Confession Today

Today I had to serve at Mass, so I wanted to go to Confession beforehand to Confess mortal sins. We went to two churches, neither of which had Confession today at the time they said they would, so we were forced to go to my parish. I had to Confess embarrassing sins to the priest I would be doing Mass with, and not only did he recognize my voice, he looked up at me through the screen when Confession was over! :frowning:

I felt bad the whole time I was serving at Mass.

I know how you feel…but… once I confessed the most embarassing thing I ever did to a priest, face to face, and after I was finished he asked me if I wanted to work in his parish. I’ve been there 8 years. Don’t worry about it…I am sure the priest is not and he is probably glad you went to confession before you served…showed you have a good conscience and he most likely thinks more highly you for it.

Sometimes things work out for a reason. Perhaps God will use the embarrassment and hurt pride to help you avoid those mortal sins in the future.

I wouldn’t worry too much about what the priest thinks. I go face-to-face, and while some are more embarrassing than others, I have never noticed any difference in conversation with him outside the confessional.

I have a feeling that in a few days, the bad feelings will fade. You were serving at Mass with a clean soul - a soul as clean as the day you were baptized! And if the priest “knew”, maybe it in some way sanctifiied him as well. One never knows how God might use things.

First, you are to be highly commended for seeking the Sacrament of Penance to confess your serious sins…especially before Mass…and even more highly commended for going to the celebrant when other options failed…that is a monumental act of faith and obedience which I am sure pleased the Lord God more that anything you could ever do wrong!! What a pleasing act of obedience and humility to submit to His Teachings through Holy Mother Church!!

In 99.9 % of cases…our feelings about what the priest is thinking of us and our horrible sins that we just confessed…is just that …it is what we are thinking that he is thinking…and has no bearing on reality except our (somewaht natural) prideful embarrassment.

Now here is the really good news: even if the priest did think you were a horrible sinner…and always does every time he sees you…maybe even goes the other way to avoid you…what is really important…actually the only important thing…is that the “Person” that the priest is physically sitting in for…is there simply to give us a human contact to confess our sins to and then to hear a human voice…when the “Person” says that our sins are forgiven and we are absolved…

Yes that “Person” is Our Lord Jesus Christ…and the priest is truely and really him…in persona Christi. Yes…this same “Person” is the one who said “…let there be light…and so it was…” is the same “Person” who says “…I absolve you of your sins…you are forgiven…go in peace…and so it is…”!

Priestly personality in the sacraments…especially in the Mass and Confession…can be a great stumbling block…don’t fall into that trap…forget about his human personality…focus on his “In Persona Christi” powers and gifts he offers you…and Praise the Lord Jesus Christ for all He continues to do for us sinners.

Pax Christi

I can see the hand of the Lord in your experience. You did so well and the priest will have thought so also.

I had some big, nasty sins to confess to a priest face to face (after many years absence from confession). I had intended to go to a different parish to confess and then attend mass etc., at my local church but as in your case it turned out differently to what my plan was. I thought the priest might need counselling after I finished my confession but he took it all in his stride and gave me the best of advice. I am proud to look this priest in the eye and shake his hand after mass each Sunday and know I can confess any sin without feeling embarrassed afterwards.

Thanks for sharing your story with us.


I answered once, but had a few more thoughts…

It seems that you were right where God wanted you to be - for reasons known only to Him.

Several months ago, I had a confession that was just difficult - from start to finish. I didn’t feel a huge relief when I was done. I left thinking “ouch - that one hurt” (mostly my pride). I stayed for Mass afterwards and the gospel was about the widow who gave her last 2 coins. The homily said that she realized Jesus was worthy of EVERYTHING she had. For this that means that Jesus is worthy of our "triumphs, tragedies, failures, successes, our holiness,and even our sinfulness. That we are to give Him everything. And so that was some consolation for me - knowing I had given “everything” at least in one way.

My pastor often says “nothing happens by accident”, so perhaps it wasn’t an accident that things worked out the way they did for you.

See God’s merciful hand there. Learn from it. Receive God’s graces. Move on.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do” - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Remember that your priest has to go to confession the same as you do, and probably has to confess things that are highly embarrasing to him, even as you had to. He’s been in your shoes, and I’m sure has nothing but sympathy for you.

Here is a flaw in our faith. Going to confession is a necessary part of being Catholic. I actually enjoy doing feeling to the guilt lifted off of me. However priests are in shot supply and many have given up the practice so I can’t fault the priests for not wanting to sit in a confessional for no reason. Thirty years ago they had confession before Mass. no church within a 100 miles of me offer this anymore and many have got rid of a scheduled confession all together. You are suppose to make appointments which destroys being anonymous and good luck getting these over worked priests to call you back. So I guess I will be going to Hell for not having the chance to confess on a regular basis.:frowning:

Call the parish, ask for a confession behind a screen. I’m sure they can work out the mechanism somehow

You work it out by calling the parish and saying you want it anonymous. You give an exact time and the priest will be waiting for you in the confessional. You can wait in a darkened corner until you see him go in. But the truth is, it really does not matter to the priest if he sees you or not. Most are just happy you are going to confession and are not going to look down on you because of your sin. It just makes the penitient feel better to do it anonymously. Personally, behind the screen makes me more nervous.

*I echo Lily’s sentiment. Remember, priests are not sitting in human judgement of us, they are witnessing our confession in the persona of Christ.

To Wolves, I’m glad you went…and that you were able to confess. :)*

There are priests who would give their left leg for altar servers who took sin as the serious thing that it is, and who took the necessity of confession seriously.

Who should be more embarrassed, after all: the man who sees his doctor for a self-inflicted gunshot wound, or a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound who is too proud to have it seen to? Maybe the wound is something to be embarrassed about, but getting it seen by a doctor is the right thing to do. There is no shame in that! OTOH, I know of pastors who would rather that those on the parish staff have other priests as confessors…they want to be certain the person is absolutely free to say what they need to say, without any fear or shame.

Feelings are what we feel, and there is no shame in them, but I don’t think the Lord was ashamed to see you there, serving at the altar only after having sought and received absolution. I think He was rejoicing, and all of Heaven with him. Remember the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin…

If the Lord rejoices in us, that is all that matters.

I know it’s tough to tell your sins to priests you know really well, or who you have to work with a lot immediately after confession- but often, the priests who know you well are the ones who can help you the best. They won’t think badly of you. They’ll probably admire you for your courage if anything. Also, the advice they give to people they know better can be more customized to fit the person he’s talking to. It’s a real blessing to have someone who is a close friend also be your confessor. Also, when you think about it, the best a priest (or anyone for that matter) can do for someone is to give them the Sacraments- God’s grace.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit