Confession and family members

Recently, every time I go to Confession, my parents tell me that I don’t really need to go confess my sins. They think that I don’t commit any sins at all :confused: or that they’re not serious enough to warrant Confession. I know that I must confess my sins, but I sometimes feel discouraged and am unsure as to how to respond to their remarks.

My family is very non-religious… My mom was taught by some Catholic nuns when she was a young girl that as long as you say you’re sorry to God privately, God will forgive you. My dad was brought up Lutheran but doesn’t practice any faith that I’m aware of.

What might be a good way to respectfully respond to my family members about Confession? :slight_smile: Thanks.

LOL, your mother must not be very old. I was taught by nuns as a girl and they would never say such a thing.

You can remind them of the graces you get by going to confession, it’s not all about what sins you are telling the priest. Get a book on confession and learn more about it then give it to your parents to read. The priest can give tell you about a good book to get.

I’m the only Catholic in my family, so when my family makes sly little remarks about me going to confession (when I’m leaving, “Confession again? You go like every week!” or when I return on Sunday “oh you’re back early. Not much to confess this time, eh?”), I usually just say, “Hey, if the Pope goes once a week, why shouldn’t I?” The conversation usually ends there, with them having that “touché” look on their face.

I too am the only Catholic in my family (my mother, father, and sister being what I would ‘label’ them as Non-denominational Christians and my brother being LDS.) and sometimes jokes like that pop up but that has stopped quite some time ago.

Alicia05, don’t ever be ashamed about going to confession and having your sins forgiven by God himself. Take pride in knowing that you, as a Catholic, have a very special relationship with the Trinity through one of the most beautiful sacraments the Church Militant has to offer :slight_smile:

Sounds like your mother was taught by the Nuns on the Bus!

You should thank God that you have an intimate relationship with God that your family members lack. Why do they criticize you? Guilt. They know that they are doing wrong.

I been going to anglican confession since about 16 years old and now 44. My parents still do not know that I go. That I bother to etc as they don’t. They have no need to go. I do not go every week and I approach it different to average anglicans even I think. About 3 people including the priest knows I bother. (one person found out because once I was visiting them after confession and another friend had seen me in passing on the way upto church and asked where I was going and I said to the friends of which I truthfully was straight after confession. I did panic a little thinking if was to see me again a bit later they would wonder what took me so long to get there:blush: the stories we weave to keep it private. Mainly because am reasonbly private person on the whole
It certainly is much easier now I live on my own. We have to arrange all our confessions and I book mine seperate to any services though I did try once and a person came early so we vacated to the vestry but that meant nothing to that one person because I serve, and she did knock before enterring and was embarrased to interrupt. So she knows I bothered that time at least. But my family do not know and have no need to say and don’t say anything to them about it. The priest knows they don’t know too, not that this one gives anything away about having already seen you that day on those times he may see us later, he is very discrete.

I think half of it is that they do not understand your own personal need to bother. They are embarrassed. So they jibe to cover their embarrassment. We’ve all done it about things to each other to cover what we don’t understand or something.

Simply explain to your mother that it not about the seriousness of sin but you feel you achieve through the process. I told this to my priest because for us, we don’t need to and I know I do use it or at least I assume I use it different to some others and have said, I have tried not to use confession (especially with my own personal outlook of God-I don’t need it as thus) but I gain something from the process. Not that I need to reason it with the priest. It not about the seriousness of sin it is that you feel closer to God through doing Confession formally.

Yeah I know folks like that too, good people but luke warm to the faith.

Continue to go to confession and take your faith seriously …maybe your family will ponder on your dedication and fall in step too.

My husband rolls his eyes when I discuss confession, so I don’t. He, too, like your parents, thinks one doesn’t need confession unless one has committed a BIG mortal sin such as murder. The little everyday sins are not really sins in his universe.

If you do not need your parents to drive you to and from confession, just try not to discuss it with them. It’s a personal appointment with Jesus and as such, does not need to be debated with all and sundry. Try to approach it with humor if they taunt you. “You’re going to confession AGAIN???” “Yes, Mom, I take a shower every day, and confession is somewhat like a shower for my soul, so I need to go on a regular basis.” (smile).

Your answer that the Pope goes to confession once a week could unfortunately lead into a criticism session aimed at the Holy Father, if they are non-practicing. :frowning: Best not to bring the Pope into it, IMO.

I really just wouldn’t discuss it with them, though. Head out the door and don’t mention where exactly you are going. You can even say, “I’m meeting a friend,” and not be lying, because Jesus is our best friend!

I like this answer!:thumbsup:
Yes, if they don’t drive you, just don’t mention it. If they do have to take you, just tell them that you enjoy going, not just to confess, but to chat and gain advice from the priest about various things going on in your life. I try to make confession sound like it is talking to a knowledgable old friend when people (non believers, Protestants, etc…) question my motives for going.

Their question is addressed in the Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and it is actually a sensible question, considering the effects of receiving Holy Communion. The answer is that while it is true that Holy Communion wipes away venial sin, making the Sacrament of Penance an absolute necessity only the in the case of mortal sin, the Church nevertheless strongly encourages the confession of venial sins as well in order to receive the graces inherent in the Sacrament of Penance.

I would like to start with 292 from the Compendium, because this truth they learned in grade school may be the source of your parents’ confusion. Your answer can simply be this: “Yes, Holy Communion wipes away venial sin, but that is not all confession does. I do better when I go to confession. I treat other people better, I feel God’s love, I have the advantage that I have someone I actually can trust entirely to know all my deepest worst secrets and instead of judging me he helps me turn away from my worst side and then he forgets about it! Who of you can say that? So while Holy Communion does have that effect, Fr. X is a very good confessor, and I really recommend you come with me some time. How about during Lent?” And then start working on them a little when they bring it up! (By the way, if you do not have the Compendium or the Catechism, they are posted online in their entirety.)

292. What are the fruits of Holy Communion?


Holy Communion increases our union with Christ and with his Church. It preserves and renews the life of grace received at Baptism and Confirmation and makes us grow in love for our neighbor. It strengthens us in charity, wipes away venial sins and preserves us from mortal sin in the future.

306. Why can venial sins also be the object of sacramental confession?


The confession of venial sins is strongly recommended by the Church, even if this is not strictly necessary, because it helps us to form a correct conscience and to fight against evil tendencies. It allows us to be healed by Christ and to progress in the life of the Spirit.

That is, from the Catechism:
**1448 **Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned. It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God’s action through the intervention of the Church. the Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Thus the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion.

This is also in the Catechism:
1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation."74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true “spiritual resurrection,” restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75

Ooops…I posted 1448, when I meant to post item 1458 from the Catechism. This ought to make more sense:

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.(59) Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful: (60)

Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” - this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made … When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. the beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.(61)

59 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1680; ⇒ CIC, can. 988 # 2.
60 Cf. ⇒ Lk 6:36
61 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 12, 13: PL 35, 1491

I think it is worthwhile to remember 1 Peter:

*Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. **Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame. **For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now. It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.* 1 Peter 3:13-22

Keep your eye on the ball, OP. When you say things to others that will be taken as a correction, do so with an eye to facilitating their correction. It is a balance between keeping your light out from under a bushel basket and avoiding making that light into pearls thrown before swine, which saves no one and gets you torn to pieces in the process. I do not mean to think of your parents as swine, but rather to be willing to keep the likely result of what you say in mind. I do not mean in the sense of trying to manipulate someone into a deeper relationship with God–how silly would that be!–but rather to keep an eye to being a window pointed towards a Lord who is thirsty for their souls, and not a wall preventing them from seeing the One who desires us all more greatly each day.

Confession will help you with this, since you will realize that you, too, frustrate God’s thirst for full union with you. You will realize that we are like the servant whose debt was repaid, but we hope wise enough to encourage other debtors to come for mercy. Love covers a multitude of sins, and patience shown to the (apparent: we cannot judge) lukewarmness or slowness of others is a good measure to have measured back to you. You cannot go wrong with that.

That must be why our priest hears confession right before Mass then people do not need to make another trip and have people ask them were they are going.

Mortal sins must be confess but others can be clear with the prayer of penance, our father in heaven or as you mother said. It is highly recommended though, to go to the confession anyway for all sins. I find this is a great practice that you go often. I love going to confession, i always feels so wonderful after.

So go as often as you want.

All the best!

No, they even did that back when everybody went and the busybodies noticed instead when you* didn’t* show up!

They have confession right before Mass because it is convenient, but it is a hold-over from when people felt they ought to confess every weekend before receiving Holy Communion. There were just more other times available, too.

(Also, in our area I think many of the outlying parishes had priests who travelled there only for Sunday, and weren’t always around on Saturdays to make confession available the day before.)

Mostly, don’t act as if going to confession is evidence of a mental instability. You don’t need to flaunt it, but this is something that normal people do, and you have reason to act that way. If you lived in a house where no one else showered regularly in spite of the ready availability of water and soap, you would want to be charitable enough to ignore their body odor, but you wouldn’t act as if taking a shower were somehow shameful.

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