What about my former Anglican confessions?

If I have confessed my sins regularly (every 6 months or so) to an Anglican priest (I was previously Anglo-Catholic, and have been on regular retreats and to confession as a Companion of the Society of St Francis), do I need to confess them again when I make my first confession when I become a Catholic?

I can honestly say that the sense of relief that comes from recieving the absolution has made me forget many of the sins I confessed in the past. Do I need to try to remember them again? Am I still unforgiven, even though I have repented, confessed, been absolved and done penance?

I know the Catholic Church does not recognise the validity of Anglican orders, but does that make everything done by Anglican priests invalid?

Also, do I need to repent of having been a Protestant at my first confession? I don’t believe it was a sin that I came to faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord, and began a path of study which eventually led me to see that the fullest expression of Christian truth is contained in the Catholic Church. I understand that the Old Rite for adult confirmations includes a renouncing of all heresies, but that isn’t included in the Novus Ordo. Does the principle still stand though?


In the Catholic Church whenever one goes to Confession all one’s sins are forgiven, including those that one cannot remember. But one is obliged to confess all the mortal sins that one does remember. Later if one remembers a sin that one forgot to mention, one simply mentions it the next time one goes to Confession. Even though the sin has been forgiven, one owes the Lord the humble expression of contrition before His priest.

The sins you confessed as an Anglican need to be confessed again. But don’t worry about having forgotten some. Just mention what you remember. You do not have to confess having been a Protestant. The only way such could be a sin would be for a Catholic to deliberately becomes a Protestant, knowing full well that the Catholic Church is the only one founded by Jesus.

By your profession of faith, you will be renouncing all heresies.

Congratulations. You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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