Sacrament of Reconciliation

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Hello, I have tried to ask this question before, but perhaps I didn't ask it correctly. Also, I apologize for not knowing which forum to ask. Basically, I want to know if confession of specific sins is absolutely necessary, of if it is okay to just give the catagory and number of times it happened. For example, lustfulness, gluttony, stealing, lying, etc., followed by the number of times committed. Obviously, it is very difficult to tell another human being one's sins. Is it okay to generalize in confession? Also, I don't fully understand why we can't just ask God for forgiveness, as he is the one who gives it anyway. I do not mean any disrepect.

Thank you for your time in answering my question.
Answer by Fr. Jay Toborowsky on 9/5/2008:

Generalizing is ok in confession, as long as you're not deliberately doing it to conceal specific sins. Now, a Priest may ask specific questions about a sin confessed. For example, someone confesses they missed Mass last Sunday. The Priest may ask whether it was because of sickness or travel or just plain laziness. That helps him understand the blame to assign to that person, because someone who missed Mass because of a 103 degree fever is less to fault than someone who missed Mass because it was a sunny day and they wanted to go to the beach early.

I always instruct people to see confession as telling a doctor what's wrong with you. Telling just one symptom causes the doctor to have to guess at what's wrong with you. Telling all the symptoms helps the doctor establish what ails you. Being too vague may also lead to a misdiagnosis, and that's what confession seeks to do: not just forgive your sins, but give you real advice (medicine) on how not to catch that same disease.

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