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Vicki wrote:

Hi guys!

  • What invalidates a Confession?

I had an experience regarding this question lately and I'm really worried.

I really tried hard to tell all my sins in Confession but, since I tend to talk quickly when I am nervous, was unsure whether I said them clearly enough.

As I finish telling the priest my sins, I had a:

Oh no, I messed up; the priest didn't understand-me feeling.

  • Was this Confession bad or invalid?

I asked the priest if he understood everything I've said but he just started giving me absolution. I kept on having a concern about the validity of my Confession as the priest absolved me, and thought:

All my work was for nothing. This Confession was bad or invalid.

As I left Confession, however, I realized that my Confession was valid. However, now I am worried about whether my original uncertainty about the validity of my Confession, as the priest absolved me, has made my Confession invalid, since absolution needs faith to work?

I'm confused and worried.

  • Did all my hard work and fear and courage end up in the trash because of what happened?

Help. Sincerely, Vicki (age 14).

Vicki

  { If I doubt the validity of my Confession during Confession, does it invalidate my Confession? }

Bob replied:

Vicki,

You are scrupulous and you tend to second guess God's Mercy. You need to focus more on the fact that God knows your list of wrongs and your hearts desire to do better. Stop focusing on the perfection or imperfection of the Confession and instead focus on the perfection of God's Mercy.

Whatever you miss, the priest is confused by, or whatever, God gets it. He will work despite the imperfections. Your intentions were not sinister so let it go.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Vicki replied:

Bob,

Thanks for your answer. I have another question:

When the priest was absolving me, I was like this confession was a bad one and was planning to re-confess as soon as possible.

I later realized the Confession was valid.

  • Did thinking it was invalid during absolution make it invalid?

Help,

Vicki

Mike replied:

Hi, Vicki —

You said:

  • Did thinking it was invalid during absolution make it invalid?

No, it didn't. As long as you confessed all known mortal sins with the intent of not committing any confessed (venial or mortal) sins again, your Confession was valid.

The sacramental formula I absolve you and the imposition of the hand and the Sign of the Cross made over the penitent show that at this moment the contrite and converted sinner comes into contact with the power and mercy of God.

When the priest absolves you, if he says anything other than I absolve you like:

  • I forgive you or
  • I bless you

find another priest to hear your Confession.

Bob said:
You are scrupulous and you tend to second guess God's Mercy.

Assuming this is true, do what I do. At the end of all your Confessions, just tell the priest that you want to receive good, Holy Communions. Period! Case closed; don't be scrupulous!

Remember, it is Our Blessed Lord Jesus acting through the priest to absolve you of your sins.
He was a man like us in all things but sin, so he understands our human struggles with sin.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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