Did not get to Confess


I went to my parishes’ weekly confessional time, and waited for a full hour to confess. Apparently our time ran out, and the priest came out and told us to come another time. Is this a correct thing to do? He didn’t even give us absolution. Sometimes making the time can be an issue for me. What can I do?


Kind of confused about your question. You can make an appointment or go back again. Sometimes I go to Mass and before Mass starts I ask the priest if I can go to confession…they always say yes.


You are not required to confess only during fixed times. Confession is a right and you may fix an appointment with a priest for any time mutually agreeable outside normal confession times.


I’m wondering why you would expect to receive absolution in a line with others waiting to Confess. The normal location is in the Confessional. Are you confused? Or is it a typo from being excited over your missed Confession? Sins that haven’t been confessed cannot be absolved. So why were you expecting to get absolution in the line because he was out of time and probably needed to prepare for Vigil? Have you received such “absolution” before?

Just curious.



Actually I have witnessed such an event. The priest who was to celebrate Mass ran out of time to hear the confessions of everyone waiting so he gave a general absolution to those waiting for Confession, told them they could receive Communion, but had to come back immediately after Mass for Confession.
Whether that is permitted I really don’t know but it happened.




I am so frustrated with confession in this day and age, myself. It just doesn’t seem to be important anymore. It makes you wonder why you even bother.


I think the priest needs to reset the confession time to 30 minutes earlier. There are 2 priests at our church and one is always in the confessional until the line ends even if the other priest has started Mass. Also, I have seen a priest shorten his time with each penitent except in cases of serious sin to accommodate everyone. I did get to church too late once when the priest had already left and waited until the next week to go and receive the Eucharist.


We have Confessions 6 days a week (Mon - Sat).


In my local church in Italy, where we spend some months of the year the priest simply stands in a little recessed corner at the front of the church and people line up before Sunday Mass and literally huddle in the corner with him. It’s in full view of the rest of the congregation. The church is ancient and the Confessional is many hundreds of years old - I doubt if most normal-sized people could even fit into it, although it still stands in the church.

Whereas in my church in England, there is a special room in the church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, furnished as a comfortable lounge and extremely private. Confession is held every day before Mass or by appointment, even though we only have one priest for a very busy parish.


The fact that you took the time to go to Confession, but could not because the Priest had to leave, is a good thing. You would still need to go as soon as possible. The Priest cannot offer absolution to those who are waiting but have not had the chance to go.

If time is a chronic issue maybe you can make a personal appointment with the Priest. This is something I have done because of work schedules and caring for sick family members. I also have found an older Parish were there are Priests available every day just to hear Confessions.

I am sure you can work something out with your Pastor. At least there seems to be enough folks going to Confession that it is possible to run out of time. When I first started going to Mass at my current Parish almost no one showed up for Confession. Then when the current Priest arrived, within 6 months the lines were constant and the children were even at ease when giving their confessions. You had to be first in line, or close to it, if you wanted to give your Confession. He also makes a lot of appointments for people.


It might possibly be permitted; see Canons 961-963. Except in cases of emergency (in danger of death, etc.), the permission of diocesean bishop is required.


Assuming we are talking about mortal sin, of course. There is no '‘have to go’ in the case of venial sin, although the Church highly recommends it.


Making weekly confession isn’t absolutely necessary. The Church HIGHLY recommended,
but not an absolute rule. It is preferred that one confess at least once a year, but it is also
suggested that if one can, confess once a week.

Just go another time. :slight_smile:


ooops! What about the fact that you are supposed to go to Confession at least once a year? Even if you don’t commit one mortal sin in a year, you still have to go to Confession ONCE A YEAR! So there it is - a you gotta go rule even for venial sins.

I go every week and thank God daily for the strength the Sacrament gives me in the spiritual battle against sin in my life. I love going to Confession. It is a beautiful encounter with a loving and merciful God. Keeps me on track and aware of where I need to work in my life. Some one once said an unexamined life isn’t worth living. I heartily agree. Know thyself. There is great wisdom in frequenting the Sacrament of Penance.

Read the Diary of St. Faustina, Divine Mercy In My Soul and that will help you trust God enough to go more often.




Hello paperweight - here are the Canons straight from the Vatican Website:
Can. 987 To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.

Can. 988 §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.

§2. It is recommended to the Christian faithful that they also confess venial sins.

Can. 989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is ob-liged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.

Can. 990 No one is prohibited from confessing through an interpreter as long as abuses and scandals are avoided and without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 983, §2.

Can. 991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite.

******** PLEASE NOTE: Canon 989 says exactly what I said - each member of the Church is obliged to Confess at least once a year.

What did you mean?



Read it again. The faithful are obliged to confess ‘grave’ sins aka mortal sins.

There is no obligation to confess venial sins (although of course recommended).


Guess what? Not the only rules we have to follow are limited to those written in Canon Law. There’s more to it than “if it ain’t in Canon Law then I ain’t doin’ it!” We are obliged to Confess once a year as well as receive Communion once a year to remain Catholic. That’s why all the “C & E’s” show up and fill the pews at Easter. No one goes to Confession like they are supposed to anymore. It is a sad fact of Catholic life. It is minimalistic to think that Canon Law was written so you’d never have to go to Confession UNLESS you were in Mortal Sin. That is a very slippery slope to be on. If you ask me and this is my humble opinion, you as close to the exit door as you can get with that kind of outlook.
Yes, no one can FORCE a Confession from anyone. That IS forbidden. That is why the wording of 988,2 says “recommended.” Guess what else? If the Vatican recommends it, I do it.

The Confessional is the Gate of Heaven and when you open the doors to it, God opens the Ocean of Mercy found in His Sacred Heart. If you choose not to go, that’s okay, but you’re missing out on an experience only the Sacramental Grace of Confession can give. And I also think in my humble opinion that folks need to give each other more of “push” to go. Even for venial sins, Everyone got those if they’re honest enough to examine their behaviors.

Nuff said by me on the subject. I apologize for sounding preeechy…



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