Confession largely ignored?


At my parish at every sunday mass the pews are nearly full, including the saturday evening mass. Yet, when I go to confession, as I just returned from, there isn’t even 20 people in the building, and half of them are just there waiting for 4:30 mass. We’re all human, thus all sinners. what happened to the need for confession? I am not saying everyone should go every week. Still, I’d think some people would come sometime to confession, especially if they go to the eucharist most weeks. What’s the discrepancy all about?


Are you saying that you are at confession every possible time during the week to confirm people’s absence from the sacrament?


From his post I infer that the only scheduled confession in his parish is the time when he’s there. I know that at parishes like mine it’s not difficult to know people aren’t going when the only available time is right before Mass on the weekends (or only on Saturday afternoon for an hour) and no one goes.


I’m generally the only person at the one confession time a week it’s offered at our parish.


Suggest to your priests that they praise the beauty of confession during their homilies.


Our priest has actually said during a homily that he hopes that many in our parish are going to other priests for confession, because he’s not hearing many confessions each week from them.


I believe that our Church needs strong catechesis about the benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


There are only two parishes in the Portland Archdiocese (at least in the Portland area, but I don’t think any others do) that have daily confession. I remember I used to go fairly often during college when I lived right next to one of them, and there were usually several people there each time. Confessions were right before the daily Mass, so a good portion of the people coming to Mass would get there early for confession. The other parish usually has a decent turnout for their daily confession as well. Of course, that parish is the most traditional and orthodox in the archdiocese.

But I agree, confession is underused for the most part. I certainly am one of the culprits and do not go near as often as I should. I think a lot of Catholics don’t believe they need it anymore, which is too bad.


Well, at our parish there is confession 6 days a week, and you need to get there at least 30 min before confession times start to be sure your confession gets heard (last time I was 45 min early and was 7th in line).


It’s an interesting phenomena IMO. During one EF Mass I attended several years ago, one of the other priests arrived to hear confessions at a confessional clearly visible to most there. No one came for 5 minutes or so. Then one lady decided to go to confession and all of a sudden 10 people were in line. Seems like confessions beget confessions.


I go every two to three weeks usually. But one of the problems may be that people are not aware of their sins. I have this problem. I make a list that I take with me to confession, but there aren’t usually very many items on it. Not because I don’t sin, but because I have trouble being aware of my sin. I think people today, Christians and non, do not have a deep sense of their sinfulness. For the most part, the culture doesn’t even believe there is such a thing as sin, and whether we like it or not, we are colored by our culture. Most of us believe we’re “not that bad.”

Also, confession for many, including myself, is not fun. Even though I go regularly, I absolutely dread it, and I do not feel any relief or consolation afterward. I go because it is a sacrament, therefore I ought to participate as often as I can.

I think many people just go once a year-- if that. Although I have no data whatsoever to back that up, besides the fact that there’s rarely a line at the confessional. However, I have read threads on these forums where there are long lines for confession, so it probably just varies from parish to parish.


My personal opinion is that many cradle Catholics are not very well catechised and often do not think they have committed mortal sins.


Maybe the priests should remind them in a sermon what common things are mortal sins?


Our priests often talk about this and highlight that its strange the Confession lines are short yet the Communion lines are long.


This is a great answer. Last week we had a guest priest (from Relevant Radio) and he did just that, and in a humorous way.

I think I understand the OP’s conundrum. My parish is 4000 families and we have one 90 minute confession (with one priest) each Saturday morning. There are typically 30-50 who attend. There are about 50-70 more that attend a Rosary and Divine Mercy Service.


the only scheduled confession times are 9:15 am saturday for 45 minutes, and 3:15 pm saturday for one hour. I’ve been to the 9:15 session once, and the results were very similar. Maybe people make appointments with priests, but I doubt they have enough time to tend to all the people in that manner, and still do all the other things needing done.


That is/was me!

Now I “take inventory” with a little cheat sheet (examination of conscience) that I found on CAF. Holy mackarel, I was not a very good “Good Catholic” as I thought I was.

The nice thing is that realizing that you are doing something wrong before the Lord makes you think first and minimize your sinfulness (if that makes sense).


Indeed it is too bad. IMHO the problem is both poor catechesis and perhaps an absence of the topic of sin or the four letter “H” word in Sunday homilies. Of course this is not true in every Parish, but there are Priests who favour an exclusively “feel good” approach in the delivery of sermons. If the faithful in the pews never hear much about sin, it’s consequences and then the uniquely Catholic (as well as Orthodox and to a certain degree, Anglican) Sacrament of Penance, it’s no wonder people no longer see the real need to visit the confessional (assuming your church still has confessionals), be contrite, make a good confession and receive the gift of absolution with penance.

I only very recently came to understand and acknowledge Penance as a necessary and mandatory Sacrament and it was largely due to what some would consider “tough talk” from the pulpit.



I think a strong push for a general catechesis is a great idea, although some specific stress on Confession is also needed. For months I was frustrated about the fact that our parish offers open Confession for 30 minutes once a month. I then made it to Confession a couple times and found that my family and I (or just me) were the only ones there. Our priest told me that it was pretty typical, which makes it difficult for me to argue that he needs to offer more regular open Confession time if I’m the only one showing up.

I think people need to hear from their priests clearly, concisely and consistently that Reconciliation is required at least once a year in order to be in communion with the Church. They need to stress to people that they aren’t to take Communion in a state of sin, and the only way to get back into a state of grace is through Reconciliation. If the priests were delivering this message clearly and regularly, maybe I wouldn’t have so many people telling me I’m wrong when I tell them the same thing.


This is something else I agree with wholeheartedly. I’ve had several conversations about Confession and just what constitutes a mortal sin in the last few years and each time I was met with shock and disbelief, or was flat out called a liar. It gets frustrating having a group of cradle Catholics all telling you that things like missing Mass, masturbating, using contraception and taking Communion in a state of sin not only aren’t mortal sins, but aren’t even sins at all.

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