Theory and practice of the confessional by Caspar Erich Schieler, Richard Frederick Clarke
Still in Lugo's proof and that of his supporters the difficulty must not be overlooked that the narration has no sort of relation to the Sacrament of Penance, either in the mind of the narrator or that of the priest, and that in consequence the reasons brought forward in the case above mentioned are not quite convincing. Aertnys consents to Lugo's decision — that is, he considers the repetition of the accusation as unnecessary only when the confessor at the time when the summary of the sins is made has a distincta raemoria eorum, since the general accusation of the penitent along with the notitia distincta of th3 confessor is equivalent to a distincta confessio. And Lehmkuhl regards Lugo's view as quite probable only when the priest is entertaining hopes as he listens to the narration of getting the man to make a sacramental confession, though such a thought may be very far from the man's mind at the time. The accusation of the penitent may not be intentionally sacramental, while the attention of the priest has already begun to assume a judicial and sacramental form and is inchoative, at least, a distinctly judicial investigation such as would seem sufficient when the penitent on his part gives his consent to carry out the distinct judicial act. If, however, the penitent in the course of his narration never hinted at the idea of a sacramental accusation and the priest never adverted to it, the teaching of St. Alphonsus would seem to prevail, for in such a case a distincta notitia judicialis never existed, unless a distincta memoria were retained by the priest; but the sacramental sentence which has to be pronounced over every mortal sin is based solely on a judicial knowledge of them.
The repetition of former confessions, whether of all the confessions of a lifetime or of those last made, is called a general confession. It is necessary for many penitents, useful to others; to a few only it may be said to be harmful.