Confessions taking too long

There’s a parish near me that I sometimes goto for confession. They have confession Mon-Sat an hour before mass, so it makes it convenient because I have a crazy work schedule and my wife and I have two little babies.
Unfortunately, it’s a common theme there for the penitents to take a long time in the confessional. An example, last week my wife was in line with our newborn and ended up waiting just under 2 hours to get in. There were 10-12 people in front of her when she got it in line. Is it wrong to be frustrated? I am happy people are there for confession, but it’s common for people to be in the confessional for 15-20 minutes, and they start to line up 30 minutes before.

Any thoughts? Is it wrong to speak up, or better to just let it be?


Go to another parish for confession?

Make appointments with a priest from the parish, outside of regular confession times?


Im the same way when people take a long time, although here where I go it isnt that packed with lines. But IMHO confession shouldnt take longer than 5 minutes, its confess sins and get absolved and go sin nomore.

All I do is I let people know on this topic is that confession isnt about telling your life story or why you sinned. Really isnt the best place to ask questions either. My local priest once compared confession as how a drive thru is with its simplicity.

Were there to tell the time, not how the clock was made. 30 minutes IMO is too much time and keeps the line long.


If it’s everyone, then it’s probably not the penitents but the priest who’s taking a long time. Some priests just like to give counsel… lots and lots of it apparently.

Go to another parish if you can.


Thanks for your response. I think the long time in the confessional is due to the penitents, not the priest. When I’m in there, the priests are rather straightforward. But I think the penitents just ask a lot of questions, seek insight on a lot of matters, etc. Confession is a sacrament highly promoted at this parish, and for having 2-3 confession times a day, the lines are always packed, busy, and just slow moving. It just stinks when your in line for 1-2 hrs and end up not getting in. (This happens often).

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I have been frustrated about this too. One time I went to confession before mass when a woman took 15 minutes and I worried the priest would leave for the mass then, so I wouldn’t be able to go to confession.
On the other hand, I didn’t mind. I thought that the woman needed to time to confess her sins.
I see why the original paster is upset though. Waiting for 2 hours for confession is a long time.


Make an appointment for confession with your pastor.

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I usually get in line early to avoid the wait. And when i do there always forms a line behind me. I always tell the Priest how many are behind me after my confession because he can not see the line from where he sits in the confessional, that way he knows if he should speed things up. Even if he never asks, I tell him any way, he needs to know for the sake of those in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness before Mass.


“near me” and “sometimes go to” Hmmm.

What about your local parish? What about making an appointment? What about a family/friend/neighbor watching your children for a few minutes?

I know that the person before you always seem to be confessing being responsible for the decline of western civilization, but we do not know their spiritual or psychological state. I am happy that they are confessing, as we all should be.


Would you rather there was nobody going at all? Thanks be to God for a long line of people who know their need of the Lord’s mercy!

If you’re on a tight schedule then make an appointment. Confessions sometimes take as long as they need to - that person spending 15 minutes may have been away from the Church for longer than they remember and have only just found the courage to come back. Yes there are some people who have a laundry list of things they want to confess or who are unable to simply get to the point. I understand the frustration that those waiting feel but, at the same time, the most important thing is that they’re there - everything else is secondary to that.


Well, there is the practical matter that they are not the only one there, and if it is before Mass, that too is a Sacrament. Since only a few priests can bi-locate, one does have to consider the practical issues. In this case, if it is a regular frustration, then the poster should be thankful for such a good problem and either go elsewhere, some other time, or make an appointment.

We do have a few women that take that long, though I have noticed men at my parish take less time. That is just part of the way God made us, in my opinion. During Lent, the priest really opens up confession time as his solution to having time without rushing people. Then there are times with first confession runs into regular confession time. Such good problems to have!

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I read somewhere, pretty sure it was written by a priest, to “be bold, be brief, and be gone.”


Frustration is a very human emotion, so no, it is not wrong to be frustrated.

But, regardless of the wait, was it worth it? I hope it was…otherwise all the time we spend on earth is wasted, because all that matters is the instant of our death…my personal thoughts are that life is hard, but time well spent, and if confession ensures a positive eternal life, waiting for it also is time well spent!



Surely it’s up to the individual Priest’s discretion ?

I remember one priest hurrying me up and I never went back there again.

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Id say call and make a appointment if it’s that big a deal… We don’t know what the others before us are discussing and as much as you want or in this case your wife wants to get in and get out we ought to be thinking about others IMO. Pray for the grace to be patient and understanding, pray for more vocations to the priest hood that they may have more then one priest.


Like the others say I’d make an appointment in your situation - with a new born. Then mention it to the priest perhaps(??) (pray on the issue) as maybe he’s not aware that it’s such an issue. Perhaps he could offer spiritual advice another time, or get another priest to offer confession at the same time and move the line along a bit. If for any reason (busy job) you can’t do an appointment then bring a prayer book to read or some good spiritual reading and try not to even look at or think about the other penitents. If you can when your baby is a little older get him/her to be looked after by a baby sitter or family for this wait as it is likely to make you more stressed having to have her/him with you. God bless you

Frustration isn’t a sin in itself but acting on it can be. For instance if you sigh or roll your eyes at the penitent’s as they come out or pass comments or judge them in your thoughts then yes that’s a sin. Ask God for forgiveness and I’d confess it in your next confession or as it’s venial mass attendance will wash it away, but if you mention it in confession you’ll receive sanctifying grace to help you withstand it ready for your next confession line.

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If it’s common to have a long line or confessions taking a long time, then do one of the following:

  1. Get there early and be first in line
  2. Go to a different parish that has a shorter line or shorter confession times
  3. See if you can make an appointment.

There are parishes near me where I know lines are always long especially on First Saturday. I either get there super early to be near the front of the line, or I plan to go someplace else. One time the First Saturday line was like 30 people long and I got shut out, so I drove about 10 miles to another parish that according to MassTimes was having confession and there I found a priest sitting in the confessional all alone with no one in the church even though a Mass had just let out as I was arriving. I was happy that 2 more people showed up as I was leaving because I felt bad for that priest not having any “customers”.


Then it’s up to the priest to manage the situation appropriately and invite folks to set up times for meetings with him, if they have other questions or wish to engage in pastoral counseling. So… it’s kinda back on the priest. :wink:

That depends on what “hurrying you up” means, doesn’t it? There’s a difference between “c’mon, c’mon… is that all? let’s go, now” and “those are wonderful points you bring up. Would you mind calling the office on Monday and making an appointment to visit me, so that we can give them the time and attention they deserve?”… :thinking:

I felt under pressure to be quick as there was a large cue outside. When I was explaining my sin he seemed to be rushing through it. Other priests have not done that.

Everyone’s different I guess and I may have caught him on a bad day.

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Maybe you could go 31 minutes ahead of time, since 31 minutes is better than waiting 2 hours. Or maybe if you know the line seems to always finish around the same time, you could show up then and be last.

It is frustrating that some people seem to abuse Reconciliation to chat with the priest, but I don’t think speaking up about it would do much good. A catechesis I went to made effort to emphasize that when confessing we shouldn’t be explaining or giving excuses as to why we sinned. We are just supposed to list our sins, “I entertained lustful thoughts x times, I spoke negatively about people x times…”

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