Can you answer some questions about confession?


Full Question

What are the standards in regards to the faithful choosing one priest to hear their confession over another? If a person goes to confession, but deliberately does not confess a sin by choice because of fear or anxiety, what should he do? On a similar note, if a person fails to confess a grave sin by accident, what should he do?

Answer

People are allowed to avoid any confessor for any personal reason—including the embarrassment over a particular sin. No one is obliged to confess face to face. One is free to go to any parish he chooses for confession. 

If one deliberately chooses to withhold a mortal sin in confession, that in itself is a further mortal sin and the whole confession is invalid. If the Lord could suffer such agony on Good Friday to forgive our sins, the least we can do is humbly and honestly confess them. If one forgets to confess a mortal sin, that sin is still forgiven in confession, but the person is required to mention it the next time he goes to confession as an act of sorrow and contrition. It’s the least we can do in the face of God’s love for us.


Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.