Originally Posted by shelbean91
The way it was explained to me (by our family friend who is a priest and during our precana counseling) is it's a big thing if it's obvious- like 'thou shall not kill' or if it's something that weighs heavy on your heart. Birth control pills is something I'll use as an example- they prevent pregnancy, but if I'm on them for a medical reason or I've prayed on it and have come to terms with using them, it's not something I'm going to confess, even though it could be considered a 'big' thing. If I used BCP and as a result felt incredibly guilty b/c of it, I would confess. It's mostly a personal thing about what is big or not- again, from a pretty reliable source, IMO. I'm comfortable with using it as a guide.
Well, I'm not meaning to tell you what to do, you can confess whatever you want and it's between you and God, but just so you know, technically, it really doesn't make a difference how you feel about it or how it weighs on your heart - if you're trying to practice your faith fully (i.e. live according to the teachings of the Church), then if it's a sin, it's a sin, and you're supposed to confess it (and resolve to try as hard as you can not to do it anymore). As long as, as a PP said, the knowledge was there, for example, if you honestly didn't know that birth control pills are considered morally wrong according to our faith, then you wouldn't have sinned. But if you knew that, if you didn't understand the teaching or agree with it or it didn't really bother you, it is still a sin. The only way you could completely trust your own judgment/feeling on these issues is if you had a 100% perfectly-formed conscience, and none of us does, which is why we need Scripture and 2,000 years of Tradition and clergy who speak through the power of the Holy Spirit, to guide us!
I think the really important point that a lot of (most?) Catholics miss is that confession is not supposed to be this horrible, awful thing that we dread doing and do just the bare minimum (which, as someone mentioned before, is at least once a year during Lent). For believers, it is a beautiful gift from God! A chance to be cleansed and have all our sins forgiven and start over! It is so awesome, you actually feel lighter when you leave - I usually get chills at the absolution! The usual recommendation is to go to Confession monthly. Even if you haven't committed a serious sin that would prevent you from receiving Communion if you haven't confessed, the grace of Communion is more efficacious on a soul that is as free as possible from sin. Getting in the habit of frequent confession (weekly, monthly, whatever) can do *wonders* for your spiritual life - it really focuses you and makes you think as you go through your days. Ideally it would be accompanied by some spiritual direction from a good Confessor and give you some specific areas of your life that need work to focus on.