time (and not sure they were not sin at all on their part) -noting of course they are doubtful.


#17

[quote="bigdave3119, post:15, topic:309566"]
I am a convert to the catholic church. I converted about 6 years ago. Im was over 60 years old at the time. Having been an evangelical christian for many years confession wasw new to me. Well I did of course confess my sins in prayer to God every time I sinned. When I became catholic I confessed all of my recent remembered sins. There were sins that I figured I had already confessed to God privately in my past life. My question is, should I have confessed all of my past sins in my first confesion even though some of them may have been a mortal sin now that I am catholic? This is something that occasionally comes to mind when reading this forum.
Thanks to any that has an answer for me. I think it would be difficult to remember all sins commited before I became catholic but if I should do something about this then I will need to try.
Thanks, Dave

[/quote]

See my long post above...and the one just after this one above.


#18

[quote="bigdave3119, post:15, topic:309566"]
I am a convert to the catholic church. I converted about 6 years ago. Im was over 60 years old at the time. Having been an evangelical christian for many years confession wasw new to me. Well I did of course confess my sins in prayer to God every time I sinned. When I became catholic I confessed all of my recent remembered sins. There were sins that I figured I had already confessed to God privately in my past life. My question is, should I have confessed all of my past sins in my first confesion even though some of them may have been a mortal sin now that I am catholic? This is something that occasionally comes to mind when reading this forum.
Thanks to any that has an answer for me. I think it would be difficult to remember all sins commited before I became catholic but if I should do something about this then I will need to try.
Thanks, Dave

[/quote]

Yes, you should have confessed everything that you could remember, and also at the end of that confession, say, "For these and for all the other sins of my life, especially those that I cannot remember, I am heartily sorry."

I think you should make an appointment with your priest, and do a general confession. Go back through your life, decade by decade, and write down all the major sins you can remember, and any minor ones too. Since you'll probably have quite a few sins to confess, you don't want to do this in the regular confession line. And the priest may have some spiritual guidance to offer, which could take even longer.

Once it's done, you'll be absolved and you won't have to worry about this any more.

:thumbsup::)

Welcome home.


#19

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