What If the Sin Is Too Great To Confess?


#1

I was just looking around at CAF and I saw a thread called "Websites for battling impurity" and I think some of their advice if what I need to heed to. Mostly my sins are sexual and they told me that going to confessional is the way to be forgiven for mortal sins. I have never gone to Confessional and I don't know what I am supposed to do. I am still in RCIA and learning about the faith. My two questions are this: How do I confess in Confessional and what if the sin is to great and disgusting to admit to? I have done so many sexually disgusting things and I feel like anyone who I would tell would think I am a bad person. I think they would hate me If they would know the type of things I have done? I have also engaged in illegal activity(I was never caught for most of it) will the priest tell the police what I have done? Please answer my question I would really like to know.

Also If anybody has any prayers to battle impurity I would like to hear them. I need them desperately. Thankyou.


#2

You are in RCIA, you do not go to Confession until you have been sufficiently prepared by your instructors and priest. They will guide you through the process and help you. This will be close to the time you enter the Church.

There are no sins too great to confess.

Everything you confess in the sacrament of reconciliation is completely secret. The priest can never break the seal of confession and speak of your confession to anyone.


#3

There ain't no such thing.

If you're in RCIA, and have never been Baptized, you're in luck. Baptism erases everything that you did beforehand. If you've been Baptized and are just being received into The Church, they'll go over the routine and arrange for you to go to Confession before the big day.

There are some great audio files that explain it all and that should put your mind at ease a little.
catholicity.com/cds/confession.html
fultonsheen.com/Fulton-Sheen-MP3s/Catholic-Catechism-Series---Part-32---Sin-and-Penance.cfm?PID=80

Both are worth a listen.


#4

[quote="Samson33, post:1, topic:304876"]
I was just looking around at CAF and I saw a thread called "Websites for battling impurity" and I think some of their advice if what I need to heed to. Mostly my sins are sexual and they told me that going to confessional is the way to be forgiven for mortal sins. I have never gone to Confessional and I don't know what I am supposed to do. I am still in RCIA and learning about the faith. My two questions are this: How do I confess in Confessional and what if the sin is to great and disgusting to admit to? I have done so many sexually disgusting things and I feel like anyone who I would tell would think I am a bad person. I think they would hate me If they would know the type of things I have done? I have also engaged in illegal activity(I was never caught for most of it) will the priest tell the police what I have done? Please answer my question I would really like to know.

Also If anybody has any prayers to battle impurity I would like to hear them. I need them desperately. Thankyou.

[/quote]

Nothing you say in the confessional can ever be divoulged, it is called "seal of confession".
Most priests say that once they leave the confessional they have forgotten what it was said in there, could be a charisma the Holy Spirit given to the priests so as not to weight them down with all the sin they need to hear.
All the sins are borne by Jesus (which weights so much on me right now that I write this)
I hope that whatever illegal activities you were involved prior to your entering RCIA are no more. St Paul was involved with the persecution and killing of Christians prior to His "enrollment in RCIA" in the road to Damascus.
Take comfort in that.
So I say don't worry too much try to rectify what you can. We are all sinners


#5

This is an excellent question to bring up to your RCIA instructors, to inquire about when it is scheduled to be covered in detail (I'm sure it is).

Once you have gotten good basic instruction on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you are welcome and encouraged to make an appointment with your priest to discuss any personal difficulties you may be worried about.

But, don't worry. We were all there at one point. This seemed complicated and scary, but we learned about it and had faith and we learned to regularly confess our sins.


#6

If you can’t bear to say it exactly, there are a lot of figures of speech that are traditionally used.

If you can’t bear to say it at all, you could always write your confession and have Father read it.

You don’t have to go into full detail. Name of the sin, number of times. If you can’t remember exact numbers, go with a ballpark estimate, or say how often it happened (once a week for a year, whatever).

People have to tell their doctors a lot of embarrassing and shameful things. The priest is acting as a doctor for your soul. If you don’t tell him what’s wrong, he can’t help you.


#7

I've always heard priests say that they've heard it all, and also that they don't really remember it once it's been absolved.

The priest is there out of love for you, to heal you, help you, and guide you. Just remember that they bear no spirit of ill-will or disdain toward you, and remember how much of the love of Christ is in them in the Confessional.


#8

First of all, there probably isn't a sin the priest hasn't heard and they are under a seal never, ever to share any sin confessed in the confessional. I would perhaps talk to the priest about how soon to be able to go. My priest let me go earlier than typically, but then I never went through a formal RCIA. I really appreciated Fr. Larry Richards CD on Confession. If you go to his site you could perhaps get the CD. (it's so good) He gives "language" to help you confess embarressing sins. You will be so glad you did:) It is the most cleansing time if you do not hold back and are contrite and honest. God will show how much He loves you and will help you!

Blessings on your conversion, my prayers for you.

mlz


#9

As regards battles with impurity:

What helps me and my boyfriend the most is cultivating a great Christian love and charity for all people. When you lust after someone, you are ignoring their dignity as a human person, you are ignoring their beauty and preciousness as a child of God: you are merely reducing them to a body part. More than that, you are making them an instrument of your own pleasure: you are using them as an object, instead of treating them with the love they warrant as a person. Meditating on that was extremely painful for me, but it helped so, so much.

Welcome home, brother! You are loved.


#10

The book, The Imitation of Christ, is helpful to me, especially the chapter on temptation…


#11

Some people say that one way to handle a passion and habit for constant sexual excitement is to find something else to be excited about.

Clearly you have a drive to be excited very frequently. Perhaps that drive is too strong to tackle head on.

I have noticed that lots of people can get very excited about getting rich. Yes, I'm talking about making money.

Now, greed is a sin. But generally, it is not a sin to make money, even lots of money, if you do so by honest and ethical means.

So, I'm recommending that you get to work on getting rich. Through yourself into. I think you may find that will take over your mind and your passions, and you may come to see all that sex stuff as a waste of time. It really can be exciting to MAKE MONEY, and GET RICH.

Best wishes.


#12

Thanks for all the answers. I go really long stretches without committing that one sin, but then I just all of the sudden get the urge and can't control myself. Thanks for all the help It still troubles me, but a little less now.


#13

Here is a link to a great resource for purity. angelicwarfareconfraternity.org/

Here is a link to the CAF support group forums.catholic.com/group.php?groupid=369

As mentioned before, priests have heard it all in the confessional. They are acting 'in the person of Christ". When you sit down in the Confessional and speak you are essentially speaking to Jesus. Think of it that way. Just level with him and it will all be OK. Jesus is Love. All love comes from Him. All that is good comes from Him. Give Him your burden. He has already paid for it. Release it to Him in the confessional.

If you are fearful it is the Great Accuser, The Deceiver, Satan speaking to you. He is telling you that your sin is too great, that the Divine Mercy and Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are no match for your sin. Do not be deceived. Jesus already knows your sin. He wants you to admit it and ACCEPT HIS LOVE and FORGIVENESS.

Below is a teaching from the Director of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity. I found it very powerful.

Do Not Be Afraid!

Yours with the Love of His Sacred Heart,
Patrick
Jesus Touches You Through Faith

Are you aware that any moment you have the chance to be touched by Jesus?

You and I have been given the incredible gift of faith. Faith is the supernatural ability to make contact with Jesus. According to the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, each and every time you and I turn to Jesus and say to Him, “Jesus, I believe in you,” we make supernatural contact with Jesus. When we make such contact with him, heavenly power flashes forth from Jesus and touches us deep within our souls. When I say, “Jesus, I believe in your love,” a flash of light to know his love is given to me. When I say, “Jesus, I believe in your power to heal me,” a fresh application of divine medicine is applied to me. When I say, “Jesus, I believe in your Passion, Death, and Resurrection,” rays of light and love from Christ’s cross and resurrection illuminate my soul. Although we do not always physically feel these graces flashing forth from Jesus, we know that when performing these very personal acts of faith Jesus comes very close to us and works something marvellous in our hearts.

Let us be clear. In each and every act of faith we spiritually touch Jesus, and Jesus spiritually touches us by releasing the grace of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. In EACH and EVERY act of faith this happens. Why not perform acts of faith all the time?

“Jesus, I believe you are GOD. Jesus, I believe you are FULL OF LIFE. Jesus, I believe you are HOLINESS ITSELF. Jesus, I believe you are LOVE. Jesus, I believe you are there for me.”

Here is the way to grow in chastity. Faith is the way. It is always good to bring before the Lord our whole human sexuality and to set it at the Lord’s feet. It is good to come before the Lord and admit our weakness in sexual matters. Indeed, it is good to collapse before the Lord in a deep and honest acknowledgment of our radical need for him. It is good to expose our hearts to him that he may sprinkle his Precious Blood on memories of past sins or fears of future ones. It is good to welcome Jesus who says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20). Now is the time to open our hearts to him and say, “Jesus, I believe you are the Lord of my sexuality and I surrender to you completely. Jesus, I give you permission to purify me by your holy Presence.”

God knows that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mt. 26:41). He knows we are weak. Chastity is not living in dread of our weakness. Chastity is not living in fear of sexual sin. Chastity is not living in panic or anxiety about temptations. So long as one lives in such fear or anxiety one is still growing into perfect chastity. Perfect chastity is a peaceful, joyful, security in living out one’s own sexuality in a way fitting one’s state in life. Perfect chastity is born from repeatedly, daily, honestly admitting our weakness to Jesus, and setting our weaknesses at his feet with faith and hope in his will to transform us. Perfect chastity is born from the faith that God is always there for us with his power and love to rescue us from sin and death. Perfect chastity is born in us when through faith we become convinced down into our very bones that our deep need for love will not go unmet because God is the true love and God is here for us. “Faith,” St. Thomas Aquinas says, “purifies the heart.”

Jesus, I believe you are always there for me.

Let us pray for one another and for our whole society: that the joy of chastity may spread far and wide by the power of faith in Jesus.

Fr. James Dominic Brent, O.P.
Director of the Angelic Warfare Confraternity
Dominican Province of St. Joseph


#14

First of all: the priest is bound to absolute secrecy. Now, depending on what you confess, there may be a reparation to be done in order to be absolved, and it may be up to you whether or not you are willing to do it. But that is only speculation until you actually confess. It is, however, a sacrilege to be aware of mortal sins and not confess them, and a greater sacrilege to receive the Holy Eucharist in such a state.

That being said, it seems to me that your statement about a sin "too great and disgusting to admit" reveals truly a great candor in your heart, though perhaps you yourself are unaware of it. Perhaps you have not learned that in Confession the priest acts in persona Christi, meaning you confess to our Lord Himself, and it is the Lord Himself who absolves you - the priest being "merely" His chosen minister. And the Lord God "sees what is done in secret" and willed that "there is nothing secret that shall not be revealed", thus you are truly not telling Him anything new. Do not let yourself be stopped short by the intermediary, that is, the priest...you are talking to Jesus Christ, who has witnessed the greatest abominations, and who took on Himself the greatest sins, namely the most grievous offenses done to His body throughout the Passion, culminating with the piercing of His heart after His death.

I do not think that at this point you have read anything on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. That superb spiritual warrior and founder of the Society of Jesus described fairly well how Satan works with regards to confession:

Likewise, he acts as a licentious lover in wanting to be secret and not revealed. in the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wants and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to his good Confessor or to another spiritual person that knows his deceits and evil ends, it is very grievous to him, because he gathers, from his manifest deceits being discovered, that he will not be able to succeed with his wickedness begun.

Ultimately there are two masters: Christ, Lord by God's will, and Satan, master by usurpation. When we sin, Satan ties a mystical chain around us. There is only one way that we know of to break that chain: the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in which Christ Himself breaks the chain and restores you not just to forgiveness, but as if you had just been baptized - you would be pristine and pure. This is what the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah:

I am, I am he that blot out your iniquities for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Humble yourself before Christ and confess openly everything, knowing that the priest is under the sacramental seal:

every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents' lives. This secret, which admits of no exceptions, is called the "sacramental seal," because what the penitent has made known to the priest remains "sealed" by the sacrament.

The secret of the sacrament of reconciliation is sacred, and cannot be violated under any pretext. "The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore, it is a crime for a confessor in any way to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner or for any reason.

"A priest, therefore, cannot break the seal to save his own life, to protect his good name, to refute a false accusation, to save the life of another, to aid the course of justice (like reporting a crime), or to avert a public calamity. He cannot be compelled by law to disclose a person's confession or be bound by any oath he takes, e.g. as a witness in a court trial." (source)

I will finish with a last recommendation: the best and most direct way to not only achieve self-mastery but to eradicate lust from your soul is to develop a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The more you love her, the greater purity you will receive in your soul. She herself will plead to God for your sake, and it has never been heard that a prayer of the Virgo Prudentissima has not been heard and granted by Christ, Her divine son. I recommend the reading of "Treatise on the True Devotion" by St. Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort, as well as "The Imitation of Mary" by Thomas Kempis (yes, there is such a book, for those who only knew about "The Imitation of Christ").

You have not yet tasted freedom. Once you do, you will never again willfully become a slave of lust. You may fall under its weight, but as one warrior wounded by another, not as a slave following a master in chains.

Welcome into Holy Church, brother. Rejoice and be glad, for the Lord said: "Nobody can come to me unless the Father draws him. Many are called, but few are chosen."


#15

I can give you an example of why priests forget what people confess after confession and maybe it will make you feel better. I work as a customer service rep taking 70 or so phone calls a day, and at the end of the day I don’t remember all of the people I talked to or helped, it all just becomes a great big blur. I’ve helped people one day and then the person may call back 3 days later and will leave a message for me and my coworkers will be like do you remember talking to this person and I’m like no. By the time 3 days have gone by I’ve talked to like 210. It’s not until they tell me what the call was about that I will remember. So priests who hear so many confessions from so many people can’t keep up with and remember everything people said, and I don’t think they remember who said what either. It’s just too many people to keep straight what everyone said and who said what and who did what, it all just becomes a big blur and forgotten, out of his mind after the confession. It’s like if you walk into a room full of people you don’t know and they all tell you their name and what they do, by the time you get to the hundredth person you won’t remember who’s name was what and which one had which profession. :wink: They all just become a blur and as soon as you leave you won’t remember any of it. :smiley: It’s like when you recognize someone’s face but you can’t remember where you know them from. Priests don’t remember who said what after they have heard so many people’s confessions. So maybe that will help, that and the fact that they have heard everything anyone can confess I’m sure nothing will surprise him. :thumbsup: He might have heard a lot worse than what you will tell him.


#16

Samson, welcome to our Catholic faith! Your life's journey will be rich in learning and understanding more and more about what God wants of us and the many ways in which He helps us along the way. Learning to serve Him is a life-long process as we continue to grow in His love, although the path may be bumpy from time to time. Just persevere!

I agree with others that you'll learn a lot in RCIA, but I'm guessing that you're overcome with the immensity of your sins and are embarrassed and ashamed to let anyone in RCIA know about them. There is no reason for you to divulge any information at all about yourself in regards to transgressions against God's laws, or the laws of government. In no way should you ever feel obligated to discuss your shortcomings, failures, and sins with those attending your RCIA classes. The more you learn outside the classroom, the fewer questions you'll need to ask, and the less opportunity for accidentally divulging your sins to your classmates and teacher/leader. When you do ask questions about confession, keep them neutral and third party, in hypothetical situations, in order to maintain your privacy.

Since these issues are bothering you, I urge you to visit the sites other posters have recommended, read the catechism, and seek the counsel of a priest. You may wish to travel to another community to talk to a priest about what's on your mind, if you're too embarrassed to discuss these problems with the priest at your church. The priest may know of specific prayers, reading material, or even counseling that will help you to overcome the issues that trouble you. You may contact a priest as soon as you wish; you need not wait until RCIA has concluded and you're eligible to be received into the Church during the next Easter season. It's okay to call immediately for a private appointment. Of course, a good confession requires that you complete your penance, make amends and firmly resolve to stop committing those sins, but no sin is too great to be confessed. God already knows, of course, but He requires that you acknowledge your sins and ask for His forgiveness.

Just to help clarify terms for you, confession is the process of confessing to God your sins, THROUGH His emissary (or voice here on earth), the priest, who speaks for God during your confession, absolves (forgives) your sins, and tells you what formal penance (prayers and/or reading and/or acts that should benefit you) you must do. "Confessional" is a term we don't hear often these days in my area. It refers to the tiny, closet-like enclosed rooms in which people confessed their sins prior to the changes that occurred in the Church following Vatican II. Some churches still use confessionals, but most of them in my area have been removed, and confession is conducted in a larger room, either with or without a dividing curtain, depending upon whether or not face-to-face confession is chosen.

In a confessional, the shortened version of "confessional box," the priest sits in a closet-like tiny room to hear the confessions of the faithful who have sinned. Those faithful Catholics who are confessing their sins kneel on a kneeling bench in a little closet-like room adjoining the priest's "box." In most cases, the priest's box is in the middle, and the sinners' boxes are on each side of the priest. A window with a screen is on each dividing wall, and while one sinner is speaking with the priest, the other sinner has a solid door over his window screeen, so that he/she can't hear what is being said. The rooms are often lined with a sound-proofing material. The priest can't see you clearly through the screen, but he might recognize your voice or way of speaking. However, he is bound by vows never to reveal any aspect of anything said to anyone else in any way that might identify you. When no one is in either box, the priest may turn on a small dim light in his box, in order to read. A sinner (penitant) can pray and talk to Jesus while waiting his turn.

Here's a picture of a confessional, but, I confess (sorry, just couldn't resist that!) that it's the first one I've ever seen lacking doors or curtains: dummies.com/how-to/content/the-catholic-sacrament-of-penance.html

This is a good examination of conscience: fisheaters.com/penance.html

Here is more background: ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/GUIDEPEN.HTM

This site has a nitty-gritty Question and Answer format, although you and the priest will likely use different words: catholicbook.com/AgredaCD/PiusX/psacr-p.htm

Hope some of this info is helpful to you, Samson!


#17

You are right to be disgusted by sin. When you go to confession, you say what you did and how many times you did it. The priest doesn't have to hear a lot of details. Remember, there is no sin too disgusting that the mercy of Jesus cannot forgive it in the sacrament of confession.
i will pray for you.
:signofcross::signofcross::signofcross:


#18

Just say you commited the sin of Adultery. All impure sins fall under this commandment.


#19

[quote="Stephentlig, post:18, topic:304876"]
Just say you commited the sin of Adultery. All impure sins fall under this commandment.

[/quote]

I would not say this unless that was the actual sin committed.

Do not be afraid! Like others said, priests have heard virtually everything already, and nothing will shock them. They are especially sensitive to the fact that you will be new in the Church and probably nervous about your first confession. Remember, they try not to, and do not even want to remember anything you say once confession is over (they get good at doing this). Under NO circumstances whatsoever, for any reason whatsoever under the sun, are they ever allowed to discuss, refer to, hint at, whether directly or indirectly, anything at all that you say to them in confession.

Don't worry! Just tell the priest everything, as plainly as you can, and ask him to tell you if he needs more information.

Like one poster said, if this is your baptism, that takes away all your past sins automatically, so it's a non-issue.


#20

[quote="Qwestions, post:16, topic:304876"]

Here's a picture of a confessional, but, I confess (sorry, just couldn't resist that!) that it's the first one I've ever seen lacking doors or curtains: dummies.com/how-to/content/the-catholic-sacrament-of-penance.html

[/quote]

Those are the confessionals in St Peter's Basilica in Rome. If you want to go to Mass you have to walk right by them. My wife and I availed ourselves of the opportunity on our pilgrimage.


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