I'm having a really hard time coping with the discouragement and disappointment that keeps being hurled at me from every angle since my conversion. The latest hurtle is confession.
I know how these threads usually go. I have never, EVER voiced my discouragements and let ANYONE in our parish know what I'm struggling with. As far as they all know I'm perfectly happy. So no, this isn't a reaction of people who are getting frustrated with dealing with my complaints.
I am only in my third year in this faith.
Confession via Catholicism.
When I read these forums, browse Catholic websites or just read the Catechism I'm told that Confession is good. It's important. I'm told we can and if so disposed SHOULD attend regularly. I read that it's good to go, even for venial sins. I'm encouraged to go, go, go.
Confession in Reality
Since my conversion I have had to struggle to get confession. There is no set time for confessions. You have to book an appointment. I would book appointments, the priest wouldn't show up or he'd forget I was coming. I would write emails and confirm appointments and they would still not show up.
I finally found a confessor who seemed good. He would hear confession before Mass, after Mass, anytime. Again he would forget if I actually made a proper appointment but I just started going to him prior to Mass to alleviate that.
Recently he was moved to a neighboring parish.
I joked to some fellow parishioners about traveling to confess to him and I was scolded. I was told I should only hear confession in my own parish.
Fine. I made the decision to do that. I made the appointment for myself and my cousin (who travels here for confession because we have confessional booths. Her parish doesn't and she doesn't like face to face confession).
Today was our appointment. As per the usual the priest didn't show up. I called my old confessor and asked him if we could come to him. My cousin believed she had committed a mortal sin so I wanted to help her get confession as soon as possible. If not for her I would have let it go.
My old confessor agreed to have us come. He seemed fine with it.
When we arrived Mass was in session so we sat and took part of Mass. After I introduced her to him and because I had another appointment I left her with him.
I just found out his response and it's very, very discouraging.
What do I do?
A little History
To help you understand the depth of my disappointment I have a story.
The year I converted we had a special dinner with the Bishop. During dinner, as an excited convert, I shared with him my utmost joy and excitement for confession. I was a happy, newly forgiven sinner and a lover of confession.
His response was a roll of the eyes and to get up and leave my table. He did not speak to me again. My sponsor's response was to tell me confession isn't all that important. The others at the table just laughed at me.
My cousin was told tonight that;
A: She shouldn't be traveling just to receive confession in a booth. He didn't understand what the big deal was and why she couldn't just go to her own priest.
B: Tradition is NOT important (his response when she told him how much she loved the traditions of the Church - as a convert she is excited to learn Catholic traditions).
C: That she should not steal (she had NOT confessed to stealing - he just randomly started scolding her for theft)
She was treated like an inconvenience and an annoyance (despite the fact we asked if we could come - we did NOT impose. We made the trip only after he said; come on down!).
She was made to feel like she had done something wrong by coming to him.
So what do we do? I make appointments with my new priest... he doesn't show up. I go to my old confessor and he gets irritated because I should only seek confession within my current parish... I'm not comfortable traveling to my cousin's parish because I too prefer the confessional booths. I cannot go to my Bishop (to ask his advice on how to proceed) because he is dismissive of confession.
We're out of options.
What do we do? How do we get confession? Do we just take it once a year during Easter when it's offered? Do we only go when we have mortal sin on our hearts? Do we give up on trying to seek regular confession?
I'm so horribly discouraged right now and very, very sad for my cousin who had an absolutely terrible night thanks to my old confessors dismissive and annoyed treatment of her.