Expert Answer Forum
Confession QUESTION from Betty July 19, 1999 Dear Sir:
After 20 years of being an inactive Catholic (I have been attending mass for the last 3 years), I discussed going to confession and communion with our priest. I thought about the serious things I had done (following the Ten Commandments as a guide) for 2 days and when I went to confession. I confessed my major sins which were extremely painful and bothering me the most and tried to explain the seriousness of them and my sorrow. The priest acknowledged that it was difficult to make a confession after this long and absolved me of my sins. He was very kind but I keep thinking of all the things I should have confessed. At first, I felt good about it and received communion, but now I keep thinking I should have taken more time to examine my conscience better. I was not hiding anything, just terribly scared, embarassed and sorrowful. I am truly sorry for all and am sincere about never doing these things again, but can't shake the feeling of not being worthy to receive the Holy Eucharist. Am I really absolved or do I need to do something more? As a young girl with very few sins, I never felt worthy either. Thank you for your help.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on July 21, 1999 Dear Mrs. Betty:
Welcome back to the Church. We praise God that you have returned to the grace and beauty that is the Catholic Church.
As to your confession, if you made a sincere and honest confession, not trying to hide anything, but merely not remembering everything once you got into the confessional, the absolution the priest gave you absolved you from all your sins, I believe. If you deliberately did not mention some mortal sins, then you certainly need to confess those. You should ask your pastor about this to be sure.
If you feel that you need to unburden your heart with these other sins that you forgot, then go ahead and bring them up at your next confession.
It is not unusual, I believe, to take a couple of times to unburden one's heart after being away from the Church for a long time.
You might want to actually make a list to help you remember all that you need to confess. And then burn the paper, of course.
But as best as I remember at the moment, an honest confession, in which some sins were inadvertantly forgotten, is still a good confession and all sins absolved. But please double check that with your priest.
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