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Lauren wrote:

Dear AskACatholic.com,

I have a question regarding my Confession today. After confessing all of my sins, the priest caught me off guard with a few questions.

He clarified one of my sins: that I had stopped speaking to few people and although I felt sorry for this sin which was why I confessed it, I really did not give much thought about how I was going to resolve it.

I told him I was trying to reconcile with my friend, which I wasn't, but at that moment that's what I decided I was going to say.

Afterwards I realized I meant to say I was trying to reconcile with more than one friend but in the Confession I just said friend.

  • Would this be considered an invalid Confession?

Thanks and God Bless.

Lauren

  { Would making this mistake when I was confessing my sins invalidate my Confession? }

Mike replied:

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for the question.

  • If you confessed all mortal sins and other sins you have committed since your last Confession with the intent of not doing them again, your Confession was fine.
  • If you intended to confess something to the priest but honestly said something else by accident, your Confession was fine.

If you omitted or hide something that was important due to embarrassment, it was an invalid Confession. Just mention the fact that you withheld sins or important information related to confessed sins the next time you go to Confession. This is what the Catechism states on this issue:

CCC 1456 When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know.

(Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf. St. Jerome, In Eccl. 10,11:PL 23:1096.)

So if something was omitted that was serious or habitual, bring it up the next time you go to Confession. The Bishops of the United States recommend that Catholic families go to Confession at least once a month.

We should always have an open heart when confessing our sins in Confession. The priest or confessor is a channel of mercy, not someone waiting to clobber us.

There is no sin that the Sacrament of Confession cannot absolve.

Follow the counsel the priest gives you and . . . don’t worry, if you have confessed with an open heart, your sins have been forgiven.

The Lord knows your good intent.

Mike

Lauren replied:

Thank you, Mike!

God Bless!

Lauren

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