Out of shame or fear, it is very difficult for many people to confess some grave sins during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, rarely is one conscious of the consequences involved in concealing deliberately and in conscience a grave sin during Confession.
For years Franciscan priests Leonard Bielecki and Franciszek Chodkowski from Poland make use of YouTube channel bEZ sLOGANU (Sin slogan), in which they debate important spiritual topics. In the last episode they addressed the question of sins that some conceal in the Confessional.
The Confession Is Invalid
The priests wonder if concealing a sin deliberately invalidates the Confession? “When we go to the Confessional we tend not to flaunt our sins. To know that something was wrong makes us feel ashamed. However, even if it makes us feel a bit or very uncomfortable, the moment of Confession arrives and it must be sincere. If I come to the Confessional and conceal a sin, I don’t want to say it, and it’s a grave sin, the Confession isn’t valid,” warns Friar Leonard Bielecki.
And his OFM brother Franciszek Chodkowski complements: “We are obliged to confess grave sins in Confession (CCC, nos. 987 and 988). They must be confessed. Slight sins sometimes escape us. Our life is imperfect and every day we commit little sins. In regard to the Sacrament of Confession, mortal sins must be confessed there.”
The Church teaches that only through Sacramental Confession can grave sins be forgiven. And all that is confessed is under the Seal of Confession, to which confessors are duty-bound. “The secret of Confession, which silences a priest in an absolute way (CCC, nos. 983 and 984) is there precisely to give you the consolation of Confession. The third thing that is quite important here refers to the fact that the priest who hears your Confession has already heard dozens, thousands, hundreds of thousands of Confessions and truly for a priest , if someone comes with a sin, absolution is more important than shame, explains brother Leonard Bieleck and adds that, if sins are deliberately concealed: “Such a Confession isn’t valid and later Confessions aren’t either because the grave sin was concealed.”
Be Sincere Before God
It is vital to keep present that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation we have the privilege of being sincere before God, of situating ourselves from the truth.
“If I conceal from the priest my mortal sin it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know it. He knows it. And I, when approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation, am confronted with the immensity of God’s mercy and I want to make use of this gift. Do I ask Him for forgiveness and, at the same time, I lie to Him? Not to confess a sin is an attempt to conceal from God the truth about myself,” warns brother Franciszek.
Prepare Yourself, Open Your Heart and Praise God for His Forgiveness
When you go to Confession . . . make an examination of conscience to confess all your faults. Be conscious of the sadness that your sins cause Jesus. Allow yourself to feel the pain of your sins.
Resolve to amend.
Tell all your sins to the Confessor since your last well-made Confession (if you once concealed a sin, tell the priest confessor and open your heart, confess that sin you concealed).
Do the penance.