When it comes to going to Confession, I usually don’t go to my parish because the priest knows me personally and will recognize my voice. So instead, I go to another church nearby. It’s actually even closer to my house than my parish church. Everytime I go to the priest there, for Confession, the priest kind of rushes through it and I can’t even understand him sometimes because he has a thick Italian accent. Some of my sins have been mortal and the penance he gives me sounds like he is just randomly pulling it out of a hat. It just doesn’t make sense. Once when I couldn’t understand what he said about what I should do for penance, he couldn’t even remember quickly, he had to think about it. So under those circumstances, do I still get absolved from my sins and become sin free? Thanks for any advice and help that you give, and God Bless!
I am not a priest but believe if you confessed sincerely and try to avoid sin in the future, you are absolved.
It is a good idea to go to a priest you are comfortable with. I recommend you keep looking till you can find a good spiritual advisor and have monthly sessions with confession.
Whatever you do, do not stop.
I had the same problem, but if you know what to do in most cases a self imposed penance has been completed before the confession. Maybe the Priest picks up on that from your confession. Maybe if you were lost or confused the Priest would act differently. Some people are hard on themselves, while others take nothing serious so maybe that is what the priest is seeing and reacting to.
Goodness, I have felt this exact same way and have almost always gone to confession at a different parish.
But I just registered at a new parish where my son just started school, and I love the orthodox pastor of the parish, so I decided to try something different this time. The parish school is small (some 230 students in PreK - 8), and the pastor seems to know everyone. So instead of avoiding him in the sacrament, I arranged an appointment and spent an hour sharing my life history of sin and rebellion against the Church (I’ve had a rather shameful past :(). Now there’s not much left to hide, really. He knows the depths of my depravity already, and the work of God’s grace in my life. Going to confession with him is easier because I know he already knows me.
Anyway, just one more option.
As to your original question about penance, if you are concerned about your confessions, keep looking for a good confessor until you’ve found one. Ask Our Lord to lead you, and also ask for the prayers of St. John Vianney.
This is not to excuse the priest, but while it’s ideal to get some spiritual advice in confession, it is not necessary. Your sins are absolved even if the priest is absent-minded (as long as he says the words of absolution). The power of the sacrament is not diminished by the priest in this case – as long as you sincerely repent, confess and do the penance. Very often, priest will not assign a difficult penance, even for some serious sins. They want you to show sorrow and keep it simple.
But it’s important to go beyond the sacramental offering of Confession alone. So, along with confession, it’s very good to get some spiritual guidance so you can take more time to discuss things. Also, it’s good to do little acts of penance on a consistent basis – especially after mortal sins.
Yes, you have been absolved. All that is required is your confession and the priest to say the prayer of absolution.
The penance doesn’t have to relate to your sins or be ‘harder’ or ‘easier’ based on what you confessed. If you are assigned a penance you should do it, but the penance is not what absolves you. You are absolved by your confession (even if the priest didn’t understand all of it) and the prayer of absolution (even if you didn’t hear/understand all of it).