“Ask a Priest: What If Absolution Was Refused for Venial Sins?”

Want to rate this?

Q: A priest did not give me absolution for my sins because he said they were venial. What should I do, since he only believes that mortal sins should be confessed? – J.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The short answer is: look for another confessor.

Absolution can and should be given for venial sins.

While it’s true that only mortal sins need to be confessed, and that there are other ways to have venial sins remitted (such as worthy reception of Communion), the Church also encourages mention of lesser sins.

The Catechism in No. 1458 says, “Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful ….”

You might consider sending a note or e-mail to the pastor (anonymously is fine), pointing out what happened and including the Catechism number mentioned above. If the pastor was the confessor, you might instead send the note to the bishop.

In any case, keep bringing venial sins to the confessional. The sacrament can be a path toward holiness.

And pray that that priest doesn’t mislead souls.


Keep learning more with Ask a Priest

Got a question? Need an answer?

Today’s secular world throws curve balls at us all the time. AskACatholicPriest is a Q&A feature that anyone can use. Just type in your question or send an email to AskAPriest@rcspirituality.org and you will get a personal response back from one of our priests at RCSpirituality. You can ask about anything – liturgy, prayer, moral questions, current events… Our goal is simply to provide a trustworthy forum for dependable Catholic guidance and information. So go ahead and ask your question…

Average Rating

What did you think?

Share your review! Just log in or create your free account.

One Comment
  1. The Confiteor, said at the penitential act of the Mass, is the confessing of those venial sins

    “I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore I ask Blessed Mary—ever virgin—all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

    SAY THIS CONFITEOR with a sincerity of asking forgiveness, before Mass speak to God of sorrow for
    sin (however small) with the CONFITEOR one is properly prepared to receive the real presence of Christ in the bread.

    Father is correct, IT IS ALSO GOOD to confess sins directly to the priest behind screen, best one can put it to words (briefly) The priest acts in persona Christi… in the person of Christi. Leave with firm purpose to
    amend and not commit the same sin …. but IF ONE DOES, come 7 x 70x (His mercy never ends)

Leave a Reply

Get the Answers!

Get notified of future Ask a Priest answers via email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Skip to content