Hi Father,

I have a  couple of questions about  sin and how I should confess them.

First of all I was complaining about a priest to a friend, because he changed plans for an event and it has really goofed things up for me.  So I know I was complaining and gossiping, and I will confess that but someone told me that complaining about a priest is mortal just because it's about a priest.  Is that true?   So can I just say I was gossiping or do I have to say I was gossiping about a priest?

Second, I used to think you only had to confess sins in number and kind.  But I recently learned that sometimes you need to add detail if it changes the nature of the sin.  What are some examples of this.  I can possibly think of some examples from childhood/teenage years where I confessed the sin but not details that changed the nature of the sin.  (they were sins of impurity)  Would I have to go back and re-confess those sins or were those confessions good because I did the best I knew how at the time?

Firstly, if you were just complaining that the Priest changed plans that goofed up your plans, I would have to say that is merely venial sin; nevetheless, it oughto to be avoided just as any and all gossip should be avoided...
Secondly... Some details can change the nature of a sin.  One example would be when a person commits a sexual sin with another person... it is adultery if one of the two is married; and it is the sin of fornication if neither is married.  There are numerous examples, but many that come to my mind would be difficult to phrase delicately for this forum.  The Priest and all Christian people must be careful in describing the details of types of sin outside of confession, lest they give scandal and plant an idea for a kind of sin that another has perhaps never before thought of.
Your post indicates to me that you are a very serious and devout Catholic.  It never hurts to re-confess the sins more perfectly next opportunity you get.  I only hope that you will get a Priest confessor who is very open, kind, understanding, and loving.  I always appreciate it when somebody in confession is very concerned about making as good of a Confession as possible because it shows to me something of their love and devotion.
God bless you!

Fr. Timothy Johnson


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