Was My Confession Valid?

Hi everyone,

Well last time I went to confession, my penance was to reconcile with a person who I was holding a grudge against. I talked to his best friend, who I also didn’t forgive for something he did to me, and he treated me with such abuse that made me afraid to go near either of them ever again. I know in order for Confession to be vaild, you have to complete the penance. But, what if the penance might bring serious harm to you? I’m scared if I get associated with these people again, they could hurt me.


Your confession is valid and your sins are forgiven without regard to your actually performing the penance. You have to be willing to perform the penance, which you seemed to be. However, if it is impossible, you should return to the priest and explain the situation and ask for another penance. You are not required to place yourself in danger.

However, you may not simply blow off the penance because it’s difficult. That would be a sin in itself. Just go back and tell the priest what happened. He’ll help you out.


The thing is, I went to confession at a retreat and I can’t get back to the priest.


Then you can go to another priest and explain the situation. Any priest would be glad to help you. Just go at the next confession time in your parish. :slight_smile:


A confession is valid whether or not you carry out the penance given to you by the priest. If the penance imposed on you, for some reason, cannot be carried out, you should perform some other act of penance, or like baltobetsy said, you can talk to another priest and explain the situation to him. This would not have to be done in confession though, unless you already plan to confess a different sin. In other words, you don’t have to re-confess your previous sins.

About the only thing that would make your confession invalid is that a.) you were not sorry for your sins to begin with and b.) the priest did not recite the correct words of absolution.

First your confession was valid and you were absolved. Now the point is are you refusing to do your penance or you are doing your best but it is not possible? From what you said you were trying your best and that it is what we are expected to do, we are not expect to be successful. You also have a Christian obligation to protect yourself. If you honestly think that there are no real chances of reconciliation and you also think that you will get hurt then you go to another priest (any priest) and share the details with him. However, you did not say that you tried to talk to the person directly you talked only to the friend. Maybe you should first try to go to the individual with a true apology without making excuses, and you should probably do that through the phone, email, or letter in order to avoid physical confrontation.

The person I talked to started sending me harrassing messages online, and got his internet girlfriend and her friend to harrass me as well. I talked to my school administrator, and the problem is settled. She and the guidance counsleor at our school both said we should stay away from one another. The reason why I was holding a grudge in the first place is because the guy threatned to kill my best friend and her boyfriend, and he was stalking her. I’m scared if I associate with him or his friend anymore, I’ll be threatned too.


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