Incomplete confession?

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How does one know if they did a complete confession? I understand about the whole “If you forget to confess a sin, just do it next time” but what if you have a tendancy to babble and do not feel like the priest had a full grasp of your sins? I never feel like I explained my sins well enough. I never had training on making a good confession so I am floundering on this one. I never intentionally withhold anything, I just don’t think it all came out right, kwim?

I know that unconfessed sins or incorrectly confessed sins can put you in danger of hellfire. This is never my intention! I love the Lord so much and do not want anything seperating us - so much so that I now constantly second guess my confessions. While it may be an issue of being over scrupulous, I do not think so. I never osessed about anything before and it just seems that lately I have a hyper awareness of sins in my past that I had forgotten about, or am reminded of certain sins that I did confess but do not feel like I did it well enough. Should I die tomorrow, what happens to a soul that had unintentionally incomplete confessions?

Anyone know of some Church writings that can direct me in this dilema?

This is precisely a matter of scrupulosity. (Those who suffer from scrupulosity often don’t think they do.)

Thinking that you make “incomplete confessions” is a sign that you have this spiritual malady. You need to meet with a spiritual director outside of the confessional. Explain that you believe you may have a problem with scrupulosity and that, if you do, you’d like assistance in overcoming the problem.

If you do not have a spiritual director, ask your pastor for a referral. Not all priests (and perhaps not your pastor himself) are good spiritual directors. In fact, few priests are. But there will be good spiritual directors in your dioceses. You’ll have to inquire about them.

In addition to this, get a free subscription to “Scrupulous Anonymous” monthly newsletter. Write to:

“Scrupulous Anonymous”
Liguori, MO 63057-9999

It is edited by Fr. Thomas R. Santa, C.Ss.R., the author of “Understanding Scrupulosity,” which is available from Catholic Answers at
I agree with Karl’s post. I would like to add some instruction since you mentioned you were not properly catechised.

First, pray to the Holy Spirit to illumine your mind and for help to make a good confession.
  1. When you enter the confessional say, (while making the Sign of the Cross) “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been__since my last confession.” (weeks, months, years)
  2. The priest may read a passage from Scripture or just say, “Go on.”
  3. This is when you begin to confess your sins. I find it easier to get the worst one(s) over first. When you start confessing, you are not supposed to elaborate or explain. Simply state the sin and how many times as best you remember!
    Examples: “I said unkind words to my spouse twice”., “I drove recklessly many times”. (If you don’t remember how many times, say “a few times”, “about ten times”, “many times”, or maybe even “daily”.)
  4. Absolutely confess any mortal sins. You must confess them or you commit sacralige (another mortal sin) by witholding sins in the confessional.
  5. It is also praiseworthy to confess venial sins. What is important is what Karl said. Don’t obsess thinking of every little thing you may or may not of done and blowing it out of proportion. This is scrupulosity. Besides, Holy Mass and Holy Communion wipe away venial sins.
  6. If you do have a mortal sin in your past that you are not aware of or don’t remember, don’t worry, you remain in the state of grace. The issue is if you do ever remember a mortal sin from your past, you must confess it as soon as possible and refrain from Holy Communion until you have received absolution.
  7. After you confess all the sins you are aware of say,
    “I am sorry for these sins and all the sins I have commited in my life,”
  8. The priest may or may not councel you. Then he will impose your pennance.
  9. Then the priest will ask you to make a Perfect Act of Contrition. The priest will say the prayer absolving you either while you are saying your Perfect Act of Contrition or immediatley after. Cross yourself again at the end of the absolution while the priest is saying, “I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son…” You then say “Amen”.
  10. Then the priest may say, (usually not) “Give thanks to the Lord for He is Good.” And you respond “His mercy endures forever.”
  11. Say you pennance as soon as possible, certainly the same day. If you honestly forget, say your pennance as soon as you remember. Our Lord is merciful and will not hold it against you! 🙂
I heard a homily on the Sacrament of Penance once in which the Priest said we should follow the Three B’s in the confessional - be Bold, be Brief and Begone!😉 Be bold means don’t beat around the bush, just say what you’ve done. Unless you’re confessing to a newly ordained Priest, he’s already heard what you’ve done many times before! Be brief means - again - don’t beat around the bush or make excuses, just say what you’ve done. Begone - there are other people waiting to confess and fewer Priests to hear their confessions. So no idle chit-chat and don’t expect long, drawn out counseling while in the confessional. Make an appointment to talk to a Priest for that. Lastly, after you confess, say your Penance, then pray for the Priest who heard your confession and add a prayer or two in thanksgiving for the Sacraments!
The 3 B’s: The way I heard it was:
Be blunt.
Be brief.
Be gone.

Blunt. Just say what it is. If the priest needs to know more of the circumstances he will ask.

Brief. Just tell the sin, not the life story.

Be Gone. Next!

Then, say your penance.

Then, forget about it and don’t worry! If you forgot anything, it is forgiven.

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