Hi all. I’m a little confused on the Church’s teaching on mortal sin and death. Theoretically, if you die in the state of mortal sin you go to Hell… What I’m really confused about is, if this is true, why aren’t more priests offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation? We have a new pastor and he has eliminated confession times on Wednesdays, Thursdays, AND Fridays. It is now ONLY being offered for an hour on Saturdays in a parish of 4,000 families! Not only that, but the parish still has the same number of overall priests.

I have not been able to go to confession for almost 2 months and I’m in the state of mortal sin. Normally, I would just go to confession after work on Wednesdays and receive absolution. Am I still bound to this teaching? This seems absurd… Especially when I have to drive much farther to a smaller parish now and hope (sometimes it’s not offered for whatever reason) that confessions are being heard. I am not receiving Communion right now and haven’t been for quite some time.

Thanks in advance for your responses and please be patient with me as I am not bashing the Church but need some guidance from educated individuals. The pastor says he needs “time for himself.” Understood… But only one day a week?

Dear friend, the Church’s teaching on mortal sin has not changed. If a person dies with mortal sin on their soul, they go to hell. I cannot answer the question of why your pastor has eliminated those times for confession. I can only suggest to you (strongly) that you find a way to get to a priest as absolutely soon as possible. If you are available at all through regular business hours, call a parish and ask for an appointment with Father. There is no need to give a reason, just “a meeting”. If you can get to morning Mass, approach Father immediately after (refraining from Holy Communion, but you already knew that). Or arrive early for Saturday Mass and get in line.

This may take some work on your part. Find out the schedules of parishes around you, a parish near your place of employment. Often downtown parishes will offer a noon Mass that many people go to on their lunch hours.


+2. The reduction of scheduled confession times, as much as it sucks, should not be a barrier.

As has been suggested, call the parish and make an appointment with the priest at a mutually convenient time. You can ask to meet in the confessional if you wish to preserve anonymity, which is a concern for some people.

Or else get to Sunday Mass 15 minutes early or so, the priest will probably be in the vestry or around the church somewhere, ask if he’s got time to hear your confession.

The onus is on the person who is in mortal sin to make these sort of arrangements if necessary.

You can still go to hell if you are in a state of mortal sin.

I also recommend making an appointment for confession with a priest, but have another suggestion. If you have any universities (or colleges, as Americans say) in your area, you might want to see if confession is offered there - if you ask, I’m sure they won’t mind you going to their school to confess your sins. A Catholic school would almost certainly have this offered. I go to a secular university, but a priest still comes to the university and hears confession, so you might want to keep your head up for these things.

Most parishes have Confession only one day a week, being the hour prior to Sat Mass, and also by appt, so your parish is actually in line with most others, now. The priest probably discontinued the other Confession times because they aren’t utilized by the laity, and the poor man probably has a hundred other things he could be doing rather than sit in an empty confessional waiting for no one.

Not knowing the priest in question, but knowing several - this is probably his very polite way of saying that he’s sick of sitting in the confessional, only for nobody to show up.

We’re lucky. We have Confession 6 days a week (Mon - Sat) and the priests (we have three) are also happy to see you outside normal Confession times. In our parish its very hard to say we don’t have time or opportunity for Confession.

Definitely, my university offers confession every day, for the same block of time that most priests offer it just once a week. You might say that they care more, but it is also a reflection of college-aged Catholics, who seem to have a lot of zeal.

One morning I was unsure and needed to get something from the day before taken care of before I received the Eucharist, and so I just went to morning Mass half an hour early and the priest was happy to hear my confession. Most of them like when we like to go to confession.

This probably is the standard for most parishes in the US. People just don’t go to Confession much any more, and the priest is probably sitting there in an empty Confessional. My parish is big like yours, and even on the Sat. Confession hour, only a handful of people show up. We can, if we wish, make an appointment for Confession outside of he regular hour. Perhaps you could call and ask for an appointment instead of going without Confession for so long.

I guess you guys didn’t read my initial comment. The pastor himself is new. He has no experience at this parish.

Also, this confession time was heavily utilized by the Anglo community.

I read that as “relatively new”, not “brand new”.

The correct answer, then, is to still give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably figures your parish for being typical of others where the confessional sits empty.

So prove him wrong. Call and make an appointment for him to take your confession.

In my parish, there are no set confession times. I would, when I got to Mass, ask the priest if he could hear my confession. I have never been refused.

I say “would” because I now attend Sunday Mass in the Benedictine abbey of which I am an oblate.

And they always have a priest to hear confessions before Sunday Mass, in the confessional which is of an interesting design that allows either face-to-face or behind a screen confession.

It’s almost always the same priest unless he’s off sick (he’s 80). He’s a wonderful confessor, and once he gets to know you (I do face-to-face), gives great spiritual advice.

That said the OP should never be afraid to ask for a confession before Mass. I’m pretty sure the priest is bound to hear it. You don’t have to wait for published confession times.

This annoys me to NO END! I used to belong to a parish run by monks and they “offered” confession once a week for 20 minutes before Sat evening Mass. I tried 4 times to go to confession–ONLY ONCE DID A PRIEST ACTUALLY SHOW UP. The last time, there I was kneeling, waiting for a priest and one of the monks walked by in his tennis clothes with racquet, all sweaty to cut through the church to go to the abbey. I asked him very nicely, “Father do you know if someone is coming to hear confessions?” He replied, “Well, someone should be there!” I answered, again, very gently, “Well…they’re not…” And he contorted his face and snapped, “WELL I"M NOT GONNA DO IT!” I said, “Father, I didn’t ask you to.” And he huffed and stormed off.

I finally mentioned to one of the monks that no one was showing up for confession, to which his only reply was, “Well, then why do you bother to come?” I mean…can you believe THAT!!! So I said, “You have what, 15 priests here and can only offer confession once a week for 20 minutes? This is a very large parish!” He just said, “Well, there is an option to call and make an appointment any time.” Good luck. I didn’t return.

Having lived in Chicago and now NYC for the last 10 years has made me realize how much healing is needed in our world. SO many hurting and wounded souls who need to hear, “You are forgiven, go and sin no more.”

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing and forgiveness–what does our world need more? It is a gift of compassion from Our Lord. If you’re a priest and reading this, I beg of you to get in that confessional and turn the light on and sit and trust me–THEY WILL COME!


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