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Stanley Sayer wrote:

Dear Apologist(s),

I was wondering how to confess the sin of giving scandal in Confession. Say I led someone to miss Mass on a Sunday:

  • Would I have to describe how I led them to miss Mass?

For example:

  • I led someone to miss Mass by encouraging them to come to the beach instead, or
  • I led someone to miss Mass by telling them they shouldn't go, or
  • I led someone to miss Mass by driving them to the beach during the time they should have been at Mass.
  • Or another way.

If I said, I led a friend to throw a brick at someone.

  • Would that be fine as it is?
    or, would I have to say,

  • I led a friend to throw a brick at someone by encouraging him to throw a brick at them, or
  • I led a friend to throw a brick at someone by giving him the brick to throw, or
  • I led a friend to throw a brick at someone by not trying to stop him when he told me he was about to throw a brick at a person.

I know with some sins you have to give the circumstances because they go from one kind of sin to another.

For example,

I stole a book from a friend, would be one sin while, I stole a book from the Church, would be sacrilegious and so a different kind of sin.

  • Is it the same with giving scandal?

Thank you for your time,

Kind regards


  { How do you confess specific sins, like "giving scandal" when you go to Confession? }

Mike replied:

Dear Stan,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner.

Sin is sin and it damages the soul.

In the same way bullets and shrapnel damage the inside of fighting soldiers, so sin damages the soul of any person. If the soldier doesn't tell the doctor exactly where he has been hit by the bullets and shrapnel, the doctor can't help him to heal properly.

Whether they are mortal sins or venial sins; you should mention the sins as the Church would refer to them as sins. Don't worry about the embarrassment of mentioning certain sins; it goes with confessing your sins.

The goal: To mention the sins: short and simple, as you know the sinfulness of the sins to be.
There is no need to get scrupulous.

I'm not saying you are doing this but if a penitent starts sugar-coating sins by dumbing them down, an important sin may come across as something trivial to the Confessor.

Try to find a regular Confessor who can get to know you and who you can go to regularly. He can guide you better than any of us can (since none of us are priests) and can get to know you and your habits, good and bad.

My colleagues may have more to say.

I hope this helps,


Stan replied:

Thanks Mike!

All the best.


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