The importance of orally confessing sins?


I have heard all sins are forgiven at the sacrament of Reconciliation, even those sins that are forgotten to be confessed…

Then why, too, have I heard it is also mandatory for people to confess all mortal sins…even if all sins will be forgiven anyway?


I ask the Holy Spirit to help me remember all my sins. The mortal sins must be confessed and their are guide books to help know exactly what they are. After confessing my sins I always ask to be forgiven for the sins I no longer remember.


Forgotten sins are forgiven. However, if they come to mind at a later date, you are still obliged to confess them the next time.

A priest in my parish explained that one of the reasons oral confession is necessary is because when you sin (even in private) it is a sin against the entire church as well as a sin against God. It is considered public matter and you must, therefore, publicly ask for forgiveness (orally to a priest).

Also, penance is a sacrament, which is an “outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace”. The outward sign in this particular sacrament of penance is the priest’s oration of the words of absolution (which is actually Christ’s words of absolution through the priest). If you merely ask God’s forgiveness in private prayer, you never receive the graces of the sacrament. The graces of reconciliation are what strengthens you against future sins.


The thread title made me thing, what if someone is mute? Can they confess via writing?

What if their illiterate? (which isn’t that unlikely in places and times without widespread literacy)


GreenLantern, are you serious, or are you being funny? If someone was both mute AND illiterate, I guess they would have to bring a translator or draw pictures. :confused:


Now that I think of it it is kinda silly question but I was being serious.


They would most likely use ASL. Most priests know ASL.


Sin thrives in the dark.

By speaking our sins aloud, we acknowledge that which we are very reluctant to acknowledge—that we have sinned, and we freely chose to do so. Moreover, we are placing ourselves within the authority of the Church, and allowing our priests to exercise the binding and loosing authority granted them by Christ. Sometimes the mere prospect of having to confess one’s sin provides extra steel in the spine to avoid committing it.

Also, by confessing our sins aloud to a priest, when he assures us we have been forgiven, we know that to be true. The sin is gone; we are restored to full communion with Christ, and we can go and sin no more.


Spoken from experience, no doubt - I can relate to that! :o :thumbsup:


Confessing sins out loud is important in that we can’t just ask for forgiveness by just praying. That’s why we don’t just sit at home and say, “Lord, I’m sorry for my sins,” and be done with it.

I think it’s also about the humility and knowing that you have sins against God, the Church, and yourself. You wouldn’t really go up to someone on the street and say, “Hey, I just robbed a bank!” It’s all about knowing that you have sinned and the humility of professing that you know you have done wrong and want to do better.


One of the reasons for confessing aloud that I don’t think anybody has mentioned yet is the ability of the priest to provide proper counsel after the confession. How is the priest going to prescribe a good penance and helpful counsel unless he knows what sins are being acknowledged and remitted?



Confessing our sins is necessary because God wants us to do so. He knows us and knows what is good for us.

In the book of Genesis we read all about the fall of Adam and Eve and about Cain killing Abel. While God knew exactly what had happened and what sins had been committed, God still asks Adam and Eve [see Gen 3:11-14] what they had done. Again, when Cain kills Able in Gen 4:10, God asks Cain “What have you done?” God wants us to confess and it is, therefore, necessary for us to do so.

The Church is the earthly voice of Christ. It is to the Church that we confess so as to confess our sins to the Lord in the way that Adam, Eve, and Cain were called to openly confess. The Church by the authority granted by Jesus uses the priestly order to hear our confessions just as the OT people of God confessed their sins to the priest in order for him to make a sacrifice of atonement on their behalf. This OT practice is made clear in Leviticus chapter 5 verses 5-6.

I hope this helps.


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