Moment of forgiveness in the sacrament of penance.
#1
Hi, a friend of mine who is a new Catholic and struggling with crippling scroupolosity hasn't had communion since June. I asked him why, and he said he was still confessing his sins. This confused me until he said that the priest had stopped him after two hours of confession, conferred him the sacrament. My friend isn't convinced that he's forgiven, because 'I haven't mentioned all the sins' more or less.

He's also very much convinced that you have to have done penance... and by that he doesn't merely mean the penance given by the priest, I think he actually means having restored what was broken to some degree. Now he's pirated a lot of music when he was a teenager, and he seems on edge to take out a loan, or do something radical in sending a small fortune to an anti-piracy group. While I could recognise that as good, and certainly a great sign of conversion... it does seem a little unwise given that he doesn't have a job.

Are there any authoratative tekst on the moment of forgiveness in the sacrament? Whether he has to have mentioned all sins 'before it counts'? Whether the penance has to be completed, Etc... I've tried to just tell him to trust his confessor, and that he should find a good spiritual advisor (I suggested my own) and just let the decisions of this enter the hands of this advisor.
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#2
Trusting his confessor is the best advice.  To worry about the exact moment of forgiveness seems to me to be worrying about pointless minutae with no possible answer. He went to confession and recieved absolution--- that's enough. Scrupulosity is a terrible evil straight from hell, it destroys people's trust in the loving mercy of God.

Hope this guy can find a priest that can give him a penance where he is asked to meditate on the mercy of God or something, or where he is asked to trust more rather than count up sins and make of God a strict and angry legalist.

Trust, trust trust. The Christ of the Gospels forgives sinners, heals the sick, gives sight to the blind and even goes to to the cross in order to return us to our original likeness. This is key I think. Tell him to read the new testament.

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#3
Wow. I can't even think how bad a life could get for one to have to spend two hours in the confessional--maybe if he wrote Confessions a la St. Augustine and was wondering and whatnot.

If he was confessing like every song he ever listened illegally I suppose that's a bit too much. Or every sinful thought. He must then have a photographic memory.

Anyway, I once heard a similar question asked to a priest: one day the acolyte wanted to confess right before Mass but there was hardly any time, so the priest just gave absolution. That's an abuse, for sure, but what this other priest said is that it was valid.

About penance: he can do it, but he is already forgiven. Sometimes the confessional just doesn't clean one's consciousness, but it cleans the soul every time. Sin is removed and supernatural life is regained, even if we don't feel it--even if we don't feel worthy of it, because we're not (and this is bearing on despair, so your friend should be careful).
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#4
(11-28-2015, 03:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Wow. I can't even think how bad a life could get for one to have to spend two hours in the confessional--maybe if he wrote Confessions a la St. Augustine and was wondering and whatnot.

Its actually worse than that, he's set up three more hour long confessions with the priest afterwhich he says he should have gotten through it all. He's kinda anxious because he wants to get it all confessed before Easter so he can receive communion.

He's in my prayers. I've suggested a spiritual advisor who's one of the rare good jesuits, and suffered from terrible scruples once as well.
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#5
(11-28-2015, 03:20 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Wow. I can't even think how bad a life could get for one to have to spend two hours in the confessional--maybe if he wrote Confessions a la St. Augustine and was wondering and whatnot.

Speaking as a "revert" who had an extensive general confession to make, I think that probably he's getting caught up in the "fluff" or the details of what he's confessing. It's an easy trap to fall into... 
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#6
Bless their heart...two hours in Confession? Wow...

I would pass along a link to the Ten Commandments for the Scrupulous that you can find online. It's tremendously helpful. Other than that, he needs to strictly follow what his confessor tells him, which can take some time when you want to add in all the little fine details of things. At the end of the day, he needs to focus more on the Lord's mercy than his sins. This can take a while if he is very analytical or has some form of anxiety, especially OCD.

Speaking as someone who finally carried that cross to its destination (and makes very sure not to dwell too much on the "maybe" sins or the "what if" sins), it takes a whole lot of self-discipline.
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#7
One of the themes of the Dark Night of the Soul is the idea that faith must be pure. In the case of your friend I would suggest that he make an act of faith and go to communion on the assurance that when the priest says "Your sins are forgiven." that they are truly forgiven.
Jesus once told Sister Faustina that her not going to communion because of a fault hurt him more than the fault itself.
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#8
I think a root of scrupulosity, if not the root, is a lack of proper trust: trust in the priest to absolve you through the authority of Jesus, trust in the confessor to take his advice over your concern, and ultimately, trust in the person of Jesus Himself, that he is rich in mercy.
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