There is an old novel entitled the Cardinal, by Henry Morton Robinson. It’s a good read, and I believe was made into a movie. Also, the author was faithful to the Church, and in no way trashed priests- quite the contrary.
There is a description of the young priest, Stephen Fermoyle, hearing his first set of parish confessions. It shows you how old the novel is, because Father Fermoyle spends a good portion of Saturday hearing confessions. Saturday afternoon is devoted to the children, ex ore infantium as the practiced curate put it. But then comes the evening session after supper, and young Father Fermoyle gets more than an earful of sin. He is exposed to variations on a theme from women, where excuses are made; men who just tell it and get it finished; a young woman he misjudges and loses due to her fornicatious relationship with a Baptist; and a confirmed alcoholic who says he can’t walk past a saloon without being tempted to drink. In short, he is exposed, repeatedly, to his parishioners’ sins, over and over and over again. By the time 10:30 PM rolls around, he is dizzy and reeling from all the sin that has paraded through his confessional, and acting in persona christi, doing his best to represent Christ’s mercy and at the same time, judge his parishioners. Father Fermoyle is worn to exhaustion on confessions! He says to his mentor, “Nobody ever told me!” When he can finally speak, Father Fermoyle says, “In all the books, sin was an abstraction, a remote depersonalized theory about man’s failure to realize God’s Will. But here it’s an ulcer burrowing in the flesh, a rage in the blood, a mortal itch in man’s brain, a rank wind in his belly.”
No, this is something I was never designed to do as a lay woman called to marriage. It’s one of the reasons I pray so hard for priests.