[quote="catholictiger, post:12, topic:306254"]
if you are sorry for the sins that you committed and seek repentance from God through confession your sins are forgiven.
there really isn't any necessary action by the penitent other then being sorry and truthfully confessing his sins.
remember for a sacrament to be valid it needs form (I absolve you) matter (the penitent or sin not sure) and intent (person is sorry for what he did)
There is even the possibility for a valid confession without having to confess your sins, but this would only be allowed in extreme conditions. For example a catholic firefighter can have a valid confession with general absolution if his life is in immediate danger for going into a building with an out of control fire. If he survives he must go to confession after.
if the number of times you confess something is necessary for the forgiveness of sin general absolution would be impossible.
note:confessing the number of times you have done a sin is good because a priest can give you a better penance which is necessary to pay the debt of punishment. In order to have the debt of punishment forgiven a person must mention that sin in confession, if he/she forgets to mention a sin committed that sin is forgiven but you still have to pay the punishment for that sin.
Now this I do not understand: your mention of paying a debt of punishment..
We do not 'pay the punishment' for ANY sins because that's what Jesus did when he died on the cross - He paid the punishment for our sins. If you think we then also have to pay a debt, then you are saying that Jesus' sacrifice was incomplete and that you have to earn remission of your sins by your own efforts, and this is contrary to the teachings of Jesus. There is NOTHING any of us can do to pay the debt for our sins - that is why we accept Jesus as the Lamb who died for us and only by His Blood is our debt paid.
This is why Jesus came and why He died, to become the ultimate and the final sacrifice, the perfect (without blemish) sacrifice for our sins (Colossians 1:22; 1 Peter 1:19). Through Him, the promise of life eternal with God becomes effective through faith to those who believe in Jesus. “So that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22). These two words “faith” and “believing” are critical to our salvation. It is through our believing in the shed blood of Christ for our sins that we receive eternal life.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The penance a priest gives a penitent sinner in no way pays ANY debt. Jesus' death paid that debt.