Was my confession valid?

Hi everyone,

So I went to confession last week in a church I had never been before. As usual I told the priest my sins and he gave me an absolution. I went to one of the pews and knelt down to say my penance, when I suddenly realized that he never gave me one. I went back over to the priest and feeling rather silly (I mean how did I not realize this earlier :confused:) I told him he forgot to give me a penance. He explained to me that he only gives penances to children, I thought this was very bizarre as I had never gone to confession without receiving a penance before. Uncomfortable with not having one, I said the same one I had after my last confession, thanked God for his mercy, and left. Looking back on it a week later I don’t recall saying the Act of Contrition either, but it was a week ago so maybe I did, but just don’t remember.

So, to summarize, I confessed my sins, received absolution, but did not receive a penance, and may not have said an Act of Contrition. Was my confession valid? Thanks in advance for responses.

I don’t really know, but I had an odd experience at confession my self last week. According to the priest at this church (it was my first time visiting the church) he only gives easy penances. In a way I felt cheated. :eek: Oh well I guess I am just that odd.

Hi! I read your concern and to put it simply your confession was valid. I don't know why Roman Catholics have problems wondering if they need penances at every confession. The penance is not necessary to make the sacrament valid. Even the act of contrition is not necessary since your presence there confirms your change of heart. The sacrament to make it valid is your own act of repentance that is confessing your sins. There are no other requirements to make it " officially " valid. Any other requirements like penances or the act of contritions are aids and even penances really are just routine. You really want to do penance than act accordingly after your Confession and try to learn from future occassions when you are tempted to commit the same sins. This will be a better penance. What makes the sacrament valid also is the priest and his words of absolution. I attend to Confession on a regular basis. I am Greek Orthodox and have attended to both Catholic and Orthodox priests for Confession. Since my Orthodox priest is married he doesn't have the time every week to give for confessions so I attend at times to a local Catholic priest. Confessions in both Churches are the same. Our Lord Jesus is hidden in the Priest and when we give out our sins Our Lord through the Priest grants us His Forgiveness and Grace. I hope this answers your concerns and please discuss them with your Priest as well. I am sure your Priest knows what he is doing. If you need guidance with your spiritual life than act accordingly and ask your Priest for it. He will probably give you an appointment so as to better discuss your own spiritual direction. God Bless!

Dear brother DavidKays

For an EO, you are wonderfully knowledgeable on Catholic teaching on the matter – which just happens to be the same teaching that the EO have on the issue.:slight_smile: Thank you for your words of wisdom to your Catholic brethren.

Blessings,
Marduk

One priest was asked why he didn't assign penances. He replied, "What can I give as a penance? If I tell you to say five psalms, or recite a rosary, you should already be saying these prayers."

You said and are paying your penance in the thread here if that's the case...if you really need to do something more, the next homeless person you run into, hand him a $100.00 bill and see what he has to say about your question......if you can spare it and the time...

[quote="GBR1, post:1, topic:182763"]
Hi everyone,

So I went to confession last week in a church I had never been before. As usual I told the priest my sins and he gave me an absolution. I went to one of the pews and knelt down to say my penance, when I suddenly realized that he never gave me one. I went back over to the priest and feeling rather silly (I mean how did I not realize this earlier :confused:) I told him he forgot to give me a penance. He explained to me that he only gives penances to children, I thought this was very bizarre as I had never gone to confession without receiving a penance before. Uncomfortable with not having one, I said the same one I had after my last confession, thanked God for his mercy, and left. Looking back on it a week later I don't recall saying the Act of Contrition either, but it was a week ago so maybe I did, but just don't remember.

So, to summarize, I confessed my sins, received absolution, but did not receive a penance, and may not have said an Act of Contrition. Was my confession valid? Thanks in advance for responses.

[/quote]

You don't have to get a penance and you don't have to pray the Act of Contrition for the confession to be valid. You have to present your sins and express contrition while the priest has to hear them and absolve you . The other things are good but not absolutely necessary. You could always do reparative acts for your sins on your own without being unstructed. As long as you are not being scrupulous or hurting yourself or another.

[quote="GBR1, post:1, topic:182763"]
Hi everyone,

I told him he forgot to give me a penance. He explained to me that he only gives penances to children, I.

[/quote]

I have encountered some priests of a certain age who must have been taught this in their training for some reason, the logic being they expect mature Catholics to do penance on their own, which is indeed part of the sacrament. But if both the priest and the penitent didn't get the memo, that leaves someone like you confused. you did the right thing.

i assume they were the normal words of absolution ending ;I absolve you from your sins…and that of course it was a catholic church :slight_smile:

the lack of a penance will not render it invalid. you did perfectly fine. the priest is supposed to give you a penence and if he will not …you can do what you did – do one like you have had in the past for similar things.

also --so long as you had contrition --and we assume so since you were in confesssion for some reason…then no prob.

actually in some countries the act of contrition is said privately or the person just has contrition…

so yes looks valid :slight_smile: so rest easy…you did perfectly fine.

[quote="puzzleannie, post:8, topic:182763"]
I have encountered some priests of a certain age who must have been taught this in their training for some reason, the logic being they expect mature Catholics to do penance on their own, which is indeed part of the sacrament. But if both the priest and the penitent didn't get the memo, that leaves someone like you confused. you did the right thing.

[/quote]

the Priest IS to impose a penence. of course he can discuss it with the penitent.

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