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Curtis Cline wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have not been to church in a long time.

I want to renew my relationship with Christ and the Catholic Church. I have not led the most moral life and am guilty of some pretty grievous sins. My question is:

  • With so many sins, how do I even begin to list them all in the Confessional and
  • What about the acts of sin I do not even remember?


  { Since I want to renew my relationship with the Church, how do handle so many sins? }

and in a similar question:

Karla wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • If I do not know specifically when I last went to Confession and
  • have no clear number of how many times an array of sins have been committed:

    • What do I say regarding the time since last Confession and the lack of clarity in the numbers for sins committed since my last Confession?

The last time I when to Confession was before Confirmation and I am not 100% sure I had a proper Confession as I was probably too shy and it was quite a long time ago.

  • Do I confess that if I am not sure I had a proper Confession the last time I went?

Regarding confessing your sins, can you say it like this:

  • I have permitted sexual thoughts,
  • then I have stole items

in a list — like that? and

  • Can you take a list the sins written down into the Confessional?



  { What if I don't know when my last Confession was and the type of sins I committed? }

Bob replied:


Welcome home. Jesus loves you and we are so happy that you are returning to your faith.

You can confess the sins without a specificity of the number of times you committed a sin by saying something like this:

"Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been many years since I've been to Confession. These are my sins as best as I can recollect. Many times I have:

  • blank
  • blank
  • blank
  • . . . etc.

You can use the Ten Commandments as a basic reference for things that you might have done wrong but even if you can't remember everything, don't worry. Even those sins you can't remember will be forgiven.

Just don't leave anything out deliberately that you do remember but don't want to confess. That would definitely nullify the whole Confession.

God's peace be with you,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Hi Karla,

First, I would like to welcome you back to the Church; we are stronger because of your presence.

The answer that my colleague Bob gave to Curtis above is a fine answer.

In addition to what Bob said, if you find it easier, you are welcome to bring a list of sins with you though, seeing this is your first time in a long time since you have been to Confession, don't get too scrupulous.

Besides the sins you know, just mention all known habitual sins including any sexual sins.

Like Bob said, use the Ten Commandments as a guide and welcome back.

If you forget a sin, all your sins will still have been forgiven, so don't worry. If you later remember them, just mention them the next time you go to Confession. We receive grace for all sins we mention in Confession which assists us in not committing those sins again.

These postings for our database may also help answer your question completely:

I hope this helps,


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