Does your Priest give you counsel when you go to confession?


I used to attend a very reverent church in Toronto and I always enjoyed when I went to confession there as they would always give some helpful counsel in avoiding the near occasions of sin. They were the only ones that would ever do that.

Is what they did a personal preference or is it required by Church law?


Yes. I know my confessor well enough that he even asks me about things I didn’t think to bring up and gives me advice I wouldn’t have thought about. It always seems to me like evidence of the Holy Spirit at work.


Once I asked for advice and the priest told me that confession was not the place for it.

I usually get it after I ask for it.


Absolutely. My confessor also acts as my spiritual advisor though, so the line might get blurred more than it might in some other cases.


Yes. I do not know the priests at our current parish all that well, but they have asked questions to clarify things I’ve said and given me some advice as well as absolution. Not, real detailed, lengthy stuff, but more like an admonition and pithy advice about leading a Catholic life. I do appreciate it.


Yes…not every single time, always if asked for…you do not always like what you hear of course…:shrug: but it is always foccused on how to get to heaven


Absolutely! I won’t go to a priest more than once if he doesn’t. I don’t ask for advice - the priest volunteers it.

One that I go to sometimes seems almost to cross-examine me. He wants to know exactly what he is forgiving, and have me understand it, too. It’s OK, not threatening at all, and this guy’s really funny, too. He gets me laughing every time. I never leave feeling misunderstood, that’s for sure.

The other one takes his time with everybody. He very kindly addresses every issue with good, Godly advice. If I have a question, he will answer in a friendly, conversational way. Surprisingly, he’s very young - only two years since his ordination. And when he says Mass, it’s GIRM-perfect - never a stray word or gesture. I pray for him often that he stays this good all his life.



I voted no because our parish priest does not offer any counsel. It’s funny though because my daughter just had her first confession, and we were told that the Rite of Penance is to include a scripture reading and suitable advice from the priest. However, our priest does neither. Also, while we were told it was not a part of the Rite, my daughter was encouraged to say “Forgive me Father for I have sinned” at the beginning of her confession (something I was never taught to do). When possible, I try to go to other parishes for confession where I know I will receive some counsel.


Required? Seems like we are asking a minimalist question. The purpose of Confession is to reconcile one with God and Church and recieve graces to resist sin in the future. While the graces are supernatural, they can be delivered through his minister just as He gives absolution through the power and action of the Priest.

From the Catechism:

… the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd. . . . (1465)

. . . . The minster of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. . . .(1466)

. . . . He should have a proven . . .experience of human affairs . . .and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity (1466)

These all speak to his pastoral call to minister in counceling where possible and appropriate. This being said, we need to acknowledge some realities:

  1. When the Priest is hearing hundreds of confession under tight time constraints (i.e. Holy Week), time may not allow him to make full use of counseling. If one has serious pastoral needs, confession during a scheduled appointment and less busy time may be more fruitful.

  2. The Priest is human susceptible to the same sins and temptations and human foibles of us all. During Holy Week, he can be tired and impatient and hurried leading him to provide a less than satisfactory counseling. When gets a curt confession during these times, rather than criticizing the Priest without charity, one should respond to pray for your Priest/confessor.


Unfortunately, most of the time it is just general counseling. I really prefer those times when I get specific, practical counseling, but it just doesn’t happen all that often.


The priest to whom I go for Confession most always offers me good advice. I love going to him because I am not only forgiven, but I also receive guidance for going forward and living a life more pleasing to God.


The priest to whom I go for Confession most of the time does offer me very good advice. I love going to him because I am not only forgiven, but I also receive guidance on how to go forward and live a life more pleasing to God.


The priest to whom I go for Confession most of the time does offer me very good advice. I love going to him because I am not only forgiven, but I also receive guidance on how to go forward and live a life more pleasing to God.


That’s what I love most is the COUNSEL I receive in the confessional. The priests I go to are really great!! Very much put you at ease, making sure they understand you but always giving you pointers as to good ways to avoid occassions of sin etc., and if you are having a problem, scriptural remedies etc. I think the emphasis has really changed in regard to reconcilliation. They really want to do a mini spiritual adviser type thing. When I was younger, confession was not like that at all. It was wham bam you are absolved, here is your penance, go in peace, see you later.:smiley:


Just about every time… which is part of what keeps bringing me back. If I know it will be a complex one, I just call and make an appointment and discuss whatever in his office. My pastor and most of the area pastors are awesome.

Once I called our retired pastor to make sure he knew I wanted him to come to our wedding and reception and he spent 45 minutes giving me advice about how to keep God in my marriage. You gotta love small towns for this…


I have a spiritual director, whom I see on a monthly basis. However, I do not usually go to him for confession. I generally explain enough of the situation so that the parish priest in the confessional know’s what’s up. I wouldn’t call what he gives me ‘counsel’, more like helpful suggestions. —KCT


Looking back I am really happy I did this poll and am pleasantly surprised to see how many responded yes that they do receive counsel.

However I wonder if my question was perhaps a little vague. I would classify “counsel” into 2 categories. 1st specific to what you would confess and the other a very general advice almost like a form letter.

Its the former (1st) that I am interested in, if others receive that.

Sorry for the vagueness.


I go to confession to my spiritual director so it has the advantage of fitting into a general session of discussion. He knows me well and, in terms of confession, can often see connections that I don’t see myself. There’s an advantage to having someone who knows you and to confessing outside the normal Saturday afternoon times when other people may be waiting.


I love getting free advice!


Does “Wow that was an incredible confession!” count? (really happened)

Most of the time when I go the pastor asks me questions afterwards about how I feel I could avoid X or do Y better then gives me advice… Is this what you are looking for?

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