And again, I think this is where finding a good confessor would help you. Ask them what they advise - a priest isn’t going to lead you wrong, so follow their advice.
It always helps me to make a few notes before I go into confess my sins.
For me, it is easy to get caught up in the moment and to forget a few things.
Just take your time and remember that the priest is there to help you through your confession.
He is there with you and for you. He wants to absolve you, but you have to do your best to make a complete confession.
I will pray for you!
Books I would strongly recommend:
‘Unbound’ by Neal lozano
(And any of Neal Lozano’s books.)
Available on amazon.com
Neal is the nephew of catholic exorcist Fr Michael Scanlan of Steubenville University.
Neal is a catholic in the Vatican approved catholic charismatic renewal deliverance ministry, and his book offers valuable suggestions on how to experience deliverance from habitual sins, (such as reflecting on one’s life, as to what are the root causes and reasons for these sins, what thought patterns have developed and need to be brought to Jesus for healing).
‘The Miracle Ship’ by Brian O’ Hare,
Available on amazon.com as ebook download or paperback purchase,
I would very strongly urge you to look up whether there are any local Catholic charismatic prayer groups near you/ catholic charismatic renewal retreats/ conferences/ healing masses.
The catholic charismatic renewal is approved by the Vatican, and has manifestations of the Pentecost gifts of the Holy Spirit (tongues, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, deliverance),
Most people who become involved in the VatIcan approved Catholic Charismatic renewal experience a deeper conversion to the Catholic Faith in their daily lives.
The Catechism states:
-Yes mortal sins must be confessed by specific name and number (or approximate number if unknown).
-if a mortal sin is deliberately withheld in confession, that is the mortal sin of sacrelige (which needs to be confessed) and nothing in that confession is forgiven,
-if a mortal sin is accidentally not confessed or remembered, all sins are forgiven but any unconfessed mortal sins remembered later, need to be confessed at the next confession, because the rule remains that all mortal sins must be confessed by name and number.
All from the Catechism.
All priests and laypeople are bound in obedience to the Catholic catechism, which Saint john paul II stated: ‘I put my Apostolic Authority on this work.’
That’s what I thought! But I think the writing things down will really help. My problem in the last four confessions was fumbling because my brain freaked out. Having it written down will allow me to just read and not have to think and thus not stumble over my thoughts because I’m upset (I get upset at confession. It’s a thing).
Yes write them down, and keep them in a locked diary or something so no one can read them, (and burn the confessed sins afterwards, )
Lots of people who get nervous in confession, or experience ‘blanks’,/ forget sins, find it so much easier to write down their sins on a page to keep in their pocket, read these to the priest, and afterwards burn the page. ️
Don’t get upset in confession.
You are going to receive pardon from the Saviour of the World, (He who will erase all your debts from your soul), it is a cause for rejoicing that Jesus Mercy, is infinitely greater than any sin.
My favourite quote from Pope Francis is:
‘Every single sin of your life, all added together, is only a grain of sand, compared to the ocean of Jesus Mercy in the confessional.’
The upset thing is something that started after my ‘bad experience’. I suspect it’ll be awhile before I overcome it.
You haven’t explained what actually happened during this bad experience at confession. Given your reluctance to go into details, I can’t help wondering whether the priest committed an offence under Canon 1387 (essentially, using the pretext of the sacrament of reconciliation to solicit sex). This is an extremely serious offence under canon law and can lead to a priest being laicised. It may also be a crime and/or tort under the law of your civil jurisdiction.
Whatever it was, I would urge you to raise the matter with the appropriate authorities. Even if the priest has not committed an offence against canon law or the civil law, he should not do anything in the confessional that leaves you feeling shocked and traumatised and feeling uncomfortable with priests. I suggest that you speak to the priest’s bishop (if he is a diocesan priest) or religious superior (if he serves an order, although the local diocesan bishop would probably also want to be kept informed). I would also consider whether it is appropriate to report the incident to the police.
If a priest has done something which has had this effect on you it’s likely that he has behaved in a similar way with other people he meets in the course of his pastoral work, and he may well continue to behave like this until somebody intervenes. The Church does not want its priests to behave like this. It may be that I am imagining a far worse scenario than what actually happened. It’s also possible that the priest did not intend to have this effect, and he may well be grateful for the opportunity to become a better priest, especially if he is young and inexperienced. But whatever the situation, and whatever the fault, this is clearly not something that should be allowed to go on unquestioned.
I don’t know how anyone goes to Confession without a list! I totally use one.
Also, I make it a point to go to Confession not in my parish. That way, if I have a bad experience, I won’t have a bad association with my parish or my pastor. In case someone overhears, or if I were to start crying, at least it would be strangers observing me and not people I know! I also try to go behind a screen which I find a lot less stressful. I too have struggled with a couple of habitual sins. I refrained from communion at times (sometimes for weeks or months) until I felt like I really could have a firm purpose of amendment. I don’t recommend that, but you are not the only one!
<3 Thank you! And those are great tips. I regret not doing all of it to begin with! Haha.
It’s okay; you’re not alone. I have had bad experiences in confession too. Remember priests have good or bad personalities like regular people. I’ve had a priest say “how many times” or “is that it?”
I try my best to stay away from him.
As for the other things in terms of beating around the bush in confession, I have done it too. I went to the confession the next day somewhere farther away and not a priest I’ve been to ever.
So, you should try going to a priest you’ve never gone to, and just tell him absolutely everything on your conscience. Even if it means an extra 30 minutes on the road, it’ll be worth it.
Prayers for you!!!
The teaching on habitual sins is that you make a firm purpose of amendment to address them and you do try not to commit them.
However, if you slip and commit them, you should confess them, not hold back sins out of embarrassment. That is considered pride.
The last time I was embarrassed about confessing the same sin over and over (which wasn’t mortal or at least I don’t think so, it is just a human fault), the priest said that God gives us these habitual sins to let us know that we cannot fix ourselves alone and that God has to come in and give us the grace to change or overcome the sin. This made sense.
I also see that over time I do make small strides overcoming my sins, though they may be small rather than any big dramatic change.
Finally, if you are having this much difficulty in the confessional with remembering sins or going into too much detail, make a written list (mortal sins at the top), read it off in the confessional with no added details, and then destroy it afterwards.
I envy people who can do this confession thing off the top of their head. It must be a great talent. I have a feeling writing down the sins is going to make a world of difference. Unless I get too upset to read… >.< (just joking! Or am I…)
It took me several years to feel competent at confession (I almost said “comfortable,” but that’s really not the word I want. ;)). The more I do it the better it gets. I also have felt like the devil will do anything to keep me away. Even now, I have two people I check in with every month so we can all make sure we’ve gone (that’s a good frequency for me, plus it’s just about ideal for indulgences.) So I’ve built up the support and habit of going over time. You can, too!
It gets easier. Why not just plan to go, write what you want to say, you don’t need to be specific. Just say I committed theft or lies or sins against the Body. No details.
But as soon as you go into confession, tell father how difficult that confession is and how anxious you are. Let Father guide you.
So in a nutshell, have a written very brief text that doesn’t go into details, ready,
But before you start reading it out, express how anxious you are and how difficult this is.
Please know, it’s pretty hard for almost everyone at first . You are not alone.
My prayers are with you.
I’d never heard that before. Thanks for sharing.
<3 This has been so helpful guys, really. I feel like I’ll be better pretty next time I go.
Follow up: I have asked my husband to take me to confession at the end of the month (he’s taking me out of town to a parish that isn’t my own). I"ll be doing a full examination of conscience and writing everything down. I will also be asking the priest for advice about what to do about the ‘bad experience’ I had. I’ve told a priest about it in the context of confession but this time I’m going to ask point blank what should be done about it because it has weighed very heavy on my heart since it happened.
Thanks again guys. It was nice to hear others struggled with a similar issue and the advice of writing things down was SO helpful. When I was taught how to do confession someone mentioned writing things down and it was completely dismissed as not necessary. I just never thought to do it after that but it’s so obvious now that it’s the proper solution.
I always write things down. My brain is a sieve, I’d forget my own name if I didnt, lol. I even write down the act of contrition.
I didnt read every word above…so if it’s been said, sorry. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to come with you and speak for you. Also you can ask your guardian angel to go ahead of you and speak with the priests guardian angel and smooth the way for conversation, he is only to happy to help you out, remember God gave you an angel to help you get to heaven and confession is God’s will and is certainly a way to help you get to heaven. We are told that angels rejoice when we go to confession so I am sure they help us with that task, it sounds like a perfect task to ask yours to help you with. God bless you, I’ll say a prayer for you.
Prayer and fasting is one solution.
There is a free PDF of franklin hall book the atomic power of fasting.
Changing your personal “character” is difficult w/o the supernatural.