How to address a Bishop in the Confessional?

Could someone tell me how to start a confession that is given to a Bishop?

Bless me… Bishop, Your Excellency, or would saying Father still be correct?

Thank you:-)

I have never had occasion to do so myself, but Father in the Confessional, I think, refers to the Bishop properly speaking and to other priests on his delegation.

As far as I know, the beginning “Bless me Father, for I have sinned” is valid for the beginning of confession, not just confession to a priest who is not bishop.

This is completely my personal opinion, but what I would do is probably address him as father, unless I know him personaly, and even then, I would still say “Bless me, + father, for I have sinned, it’s been …” at the beginning. He still is a priest, and you can still call him father.

I was at one of the Detroit Catholic Men’s Conferences. Our then bishop, Cardinal Maida was present to say Mass. It was also announced that Cardinal Maida requested that all attending priests dedicate at least an hour in the confessional that day.

Just before lunch I went to the area where the confessions were being heard. I walked in and it was Cardinal Maida himself in that ‘room’. He was leading by example and spending the morning hearing confessions.

I addressed him as “Eminence”

The correct form is, "bless me Father, for I have sinned . . . "

This is the correct way to begin your confession, regardless of who is hearing it - priest, bishop or pope.

God bless,

I would think “Father” is correct because it is not the Priest or Bishop you are speaking to but God our Father. They are simply His representative. You are truly confessing to God, so I would stick with Father

I was at a retreat once and the Bishop and two priest were hearing confessions between teaching secessions. One in the group started the confession by saying “Bless me Bishop for I have sinned” … At the next teaching the bishop, without reveiling names, said the proper "Bless me Father for I have sinned"

Hey Brendan,
Cardinal Maida is a great leader of the Catholic Church; if I knew it was him, I also would have given him that small amount of respect. Nothing wrong with that.

This is interesting. I had not thought about this before, but it’s good to know. :slight_smile:


Yes, of course. “Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” is the correct way to begin.

In my case, it’s never an issue, because our church has anonymous confessionals. I once confessed to the bishop without realizing it, until later I saw him coming out of the confessional.

Bless me, Pope!

Lol, I can’t even imagine…

So ironic…this happened to me today, but I didn’t know it was the bishop until after I had already started with “Bless me Father, for I have sinned” I was more confused on what to say on the way out…I usually say “Thank you, Father,”

The bishop is our spiritual father, so “Bless me, father” is appropriate.

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