Going to different priest in confession



Is it a sin to go to a different priest than usual for confession for the reason that you might be embarrassed about your sins or you think the other priest will be nicer about it?


Embarrassed- I’d say no since being embarrassed would hamper your ability to give a full confession

“Nicer about it” (I assume you mean the penance)- I’d say yes since it is out of self interest


It’s supposed to be helpful to see the same priest consistently for Confession. But if you’re concerned about what he thinks of you - human respect, possibly - then perhaps it’s time for a new confessor.


I wasn't afraid of the penance - most priests at my church give basically the same. And my usual confessor is not mean, but he has a lot of people go to him for long confessions and I feel like I shouldn't ask too many questions when I go to him. He also has you explain sins further sometimes whereas the other priest doesn't usually.


Most of my local priests don’t give much counsel in confession, and I wish they did sometimes. In some instances, too much counsel can be bad if the confession times are limited and the lines are long, but in times where that isn’t the case, the extra clarification on your part may help him provide better guidance to help you avoid falling into those sins as often. For me, at least, I want all the sound spiritual direction I can get (unless I’m in a time crunch). If my priest is concerned about my soul and how to get me to heaven, I’m all for the guidance. That’s the way I look at it…I treasure the extra guidance. However, there is nothing necessarily wrong with a different priest and a shorter confession…just please consider the potential benefit from the other method as well. Either way, just keep going to confession somewhere and sincerely attempt to sin no more afterwards. That’s the key.


The goal of Confession is to make a sincere and complete admission of your guilt and be sorry for it. I teach my RCIA classes that any means that contributes to better doing this, such as choice of confessor, should be used. I will offer suggestions, but always emphasize that they are to choose whatever makes them the most comfortable.


Thanks for the replies!
I really am thankful that the priests at my parish are willing to give some advice in confession. I usually do take advantage of that with my usual confessor; I mainly switched today because there were two people ahead of me in line and it seemed like it would take a while. I just felt guilty later because I knew the priest I switched to doesn’t really listen to your sins when you confess so I wouldn’t be as embarrassed.

It’s hard to tell when these thoughts are just scruples or real things to worry about. I feel like I usually have to go the hardest route when I go to confession or else I’m just sinning or being selfish or something.


We may go to confession to any priest with the proper faculties to hear confessions. It isn’t sinful to chose one priest over the other as long as we don’t do it to avoid giving a proper confession. And the sin is then in withholding our (mortal) sins, not because we went to Fr X instead of Fr Y.

If you are scrupulous and if you have a regular confessor, you should follow his advice as to how often to go to confession and shouldn’t jump around from priest to priest.

At my church we line up on either side of the altar and there are usually 3-4 priests hearing confessions. I just go to whichever priest is next available. Other people wait for a specific priest. Either decision is fine.


Please don’t judge the priest that way. Just because he doesn’t ask clarifying questions or give lots of advice, doesn’t mean he isn’t listening.

The form of the sacrament of confession/penance/reconciliation is that we state our sins since our last confession and the priest assigns us a penance and then absolves us. Discussion and advice giving is not necessary for the sacrament. It can be very helpful, but our absolution isn’t lessened in anyway nor is the priest giving us the ‘easy way out’.

The hard part of confession is the examination of conscience that we should do before we even go to confession. Once there, we state our sins by kind and number and any important other details (the man I murdered was my brother), we don’t have to go into tons of details, offer reasons or excuses, or make our actions seem better or worse than they really are.

You may be better served by occasionally making an appointment for advice on one or two particular issues that are bothering you and not expect or ask for detailed counselling during confession.


^I’m sorry I didn’t word that properly. I do know that he listens to my sins and everything; I didn’t intend for that to come off as insulting him but I clearly could have explained it better than I did previously. I really need to think more before I post.
And thanks, I appreciate your advice!


You may go to any priest. If you are having a problem with scrupulosity, it is a good idea to find a priest who is helpful in that regard and stick with him. It is important to overcome this problem. Here is a helpful website: mission.liguori.org/newsletters/scrupanon.htm
All the best and have a Merry Christmas.


Hi Mary, my wife had the same anxiety about going to our regular priest (She converted to Catholism a few years ago). I even wanted to go to a different priest but I talked to him anyways and it was great. But good luck and God will guide you!


The replies looked good to me. All the best. As a side note, I imagined going to confession to Padre Pio. Then there’s been accounts of other great holy priests, confessors, being able to tell the penitent his or her sins… Does anyone know how to connect, meet up with such priests, “confessors,” of some sort? Thanks.


I was lead to believe that we go to confession to give a confession to God. It seems to me that if you feel like you can’t do that very well because you lack anonymity then go to another priest. Go to another church to confess if you want. There is nothing wrong, so far as I was ever taught, with desiring anonymity during confession.


No, it is not a sin of any kind or in any manner.

You are never bound to go to confession to any particular priest. This is explicitly stated in canon 991. But here are the relevant canons.


Can. 991 All Christ’s faithful are free to confess their sins to lawfully approved confessors of their own choice, even to one of another rite.

Can. 965 Only a priest is the minister of the sacrament of penance.

Can. 966 §1 For the valid absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the power of order, the minister has the faculty to exercise that power in respect of the faithful to whom he gives absolution.

Can. 976 Any priest, even though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly and lawfully absolve any penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.

Can. 986 §2 In an urgent necessity, every confessor is bound to hear the confessions of Christ’s faithful, and in danger of death every priest is so obliged.

Notice that the canons apply to all priests who are validly ordained. Orthodox priests are validly ordained. So, in danger of death, this would include a priest who had been laicized, an orthodox priest, or even one that had been excommunicated, since they are lawfully approved to hear the confession of someone in danger of death.

How generous the Church is in ministering the forgiveness of Our Lord!


I am curious. I’ve heard a lot of people at my parish say that they will not go to our priest because they know him and they don’t want him to “think” bad of them. But it seems to me that it takes more humility to go to the priest that knows you…

We are good friends with our priest…but still go to him for confession. Sometimes it helps, because I filter things by…uh oh…I don’t want to have to say that to Fr…so I’m not going to do it. Kind of like when you had to go to your dad and tell him what you did wrong.

Does it help you keep on track or not?


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