Confession in the UK

This may not be the best place to ask, but I couldn’t think of a better one. I am looking for some clarification about confession it the UK during the covid crisis.

My specific question is: Are priests allowed to hear confessions before 4th July?

Obviously it is tricky but I think it could be done if I meet the priest in the garden between the church and the parish house where the priest lives. On one hand, we could stay 2m apart and meet all the other covid rules and guidance. On the other hand, I am comfortable we would have enough privacy for a confession to be made appropriately, with the respect needed for a Sacrament etc.

Is there any official guidance on this? I found an article which touches on this but I’m afraid I can’t include links because I’m new here. If you google this you may be able to find it:

“It is up to the prudence of the penitent to decide whether he goes to confession,” said Fr Simon. “If a penitent comes to a priest, no priest in his right mind would refuse it.”

The article seems to hint that it is up to the priest to decide. However, if is the case that confessions are banned for now then I don’t want to put inappropriate pressure on the priest’s conscience.

I hope the above makes sense, looking forward to your thoughts.

Doesn’t your diocese or parish have a policy posted on their website about confession?


Thanks. I can’t see anything, but I’d love to be corrected. It seems I’m still too new to post links, but the Nottingham Diocese website is easy to google, and it does have a separate area for covid.

I did check before posting, I’m sorry I didn’t mention this in my OP, not great for the first post on a new forum.

My parish in the South East of England has a note in the newsletter that confession is only available in extreme circumstances, I’m inferring from that he means anointing of the sick.

Personally I would suggest phone your parish priest and ask him what he decided.

I’m hoping there will be plenty of opportunity before Masses resume.


This is more or less the impression I was getting from the article I mentioned in my OP, but personally I would be more comfortable if our Shepherds gave us a bit more detail in their guidance.

At the moment it feels like we might be left having to confess for asking for confession in the first place. So I would love to hear if anyone has come across some more detailed guidance. Even if it says “only hear confessions if life is at danger”.

I looked at your diocese website and you’re right, it doesn’t seem to have clear info. That’s unfortunate.

I suggest that if there is also nothing on your parish website, you ask your priest if you can make an appointment for confession.
Don’t worry that you will be committing a sin or burdening the priest by asking. I’m sure you won’t be the first one to ask.
If his bishop has told him not to hear confessions except in danger of death, then he will obey his bishop and tell you No. If not, he will make arrangements with you as he sees fit.

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The priests at my church here in the UK have a very strong commitment to the sacrament (confessions slots x3 per day) and have said they are still not allowed to hear confessions except in extreme circumstances. I’m sure when Masses resume on 4th July there will be an opportunity for confession too but no harm in asking your parish priest before that time.

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