I’m a convert to the Church, so I have a large span of my life with sins that I’m not entirely sure of. I confessed a series of sins (all of the same kind) as doubtful, but then a while later remembered extra details that made me realize that I probably did consent to the sin at least once. Do I need to mention this in my next confession? I know that the sin is forgiven for now because the confession was honest and sincere, but I am unsure if I am strictly obliged to reconfess this sin as certain next time, or if it is all ready covered.
It’s a helpful thing to add, at the end of one’s confession, a short statement like, “for these and for all the sins I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry and I beg the Lord’s forgiveness.”
Firstly, this helps the confessor know that your confession of sins has ended and it’s time for him to weigh in with counsel. Otherwise, if you simply stop, he may be thinking that you are summoning the courage to reveal The Big One™.
Second, it can help to ease your own conscience if, later you recall sins or details which you should have confessed.
Be clear about something. Not remembering one’s sins is one thing. Deliberately concealing them from your confessor is another (really bad) thing.
Do not omit sins. Do not lump them into the “all the sins I cannot now remember” category if you truly do remember them. God is not mocked. He cannot be deceived and He knows you better than you know yourself.
Whether or not a statement like this is made, if, at the time of your confession, you truly and sincerely did not recall certain sins, or certain details, relax. They have been forgiven. You have been absolved and your soul is as fresh and clean as the day of your baptism. God’s mercy is indeed great!
After you’ve confessed, if there are sins you forgot which later come to mind, especially if they are serious sins, the next time you go to confession, you can mention to the confessor:
“Father, it’s been two weeks since my last confession. I failed to remember and confess that, in the time prior to my last confession, I did with willful intent, take up arms against the Sovereign Pontiff on two occasions; I consecrated five bishops without a pontifical mandate; and I stole three pennies from my mother’s purse; I used air conditioning…. Since my last confession, I have committed the following sins:…”
While you are not strictly required to confess sins that have already been forgiven, it can be beneficial to your confessor to help to know and understand any habits or patterns of sin that you’ve fallen into. There’s no need to be obsessive about details. If you confessed that you stole a car, and later remember that it was actually a minivan and not a car, you’re probably in the clear. But if you confessed you stole a car and later remember you actually stole a fleet of cars, you should bring that up.
In your particular case (and the case of other converts who make a general confession before being received into the Church, or the case of those who’ve been absent from the sacraments for some time and are making a general confession covering a long period of time) rest easy.
If you made a good, thorough examination of conscience (as it seems you did), and freely and openly confessed your sins to the priest including everything you recall at that time, you are forgiven.
It’s not necessary constantly review to your past life to remember every details or the possible motives you may have had. Instead, turn toward the new life you’ve been given through the grace of the sacraments and the ministry of the Church. Thank God for the gift of forgiveness he lavishes upon you.
Thank God for the gift of the priesthood through which your sins have been forgiven.
Try not to dwell on past sins. Satan wants us to wallow in our sins rather than rejoice in the mercy of God.
Keep up your resolve to avoid sin and occasions of sin, and enjoy the freedom you’ve been given!