How do I cope with a bad experience in the confessional?

I had an experience awhile back during confession that has me hesitating to go back. During Holy Week of this year, I had a very scarring experience in confession.

I went with a sin on my heart that I had never officially confessed and needed to speak with someone about it because it weighed heavily on my heart. And even though I repented and changed my ways, it still bothered me. I entered the confessional quickly began my confession. Not even halfway through my sentence the priest interrupted. In a thick Polish accent he mumbled that Jesus loves me and that he isn’t out to get me. He then started a rant, which never included complete sentences, about the Catholic priest sex scandal, that priests were accused by people looking for money, and then it was never proven publicly that they were innocent. He then looked at his watch (!) and quickly hurried through giving me my penance and absolution. I haven’t been back since.

How do I cope with this experience?

Now that the situation is in the past, please try to put it down to having ended up in the wrong confessional that day and offer up the pain you experienced to God. You could also say a few prayers for this priest and his future penitents.

If anything like this happens again, God forbid, it might help not to take the priest’s rant personally and allow it to “scar” you spiritually. As a coping strategy when a priest goes off on tangents that have nothing to do with you and your confession, you might think in your mind to the priest – do not say this out loud – “But enough about you. Let’s talk about me!” Perhaps that thought will give you the good humor you need to smile and break into the monologue with a gentle, “Father! I’m so sorry to interrupt, but could I please continue with my confession?”

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