Confession keeping friend from becoming Catholic

I have a friend who was Lutheran, but left the Church. She then began to attend the same Catholic church that I am attending. She said she loves it and that she can’t wait to start the RCIA program. But the other day, she asked me if it was a requirement to go to confession. I said that it was and she was not happy to hear it.

Even though I myself haven’t gone to confession yet, (I have not received the Eucharist) I find no problem with it. How do I ease her mind about it? I can tell she really wants to become Catholic. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks and God Bless.

Why doesn’t your friend want to go to confession? Do they have theological problems with it or are they just afraid? I think it would be helpful for them to understand why confession is required… it is extremely important…

show them this:

If they are afraid, well… I suppose get someone to talk to them (their sponsor , perhaps?) who has gone through confession. It’s not scary. The priest will not think you are the worst sinner ever (they’ve heard so many confessions before, maybe even confessions of people in prison, so they’ve most likely heard worse than yours) and when you go to confession you are actually doing a really good thing by reconciling with God, even though it feels bad because you are saying your sins out loud (its supposed to hurt a little bit-- you disobeyed God) and you will feel so much cleaner afterward. That’s my advice.

Lutherans have confessions as well, although i think they don’t hold it with much high regard as we do

perhaps tell your friend what the Confession is about, why is it necessary, and that priests will not share the sins confessed with anyone on earth. fear is usually about the unknown, perhaps proper education would alleviate those fears

Try giving Fr Larry Richards Free CD a listen

Or you can download Fr. Larry Richards’ talk in Confession right away at the following link:

It’s an MP3 file, which can be burned to a CD, copied to an mp3 player or iPod, or just listened to from a PC with Windows Media Player or any other number of audio players. :slight_smile:

There’s also one on the Mass, that’s pretty good, too:

“Confess therefore your sins one to another” (James 5:16)

Use this, it should encourage your friend.

I just love Fr. Richards!

We have all heard the phrase “confession is good for the soul”. It came from somewhere! In scripture, Jesus gave Peter and the Apostles power over sin (Matthew 16:19, John 20:23). The Apostles passed this authority on to Bishops, who passed it on to priests. The Priest, when he hears confession, sits “in persona Christi”, meaning “in the place of Christ”.

Ask your friend if making a private confession to God and hearing nothing in return is somehow satisfying. Jesus told sinners directly that their sins were forgiven (Matthew 9:2, Mark 2:5, Luke 5:20, Luke 7:48). He did this to place their souls at peace. We hear Jesus’ words from the Priest, and it gives us the exact same peace of heart. Jesus also said “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16). When the Priest speaks, we actually hear Christ speaking through the priest.

Coming from the Lutheran tradition, remind her that Martin Luther, while yet in the Church, received the Sacrament of Reconciliation by confessing his sins to a Priest or Bishop. Also note that we are counseled to "confess your sins to one another (James 5:16). Now, we do this in the Penitential rite at the start of mass, but also before a Priest, who has authority over those sins, and who speaks Jesus’ words of forgiveness directly to us.

Sins of impurity are often the most difficult and embarrassing to confess. But, which is worse: temporary embarrassment or eternal flames? Since God already knows our sin, why not confess them to a Priest, where they are secure in the seal of the confessional? As well, how do we receive help in our struggle against sin if we do not confess them? As to hearing Jesus’ words of absolution from a Priest: The less you hear, the less you receive.

There were 2 major influences for me to accept Confession. First was the proper understanding of Church history and authority. Essentially, once I came to accept that the Catholic Church is the one church founded by Christ, I recognized her authority over decisions regarding my spiritual welfare. Thus, if the Church instituted by Jesus says I need Confession for my own good, I accept that.

This is a very simple, childlike response, but didn’t Jesus say we need to be “like a child” to enter the Kingdom of God?

The second “help” I received came from a private reading of Scripture. I’ll give you the verse, first:

I read this at a time while still struggling with the necessity and purpose for Confession (Reconciliation). At that reading, God gave me a different context for this scripture. In the new context, the foot-washing is Confession and complete washing (or bathing) is Baptism. Re-presenting the dialog between Jesus and St. Peter in that context:

Peter said to him: I will never go to Confession. Jesus answered: If you are not Reconciled, you shall have no part with me.

Simon Peter said to him: Lord, not just Confession, but also Baptized.

Jesus said to him: He that is already Baptized has no need but to be Reconciled

Baptism already took away Original Sin so we are “clean.”

Walking in this world, we still commit personal sin. Thus, our feet are filthy and must be cleaned before we can enter Heaven.

Again, this is a private interpretation that helped me. If it helps your friend, too, then I am glad.

I recently attended a function where a number of Evangelical Christians were giving testimony about overcoming their sexual sins. Some of them were leaders in their churches, and they spoke of going to the pastors and telling them their problems with impurity and having it discussed by the whole staff, having to worry about losing their position, and having to be accountable to a whole bunch of people. :eek:

I told another Catholic at my table that I was never so glad to be Catholic as I was that night. When she asked why, I told her that I was so thankful for the secrecy of the confessional. There’s effective help and healing there, and one only needs to tell one priest one time. Furthermore, if he ever speaks of it to anyone, he is automatically excommunicated. And yet, you have the perfect assurance of the forgiveness of God.

I read in a book about confession (can’t remember which book) a wonderful phrase. It said the confessional is a “graveyard for secrets.” The sins confessed are dead and gone, lost in the sea of God’s love.


I would call it a private revelation. The same happened to me some time back regarding Mary’s perpetual virginity/no other children. It was scripture that lead you to the truth, but was not a revelation of anything new, just placed before you in a certain context to lead you to understand the truth.

Others may not see the connection, but you did, and that’s all that matters.

Christ’s peace.

Tell your friend not to worry. She will be well prepared by the RCIA on what to expect during confession. Some parishes even set up first confession just for those in RCIA, where they have the emotional support of the class and the priest is aware that this is first confession and will walk you through it.

She can join the club.

Going to confession can be very intimidating, even for Catholics when they have a biggie to confess. But it’s a wonderful feeling when its done.

I’d like to add that although Confession can sometimes be intimidating, hearing the words of absolution are euphoric. Even though I know when the words are coming, I still get very excited and joyful. To verbally hear that your sins have been forgiven is a great feeling.

I’m one of the big dorks that walks out of the confessional grinning from ear to ear!

I think you friend needs to study this some, not just react to the general concept or focus on personal embarrassment. She could also search this forum for “first confession” to see how a lot of other people felt before and after. Her reservations are not at all unique!

One thing she should know is that while a priest is present, he is acting in the person of Christ (persona Christi). She will be confessing her sins to Jesus and from Jesus receive absolution.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit