Am I forgiven for sins that I forgot to confess?

How do you prepare for the Sacrament of Confession? Hopefully, you spend some time in prayer and reflection, making a mental list of all the sins that you need to confess. Even with a good examination of conscience, it’s possible to forget something. Or if you’re nervous in the confessional, something might slip your mind.

What should you do if you try your best to make a good confession, but afterwards you remember a serious sin that you should have confessed? Do you need to go to Confession again, or are those sins already forgiven? Msgr. Start Swetland, host of Go Ask Your FatherTM on Relevant Radio® shared some insights.

“Those sins are forgiven, they’ve been forgiven by the sacramental grace of Confession because you didn’t try to hide them or anything. However, … Jesus told us in John 16 when the Holy Spirit comes, the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth, but he also told us it would convince us of all sin. So as we draw deeper in our relationship with God, the Holy Spirit makes more clear to us where sin is in the world and in our lives,” said Msgr. Swetland.

It’s possible that you remember something as you’re walking out of Confession that you forgot to mention, or you might recall something years later. There’s a reason for that, Msgr. Swetland explains.

“We see it more clearly—we see the structures of sin and our own personal sin, so it’s not unusual for that to happen what you describe that you become aware of sins either you forgot or things you might not have even thought were sinful at one time but now you recognize they were because you’ve just grown in holiness and you’ve drawn closer to God and you understand more fully what might be opposed to God and the things of God.”

When you find yourself in this situation, what should you do? Understanding that a sin that has been forgotten (not deliberately withheld) has been forgiven, you should still bring them up in your next Sacramental Confession. “This is a sign of growing in holiness, that you recognize or remember sin more clearly,” said Msgr. Swetland.

Whether it has been a few months or a few decades since you last made a good Confession, God is waiting with open arms to welcome you back. We know not the day nor the hour, so don’t let another week, month, or year go by without seizing the opportunity to return to a state of grace.


Tune in to Go Ask Your FatherTM weekdays at noon-1pm CT only on Relevant Radio®.