I need some help in discernment.
I started RCIA last fall. My first confession has been weighing on me heavily since then. I am 40 years old and have quite a bit to confess - some things that I feel are rather grave. I would like to do a good confession and had read and heard many places, including our RCIA leaders, that I could go to the priest of another parish for my first confession.
Well, the other day the Pastor of our parish gave us two options - the first is the parish penance service where there will be other priests there, but the confessions are done in the sanctuary - with other people standing by, and no privacy. The other option is to do confession the night of rehearsal for the Vigil - and that gives us the choice of 2 priests.
So, essentially, there is no anonymous option, unless I go to the parish service and confess to one of those priests, but with the congregation able to witness my emotional reaction, which, if I give a good confession, is going to be pretty intense. The other issue is that I don’t have anyone to watch my kids, and I probably won’t be able to make the parish service unless I drag them along - not exactly good parenting to take my kids to see me break down.
I emailed my priest to tell him these things yesterday and asked his thoughts, and haven’t gotten a response.
My plan had been to go to the shrine of a Saint to which I have great devotion where I can confess to an Augustinian monk. I’m tempted to go ahead and do that anyway - give a good confession and then do a second one in the parish (they want to make sure that they know we have gone). This feels very disobedient, but I don’t feel like the priest is being very thoughtful about our nervousness and concerns. There are a few things that I would rather be in my past, and I don’t want to be attending church every Sunday thinking, “Does he remember what I did?” I understand the benefit of having a regular confessor, but can’t I just go anonymous this one time? Doesn’t the church require that I be given the option of an anonymous confession?