Advent and confession

Is it normal for parishes NOT to have the regular confession times after having a “communal penance service” a week or two before Christmas? What if I mess up during those last couple weeks of Advent? Do I have to wait until after Christmas or the new year to be able to receive Communion because there is no confession? It’s the same way during Lent - no regular confession times two weeks before Easter.

Our pastor always seems so rushed, especially before the major holidays (Christmas and Easter) and I don’t feel comfortable making an appointment for confession with the associate pastor yet. :o

In my experience, parishes almost always schedule extra confession times during Holy Week and sometimes prior to Christmas. I think it is extremely rare to have fewer confession times available.

If you need confession, you can always go to another parish, but this is something worth bringing up to your pastor, if you think he’d be approachable.

I guess we are lucky here in New York City because about shortly before any major Holy Day, many of the Churches in the Five Boroughs are open for confession for a full 24 hours a day! The police department in many neighborhoods station a policeman or a police car outside the entrance of the Church to protect both the Priests and the Laity.

Depends on the parish.
*]Your pastor might be busy attending the Penance Services of all the local parishes which sent priests to your Penance Service.
*]His schedule may not allow for the regular time.
*]The church may be closed for a major repair that has to get done before the Christmas rush.
*]Though you may feel uncomfortable about making an appointment, if the parish advertised (as many do) “or by appointment,” then go ahead and call for an appointment for confession.
*]Your pastor may be teaching the parish a lesson that you all don’t show up at the same time at the last possible scheduled confession the day before a major feast and create an inordinately long line – so rather than procrastinate and rush spiritual preparation the day before… use the entire season for preparation, which is its purpose.

What if I mess up during those last couple weeks of Advent? Do I have to wait until after Christmas or the new year to be able to receive Communion because there is no confession? It’s the same way during Lent - no regular confession times two weeks before Easter.

Say an act of contrition with the best sorrow you can muster and have a firm intention to get to Confession the next time you are able and you can receive Communion in the meantime.

I am sure that he is very busy but don’t ever feel hesitant to ask for an appointment for confession. Confession and the Eucharist are his two highest duties. Priests need to know that their parishioners are interested in regular confession.

This is very bad advice. If a Catholic is in mortal sin, they should find a priest to hear their confession. Be demanding if one must. Priests are ordained to do primarily 2 things: Offer Sacrifice (ie: the Mass) and to absolve sins. Everything else comes second. Far too many priests are developing a mentality that these do major obligations are things they do if they have time. Nonsense.

Most parishes actually have more confession times during Advent, and especially Lent.

If not your priests may indeed be out at other parishes helping with their penance services. You can go to confession at any parish to any priest who has faculties (which is not an issue if you go to one of the priests at a diocesean parish).

Christmas is in two weeks. By being aware, you can surely stay out of *mortal *sin for two weeks? If you have a habitual sin, than you should discuss culpability with your priest in your next confession. Not to let you “off the hook”, but so that you clearly understand how to renounce that sin.

It seems like they were all held this past Monday. I will call around to see who is having regularly scheduled confessions.

woah, woah, woah, wrong. Do NOT do that. If you need to call your priest and schedule a confession, do it. If you need to catch him before Mass or after Mass, do it. But DON’T receive communion if you haven’t received sacramental confession.


*Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1457 According to the Church’s command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.*

The advice I gave is standard advice that many confessors and pastors give the faithful.

There’s no grave reason to receive communion! The supposed “many confessors and pastors” would be wrong to give out that advice. And even IF there were (which there’s not) a grave reason, the situation of “no possibility” isn’t really existent in most american parishes today, if you ask me.

Our priest is the same. Confessions are by appointment always.

If you need the Sacrament and there’s an associate pastor, please don’t hesitate to ask him!

Using our diocesan website, I’ve put together a list of every parish within 2-3 hour’ drive that has scheduled Confessions. It’s not ideal, but at least I know when and where a priest is offering the Sacrament.

During Holy Week, it’s been my experience that Confessions are not heard on Holy Saturday. In fact, when I was young I showed up as usual on Saturday. Father grinned and said he would only hear my confession if I was in dire need.

And at my parish, they have one last big push to get the procrastinators to go to Confession before Easter and will schedule an extended period of time in the morning of Holy Saturday. They also have Confessions Holy Thursday and Good Friday, as well as the rest of the week.

If there’s no grave reason to receive communion, then why does the Catechism refer to a grave reason to receive communion?

Are you saying the Catechism is making a mistake by even talking about a grave reason to receive communion?

Obviously, there is a world of pastoral concern and judgment of which you are not familiar.

It’s referring to the priest and his requirement to offer Mass and their is no other priest available to offer Mass. A priest is the only person who is required to receive communion during Mass. If he is in the state of Mortal Sin and there is no other priest to offer Mass or hear his confession, and it is required that Mass is offered, or not offering Mass would cause some type of scandal, the priest is required to make the most perfect act of contrition he can, offer Mass, and get to Confession ASAP.

Our priest explained this to us.

That would indeed be an example of grave reason to receive, but not the only one. If it were the only one, the Catechism would have either been specific about it referring to priests celebrating Mass, or, simply left it out as unnecessary for a general catechism.

It’s not just a general catechism, that’s just a cop-out. It’s THE catechism. For priests, laity, everyone. The priest is the only one obligated to receive. If you haven’t been to confession and you committed grave sin, you should NOT receive.

If the Catechism quote in question was because on a obligation for the priest to receive, then it would have have referred to those obliged to receive. Instead, it mentions receiving for a grave reason, thus, it’s not referring to the sole case of priests.

Danger of death is the only other one I can think of.

Say you are deathly ill to the point where you cannot communicate your sins by speech, writing or other sign, and therefore cannot confess, but are conscious and can swallow and are therefore capable of receiving communion.

Or again deathly ill and a lay minister is available to give Communion to you, but not a priest who can hear your confession beforehand.

Since you aren’t seeming to get it, let me put it this way: where does it say that there’s any grave reason for anyone to receive during the season of advent and Christmas? You are proposing that the person can receive if needed. But where does any document say that receiving during advent or Christmas constitute a grave reason?

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