Was my confession valid?


#1

At confession a few days ago, I confessed a very old sin (over 25 years old) i had forgotten about. When i was a kid, about 11-12 years old, I loved reading the Book of Psalms. For some reason, I decided to start a project of copying all of the Psalms down, by hand, in a notebook. In order to force myself to complete it, I swore on a Bible that I would do it. I started it, but never finished it. I forgot about it. I don’t even know if God would hold an unconfirmed 11-12 year old to such a promise. But I remembered this recently and confessed it, along with many other sins, using the basic words above. After I finished listing my sins, the priest mentioned the “promise I had made to God” and said I might want to consider completing “reading the book of Psalms,” as a devotion. (It was clearly a suggestion for consideration and not an order or a part of my penance). I realized that he misunderstood what I said–he thought my promise was to READ the book, not to WRITE them down. Although it was clear he understood the fundamental nature of the sin–as a child I had made a promise to God that I had broken. But I didn’t interrupt him when he was talking as it seemed rude. He gave me counsel about other matters that I was dealing with, then gave me absolution and it was time to go. I didn’t know what to do, so I just finished normally and left. Is my confession valid? Do I need to go back right away? Should I bring this up the next time in confession and clarify it, but not worry about it til then? Or do I have to re-do my entire confession because I didn’t correct him?
Or am I being scrupulous?


#2

I believe you received valid absolution.

The only requirements for a valid absolution 1) are that you are contrite; 2) a validly ordained priest, who has the faculties for hearing confessions (except in danger of death), uses the words “I absolve you.”


#3

Let’s pretend Father knew you said "I promised to Write and he said you might want to consider completing Reading the Book of Psalms as a devotion. He is saying you might want to do this devotion… nothing more… nothing to do with the Sacrament of Confession - which is confessing sins and receiving absolution.

Maybe he did get it mixed up and thought you said you promised to Read… He stills says you might want to consider completing Reading the Psalms as a devotion. Again, Father is not tying reading to the confession. Your confession was you confessing sorrow and asking forgiveness for your sins and you receiving absolution.

All Father did was say you might want to consider doing something.

Your part is to maybe consider it… or take it a step further and consider it… after consideration… you decide… Do you want to make a devotional reading of the Book of Psalm? Yes. No. Its your call.

You made a promise as a little girl that wasn’t realistic and God understood that at the time. A sweet little girl wanted to do this for her Heavenly Father. He knew she was not understanding what she was embarking. He loved your effort and your intention. Be at Peace.

Do not leave the confessional if you ever have something else to say to Father ---- unless he tells you — “you do not need to ask or say anything else” or similar words.

Strangers on the internet or another parishioner at confession can not answer your questions that you have for Father.

You made a valid confession.

May you be at peace.


#4

You are being scrupulous . Forget it .


#5

Yes


#6

Your confession was valid.

As to your Psalm project, I wasn’t present, but it could be the priest DID understand that you had promised to write down the Psalms, but he might have felt that there was no point in completing it, so he merely advised you to read them through.


#7

I don’t see any reason to conclude that he didn’t understand you. He obviously realized that while you were still a child you had made a promise and not kept it, and he didn’t see fit to require you to keep the promise, even on a lesser scale. If he did not require you to make good on the promise when you had only promised a small thing, it is hardly likely that he’d require you to make good on a promise to do something more difficult but no more necessary to anyone else than the lesser thing would have been.

He obviously concluded that it was satisfactory for the purpose of your amendment that you repented from breaking your promise. I think he was merely aiming you back to a devotion you loved on terms that were less rash. Since it was reasonable to assume he had understood you perfectly well, I don’t see any reason you ought to have interrupted him. Accept that you are absolved, and do consider rekindling your love of the Psalms, as he suggested.


#8

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