Confession questions and role of priest


#1

These are some situations recently occurred and I am looking for some frank and honest

maybe spiritually directing answers...I am a very recently returning Catholic..

1) In confessional, talking about some deep past sins and I was crying. I had not completely made confession but priest held up his hand for me to stop. So I did. He absolved me, gave me penance and I left.

2) In talking with a priest about what I was doing spiritually ( I am to be confirmed in couple weeks) his responses were " you are to emotional, out of balance. you are still searching. just be happy".

3) The third part is this: perhaps I do fully understand the role of a priest? thinking maybe I am bothering him and I should just be happy and be quiet. There is no preparation in my parish for returning adults to be confirmed. The priest said "just read the Catechism".

4) so....I am thinking the priest is there to serve the sacraments, hear confessions, and for the mass. He is not a spiritual director nor involves in teaching his flock, other than the mass?


#2

Hi LMG,

Welcome home! To answer your questions:

1) What is necessary for sacramental validity is sincere contrition on your part (which crying would, I think, signify) and the proper pronouncement of the words of absolution on his. Normatively, it's necessary for you to confess your sins to the fullest extent possible, but I think in that sort of circumstance it's reasonable for him to think that you were feeling overwhelmed and so could not make a good and full confession. So if your question is "was I absolved," I think the answer is yes.

2) I'm not sure what you're asking here.

3) Well, "read the Catechism" isn't bad advice, but it's not very helpful, either. The gist is that the priest mediates grace by exercising, on the Church's behalf, the ministry of redemption that Christ entrusted to the Church prior to his Ascension. He absolves you by the power of Christ: more precisely, Christ absolves you through the priest. Confession and absolution is normatively required for the forgiveness of sins, so go to confession as often as you need to.

4) Priests are, I believe, trained in spiritual direction but they are typically not the best people to go to because they are often overwhelmed with the duties of running a parish. I wouldn't normally recommend going to a priest merely for spiritual direction unless it touches on confession, canon law, discernment of vocations, or something similar. This is doubly true if you're going to confession during scheduled confession times rather than by appointment. Scheduled confession times are really not the time for long confessions and lengthy spiritual direction, as the priest has Mass to say and other confessions to hear.

Otherwise, your diocese probably offers spiritual direction through trained laypersons. I'd look into that.


#3

Welcome back, OP!

It seems strange to me that all you were told to do was to read the Catechism (not to knock the Catechism). Did you meet with the priest or with anyone at all to discuss the teachings of the Church? Do you understand and accept the teachings, especially the teachings on the so-called "sticky" issues such as contraception, cohabitation, homosexual behaviors, death and dying issues, Mass obligation, what is venial vs. mortal sin, and so forth? Do you fully understand the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the effects of the sacrament of Confirmation, and what the rite entails and means? How are you doing in prayer and in your ongoing conversion in Christ (don't answer here)? Do you know what your diocese requires? (I suggest you look up the sacramental norms as laid out by your bishop, on your diocesan website). Do you have any irregular marriage issues that need to be addressed prior to the sacrament? Do you think you are adequately prepared?

Church law requires proper preparation for Confirmation so that the candidate will be properly disposed to be confirmed (Canon Law Can. 843):
§1 Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask
for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving
them.
§2 According to their respective offices in the Church, both pastors of souls and
all other members of Christ's faithful have a duty to ensure that those who ask for
the sacraments are prepared for their reception. This should be done through
proper evangelization and catechetical instruction, in accordance with the norms
laid down by the competent authority.

If you think you need more preparation before you are confirmed, then be respectfully frank with your pastor, and ask him to meet with you, or to assign someone else to meet with you for further instruction, until you are truly ready. If he is flippant about this, then you have some options. My suggestion would be to discern whether you can give full assent to the faith, and if you can, then go ahead and be confirmed as scheduled, but commit to ongoing catechesis. But another option would be to visit with a pastor in a nearby parish, to see what perspective he might have on your situation. It is unusual to require a candidate for Confirmation to prepare for the sacrament alone. Maybe your pastor is stretched thin, due to a shortage of priests, or maybe his health isn't the best?

But the fact that you posted a thread in CAF demonstrates you are seeking. God always draws us to Him, and you are responding! Knowledge about the faith is very important, and helps us do what is most important, which is to encounter Christ.

If your priest is inaccessible, please do what you can to satisfy your thirst for more knowledge, which includes the practice of prayer and worship.
There are websites which offer info, such as "Catholicism 101" at
catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=764 and this site (Catholic Answers) at www.catholic.com.

With regard to #1 and #2 in your post, were you writing about one or two priests?

With regard to your question about the roles of priests -- they serve in Christ's roles, as does each baptized person, but differently because of their ordination -- as priest, prophet (teacher/evangelizer) and king (shepherding the flock/administration). They're all different as to charism and ability.


#4

[quote="sw85, post:2, topic:326376"]
Hi LMG,

Welcome home! To answer your questions:

4) Priests are, I believe, trained in spiritual direction but they are typically not the best people to go to because they are often overwhelmed with the duties of running a parish. I wouldn't normally recommend going to a priest merely for spiritual direction unless it touches on confession, canon law, discernment of vocations, or something similar. This is doubly true if you're going to confession during scheduled confession times rather than by appointment. Scheduled confession times are really not the time for long confessions and lengthy spiritual direction, as the priest has Mass to say and other confessions to hear.

Otherwise, your diocese probably offers spiritual direction through trained laypersons. I'd look into that.

[/quote]

Priests don't get adequate training in spiritual direction, at most one course. Many priests also do not have the gift of spiritual direction nor do they have the time needed to be responsible to those who seek ongoing direction. If you do find the rare one hold onto him. There are many people these days seeking direction. It is no longer just for priests and religious, so lay people have now sought training. Many of these trainings cover a number of years of study and internship before they are ready. Of course anyone can hang out a shingle and say they are a spiritual director but I would seek one who has been trained in the art.


#5

[quote="LoveMercyGrace, post:1, topic:326376"]
1) In confessional, talking about some deep past sins and I was crying. I had not completely made confession but priest held up his hand for me to stop. So I did. He absolved me, gave me penance and I left.

Don't question his actions :) If anything, next time mention whatever mortal sin you did not openly confessed - it was absolved, but maybe it is still required to mention it.

2) In talking with a priest about what I was doing spiritually ( I am to be confirmed in couple weeks) his responses were " you are to emotional, out of balance. you are still searching. just be happy".

Ok :shrug: Stick to his spiritual direction. The saints did, how much more we should, if anything out of humbleness.

3) The third part is this: perhaps I do fully understand the role of a priest? thinking maybe I am bothering him and I should just be happy and be quiet. There is no preparation in my parish for returning adults to be confirmed. The priest said "just read the Catechism".

Ok, a priest is someone who acts *in persona Christi*. In theory you can never bother a priest :shrug: In fact I believe Canon Law still requires them to make themselves available no matter what time or what circumstance one needs him :o Obviously he will direct you to specific resources if he believes his role is secondary...it is odd that your parish does not have RCIA, but if you already received all the Sacraments, clearly you won't need to be enrolled in RCIA and it is a great advice to read the Catechism....to which I would personally add: "read the Church Fathers"!

4) so....I am thinking the priest is there to serve the sacraments, hear confessions, and for the mass. He is not a spiritual director nor involves in teaching his flock, other than the mass?

A priest is a priest. He gives spiritual direction to those who ask for spiritual direction, and as a priest he does fulfill the role of teacher (especially during the homily).

[/quote]


#6

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