Can a Priest show physical affection to comfort a parishioner?


Please don´t be afraid of posting here later on.
Some people here are more straight forward than others.

Feel free to reach me at PM if you need to talk to someone.


If something is making you feel uncomfortable, that’s absolutely ok. This young priest will need to learn boundaries in this day and age. You also can stop the physical contact immediately.
You can choose to engage in confession face to face , or behind a screen, your rights and ability to stop the physical contact remain the same.

Take your hands away and continue with the confession. It’s fine to say to the Priest that this physical contact is stepping over your boundaries.


DEFINITELY go behind the screen in confession from now on.


Okay, great! I don’t think you have anything to worry about. But I can totally understand why you might feel uncomfortable in this situation given what you said about your past experiences.


I believe that you felt uncomfortable because of the media frenzy about priests that is out there. I have several priests that I call my friends. I am a female. I have never felt uncomfortable and I have had lots of hugs by all of them. And, I have gone to confession with them as well.
That said, we live in a world filled with criticism about the Catholic Church and always taken completely out of context and sometimes exaggerated. If it made you uncomfortable, could it be because of all the negative media attention? That’s okay and please don’t feel an disrespect because I do not mean any disrespect. I have recently realized that God is LOVE-God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It does not mean the blow your mind kind of crazy love that we all feel in our lives at one point or another, but spiritual Love is beautiful and pure and holy, and oh so loving! I think in this time, in this world, with all the attacks on our Catholic Faith, because yes, there are attacks right now, and a war on Catholicism, we are all a little or a lot scared about what is appropriate. All is well! Believe me when I say that. It doesn’t sound romantic in any way. It sounds like he was comforting you and that is a beautiful thing! God bless you, Psalm_130!


You know your own boundaries better and that is perfectly respectable.
I, personally , do not like it when anybody holds my hands like that for a long time so I kind of make the gesture to move my hair from the eyes or something ( so as to free my hands…)because in general I know it is well meant. Yet, I feel trapped :slight_smile: when sb won t release my hands.
Welcome btw!!:strawberry: Here is a welcome snack!


So this happened to me today at work. A person that was going through our facility had a medical emergency. A female coworker was there and was the last person to speak to this man. The paramedics came but could help. My coworker was obviously distraught by this. She needed a hug. Another coworker was there and they hugged and cried together.
We humans need interaction with other human beings. We are not islands. And those that close in on themselves typically suffer from some psychological issues.
My coworker spoke to me and related her pain, I said something and we touched hands. I felt for her pain, it is called empathy. If we had more empathy for our fellow men/women perhaps the world would be a better place for all.


Perhaps this is how he was raised at home and he just extends empathy, compassion and concern. Don’t forget… when you are in confession, Jesus is also in that space and you are confessing to Jesus, not to “just another human”
So perhaps Jesus was moved to compassion by your sincerity and the Holy Spirit used the priest as a puppet and it was really Jesus holding your hand

If you remember Jesus is in there with you, it takes the ‘awkward feeling’ away


Fr. Larry Richards says that if he is face to face with someone in confession he always ends with a hug (to be comforting, accepting, show patience, and that they are not unlovable/dirty/unworthy of any attention type thing). On a side note, I feel like sometimes society is very over-reactive to physical contact, in this day you (or guys that is, girls always seem to be incapable of such things in the law’s eyes) can get charged with sexual assault for something as simple as a hug (or perhaps even situations as described in the OP).

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