No, God does not forgive everyone who goes to confession, unless…

No, God does not forgive everyone who goes to confession, unless…

Confession, like every other sacrament, has specific conditions for valid reception attached to them. For instance, before receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony validly, it must be a free decision, and between one man and one woman, among other conditions. Let’s say someone coerces a woman into marriage. Will they have a valid sacramental union? NO, because the woman’s free choice is lacking.

What Confession is and what it’s not

Some Protestants and, sadly, even Catholics believe Confession is a place to go and free yourself from your sins from time to time only to be clean enough for more sins. They think that the very concept of Confession means that a habitual, unrepentant sinner has a shot at heaven even though he does not rid himself of his instruments of sin. He can keep living with an illicit sexual partner, can keep stealing, gossiping, and killing as long as he goes to Confession from time to time. But this is not what the Church teaches.

Confession is NOT where anyone goes to receive forgiveness for sin, any time they choose to, intending to return to their sins afterward. Abuse of sacrament is a sacrilege, one of which is maliciously lying to a priest at Confession, insincere repentance; having the intention of sinning again while confessing; having a willful attachment to sin; refusing to let go of sin even while confessing. However, this does not mean that if one struggles with sin, they are refusing; this only applies to the rare occasion where someone feels they can mock God in the confessional.

We believe that God does not forgive those who are insincere to Him; those are forgiven who:

1. Recognize the evil of sin.

2. Sincerely confess them to the priest without wilfully withholding any detail.

3. Are genuinely sorry, which precludes the clear intention to be better, discard all instruments of sin one possesses, and restore what one has damaged or unjustly taken.

4. Are willing to do penance and struggle to lead a holy life. “Struggle” is an essential word there. It does not mean everyone who repents will never be forgiven if they should fall; it means they utilize everything at their disposal to stay connected to God’s spiritual life. 

Among the penitent’s acts, contrition occupies the first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.

CCC 1451

The Confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission, man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.

CCC 1455

Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much.

CCC 1459

What about habitual sins?

Someone who finds himself trapped in the same sin but sincerely struggles to avoid both the act and occasions leading to them is ALWAYS forgiven whenever they sincerely ask for pardon. What is essential to God is not the number of sins but his sincerity of heart. God loves everyone, yes, even with all our sins. However, no liar stands a chance before God. 

He forgives those who beat their chests and says, “have mercy on me, a sinner.”God is ALWAYS merciful; he can never deny us forgiveness whenever we come to him. He called us even while we were still in our sins. Immediately we fell at the Garden of Eden. He promised, no, he SWORE to save us. All we need to do is accept this grace, this free gi he offers us for nothing. 

We accept it when we choose to come to him with sincere hearts, to repair our relationship with him, and renew our communion in his Church. God is UNABLE to say “No” to his Children. Just be sincere in your efforts, be honest with him; that’s all he wants from us.

No, God does not forgive everyone who goes to confession, unless…

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