Recently someone I know who left Catholicism for Eastern Orthodoxy about 5 years ago was telling me about the differences in the two. One thing he mentioned was that when we go to confession we just list our sins, and receive absolution and penance. He said that in the EO they discuss their spiritual shortcomings and sins with the priest in confession.

My experience has always been that of having a conversation similar to what he described in the EO. Is this true everywhere?


It depends on the priest. But with my regular confessor (in this case I confess face to face) after I “list my sins” he tends to discuss special areas where I’m having difficulty and what types of things would be helpful. Then I recieve absolution and penance.
If I’m confessing behind the screen to a differant priest than it varies depending on the priest.



Did your friend start going to an Eastern Rite Catholic Church or inded the Eastern Orthodox Church. Too many people get the two confused and those of us who attend an Eastern Rite get mixed up with the Orthodox and are called schismatic or not in communion with Rome. Having attended a Latin Rite for years, I have encountered priests who want plot and priests who want the grocery list. I think it depends on the priest and the penantant. Father Corapi once said that a good confession should last about 5 minutes or so.


I think as well, that it depends on the priest that you go to. My regular confessor will usually speak to me about my spiritual short coming, but I have been going to him for a long time, and I am confortable enough with him now that when I go to confession it is very “relaxed” to say the least.

He remindes me that God is present to forgive, and when I am finished confessing (or during confession) he may say something about what I have confessed and give me instruction on how to avoid this sin in the future, and then he gives me absolution.

However, I have been to priests that do not want to go into detail, nor do they give any “pointers” basically, they want the “grocery list” and then they will give you absolution…once again I am with the majority on this one…It simply depends on which priest you go to! I would recommend going to a “regular” confessor, and developing a confessor/penitant relationship with him…this tends to make ones confession much more fruitful!

God bless you and Mary keep you,



With my regular confessor, I have experienced the same thing as rayne89.


I think it’s important to remember that spiritual direction, while often available in confession, is not essential to confession. The primary purpose is the confession, sorrow, and forgiveness of sins. To that end, it’s important to be as transparent as possible in stating your sins. Words of advice from the priest may follow, or may not; but absolution certainly does. The manner in which the sacrament is conducted can vary widely, and will influence whether or not there is spiritual direction. Time constraints, for example.


I have encountered priests who want plot and priests who want the grocery list. I think it depends on the priest and the penantant.

This is a great quote. Priests are human and even with the same priest, you might get a quick turn around one week and more discussion the next. Most priests in my opinion are excellent readers of body language and tone of voice. If you need more discussion, they will probably give you an opening to do so.

Couldn’t vote in the poll since I couldn’t check both options.


It definitely depends. Sometimes I think it depends on how long the line is and how close it is to Mass starting.

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