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Allen wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What happens when a person is not sorry for the sin they have done?
  • Do you just ask God to help you not do it again?


  { What happens when a person is not sorry for the sin they have done; do they just ask for help? }

Paul replied:

Dear Allen,

If the person knows the act is morally wrong and freely chooses to do it anyway — and they have no contrition (sorrow) about it — then they cannot be reconciled. They don't allow God's offer of forgiveness to take affect. It's like saying,

"I know I purposely hurt you and I'm not sorry, but will you forgive me?"

It makes no sense. It would seem that if the person wants God to help him to not do the act again that they might actually be sorry. It would be good to take this question to a Confessor.



Bob replied:

Dear Friend,

A person can have different levels of regret or contrition, but having no contrition is problematic.

If he were sorry to a degree, that is imperfect contrition and is still forgivable.

Perfect contrition is the result of:

  • great love, knowing that your offense was seriously injurious to the affected parties and
  • the desire to undo it and make complete reparation.

That kind of contrition doesn't apply to much of the wrongs we do, but still we are forgiven because we do strive to become more perfect.

You can ask God to give you greater love and therefore a greater sense of the affect of sin so contrition can grow.


Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Allen,

I just wanted to add to what my colleagues have said.

You said:

  • What happens when a person is not sorry for the sin they have done?
  • Do you just ask God to help you not do it again?

Yes! We can have either a perfect contrition or imperfect contrition for our sins.

As I said in another posting:

All that is needed for a valid Confession is a sincere heart and imperfect contrition.

  • Outside of Confession a perfect contrition is needed (which can be very hard) but
  • Inside Confession an imperfect contrition will do.

The Catechism tells us:

1735 Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.

If you are having problems being sorry for your sins, ask for that grace to be sorry in the sacrament of Confession itself and educate yourself on why your sins are indeed sins. One quote I always like is one that Eric uses:

Remember that the Confessional is a tribunal of mercy and healing, not of judgment. The point is not to accuse you or impose guilt; the point is to relieve guilt and apply the balm of mercy to sins so that they might be healed.

A sin is like an injury, and the priest is like a doctor.

So lay everything out there for the priest to hear, for he is not acting on his own, but Jesus is using the priest to hear your sins and mend your soul.

Keep this in mind: A soldier who doesn't tell the medic that he is seriously injured in embarrassing places, will die over time.

A medic can't mend a soldier who hides his/her wounds.

I hope this helps,


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