Abusing Confession?

It really doesn’t matter where you went to seminary…the fact remains that 1) there are very poor formations going on in a lot of seminaries today (which apparently you have had) and 2) you are not a priest (and I have known many ordained priest who are wrong on a lot of things including their beliefs on confession…primarily the ones ordained since VII) 3) I am too humble to go publicly bragging about who I am or my qualifications…my advice is sound and grounded in Catholic Theology 4) I don’t think you are trying to be deceptive…you are just not informed, educated, or whatever you would like to call it on the subject and therefore you are trying to give good advice, yet you are not able to. “Christ, who offered himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, invites us to turn our hearts away from sin and to be faithful to His gospel of love. If one turns humbly to God, no sin is too great that it cannot be forgiven”…it is very possible for a person under the grip of addiction to go to confession WITH A FIRM PURPOSE OF AMENDMENT and SORROW and a HATRED OF SIN…every time they confess to only fall back into the clutches of their addiction and need to revisit the sacrament…how is that hard for you to understand? Now once out of confession, if they say “hey I am going to do this and just go to confession and it will be ok”…then that in and of itself is the sin of presumption and should be confessed at confession as well…but that doesn’t mean that the the pentinent can’t go and confess the sins to the priest…if they are presumptious…but afterwards all the conditions are within them to make a valid and good confession, they should be allowed unrestricted access to the Sacrament…the problem with you is that you feel everyone who suffers from an addictive type of sin is purposely trying to abuse the sacrament and that is just WRONG.

Oh, and for the record…your defense has holes all in it and it is not coherent…it doesn’t make sense. [edited] …bad theology is bad theology.

Oh Provigil…this was written by a Priest…someone that completed Seminary…maybe you will finally understand what I am trying to say through the words of an Ordained Priest…God Bless

BREAKING THE HABIT OF SIN THROUGH SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION
"If sin is habitual, then in order to break out of sin, even venial sin, a spiritual wedge needs to be applied to break, or interrupt, the habit of sin. Here is where frequent sacramental confession comes to play. The frequent examination of a well-formed conscience leads the individual to be able to identify the habit of sin and then to bring these sins to Jesus Christ in the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.

The habit of sin can become so strong in a person that even after sacramental confession, the pull to sin, the attraction to the sin or sins committed in the past, still remains. So it is not unusual for a person to keep confessing the same sins for a period of time. This suggests that the sin has deep habitual roots in the person’s behavior, which needs to be replaced by the virtuous spiritual habits that grow out of God’s, grace, which is received through frequent sacramental confession.

This is why Jesus Christ instituted the great sacrament of Penance. Sacramental confession is the only way to true freedom, freedom from the addiction of the habit of sin, which is then replaced by a life of grace and a deep joy that lasts for ever."

—Fr. Tim

MICHAEL DANIELS:

You have no right in dextrality and judging me, and furthermore constituting in public that I had a bad formation training is constituting and INJUSTICE. { How many survey’s have you taken from the seminary?]

I never AFFIRMED i was a piest, but I believe you are making that accusation about yourseld–PLEASE DO NOT PUT UNTRUTHFUL WORDS IN MY MOUTH!!!

"I am too humbled affirming that I was a priest, but I believe you are making that ACCUSATION justified.

PLEASE do not tell me I am NOT affirmed or UNEDUCATED. This is an INSULT and should be stopped as of now.

I think because of your ACCUSATIONS, you need CONFESSION and COUNSELING for the HATRED shown toward priests and seminarians. Michael, if it wasn’t for the priests. how would you be receiving Communion?

Don’t tell me I am unable to give good advice, I have been doing it for years. I believe with a PhD, I know something. The seminarian jsut doesn’t look in the phone book and say ah, this looks like a good person to choose.

You present yourself like an uneducated and wise person who has all the answers. If you are well grounded in your theology, than why did you have to consult a priest?

You have a “BLOCK” in your head. I constituted, YES, you can pray for homosexuals, but if they keep on doing the SINFUL actions, what good are the graces?

Nothing is taxing for me. I also have a master’s in Theology. I will be very blunt with you Michael: I have NEVER seen so much HATRED towards me. You are the first to entertain these FALSE ACCUSATIONS.

This is my evaluation of you:

1] You are very DISRESPECTFUL and RUDE
2] You have ATTITUDES with an educated person
3] You need a class in HOW TO TREAT YOUR ELDERS
4] You derfintely need CONFESSION for the way you have INSULTED and MADE FALSE ACCUSATIONS
5] I think your PRIDE is in your way
6] I did not say DO NOT PRAY FOR GAYS, I said if they continue these SINFUL actions, than why pray for them?
7] You certainly need to be CORRECTED the way you TREAT PEOPLE
8] Saying I do not care if you studied wih the Pope for 20 years is so CHILDISH and IMMATURE

“Their wickedness blinded them, and they did not Know the secret purposes of God” Wisdom 2:21-22

“The stones that the builders rejected has become the cornerstorep; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes”, Psalm 118:22-23–MARR: 21:42

michaeldaniels,
I think you will make a wonderful priest.

Abuse of confession would basically be, in my opinion, someone who goes more than once a week without serious reason.
The sacrament of confession is an awesome moment of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness and should be approached as such. It should never become an “ATM of grace/forgiveness”.
Its not many people who “abuse” the sacrament of confession, but it does happen. Occasionally there are individuals who demand to see a priest right away and then confess that they think they may have possibly kinda maybe not sure, but just in case, sinned.

Thank you and God Bless…please pray for me during my discernment…I really feel that is what God is calling me to do. Vivat Jesus

And you as a Priest have a problem with this? In these days of weak to non existant catechisis when many people don’t even know the definition of a mortal sin, you would think it an abuse if they go because they think they may have committed one?

Sounds kind ofsuspicious to me.

I would think that you would be happy for the opportunity to instruct such a person.

Are you really a priest or do you just use the handle saying that you are? No offense intended. but there have been those who represnted themselves to be Priests or Deacons on this forum when they were not.

Your somewhat curious answer leaves me thinking, thats all.

Like I said, we don’t need to go to confession after each venial sin we commit or think that we maybe might have committed each day. To insist on doing so is an abuse of the sacrament. Its treating the sacrament almost like a pez dispenser of grace.

I would think that you would be happy for the opportunity to instruct such a person.

That would be true if every person was open to instruction. Some are not.

Are you really a priest or do you just use the handle saying that you are? No offense intended. but there have been those who represnted themselves to be Priests or Deacons on this forum when they were not.

Well, there’s no way I can prove it to you. You can either take my word for it or you can not believe me. I have a strict policy of not giving out personal information over the internet. Anyone who does so I think is rather foolish. I don’t even like the fact that the diocese published my birth date in the diocesan paper, idenity theft is easier than you think with the right info.

So either take my word that I am a priest or don’t. Not much I can do about that.

Your somewhat curious answer leaves me thinking, thats all.

Not every priest thinks alike. Perhaps some priests enjoy taking 20 minutes out of their busy schedule to absolve someone who thinks they may have gone 56mph in a 55 (not a real example). You can try to tell such individuals that they don’t need immediate confession for such a thing but they don’t always want to hear that.

Very slippery indeed. well no matter. I thought that the spiritual care of those under them was one of the primary duties of a Priest.

I wasn’t aware that a Priest had to enjoy all of his duties either.

You could have given a somewhat better example as well. It might have helped your credibility.

I could be wrong, but it seems like in NewEnglandPries’s view, the thing that makes these examples an “abuse” is the fact that the penitents are in the habit of demanding immediate confession for these veniel sins (at worst) or even non-sins. If the person came to the regularly scheduled confession times or even made an appointment a reasonable amount of time beforehand, it seems like it wouldn’t be quite so much of an issue. Is this a fair assumption or am I way off-base…?

Slippery slope is going to confession immediately after any possible sin.

I thought that the spiritual care of those under them was one of the primary duties of a Priest

Spiritual care, yes. But catering to an indivdual’s nerosis? No.
Perhaps you’d be more understanding if a priest can’t come to anoint your dying parent because he’s in the confessional with someone who’s not sure if they commited a sin since their last confession yesterday but wanted to immediately talk to a priest just in case.

I wasn’t aware that a Priest had to enjoy all of his duties either.

Of course no, however, the issue at hand is abuse of the sacrament of confession, and I think there are a few who do abuse it.

You could have given a somewhat better example as well. It might have helped your credibility.

LOL, obviously you’ve only sat on one side of the confessional screen.

You’re pretty much accurate.
The regularly scheduled confession time is set aside specifically for confessions. That’s the time for “regular” confession.
Appointments can always be made for people who in conscience need confession before the scheduled confessions. But even then, scheduling confession time several days a week would seem to be an abuse.

We can kind of compare it to reception of the Eucharist. Frequent reception of the Eucharist is encouraged, but the Church specifically states that receiving more than twice in the same day is an outright abuse, and even then, receiving twice in the same day is to be an exception not a norm.
In a similiar way, frequent confession is a good and holy thing. But overly frequent confession would appear to almost be a lack of faith in God’s love and mercy, as if the individual thinks venial sins will send us to hell.

Interesting debate, let’s look at what Canon Law says:

Can. 843 §1. Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.

Now I guess there could be debate on “at appropriate times”…

Ask him directly at your next confession. Right now you are only assuming that he is talking about you. Your entire reaction is based on an assumption that, quite frankly, you don’t even know is accurate.

Only you and him and God know what is going on in your confessions. If he was implying you, then ask him how he feels you are abusing it and what to do. If not, you’ll get a lot more peace then you will from us.

Well, just because I think someone is abusing the sacrament I wouldn’t deny them confession unless it was impossible due to time constraint for me to hear it.

Now that makes a whole lot of sense!

I would think it could be relating to someone who is constantly going to Confession for the slightest venial sin, OR it could be someone who is going to Confession without the proper intent. If a person is going so that they can have the “slate cleaned” so they can go right out and commit sin again, I would consider that abuse.

This was on Jimmy Akin’s Blog…it is relevant I believe…Jimmy’s responses are in red

www.jimmyakin.org

June 08, 2009
Post-Confession Feelings
(Jimmy Akin)

A reader writes:

Today, I went to confession…the priest remained silent the entire time I was confessing…which I kind of like, because it allows me to recount all of my sins without distraction.

Agreed–at least as a general rule.

I will not go into details, but I did have a couple of things I thought would warrant a good chastisement from the priest. All he told me at the conclusion of my confession was to make an act of contrition and say 1 “Our Father” as my penance…

What warrants a chastisement from the priest is a tricky thing. The priest’s job in confession is to make an assessment, to the extent possible, of whether your are repentant and what will help you spiritually. While there can be room for admonishments and penances, the fundamental orientation of the sacrament is toward administering the mercy of God.

I wouldn’t read too much into the failure of the priest to chastise you. Even if he should have on this particular occasion, it has nothing to do with the validity of the sacrament.
I honestly and whole heartedly feel I made a good confession…but if that is the case, why do I feel like a huge weight is still on me? I still feel as if I am in mortal sin? Do you think it was the lack of participation/chastisement on the part of the priest? Could it be something else?

If you honestly and wholeheartedly think that you made a good confession then I would chalk your current feelings up to the dynamics of human emotion. Sometimes we feel like we need to be punished–chastised or rebuked or humbled in some way–and this feeling can remain for reasons that aren’t rational.

Survivor guilt is an example of that. Sometimes people feel guilty at living longer than someone who has passed on. They feel like they ought to be punished or that things shouldn’t go well for them. But this is not rational. If two people are in the back seat of a car during a crash, and one lives and the other dies, it is neither’s fault that the crash occurred (neither was driving), and the survivor shouldn’t feel guilty–though the survivor often does.

In the same way, even when we are guilty–the feeling that we need to be punished can remain even after we have made reparations or after we’ve been to confession. Sometimes we can even have a morbid feeling that we need to be punished that is out of all proportion to the facts or that we still feel no matter what we do.

When this happens, the situation is unhealthy.

I don’t know that you are in such a situation, but it’s not uncommon for people to have lingering feelings of guilt even after they’ve been absolved and done their penance. Feelings are quirky things, and everybody experiences that from time to time.

Unless there is an objective reason to think one made a bad confession, though, one should not dwell on the matter. Even if the priest didn’t say exactly the right thing or give you exactly the right penance, don’t question matters. Trust in God’s mercy.
Is it possible it is my mind giving me a hard time, because as of late, I have been confessing the same thing frequently…so possibly, I feel crummy because I feel as if I am abusing the sacrament by confessing the same thing over and over again. I don’t know if I need to go again and confess all the things over or what?

Continuation and conclusion…

If, as you say above, you think you did make a good confession then I would strongly recommend that you not scruple about this. Unless you think you made a bad confession then you should not go and confess these things all over again. That way lies scrupulosity.

It is understandable that you have the kind of feelings you do if you are presently dealing with a besetting sin–something that you struggle with regularly.

But one can licitly approach the sacrament even when one is dealing with this kind of sin. What is required is that when you are in confession that you will not to commit the sin in the future. You may foresee that you are going to experience temptation toward the sin in the future. You may even realize, intellectually, that you are likely to give in to that temptation in the future. But if, at the time you are confessing, your will is against committing the sin, the sacrament will be valid and you are making a good confession even if you don’t feel like you are.

To quote from the Vademecum for Confessors (which deals specifically with conjugal chastity, but whose principles are applicable to sins in general):

  1. Sacramental absolution is not to be denied to those who, repentant after having gravely sinned against conjugal chastity, demonstrate the desire to strive to abstain from sinning again, notwithstanding relapses. In accordance with the approved doctrine and practice followed by the holy Doctors and confessors with regard to habitual penitents, the confessor is to avoid demonstrating lack of trust either in the grace of God or in the dispositions of the penitent, by exacting humanly impossible absolute guarantees of an irreproachable future conduct.
    While I don’t know the details of the reader’s situation and therefore can only give general answers, I would encourage him to trust in God’s mercy and his grace–both through the sacrament and apart from it–for resisting and avoiding temptation in the future. With perseverance, growth in holiness can and will occur. If there are setbacks, he should resolve to do better, even if he cannot offer himself or his confessor "humanly impossible absolute guarantees of an irreproachable future conduct."
    If feelings persist after making a good confession that he should have done more penance or been chastised by the priest, I would encourage him not to scruple about this, and not to worry whether the punishment exactly fit the crime. In matters of mercy, it never does. Trust God’s mercy and accept the self-humbling of going to confession and naming the sin in the first place, as well as the penance done, as being enough.

This sums up my feeling, too.

Ah, if only MORE people would “abuse confession” with a “laundry list” of venial sins. It is not like there is a line going around the block of people wanting to go to Confession these days. A person who goes to Confession with a laundry list of venial sins is SINCERE in his/her desire to repent and change his/her behaviors and please God. Alleluia!

Besides, having a mortal sin or venial sins, whether we have a little dirt on our flesh or are covered in mud, we still need to take a shower before we get any dirtier!

I’m on your page! When you think of it though, Satan is trying to sink our ship anyway he knows how & on a daily basis, it’s easier for him to use our sexuality in a perverse way than to get us to rob banks (which we very well know we’ll never get away with!). I agree with you totally about sexual sins being the easiest mortal sins to commit, precisely because they are hidden, secret sins. The Saints knew this, and good priests know this as well.

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.