Ok, here’s the deal. Usually when I go to Confession about once a month I confess to my parish priest, but if I find I’ve done something ‘really’ awful, I’ll run across town to a different parish where the priest doesn’t know me. I know this isn’t a sin, but I do feel like a coward. Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts about this?
thats perfectly fine. i have the same feelings. for me, that validates to myself that i know i’ve done something wrong and i am ashamed for it. it reminds me that i’m not a bad person, but a good person who made a mistake
you can go to confession with any Catholic priest with the faculties to do so. in fact, you can even go to a Byzantine Rite Catholic priest and have your confessions heard there.
Its fine this is also why the Church introduced the confessional screen to allow you to hide your identity.
I find that priests have a tendency to remember me when I confess. But I have yet to have one who mentioned anything afterwards, or ever spoke to me about anything i said inside the confessional when outside the confessional with one exception: I had an appointment to speak with the priest about what I had confessed and even then I had to bring up everything I confessed, he could not break the seal himself. And he never judged me or treated me any differently outside the confessional. I know some people who have confessed FAR worse sins than mine (not really greater, but you know what I mean) and have still been shown the love of Christ lived out in this priest.
That being said, I do the same thing sometimes. I have begun, however, to force myself to go to MY priest, since I feel that to be a good confessor he must know me. Plus, I dont want to feel like I am getting off lightly for something that is a grievous offense to my Lord.
Just my 2 scents.
it would be good to go to the same confessor. he may be able to advice you better in how to break your habit of sin
As the old saying goes, “Any port in a storm.”
Whatever floats your boat, as long as you get to Confession and do it right.
The priest is just God’s instrument. He has provided us with lots of instruments to use to reconcile ourselves back to Him and the community. Therefore, He must intend for us to use them at our convenience.
CrawlingBack, I think that what you are doing is perfectly legitimate, legal, and valid.
I would suggest that you might experience more spiritual growth with a face-to-face confession with a priest you know. I did a general confession–we’re talking 40+ (pre-Christian) years of breaking 10 of the 10–with a priest I know, love, and respect (and see nearly every day). It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done–to face him, look him in the eye, and tell him what I had done. During the confession, I really felt the weight of those sins coming off my shoulders, one by one. I felt the presence and love of Christ in this priest in a way that I’ve never felt behind the screen. It was incredible. And my spiritual growth since that confession has been amazing.
It was so hard to do, but so wonderful to have done. YMMV.
As tempting as it is to go to a priest that doesn’t know you, I think that is the sin of pride, so what’s the point of confessing then!!!
So I went to my parish priest and it was very hard but humbling. If you have no other choice, then that’s ok, but not to deliberately avoid your priest so as not to be embarassed. I do recommend going to my priest for confession to people who don’t feel their priest at another parish helps them work out WHY they are sinning in a particular way. But again, you are going to another priest for help, not to avoid being embarassed.
I actually did my first confession in 30+ years with the priest that helped me come back to the Church quite a few years ago. Face to face of course, and I let it ALL out. Every bit of it and then some. Was it uncomfortable? Amazingly, no, not really, and in fact, I prefer it that way, but I can absolutely see why someone would go to a different parish, and no, I do not, as others have said, believe there is anything wrong with it at all.
With that said, for the past year or so, I myself have been going to another parish\priest to confess. Not really for “fear” of seeing my parish priest every few weeks, but because they offer 8am Saturday confessions which are very convenient with my busy schedule. My own parish has them Saturday only, 3:30pm, when I’m rarely available. (I also take advantage of Wednesday afternoon confession from time to time at a local retreat house).
Anyway, I would not feel bad about it. You are confessing to God, and He knows you mean well. However, again, as others have said, I think you can find a sort of comfort and growing in faith by seeing the same priest over and over again.
i don’t believe its pride. its more about being ashamed of the sin and i think thats a good validation to yourself that you recognize what you did is wrong. i think its very humble to feel that way. we should develop the courage to be able to face a person we know and admit our guilt. most of us we sin because we think no one will find out. being able to face your parish priest is also a subconcious way to tell yourself that someone you know knows your sin. it helps in the psychology of breaking a bad habit
There is absolutely no Church teaching that even implies this. If YOU want to grow in humility by confessing to a priest that you know every single time, that’s wonderful. However, it is VERY important that we not impose burdens on others that are no more than our own personal preferences.
To the OP: Whatever it takes to get you to Confession, do it. Jesus waits for you in every single confessional, no matter who the priest is.
Amen! in fact, Canon Law was even very specific that there is nothing that would impede a Catholic from going to confession to any Catholic priest, even one of a different Rite
Can. 991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite.
I can tell you that I use two confession locations. I generally alternate between the two once per month or so.
I hop around due to the same reasons as the OP. Different priest, same God. We are not bound to receive the Eucharist or attend Mass with the same priest so who would think that we are bound to have the same priest hear our confessions? Many will agree that it is a good idea since the same priest will not have to be briefed each time and can tailor your penance to your exact needs. But please do not feel obligated to go to the same priest. Our Lord wants you to come and reconcile with Him and He didn’t just ordain one priest to represent Him…teachccd
Thank you for all of your posts. This ‘problem’ never bothered me before until recently. I realize I don’t go to my parish priest for the ‘really bad’ stuff out of pride and embarrassment. I’m just so ashamed of my horrible sins, and worry what he might think of me. I know it’s good that I do confess them even if it is across town, but wonder (as a couple of you posters noted) that to really grow in my faith I should stick with one confessor who can help me break any attachment or repetition of sins.
I have done this. I don’t know that traveling nearly 50 miles round trip (in my case) to another parish post haste to go to confession is not growing in your faith. Certainly between here and there I am praying much and those miles gives me plenty of time to think about my sins and be ever stronger in my contrition. I believe that priest can do just as well if not better then my parish priest in his counsel. In fact my parish priest is a man of few words.
Remember you are confessing your sins to Christ through the ministry of the Church. It is Christ who says " I absolve you from your sins…"… so it really doesn’t matter which priest you go to… the confession will still be valid…However It might be better to go to the same confessor in order that you develop and grow in virtue and become purifed from your sins (because your confessor will be able to monitor and give counsel and see how you are progressing…)
Again, thank you all. I suppose I just feel that I’m being a bit dishonest in `running’ across town every time I commit a sin that I feel too uncomfortable telling my own parish priest in Confession. It just seems so hard & I know it’s because I don’t want him to get the wrong (which would be the more accurate impression of me. Is this by itself a sin of pride? Do I need to grow up in my faith?