I haven’t been to a proper Catholic confession in years - the concept of it is quite terrifying. I personally think that confessing straight to God is perfectly sufficient, but I feel like it would be beneficial at the same time to go to a priestly confession. Any advice?
I haven’t gone since I was 13, and it has been 9 years since. But, since I was young, I never had to confess things in regards to lustful sins relating to the self. Not to mention that I have exclusively a same-sex attraction (though I’ve always been abstinent), and I don’t know if I would have enough strength to actually tell a priest about my attraction to men (I’ve never actually told anyone that I know). Does anyone have any experience doing anything related to that?
It would be better not to go to a face-to-face confession, so the priest would not even see what you look like. You can ask beforehand if there is a private, confessional.
You can also tell the priest how long it has been since you have been to confession, and perhaps he will be very understanding about your embarassment.
Actually, God sees everything we do already. Our guardian angel does too. What we have done or failed to do is no secret. And everyone will have to appear at the general judgement after the end of the world. Then everyone else will see everything we have done, all our sins and all our goodness. This may seem like a hypothetical event now, but wait till it happens, when we stand before God and everyone else. It would be far better if our sins have already been blotted out. Confession is a sacrament with special graces that help us separate us from our sins. You may feel being embarassed by speaking of your sins before a priest, but what if we have not separated ourselves from them when everyone can see them after the end of the world?
the Sacrament of Reconciliation is not only beneficial, it is necessary for a Catholic. If you are a Cathoilc, confessing straight to God is not enough. It might be that Protestants and others who confess straight to God are forgiven, but that is because of God’s mercy and their ignorance, not because that is the normal ordinary way. The way that God made to forgive sin is by Confession… He told the Apostles, whatever sins they forgive, will be forgiven; and whatever sins they don’t forgive, will not be forgiven. Furthermore, if we have a mortal sin that we haven’t said to a priest in Confession and repented of, we are not allowed to receive the Eucharist. If we persist on receiving Communion, we are doing a lot of damage to our souls, adding another mortal sin, and offending Christ - because He can not be united to someone with sin. Confession makes us completely clean before God I experienced this when I became Catholic after being Protestant… I prayed to God for forgiveness as a Protestant, and even felt forgiven, but after my first Confession, it was more than a feeling… I knew my soul was completely cleansed and I was able to love God more than before. It’s very freeing and yes it was scary to do and to say all those sins… it’s VERY important that we don’t leave any sins out. If you forget a sin, it will be forgiven, but if you intentionally leave it out (even if it’s out of fear or embarassment) that makes the whole Confession invalid because it shows a lack of proper contrition (sorrow for sin) and repentance.
Consider what Jesus told St Faustina: catholic-forum.com/churches/cathteach/divinemercy_confession.htm
it is from this website: catholic-forum.com/churches/cathteach/divinemercy1.htm
- I haven’t gone since I was 13, and it has been 9 years since. But, since I was young, I never had to confess things in regards to lustful sins relating to the self. Not to mention that I have exclusively a same-sex attraction (though I’ve always been abstinent), and I don’t know if I would have enough strength to actually tell a priest about my attraction to men (I’ve never actually told anyone that I know). Does anyone have any experience doing anything related to that?
I think most people have had to confess a sin related to impurity sometime in their life. Trust me the priests have heard everything you can’t surprise them! One time I had something really horrible to confess and I was really scared… I made myself say it, and the priest didn’t have any reaction at all, he just gave me advice, and absolved me. They are not harsh at all in Confession… don’t worry about that. Also they’ve heard so many confessions that they are just not surprised any more and wouldnt look at you differently afterwards. (if you’re very concerned, you can make an anonymous Confession behind the screen… it is your choice, and many people choose to confess anonymously).
Regarding your same-sex attraction, the teaching of the Church is that simply having SSA is not a sin because it’s not necessarily a choice, - but it’s a sin to act on it in some way. So if you allowed yourself to have impure thoughts (consented to them, rather than being tempted and saying ‘no’), that would be sinful (both for people with SSA and without, it doesn’t matter). Let the priest know that you have been abstinent, that would clarify the situation. If you’re living chastely, that is what matters, and that is what God asks of all of us.
Don’t be afraid of Confession it’s a Sacrament of God’s mercy and you’ll be speaking to Jesus, not just to the priest. Jesus is hidden in the priest when this Sacrament is done. Just be repentant, open about your sins, don’t hide anything, and trust in God’s mercy - and then you’ll make a good Confession
Hope that helps… God bless!
I get your point about confessing directly to God, but I’m realizing what a great gift of God confession to a priest can be.
I didn’t go to confession for a long, long time either. When I finally returned, it was once a year (less at first) and I tended to go to priests I didn’t know. In case you do the same, I want to add that it was hit-and-miss as far as finding a priest who was a good confessor.
Then someone made a comment about going to a priest you trust. I thought, well of course, that makes tons of sense.
The problem was that I knew exactly who that priest would be. And I was terrified. There’s plenty that particular priest doesn’t need to know about me.
I fought it, but you know how it is when you fight when God is calling. I finally caved.
My first couple of times there, I actually wondered if he could hear my heart beating. But he is so great with the penance he gives, it actually helps me change. I knew before going that this priest is a mentor.
So I continue to go, and not just once a year anymore.
Go to a priest you trust, whether face-to-face or behind a screen. I will pray for you, and especially pray that this draws you even closer to God.
God be with you.
I can’t speak to the SSA, but I do understand being terrified about going to the confessional! My first confession was 4 years ago now… and I was so frightened I came close to passing out. No joke. I stopped speaking trying to get up my nerve to continue, the priest thought I was finished and went on to give absolution! Not a great beginning for me… but then I felt SO awful and guilt-ridden at not finishing saying it all that I found another church with confession during the week, was back in the booth within a couple of days, and finally said it all (including that I didn’t say everything the first time). :rolleyes:
Know what? I don’t think he even batted an eye, just said I had made a good confession. They have heard so much ( I often wonder if they ever despair for us!) that I can’t imagine you will shock him. As hard as it is, you will be ok! Find a church you don’t attend regularly, and confess there if you are worried about the priest remembering things you have said.
I stumbled over this thread while poking around in the forum and created an account just to respond to your post. I can’t really add anything substantial to the previous responses. Having experienced a lengthy sacramental lapse myself, I can offer you moral support by telling you that we’ve all been there in one way or another. There’s really nothing for it but to charge back into the life of the church like a viking on steroids and never look back. We’re all of us praying for you.
I love the image you paint!
I try to go to confession weekly. It is Our Father who brings us to His Son, I would rather stay in bed. If the resurrected Lord, Jesus Himself were in the other confessional and I with the Priest…I would leave no less forgiven than those who confessed directly to the Lord. Our Father bears our sins on His mighty left arm, and with His Right arm brings us His salvation. Confession is part of the plan. Jesus desires it.He burns with mercy. Together we pronounce ourselves guilty and throw ourselves on mercy Himself.
My pastor once said " Do you really think God is going to say… you did what?" It is not just the forgiveness of our sins, not that this is a small matter, we leave with our arms full of actual graces…real assistance for the journey. Once you taste His mercy, His peace and joy await you in the Eucharist.
To Him who has begun this thing in you be honor and glory forever.
Peace and all good.
In truth to meet Jesus having denied him through ones actions would be terrifying.
As per confessing straight to God…
Consider the metaphor of a little child, who gets into trouble playing ball and breaks a window.
The child needs to say their sorry,
They obviously can’t repair the window themselves,
They’ll likely need to do some choir to either help pay for it, or learn from it
But if that child doesn’t come inside the house, and face their Father face to face but instead says so from a distance, however sincere, That Father wants to be there with their child, if only to give them a hug.
Non-Catholics have not been inside the house before.
You have. Go give your Father a hug.
He probably hears this admitted a few times a month, minimum. In any case, if you have only the attraction, and never acted upon it, you have not sinned (unless you have deliberately entertained lustful, imaginative, graphic thoughts about that). And since you do have that attraction, frequent confession – before you start to get into bad habits – will be enormously strengthening against those temptations.
Just remember: according to modern priests, the most frequently confessed sin is addiction to porn. I kid you not. And not just viewing it, but being addicted to it. Comparatively speaking, you have little to worry about. A lot of people are helped, if they’re afraid, by acknowledging their discomfort/anxiety/shame/regret/avoidance, and sometimes the confessor can make you feel at ease at the beginning of your confession.
But lots of prayer before confession will also give you courage.
Just wondering if you’re aware that SSA isn’t a sin (as long as you don’t act on it).
Our parish had a penance service last night. Our pastor talked to us before we started and told us that God wants to live in our hearts. He said that in order for that to happen, we need to get rid of all those sins that crowd Him out. He asked us to really pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in making a good confession and making room in our hearts for the Lord who wants to share His mercy with us and remain in us forever.
We have all been afraid to go to confession, especially if we have embarassing things to confess. Our parish is huge, but we all know the pastor very well. At first, I was nervous about going to confession with him. But since most of the time he is our only priest, I had to get over that .Guess what? Turns out he is an awesome confessor! It is like sitting there with Jesus. He is very merciful and gives great penances that are exactly what you need at the time.
Priests really have heard everything. All they really want is for you to make a good confession and return to the state of grace. They are very humbled by being an instrument of God’s mercy for us. Remember they are sinners too, so they know how we feel when we sit on the other side of that screen. Go to confession soon, Jesus will be waiting for you. God bless you.
Thanks everyone for your responses.
Not exactly what you mention but yes, I have experience with confessing sexual sin after a looooooooooooong absence from the confessional. About two years ago I made a confession of 37 years.I confessed habitual sexual sin and it stopped cold, right there.
I strongly urge you to go.
I had made only one other confession in my life, just prior to my first communion as a kid. That was in a pre-Vatican II Church, complete with a larger than life statue of Mary crushing the head of the serpent with her foot. My mother was methodist and my father was a marginal Catholic and they really couldn’t answer my questions about what it all meant. I was a terrified little eight year old kid standing before God with no one to guide him.
With that as the backdrop, going into it 37 years later was no different. My heart was on fire with love for Christ and and totally fed up with my entrenched behavior which I could not stop on my own. I had to Google “how to say confession” to know what words to say.
I thought face to face would be more like a cozy counseling session but God wanted none of that. God wanted my humility and he got it in a big way. As soon as the priest heard the door close he said in a booming voice, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOUR LAST CONFESSION?” I had never heard that priest’s voice before and had not heard it since. To me, it was the very voice of God.
I told God that it was 37 years since my last confession and he offered me two ways to do it - by going through the ten commandments or me just telling him my sins. I told him that I had probably broken nine out of ten of the commandments daily for most of my life, mentioned a few of the biggest things I had done and then came clean about my sexual sins. I told him that I had a deep love for Jesus, that I understood how my sins hurt Jeus but that I couldn’t stop on my own. I told him that I needed God’s help to stop because I couldn’t do it by myself.
God’s voice softented a little and he said, “The Bible tells us that when one sinner repents, all the angels in heaven rejoice. There is a party going on in heaven in your honor!” He said absolution and gave me a billoin Hail Mary’s and sent me on my way.
I can’t explain how it felt walking out of the Church. I felt something like a wind move through me. There was definitely some sort of supernatural energy. Most people look at me wierd when I say that. I can’t say that getting through the tempation was easy at first but I got through it and by the grace of God have been pure ever since. I rarely even think about it now.
I guess you know what my advice is. That fear you have is fear of God, and rightly so. But go to confession with great confidence. Confession is a sacrament of healing. Forgiveness is good and we all need that but the Holy Spirit is the doctor of souls. God wants not only to forgive you but to heal you and the confessional is the place he does it.
0_0 Oh wow, that was a great story LOL :)! My sister had gone to confession a year or so ago after years of not going, and the response she got her her priest was more like-offended that’s a LONG time-. I like the reaction of the one you went to a lot more lol.
Nearly nine months ago I went to confession for the first time after 18 years. I went face to face with a priest I’ve had a very bad run in with just two weeks prior because he told me some hard truths. I could have gone to someone else or sought anonymity in a confessional, but I chose this priest and face to face instead. I just didn’t want to make it too easy for me. I prepared a list ahead, all of three sheets of paper, and the whole thing took more than two hours. Many of those sins were of a sexual nature and at times I felt nearly overcome by shame and embarrassment. But I struggled through it and I believe that this was my first lesson in humility from God. As indeed every confession should be!
I now go to confession every 2-3 weeks or when the need arises and actually look forward to most confessions as I leran so much and God grants me so many graces.
That priest is now my regular confessor and spiritual director and I thank God daily that He put him in my way!
So, just do it! Find a good confessor, someone who can actually help you and doesn’t tell you that it’s all not so bad, and just go to confession regularly, whenever you need it, even if it’s every day!
Wow, God blessed you with that man’s presence, huh? What courage it must have took for him and look what came out of it. I wish that someone would have intervened like that for me after only 18 years.
With Mary, I think we both can truly say, “The Lord has done great things for me.”
No one should read too much into priest’s reactions, especially if you are not face to face.
Some are just not that good at being confessors (although it does not diminish the validity) and some spend many hours listening to people drone on and on about I yelled at the kids four times, I hung up the phone on my mother, I hit my little brother with a toy, i drank too much at the company picknic, yada yada yada.
It must be one of the worst jobs a human being can do and must get to priests after many hours and many years. I don’t blame them for being a little grumpy and impatient sometimes.
Pray for your confessor in the days leading up to confession, even if you have no idea who it will be.
I admire your willingness to go to confession and your openness in your post. I went to confession very infrequently until the past year and I have truly been blessed by frequently attending confession. I would also promote the idea of speaking to a counselor regarding the SSA issue since it may have it’s roots in an emotional trauma that you experienced. Peace, g