The sin AND the details?

Questions and AnswersThe sin AND the details?
John Doe asked 4 years ago

In the sacrament of Confession we confess the sin of course, but do we have to give the details of that sin?

1 Answers
Nate Guyear Staff answered 4 years ago

Good afternoon!  All mortal sins must be confessed to a priest in kind and number.  Example: “Over the last month, I got drunk three times.”  This would be sufficient.  There is no need to tell the priest how many drinks you had, etc.  Details are not necessary.  Now, if mortal sins were committed in furtherance of other mortal sins, all sins would need to be confessed.  Example: “Two weeks ago, I stole a car, intercepted a vault combination and used guns to intimidate people while I robbed a bank.  Oh, and by the way, I used the stolen money to buy/use drugs.”  All these things would need to be confessed.  For additional information, please read the below sections from the Catechism and Canon Law.


Catechism paragraph 1456 states the following:


Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.”


Quoting the Council of Trent, the same paragraph states, “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.'”


Canon Law 988 §1 states, “A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.”