So my wife is Catholic and my daughter has been baptized in the Catholic faith and my new born son is soon to be baptized as well. I was baptized myself but I've fallen away from my Baptist roots for certain reasons and I've come to enjoy the structure of the Catholic faith.

My question is this, I spent a good amount of time in the military and overseas, I've done somethings that I don't like to talk about or want to even voice. It makes me sick just thinking about them. I really don't think I can voice these when it comes time for my first confessions and has kept me from join RCIA sooner for fear of the Priests response. Would the confession be valid if I only voiced what I'm comfortable sharing and confess the rest in my heart to God?

I'm really anxious about this, but truly desire to become closer to God once again.


2 Answers 2


You must confess all mortal sins that you're aware of and any venial sins you feel compelled to confess. You are not absolved of any mortal sins you withhold, and intentionally withholding mortal sins not only invalidates the whole confession, but is a mortal sin itself. (catholic.com) And, if left in a state of mortal sin, you're expected not to receiving the Eucharist. The Eucharist is life-giving for those in a state of grace; it's a condemnation for those in a state of mortal sin. (See how to confess for the basic details and process.)

So, be less afraid of how your priest might react than making your reception of the Eucharist into a condemnation against yourself! And don't worry! Just about every priest I've heard speak on the matter says pretty much the same thing: You can't confess something I haven't already heard.

Furthermore, a priest may not withhold absolution on the condition that you reveal your sins to another person. The only valid reason for withholding absolution is insincerity of the penitent. (catholic.com Q&A)


A penitent should not go into any more details than absolutely necessary to reveal the sin. Confessors prefer that penitents get to the point and don't tell elaborate stories or be loquacious. If they need details or more context to assess the gravity of the sin, they will ask you.

For example, if you confess "I killed a man.", it would be necessary to know if this was intentional or accidental, in a war situation or not, in self-defense or premeditated, etc. If you say "I murdered a man.", the priest might ask if the murdered man was a priest or not (murdering a priest is also another sin, sacrilege, and it incurs automatic excommunication).

Check out these excellent examinations of conscience, which help prepare you for making a good confession:

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