The important thing to know, however, is that you don’t have to go 50 miles away. The seal of the confessional is so absolute that you are completely protected. Under pain of excommunication the priest may not:
*]speak of the sin to others
*]speak of the sin to you without your express permission
*]use the information from your confession against you in any way
*]treat you any differently after your confession
For example, if you confessed embezzling funds from your employer and you were under consideration for an appointment to the parish finance council, the priest could not do anything to prevent your appointment. Neither could he look at you knowingly at the finance council meetings as if to say, “I’m watching for you to steal, so don’t even think about it.”
I had a confessor once who was so careful of the seal that it almost seemed silly. Once during confession, he had suggested a book to me that would help with one of my sins. He mentioned that I could borrow his copy. But he told me I had to ask him for it outside of confession so he didn’t break the seal by giving me the book. And it was a pretty ordinary book!
That’s how priests are about the seal - it’s one of the most serious things about their vocation, and they don’t mess with it.
Yeah, but what are they thinking about me now? Right? First, they are glad you confessed, so you can be absolved of the sin. Second, they admire your courage and honesty. Third, they forget it. Some priests have a special grace to forget what they hear; all of them are so busy that it fades into the background immediately and gets confused with all the other sins they heard that week so they are not able to connect a sin with a sinner.
Just go to your parish priest. It will be fine! It’s so much better to do that than to invalidate your confession because of embarrassment. I remember a picture in my grade school catechism showing a little boy going in to confession with three boxes, each representing a mortal sin. He told two of the sins and concealed the third. The next picture showed him coming out of the confessional with four boxes - the original three sins plus one more for sacrilege. Don’t let this happen to you!