Guidance for Confession

Hello. I am hoping someone can provide me some guidance on a couple things.

I left the Church for 11 years and became an anti-Catholic Protestant/Fundamentalist. My time away from the church was a huge struggle of faith where I constantly felt I was being called back to the Catholic church, I went to confession almost yearly during my away time, and attended a couple Masses during my time away. But thought of Catholicism as my disease or temptation that I had to overcome. During my time away I got married and had children, who I didn’t raise in the Catholic faith. We were attending worship services of various Baptist churches. If we attended a certain one, it was because of the preaching style or the music selections.

Last year in May I came back home to the Church. Since then I have been doing what I need to get me and my children ‘right’ with the Church, to be in full communion. They have been attending CCD and were just baptised a month ago. In the next couple weeks they will have their first confession and Holy Communion.

Herein comes the point of this post.

  1. As I said, I was away from the church for 11 years. I never contacted a Priest when I came back to have a ‘big’ confession of every sin I commited over the 11 year period, and even in my teenage years when I began falling away. I did go to confession and confessed what I remembered after doing an examination of conscience.

So what if I begin to remember sins that I don’t recall or am not sure if I confessed. Do I confess them (again possibly)? Would it be wrong of me to think back over those 11 years and confess all my sins. I am not sure I can separate them from what I have confessed, what I might have confessed and what I recall not confessing. Or is it sufficient to confess what I remember and “those sins I cannot remember”?

  1. The priest (Father K) whom I routinely receive absolution from laughs at me in confession. Not happy happy joy joy laughter, but mocking me. He laughs at me with disgust or sarcasm. Hard to describe it, I hope you know what I am talking about. Because of this, I delayed my last confession because I needed to build up the courage to go back. What do I do about this?

My priest (Father D) who has been working with my children getting them in communion with the Church has offered to let them receive their first confession and Holy Communion the weekend of August 9. He won’t be around at that time though. The kids would have to go to the priest (Father K) that I referred to above, the one who laughs at me. I would certainly hope he wouldn’t do that with children, but I don’t want to risk it. I guess I will have them delay receiving these Sacraments until the Father D is available. Is this wrong of me?

Have ya’ll had this problem before?

My congratulations to you and your children on these important faith milestones! :slight_smile:

Herein comes the point of this post.

  1. As I said, I was away from the church for 11 years. I never contacted a Priest when I came back to have a ‘big’ confession of every sin I commited over the 11 year period, and even in my teenage years when I began falling away. I did go to confession and confessed what I remembered after doing an examination of conscience.

So what if I begin to remember sins that I don’t recall or am not sure if I confessed. Do I confess them (again possibly)?

You say something like, “A sin from my past that has been bothering me lately is … and I’m not sure if I confessed it before, or not.” A good priest will take it from there.

Would it be wrong of me to think back over those 11 years and confess all my sins. I am not sure I can separate them from what I have confessed, what I might have confessed and what I recall not confessing. Or is it sufficient to confess what I remember and “those sins I cannot remember”?

What you can do - and be careful to select a really good priest for this since not all priests are open to this - is arrange to make what’s called a General Confession. Don’t do this more than once in a very long while, though. (Once now and once on your death-bed is probably sufficient for a lifetime - otherwise there is the danger of falling into scrupulosity, which can damage your faith quite badly.)

  1. The priest (Father K) whom I routinely receive absolution from laughs at me in confession. Not happy happy joy joy laughter, but mocking me. He laughs at me with disgust or sarcasm. Hard to describe it, I hope you know what I am talking about. Because of this, I delayed my last confession because I needed to build up the courage to go back. What do I do about this?

Go to a different priest. Father K. sounds like he’s not a very good fit for you. He is probably a very good man, and devout in his own way, but if he is making you nervous, then you need to go to someone else.

My priest (Father D) who has been working with my children getting them in communion with the Church has offered to let them receive their first confession and Holy Communion the weekend of August 9. He won’t be around at that time though. The kids would have to go to the priest (Father K) that I referred to above, the one who laughs at me. I would certainly hope he wouldn’t do that with children, but I don’t want to risk it. I guess I will have them delay receiving these Sacraments until the Father D is available. Is this wrong of me?

No, not at all - what you can also do is have your children complete their preparation for First Confession, and then have them make their First Confession at some later time when the priest you want them to go with is available. If anyone says anything about record-keeping, simply remind them that no record of a child’s First Confession is to be recorded in the parish lists - all that we are allowed to record is that the child completed the program of preparation.

Have ya’ll had this problem before?

Not specifically that problem, but I did have a Confessor who made me feel like he wasn’t paying attention to anything I was saying, and also seemed to be in a rush all the time. I just went across the aisle and talked to the other priest in the parish, and had a much more rewarding and pleasant experience. :slight_smile:

From what I have read in the Ask An Apologist section a few times, if you honestly forgot about a sin and thus left it out, it is forgiven when you receive absolution after your confession. If you deliberately leave out a sin, it renders the confession invalid and you need to go again and 'fess up, so to speak.
I second Jmcrae’s suggestion that you find another Confessor. I’m sure Father K. didn’t mean to make you feel ridiculed, but regardless of his good intentions, it makes you feel uncomfortable and that’s a good reason to find another Confessor. If you don’t, it might keep you from going altogether, and that’s always a slippery slope.

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I am responding only to this question because it is something I deal with all the time. I would urge parents to spend a lot of time thinking about the priest who will hear the child’s first confession. If it someone you yourself mistrust or whose manner you have reason to believe will be off-putting for the child, by all means take them to another priest, but bear in mind you will also want them to be in a habit of regular confession, so help them find a priest who can be a regular confessor. That should be one of the parish priests if possible, but if you think he will make their first confession a painful experience, find someone else.

That said, the adult should also find a priest he finds comfortable, confession is not something to be dreaded or delayed because of the priest’s personality. some thoughts, there are people who are intimidated by one of the priests in town because he does not have a warm friendly demeanor and is seen as rather aloof and cold. However I have reason to know is a different person in confession and perhaps the best confessor I have ever had. He is very good with children and makes special effort for first confession to make it a good experience for them.

another thought, could the “mocking laughter” be sort of a nervouse reaction or tic? it may not be personal. It might be worthwhile to simply ask the priest the next time he does this, “Father, I feel you are laughing at me or mocking me and I don’t know what that means in regard to my confession.” he may not realize how he sounds.

  1. The priest (Father K) whom I routinely receive absolution from laughs at me in confession. Not happy happy joy joy laughter, but mocking me. He laughs at me with disgust or sarcasm. Hard to describe it, I hope you know what I am talking about. Because of this, I delayed my last confession because I needed to build up the courage to go back. What do I do about this?

Find another priest to go to for confession - even if you go to another parish - you can go anywhere. I go to the Cathedral of the diocese - confessions are heard daily - 3x/day in fact. Aside, it is a beautiful holy place and I like to spend time there. One should never be laughed at or mocked.

It’s easy to tell you just got back from vacation! :wink: Welcome back to you, too, puzzleannie!

Betsy

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