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Teemu T. wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am from Finland. I was baptized in the Lutheran church as a baby but I didn't know that much about God before the year 2007.

On Easter Sunday 2007, I repented from my sins and started to live a Christian life but, before that, I did break the law. Now, I'm wondering:

  • Should I confess my crimes to the police, or
  • Is it enough that I have confessed them to God?
  • What does the Catholic Church teach about people in my situation?

God bless you,

Teemu

  { Should I confess my crimes to the police or is it enough that I have confessed them to God? }

Mike replied:

Hi Teemu,

First I want to thank you and thank the Lord for repenting and working with you to come around to an active Christian life. Praise the Lord!

You said:

Now, I'm wondering:

  • Should I confess my crimes to the police, or
  • Is it enough that I have confessed them to God?

It depends on the severity of the crimes performed. If you have defrauded someone, you can go and repay them, even anonymously. If it is a more severe crime or set of crimes: Yes, you have to confess them to the police.

If they were minor ones, consider casually talking to a policeman at the corner about what you did and ask him for his assessment. For short, [and both | God and Police] would be wise.

I would recommend you talk to a Catholic priest or Lutheran minister known for his holiness. They will be able to help you appropriately assess your past.

We have a forgiving God, but appropriate recompense [to pay or give compensation for; make restitution or requital for (damage, injury, or the like).] still has to be made.

For example: If I smash my colleague's Bob computer, Bob can forgive me, but I still have to pay to get him another computer.

You said:

  • What does the Catholic church teach about people in my situation?

This portion of the Catechism should answer your question:

I can also send you a Catechism of the Catholic Church if you wish.

Mike

Teemu replied:

Thank you, Mike.

I think it will really help me to go to the police station. I'm sure it is the right thing to do.

Lately I have been interested about the Catholic Church and I give a lot of value to the Church's teaching. That's why I wanted to know what the Church's teaching was. 

I also want to thank you for your offer to send me a Catechism. I already have one, so it's not necessary. I couldn't find an answer to my question from there, so I decided to contact someone who would know the Church's doctrines.

May the God bless you,

Thank you again.

Teemu

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