A question regarding confession

Hello, I hope this is the proper place for my question. I am new to the forum & have only been “home” since 2006.
I have been troubled by something for several weeks but not sure if it is just me, always possible.
During one Friday of Lent, I was being tormented with a craving for some left over pulled pork in the refrigerator. It went on all day until I finally, willfully & with full knowledge of my disobedience, went and ate it. Then I felt horrible! I knew that I had committed a sin in my disobedience of the discipline.
Saturday, a week later, was my first opportunity for Confession. It troubled me quite a lot. I saw, what is know as our “contract” priest. I told him about it, including the willful etc part. He LAUGHED & told me not to worry. That sort of thing used to matter in the past but not any more. He went on for a few minutes in that vein while I was kind of flabbergasted. I went on to ask for advice re my uncle, who is dying, an openly proud, practicing gay man, who not only isnt Christian but intentionally denies Christ, and not out of ignorance. He told me not to worry, basically, that sort of thing used to matter but God is merciful & I shouldnt doubt my uncle will be ok. :eek:
Now I am so confused. He gave me absolution & I dont doubt that. I know in my heart that what he is telling me is error, but what do I do? Is there anything I can/should do? Do I ask my children not to go to him for confession if they have a choice? I havent said anything to anyone here (except my husband) because I dont want to defame or cause troubles for him. He is an elderly Irish man who has been doing God’s world in Asia for decades.

Any help? Even just a reassurance that I DID do wrong because I am convinced I did wrong in disobeying. :D:

Thank you,
Lisa in Korea

just wanted to add, I do not have a problem with scrupulosity, but I am always alert for backsliding on my part, as this was a long, rocky journey

Yes it was wrong to not abstain on Friday during lent. As a matter of fact you should do some sort of penence every firday of the year, be it abstinence etc… that never changed it just does not have to be abstinance from meat anylonger. not only fridays that are not days of abstinance are when solemnity such as this past friday witht the fest of the the Sacred Heart. these are never days of penence fasting or abstinance.
As to your uncle God love him and all we can do is place him in Gods mercy. We know what the Church and scripture teach on things and the out coming for going against those teaching. we should always pray for Gods mercy.

First off, welcome and this is indeed the right place to post this.
You were not being scrupolous, IMHO.

As far as I am concerned, your sins were forgiven, and you know what is the correct teaching, so I won’t comment on the sinning. What this Priest has done is very wrong. He is teaching contrary to the faith. What should you do? Well he obviously doesn’t see eye to eye with the Church in these issues. You should contact the Bishop’s Office about this. This is a grave matter. IMHO, not reporting this allows for scandal and heresy to take place, and therefore a sin. Yes, don’t let your children go to confession to him. In regards to letting others know about this, I’ll leave that up to your conscience. Now if the Bishop does not take your claims seriously, then I would take this up with the CDF at the Vatican. Yes, a Priest teaching contrary to the Church’s teaching is heresy and is a HUGE deal! I am stating the CDF over the Penitentary because I see this as a doctrine issue over a Confessional issue.

God’s work is the TRUTH. He is obviously not professing it!

God bless!

Actually in the USA we are not *obliged *to do (any) penance on Fridays outside of Lent…
(though in general we should do penance…)

As CA apologist JImmy Akin…has noted

Of course it is still recommended and they are still days of penance…

and yes of course Fridays of Lent we are required under pain of sin to abstain from Meat (and of course Ash Wed. and Good Friday)…

This is what the new Code of Canon Law brought out in 1983 says about the matter:

Canon 1251
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Canon Law still requires that Catholics not eat meat on Fridays!

Of course, most Episcopal Conferences have determined that, instead of abstaining from meat, Catholics may perform an act of penance of their choosing. But, do you ever remember to abstain from a particular food or do some other penance on Fridays? And, at any rate, the main rule is still to abstain from meat on Fridays, the performance of another penance instead is an optional alternative.

cannon law still is to abstain for meat thought the US Bishops have given premission to do an alternate penence than abstinence.

The priest may have sensed (rightly or wrongly) in you an over concern about “the law”. Or maybe he hadn’t run across anyone in a while with so much wonderful sincerity. He probably shouldn’t (and didn’t mean to) have made light of your self-accusation. And maybe his “lightening” was intended to pull you back from potential scrupulosity. He may be directing people through this sort of thing.

Fasting and abstaining are simply methods to get closer to God. We fast and abstain with God. Fasting and abstaining should spur more hurried and frequent conversation with God.

Next time that “thing” gets on your mind, talk to God about it. “My dear Jesus, that pork sure smells good. I am not sure I can avoid it. I don’t want to be driven only by my body. I want to be driven by love for you and others. Help me find a way through this.”

Begin again.

I remember once confessing my failure to fast for a full hour before weekday Mass; bad planning, lack of attention. The priest was great. He listened, nodded, and then with a head nod and hand wave (we were face to face), indicated almost like “let’s go, move on to what you’re really struggling with”. He wasn’t dismissing the failure at all, but he wanted to help me get to some more root points. Amazing.

Good luck.

I think there can be real problems with a penitent reporting the contents of a confession in the way you suggest.

The most obvious and serious problem being that the priest concerned is bound by the seal of the confessional, and in fact cannot disclose in any fashion what was said in the confessional. Which means, in the event that autdrew misheard or misunderstood him (which is always a possibility), that the priest cannot correct the error or defend himself.

And also means that all the Bishop has to work with in the matter are unsubstantiated allegations by one party - allegations which in fact are incapable of being substantiated. The Bishop cannot check with the priest that autdrew is even accurately repeating what he said in the confessional, and it is hardly fair for a Bishop to tell a priest off for something of which he may be completely innocent, for all the Bishop will ever know.

I understand the sensitivity of the situation. My view is that if this is reported to the Bishop, he can then simply ask the Priest what his views are on these certain issues. He can find out if the Priest has ever said anything outside the Confessional, such as in a homily. There are definitely ways to investigate this that do not in any way attempt to break the Seal of the Confessional. All I am asking is for people to make their Bishops aware of these situations and for them to be investigated.

I keep hearing about Priests preaching contrary to the faith. It is sickening and the Bishop actually has the right to send them away for retreating. See Canon 1337.2 The Bishops need to make a stand against their own Priests going against the faith!


I think that your post made very clear what Canon Law states. I am still not sure how true it is the fact that in the US we really have permission to do an alternate penance. Somehow I have the impression that such permission is not really valid (as in permanent). Was that a unanimous decision? Somehow I still think that the local Bishop should give that permission and once we change the Bishop, then the new one should re-affirm the permission.

I don’t disagree with you, however, the Canon Law does state the Episcopal Conference. This was mandated, if my memory serves correctly, by Vatican II. Also, the fact that we are supposed to abstain on Fridays and that it may be subsitituted is in my daily missal. I was unable to find however any document by the USCCB on this particular Canon and the norms that they have imposed. I would therefore believe that we are supposed to abstain from meat.


I agree not sure on how permanent or by how many this was/is. My post was to address bookcat who stated that in the US we did not have to do penence on friday’s at all. be it abstinance from meat or an alternate. I think and believe it is still the Local Bishop that decide for His Diocese. The rule is that ( from my understanding) no meat, but the bishop can give (in the US) premission to sub other.

It seems to me that when this was done all anyone heard was " we can eat meat on fridays now." :frowning:

Yes of course…My point was the in the US…the whole obligation was removed for those other Fridays of the year…and nothing replaced it. We are not required to abstain or do any penance on those Fridays…but of course it is still recommend and remains penitential days…

so as Jimmy Akin would reply…we are not obliged per se in the US on the other Fridays to do anything…th US Conf. of Bishops removed any obligation at all…

And Rome confirmed the Bishops norms here after the 1983 code was issued…


could you please provide source showing friday obligation has been removed. as everything i find shows just the opposite.

I can understand Jimmy’s post but I think that he is playings with loopholes and not with the spirit of the letter. especially when mentioning:

In doing so, they did not completely eliminate the legal obligation to do penance on Fridays. They restricted the legal obligation to *certain *Fridays of the year and replaced it with an exhortation to penance on the remaining Fridays.

What does it really mean when the Bishops are exhorting someone to follow Canon Law?

To me this is similar to the argument about the difference between “should” and “must” when they appear in the GIRM.


I would have agreed with bookcat especially when reading #25 of this document, HOWEVER, #26 reads:

  1. Perhaps we should warn those who decide to keep the
    Friday abstinence for reasons of personal piety and special
    love that they must not pass judgment on those who elect to
    substitute other penitential observances

This does not state, “for those who elect to do nothing on this day.” The correct reading of this is then that it is no longer required to abstain from MEAT, but some other penetential act must take place!

Canon Law:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

No Bishop has the authority to go against, or to dispense their faithful from following Canon Law except the Bishop of Rome. Therefore, as to not say that the USCCB were in error when they wrote their directives, we in the United States are not required to abstain from meat, but we must abstain from some other food.


I was looking at the link for the USCCB usccb.org/norms/12521253.htm

c. 1252: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.

c. 1253: It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Complementary Norm: Norms II and IV of Paenitemini (February 17, 1966) are almost identical to the canons cited. The November 18, 1966 norms of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on penitential observance for the Liturgical Year continue in force since they are law and are not contrary to the code (canon 6).

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983
Amended:** “… the age of fasting is from the completion of the twenty-first year to the beginning of the sixtieth” (Paenitemini, norm IV) is amended to read ‘… the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth’ in accord with canon 97."

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Diocesan Bishops, February 29, 1984

(See On Penance and Abstinence, Pastoral Statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 18, 1966)

How can the approval by an administrative committee can be considered as the approval from the Episcopal Conference?

Not completely sure what happened here. It may have been been voted on at a general meeting of the Conference and then went to a committee to make sure everything was legit. I hope…

However, if you notice, these norms in no way talk about Canon 1251, which is the issue here. That is why at first I thought that the norm was still meat.

I was mainly referring to Canon 1253.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.