Two Confession questions

See title.

  1. How carefully are we obliged to prepare our Confessions? To give a practical example of what I mean, is it permissible to postpone one’s examination of conscience until entering the church, knowing that one may well forget some mortal sins? Or must one refrain from confessing until one has prepared very carefully, making absolutely sure to recall practically everything?

The second (related) question is simpler.

  1. I know there is a practice among people of mentioning forgotten sins at one’s next Confession. Is this obligatory?


I believe neither are obligatory but it comes highly recommended. The general rule of thumb is you are forgiven for all sins (forgotten and confessed), but only receive graces for the sins you confess. So it is to your advantage to seriously prepare and confess forgotten mortal sins so that you are ensured that you are receiving all the graces you can.

If someone more knowledgeable than I could provide links to some official church documents on the matter, I’d be grateful. I know there is probably more to it than that.

Passing along this adult examination of conscience written by spiritual director Fr. Altier in 2001.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit