How to get a friend back to Confession


A friend of mine- I actually pay rent to him- is a bit of a lapsed Catholic who’s slowly coming back around to being more fully involved. He has 16 years of Catholic education under his belt, but after he graduated from a Catholic college he spent a long time away from anything church-related. In the past few months, however, he’s started going to Mass again pretty consistently with his family. So he’s partaking of the Eucharist- but it’s still been a little over 30 years since his last confession.

Lucky for him, I’m the type of Evangelical friend who wants to help him be a better Catholic rather than convert him. We’ve had some entertaining conversations on the matter- friend, did you know you’re supposed to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and be a full participant in the sacramental life of the church, and it’s something of an issue if you knowingly stay away from the one thing while still partaking of the other? Then he reminds me that I’m a Protestant, and when’s the last time I went to Mass? He’s also quite well informed by his family and by his education (he says he’s the black sheep of the family, comparatively speaking)- he just ignores certain parts of what they’ve told him.

Fortunately, we have a new roommate, and he’s a devout Catholic who attended the Catholic University of America way back in the day. My somewhat lapsed roommate refers to him as the Catholic expert, and it’s a good thing he’s here because he can convert me, I should listen to his expertise. I suggested that if he expects the Evangelical to listen to everything a Catholic expert has to say, maybe he, the Catholic, had better listen to him about just one thing- going to Confession. He was amused by that point, but he still hasn’t gone and done it.

So this is my question. What are the main points of emphasis that can help my landlord get back to confession? I assume the first one is the hardest, but what are the things that tend to be the main roadblocks, and how are they overcome? Keep in mind that I won’t be doing this all on my own, instead I will attempt to pass some helpful pointers on to the elder statesman with the expertise so he can do a slightly better job of convincing him. Granted, he has plenty of expertise of his own, but as far as I know he hasn’t been away from confession for a really long period of time and maybe there’s some people on here who can give some insight from a bit closer up.


All I can think to suggest are patience and prayer.

Love God, and live your own faith as an example, as best you can (and it sounds like you are). I think the way you’ve been handling this so far is great!

I don’t know that there is really any more you can say or do that will “convince” him once and for all to live his faith obediently, since this is likely more a matter of the heart, rather than the head. It sounds like he already knows what he’s supposed to do–and why–he just isn’t willing to DO it. (Yet.)

If he actually doesn’t understand WHY (other than “because the Church says so”), then it could help to explain the reasons behind the teaching. If he doesn’t know HOW to make a good Confession, then a little pamphlet about it could be helpful–and a reminder that the priest can walk him through it, too.

But it doesn’t sound like that’s the case, and, ultimately, you can’t make the choice for him. You can’t be his Holy Spirit; you can plant seeds that hopefully will take root, but you can’t force them to grow. There’s no magic combination of words or actions that will convince him to go, as long as he doesn’t want to be convinced to go.

So, I’d say persistent prayer is your best bet. :thumbsup:

I will say a prayer for him, too. :gopray2:


Pray to St. Leopold Mendic for him. If you have an aversion to praying to saints, ask your devout Catholic friend to do so. I am sure he will be happy to. :thumbsup:

Here’s a prayer for your landlord right now. :signofcross:


Great response.
I would add:
Your friend likely thinks Reconciliation simply “takes” something from you. The sin, which admittedly, people don’t believe happens all that much. They equate venial sins with “things that God’s not going to get upset about” :rolleyes: but I digress.
Reconciliation GIVES you grace. Grace that we need to be better husbands, wives, parents, co-workers, sons and daughters. If he can clearly see the grace of the Holy Eucharist, maybe one (either of you) could gently remind him that he’s passing up an important gift! Who leaves a gift unopened?
Pray for him. Thank you for caring so much for his soul. :slight_smile:


First, pray for him, together with the other catholic roommate…there is strength in more people praying…:slight_smile:

Share the story of King David, which shows the necessity of confession…: 2Sam 12 (please read the whole chapter, will only cite this verse):

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for[a] the LORD, the son born to you will die.”

and Job 42:

7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.


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