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Carol Dixon wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been troubled with the recent Confessions I've made and am interested in how to make a general Confession.

Not that I did this intentionally, but my last two Confessions were not done right because I didn't mention the number of times I committed certain sins. Because I have also remembered a lot
of other sins in my past life, I want to make a general Confession.

  • When I do this, do I have to tell the Confessor:
    • which sins were from my first Confession and which sins are from my current Confession, in addition to which ones I forgot to confess the number of times, or
    • do I just say it's a general Confession and mention all the sins I can remember from my whole life?
  • For example, do I have to repeat sins of lust and greed that I mentioned in my first Confession in my next Confession and just tell the Confessor which ones I forgot to mention the number of times I committed, or can I mix them all up, since I will be making a general Confession without mentioning all the details?

Carol

  { Because I've been concerned about my recent Confessions, should ask for a general Confession? }

Mike replied:

Dear Carol,

Thanks for the question.

First, I recommend you read this posting so you understand how a general Confession differs from a regular Confession:

You said:
Because I have also remembered a lot of other sins in my past life, I want to make a general Confession.

If you are renewing your Christian life and have not been practicing the faith for a while, a General Confession makes sense, but once you have been forgiven in a general Confession, as in any regular Confession, you have to trust the authority of the priest and the Church that your sins have been truly forgiven by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember in the Apostles Creed we say:

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

None of us are priests, but based on your current and previous questions, I sense you have a sensitive conscience. This can be good, if it doesn't lapse into an overly scrupulous conscience.

You said:
For example, do I have to repeat sins of lust and greed that I mentioned in my first Confession in my next Confession and just say to the Confessor which ones I forgot to mention the number of times I committed them, or can I mix them all up

The only sins, where you have to mention the number of times you committed them, are mortal sins. If you accidently forget to mention the number of times you committed a mortal sin in Confession, just mention that you forgot to do this in your next Confession.

I would recommend you seek out a spiritual director/Confessor. This is a priest that has the time to guide you, spiritually, advise you, and get to know you. The more scrupulous a person is, the more advantageous a spiritual director is.

If your pastor or local priest is faithful to the Church, ask him if he would have time to be a spiritual director for you.

If he doesn't, call your local diocese and ask them if they know of any; monasteries can be a good place to look as well.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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