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When packing for a trip, sometimes we forget something small: a toothbrush, shaving cream, or socks. In order to compensate, we simply make a quick pit stop at a nearby convenience or department store to buy a replacement for the missing item.

Can confession work similarly?

My Question:

  • If I die before I can confess my sins, can I just confess them to God in Heaven?

If you think about it, it would probably be much better to confess your sins to God than any human on planet Earth.

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Are you talking about a one-off confession and conversion experience or making sure you've confessed every single sin before death? The former you can do now, why wait? The latter is not necessary for salvation, why worry? –  Wikis Nov 9 '12 at 10:10
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1 Answer

Catholic teaching states that you must make a sincere effort to confess all mortal sins in the sacrament of confession. It is often encouraged that all grave sins be confessed as soon as possible, and certainly all mortal sins. However, if the sinner is unable to confess before death, the effortful intent to confess is taught to be valid, provided it is a sincere and effortful intent!

It is also the Catholic Church's teaching God normally works through the sacraments of the Church, but that God is not at all inhibited from working outside them.

And as an important side-note, if the recipient of confession is not sincere, even in making an act of confession, the confession is not valid.

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Good answer. And see ccc 1252 in reference to paragraph 2 'God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.' scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a1.htm –  Peter Turner Nov 9 '12 at 5:58
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