How exactly does a priest forget the sins you confessed?


#1

I have read that priests go through some practice or prayer to forget what sins the penitent confesses so that when they see this person in public they don’t look at them and judge them by their sin.

Fr. Mike Schmitz on YouTube (amazing Priest and videos!!) says that he feels a “holy amnesia” after each confession where he does not remember the sins that were confessed.

Is there some sort of training they go through in Seminary to block these sins out of their minds or are the priests that deeply connected to Christ during confession that they don’t even hear the sins, the priest is just 100% the mouthpiece of Jesus?

As someone who struggles with going to confession with priests that know me, I wondered how is it that they don’t look at me differently after confession.

Your Brother in Christ,

  • Matt

#2

I don’t know about special training (and I’m not a priest), but I would imagine the sheer volume, and frankly, drudgery of hearing hundreds or thousands of confessions would make it very difficult to recall specifics, even if a priest wanted to.


#3

That, plus the repetitive nature of the thousands of confessions.

A priest once told me about hearing confessions: “The devil has no imagination”.


#4

You need to remember that this power that was given to humans by GOD Himself has attached some gifts both to the penitent and to the priest that is dispensing GOD’s gift.
I have personally experienced in confession the power of the Holy Spirit speaking through the priest.
Therefore it is quite possible that not remembering the sins is also a gift from the Holy Spirit.


#5

I don’t believe this is true. If so, then why do some Catholics have a regular confessor to help with habitual sin. Look, if I work for the parish and confess stealing from payroll, I doubt very much the priest forgets…


#6

Even if a priest doesn’t forget, they’d probably not see you any different. At some point, I’d imagine that they’d just understand that lots of people have the same sins, and some of those sins are probably ones that they’ve struggled with in the past.


#7

Yes. I agree.


#8

#1 sin for men: lust. And all that entails. #1 sin for women: envy. And all that entails.
Nothing new.


#9

I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from envy. I’d say for women, it would be the sin of pride or perhaps gossiping.


#11

I’m going to go out on a limb then and say… that you’re also not a priest?


#13

Do you think your doctor remember every rash they see, every cough, every pill they prescribe? Of course not. It’s all part of the job, and after they see one patient, it’s off to the next one.

Your sins are terribly interesting to you, just like your ailments are terribly interesting to you, but to the priest (or the doctor), it’s sometning they’ve seen many times before and will see again because that’s the nature of their job.


#15

Yup! XD
10 characters


#16

Priests presumably don’t literally forget, because otherwise what would be the point of the Seal of the Confessional? Why would there be such harsh penalties for breaking it if it were impossible to break because no one remembered?

When priests talk about forgetting or use a phrase like “holy amnesia” I assume they mean that they hear so many confessions, 99% of which are probably people repeating variations on the same 10 sins, that it all just runs together and becomes a blur.

I’m a lawyer and I used to see a large volume of clients for short appointments every day. After I while, I have no idea what each of them came to see me about. It’s just a blur.


#17

As a woman, I think I’ve confessed envy once that I can remember.

Sins of lust DEFINITELY way more than once.


#19

Maybe you’re envious of how lustful men are and you know you can never ascend these dizzying heights.

MIND BLOWN.


#20

Haha. The only things I ever envied about men are that they get to be priests and that they find it easier to micturate in the woods.


#21

Gonna pretend I didn’t have to google “micturate.”


#22

I was afraid CAF wouldn’t like the simpler word.


#23

Practice. A certain routine practice of virtue that leaves personal attachments behind. This is really for the good of the priest as a person. Only Christ can hear such misery continually and fully bear it. The priest “passes it” to the Lord. And maybe a certain amount of self preservation is involved in forgetting the misery of the world. Every time I am embarrassed to confess, I think of the fact that priests have heard murder, adultery, and all sorts of things that I don’t want to latch on to.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us”
That is Good News for us and the servants of God serving as his priests.


#25

…everyone else can see that Illuminati post, right guys? Guys? :anguished:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.