What if I commit a sin with the thought "I'll just go to confession after this"?


#1

So my question is- if I make the choice to sin (such as sleep in over mass, or engage in a sexual sin, etc) and justify it by thinking “oh I’ll just confess it later on”, can that sin really be forgiven in confession or is that a manipulation of confession? What if I use that excuse often every time I dont feel like getting up early for mass? Or another example, what if I was tired of using NFP and went and got my tubes tied with the full intent of “just going to confession” after I do it? That doesn’t seem like it would be a valid confession. But then at what point WOULD it be valid to confess? I’m rambling (and am not thinking of getting my tubes tied LOL), so yeah, back to the original question in the title- how would you all answer this question?


#2

I grew up protestant and when I was a kid we use to think this is what Catholics always did.

Now that I’m Catholic I see differently. You are to live your life to please God…growing in holiness - this attitude is contrary to to a life pleasing to God. You don’t approach it this way or you haven’t a real love relationship with your Lord if you do!!

mlz


#3

It’s known as the sin of presumption. You presume God will forgive you, so you go ahead and sin anyway.

There are a number of problems.

a) To do this is itself sinful, so you add to the sin you already commit, not lessen it.

b) To make a valid confession, you need to be sorry for your sin. When you do what you describe, it is clear that you are in fact not sorry, so unless you have a true change of heart afterwards, your confession will not be valid (regardless of whether you receive absolution).

c) Perhaps true contrition will come afterwards. But how do you know if you are really sorry for the sin you commited? When you sin with this sort of legalistic mindset of subsequently meeting your obligation via confession, you will have a hard time knowing at any point whether you are truly sorry for your sin, or just going through the process, or just caving in to some sense of guilt instilled in you via your upbringing.

So yes, you are correct in thinking that it’s a manipulation of confession and would not be a valid confession. The only remedy to this is a proper realisation that you have sinned (the sin itself and the presumption). The problem, as discussed, is how to judge whether you are truly sorry. If you keep doing the same thing, with the same mindset, it’s a clear sign you’re not truly sorry. I don’t mean to be harsh at all; I think you know these things anyway by the way you posed your question. Spend some time in prayer before God to help focus and work through these things, and then go to confession and be as honest as you can.


#4

^ this.

Confession requires a contrition of the heart and a resolve to change from sinning. Fully intending to continue to sin in the future invalidates your act of contrition, and thereby the Confession. As for a one-time thing such as getting your tubes tied, while you would not be looking ahead to sinning more after Confession, it would still be an abuse of the Sacrament and a complete lack of fidelity to the Lord. Confession is intended for us to receive absolution for evil habits we are actively trying to cease so that we may grow in virtue. Having permanent contraception both shows a complete lack of self-interest in chastity and is extremely offensive to the Lord. To fully answer your question, you could commit the act out of contempt and at a much later date, if you were sincerely contrite about it, go through Confession, but it would require such a heavy submission of conscience and love to openly offend the Lord like that in the first place that I can’t imagine a practicing Catholic would ever do it.


#5

I grew up protestant and when I was a kid we use to think this is what Catholics always did.

Now that I’m Catholic I see differently. You are to live your life to please God…growing in holiness - this attitude is contrary to to a life pleasing to God. You don’t approach it this way or you haven’t a real love relationship with your Lord if you do!!

mlz


#6

It can be forgiven if you repent of your intention to misuse Confession. After all, sincere repentance of sin and the desire to never willingly, voluntarily commit that sin again by God’s grace are part of what makes a confession valid, as far as I know. If I confess a sin without repenting, or planning to commit it again, that sin isn’t forgiven, or is it?

Mind you, what you express has happened to me, especially concerning sins that can be addictive or are seen as somewhat minor (though they be grave matter). It is the spirit against Christ realizing that he cannot scare us away from God since we know His mercy and trust in Him, so he adopts the opposite strategy and makes us believe that God isn’t just merciful about our sins, but that in fact He doesn’t quite care…He’ll forgive us anyways…but even if God is merciful and all-forgiving, “no one makes a fool of God” (Galatians 6:7) :slight_smile:


#7

The sin of presumption is both common and serious, and it must be confessed along with our other sins.

Contrary to what other posters have said, contrition is not a mysterious thing. It is an act of the will. Sin deforms our conscience, so even with grave sins we may not experience repentance in an emotional context. What matters is that we recognize the wrongness and gravity of our sins and resolve not to commit them again.

In short: you can validly confess the sin of presumption as soon as you can honestly say that you do not intend to commit it (or your other sins) again.


#8

I thought about this question a lot too, thank you for posting it! I think if you have the thought preemptively then it would be a sin to do it, regardless if you go to confession after. I think it’s completely different if you don’t think about it and keep doing it,


#9

Perhaps this was directed at what I said, perhaps not. You are correct that contrition is not mysterious. However, it is not sufficient to intend not to commit a given sin again; one must be sorry for the sin they have already committed.

In the case of permanent sterilisation, an example given by the OP, this can be difficult. Naturally, it is easy to resolve not to do it again, since one cannot (unless the initial procedure was ineffective). But one must be sorry for having done it to validly confess. The sorrow can be for somewhat selfish motives (eg fear of hell), in which case it is imperfect contrition. Such contrition is sufficient for a good confession. Sorrow which is born from a love of God and regret for having offended Him is perfect contrition and removes the stain of mortal sin immediately, as long as the penitent resolves to get to confession as soon as possible.


#10

You need true and sincere contrition and a firm purpose of amendment for your sins to be forgiven in the sacrament of confession. To do what you have described would be sacrilege and an abuse of the sacrament – another sin added to the sins you went to confession to confess.


#11

I think you have asked a good question. I’ve asked myself this question before, too. But the answer is go to confession after making a good examination of conscience and when you can have the thought in your mind “with God’s grace, I’m going to do my best to avoid committing these sins again”. When you go to confession tell the priest your sins and what you told us here, and then know that your sins were forgiven.


#12

I have two sins that I struggle with very much that I keep repeating over and over and I have done this same thing. Well, I’ll just go to Confession! I just realized the gravity of my sin of presumption the other day, so yesterday, I confessed this to the priest as well and now have the firm amendment to stop doing them.

How long I can last, I don’t know.


#13

Just keep trying your very best – that’s all Our Lord asks of you. You will be in my prayers. God bless you.


#14

If that is the criteria for contrition, how could a sociopath ever make a valid confession?


#15

As others have said, you would need to add the sin of presumption on top of the other sins you confessed.

More seriously, though, if your attitude is that, are you truly contrite for what you did?

Can. 987 To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.
If you are not genuinely contrite for your sins, you may as well see a shrink for all the good it will do you. You must reject the sins that you committed (per Can 987, above) and must fully intend to not commit them again.

Granted, you, along with the rest of us, may fail in that effort (there is no limit on the number of times that you can be forgiven the same sin). But when you give your confession, you have got to, in your heart, be sorry for them and fully intend not to commit them again…

You might fool the priest. But you won’t fool God.

(BTW, I realize that this is in all likelihood a hypothetical question, but somebody else reading it may actually feel that way…thus the harshness of the words)


#16

A few thoughts:

a) A sociopath/psychopath can still know right from wrong, even if they don’t feel any emotional sense of sorrow. So they can still have an intellectual understanding that they have done the wrong thing and acknowledge that before God.

b) On the other hand, a sociopath/psychopath who does not know that what they have done is wrong has not sinned. To commit sin you must know and choose to do what is wrong, and mental illness/impairment can remove some or even any cuplability.

c) God will judge each of us perfectly, so even if we cannot understand how this all works, we know that God has it under control.


closed #17

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.