How to get my parents to take me to Confession?

I fell again to my impure temptations. The problem is that my parents won’t want to take me to Confession. They know that I struggle with this and thus are supportive, but believe that Confession isn’t necessary and that it takes too much time. However, I know that I’m putting my soul in danger otherwise, and as well, I feel like trash when I’m in a state of mortal sin. How do I convince them that Confession is necessary, or at least to take me. I went this morning too. I am probably damned.

Would it be possible to have your parents work out a regular schedule, say every other week on a specific day? Maybe you could ask your priest to give them a call and let them know how important this is to you.

Also, I know you have been asked this before, but I don’t believe you answered it: how far away is your church?

Tell them you need to make an appointment with the priest to talk about scruples.
They’ll take you.
While you are there for counseling, you can make a confession.

You have been given some great advice. Is there possibly a young adult group you can join that meets at Church? You can also talk to your parish priest(s) to see if he has some advice for you to give to your parents.

No.

You say here in this post that you went to confession this morning.

You have indicated in past posts that you have access to confession on a weekly basis. I cannot imagine that your parish priest would countenance you receiving the sacrament any more frequently than on a weekly basis.

Not only is it wrong to expect your parents to take you to confession, even multiple times per day, it would be wrong for them to enable this. As I priest, I do not hesitate to say it is not helpful nor is it spiritually healthy to allow a penitent in such circumstances as here being discussed to access confession twice in one day or to celebrate reconciliation is such an obsessive/compulsive manner.

That is not honouring the sacrament of reconciliation; rather, to go to confession and then return to confession hours later is to abuse the sacrament and to demean it and treat it as if it is a magic ritual to efface guilt rather than the sacramental encounter with Christ and His saving Mercy that it is.

Ask your priest confessor to explain to you Canon 916, what it means and why it exists (you should be using it) as well as explain to you the nature of the struggle against temptation and sin, and also the healthy understanding of the theology of the sacrament of reconciliation. Your regular confessor needs to establish with you the parameters of a “not to exceed” point in terms of approaching confession so that scruples are not further fed and unreasonable requests to your parents are not being made.

There is a serious deficiency in your religious education if, as a 14 year old, you are saying “I am probably damned.”

What would be helpful for you is reading the texts of Pope Francis on the Mercy of God.

I have said before and I repeat again:

Truth has its rights. If your parents are providing you with availability to the sacrament of penance on a weekly basis – there is nothing to reproach there. You should realise that most people who are hospitalised, in nursing home, or who are home shut ins do not have access to weekly confession…nor do many other people That you would wish your family to take you to confession multiple times per week is not an appropriate response to your very real struggle.

You need to actually speak, and in depth, with your confessor about[LIST]
*]the issue of your scrupulosity
*]the mindset that you manifest here that the sacrament of penance is something you think recourse can be made to even more than once per day
*]the depth of your struggle with temptation and how it is manifesting itself in anxiety
*]your thoughts that you are damned to hell
[/LIST]
These are serious issues for a 14 year old and they need to be met head on by aggressive pastoral care and pastoral counseling. I suggest you would benefit from the latter especially being intensified.

:thumbsup:

Weekly confession before weekly mass should be enough. If you sin before then, express your sorrow to God, pray an Act of Contrition, and breathe. Mortal sin isn’t something to be taken lightly, but you seem to be on the other extreme. I would definitely advise you to read some spiritually inspiring material to help yourself grow, and follow Don’s advice.

That being said, I struggle(or have struggled) with the same problems you do, so if you feel the need, PM me.

I’m struggling with the same issues though I’m five years older than you. I converted one year ago and I’ve been to Confession umh about 60-70 times (!!!)… Now I’m trying to go less often (it’s been now 4 days since the last time and I’m planning to go next week). I don’t mean to judge at all since I’m in the very same situation as you but I think it’s not quite common for a 14-year-old (or a 19-year-old) to confess so often.

Try to think of it this way: there are currently about 1,2 billion Catholics in the world and about 400 000 priests. If everyone went to Confession weekly, every priest would have to hear 3000 confessions. If they all lasted approximately five minutes, every priest should sit in the Confessional for 250 hours a week which obviously isn’t possible.

(Now let’s forget the fact that most practising Catholics wouldn’t go weekly and that not all of the 1,2 billion practise their faith at all so the 250hrs-scenario is completely hypothetical)

OP:
Obey your parents, listen to Father Ruggero, and get therapy for scruples. You also should be in your parish youth group busy with community service projects and mission trips over the summer instead of staying in your room.
Get productive!!!

Father, with all due respect, this is bad advice. If a person is really struggling with impurity, then absolutely, he needs to get to confession as soon as possible, regardless of how recently he just confessed. St. Alphonsus, a great patron against scrupulosity, encouraged penitents not to let the sun set on an unconfessed mortal sin. Impurity has a very tenacious hold on those who have contracted a habit of it - I know because I too had a habit of impurity once, sometimes committing impure acts four or five times a day. It is thus very possible to fall into these sins on the same day as going to confession, and if this is the case, then that person should go to confession as soon as possible, the same day if possible. In other words, wanting to go to confession again on the same day is not scrupulous if mortal sin really has been committed.

Now, to the OP, I have to say, if your parents aren’t willing to take you to confession because they think it takes too much time, is that really being supportive? Are they Catholic? If I were a priest and parents told me this, I would reprove them severely for such a statement. This time is spent reconciling their child’s immortal soul with his Creator and to be Judge; it can’t be “too much time”.

Also, to the OP, do be careful not to develop a vending machine attitude towards confession; such as “when I fall again, I’ll go to confession”. It is really possible that this next confession you make, when you confess the impure thoughts/actions, be the last confession of those sins you make (although I should add, that knowing that you’ll probably fall again does not nullify the absolution, as long as falling again is not intended) I would strongly counsel praying the Rosary every day for purity, this is a very powerful weapon in that regard. While confession is a miracle, since it absolves sin, it does not absolve us of using the requisite means of salvation, such as prayer and frequent reception of the Eucharist. I also strongly urge attending Mass daily if possible.

Like the others, though, the statement “I’m probably damned” is seriously wrong. If you make a serious act of contrition (and don’t worry about not feeling sorry; these feelings are accidental perfections only - sincere contrition can be present without any sensible sorrow whatever), resolve to avoid the occasions of sin, frequently offer yourself to God and pray regularly, and receive the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, often, then you ought to have confidence in your salvation. Fear of hell is indeed a good thing, but not if that fear leads us to despair. Remember the words of Sirach “who ever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?” (Sir. 2:16). God can and will save you if you will use the requisite means to achieve it.

Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

You’re not very familiar with this OP, are you?

OP, the problem is really the impure act.

You need to worry more about how to stop that and less on making your parents get you to confession. Do not get the attitude that you will just go to confession. You have to figure out how to stop. Perhaps you need to learn more about why it is wrong. You need to take up your time with other, positive things. As Pianistclare said, get out of your room if that is causing you trouble. Do something that will help your church, or volunteer at a senior center. You have too much free time obviously.

And learn how to overcome temptation. Carry a rosary at all times, but use it when you face temptation. Stay away from the things that trigger your downfall, be it games, internet, movies, books. Get a new hobby, take a class and learn something useful. Cooking, home repair, something like that.

And yes, join your church’s youth group and get involved with other people. If they don’t have one, ask them to start one.

You can do this if you want to.

Yes, yes, yes. This. Don Ruggero’s advice was also excellent.

Idle hands are the devil’s playground.

You misunderstand. He wants to go to confession TWICE in one day. This is abuse of the sacrament.
No priest will permit it, in the first place.
I would think a Retired Seminary Professor would know how to respond to a child.
No child should ever feel “damned”. He is lacking in catechesis. Seriously.

You are not damned.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”
To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety, or other psychological or social factors that lessen or even extenuate moral culpability.

(my bold)

Please listen to Father Ruggero’s advice. And also that of your confessor.

It is not an abuse of the sacrament if there really is mortal sin. Confession can be received as often as its needed.

No priest will permit it, in the first place.

Priests are required by canon law to hear confessions whenever asked and it will not be seriously inconvenient.

I would think a Retired Seminary Professor would know how to respond to a child.

He means well, but this is wrong. The spiritual masters disagree with him.

No child should ever feel “damned”. He is lacking in catechesis. Seriously.

That’s true, and I reproved that attitude above.

Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

What are your qualifications to contradict a priest and seminary professor?

No. It assuredly may not be received in an unlimited fashion. The presence of sin, even serious, is not the only matter weighed by the confessor. The frequency in which a penitent may be absolved may prudentially be determined by the priest since he is the one who absolves and he is the one educated, formed, examined, and granted faculties relative to the celebration of this sacrament precisely for the making of these determinations. There is a reason why the bishop is admonished to use an extreme of care in the granting of faculties – and also concerning the withdrawing of confession faculties.

In fact, I don’t really know the custom in the United States (which seems rather different) but where I am, one to be ordained priest is most carefully and thoroughly examined on these matters by one designated by the bishop – during his studies as a seminarian (which is more a practice exam, as it were), at his ordination as transitional deacon, before his ordination as priest (which is when the recommendation is made to the bishop about any grant of faculties, as a result of these exams, which are not purely academic in nature) and then for the years in which the priest is a member of the junior clergy.

The priest or prelate doing these examinations is named by the bishop and is one who is trained and normally has taught sacramental theology, spirituality, canon law, and who has proven his competence in all matters related to the internal forum and, actually, may have also had additional training as at the apostolic penitentiary for example.

A confessor’s authority in all things is to be used judiciously…but also not timidly when a confessor needs to act decisively, such as when the penitent is approaching the sacrament too frequently or is using it in a way that is spiritually unhealthy or is approaching it in a manner not conformed with the theology of the sacrament. To do otherwise is not being faithful to the sacred entrustment given him, by means of his faculties as a confessor, by the Church.

Priests are required by canon law to hear confessions whenever asked and it will not be seriously inconvenient.

No. You are incorrect here as well. First, it is a priest with the cura animarum who is required to hear confession provided that the person is properly disposed and the request is timely…and the determination as to whether the request is timely is made by the confessor using the norms established by his bishop and addressed in his formation.

In every other instance, even the priest with the cura animarum may decline. Priests who do not hold the cura animarum on the other hand are exhorted to hear confession when they receive a timely request from a properly disposed penitent – but they are, in fact, not required. At the moment of death, any priest, even one laicised, has an obligation to absolve a properly disposed penitent, and that even if reserved matters are involved.

Having agreed, however, to hear a confession…just because a penitent comes to a confessor and the confessor agrees to hear the penitent does not mean that the confessor must make a determination to absolve. The determination not to absolve may rest on one of various foundations.

As a physician of souls and as a judge, the confessor can make other disposition, including the finding that the person is endeavoring to receive the sacrament too frequently and the sacrament is to be deferred as a remedial response. This is true regarding reconciliation just as we can determine that someone who may be ill is not to be granted the anointing of the sick, however earnestly they seek it or, again, that the person who seeks Confirmation is not to be granted it presently or in the near term.

It is not the person who seeks these sacraments that is the determiner. Thus ecclesiastical authorities have the discretion granted by universal and particular law relative to the celebration of the sacraments.

He means well, but this is wrong. The spiritual masters disagree with him.

As I have had occasion to say a few times over the decades, it is not the laity or even my brother priests who get to determine my competence regarding the priesthood at this point of seniority…it is my bishop and, beyond him, the dicasteries of the Holy See. And, of course, for matters purely academic and related to the academy, those who are my peers in my fields.

I am at least well enough acquainted with the masters of the spiritual life to have been entrusted at different times with either teaching them to students preparing for the priesthood or to have been appointed a spiritual director deemed competent to companion them…to the satisfaction of members of the College of Bishops. However, this point currently being addressed relates much more to the theology of the sacrament of reconciliation, which I also taught, than it does to topics in spirituality or mystical and ascetical theology.

Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, moreover, is no longer a measure in these matters and has not been for a very long time – neither for moral theology nor for the regulation and administration of the sacraments. The application today is according to contemporary dispositions…not those of the era of Saint Alphonsus and his thoughts…which are not dispositive for the Church of today any more than I, as a contemporary confessor, would be guided by penance and its practice in the pre-Chalcedonian era.

Have I made the matter more precise for you?

I never said it could be received in an unlimited fashion. I said it can be received if he has fallen into sin, which he said he did, no matter how recently his previous confession was. This indeed is a dogma of the faith, defined by the Council of Trent:

If anyone says that in the Catholic Church penance is not truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ the Lord for reconciling the faithful of God as often as they fall into sin after baptism, let him be anathema.

  • Council of Trent, Session XIV, Canon 1, emphasis added

In fact, I don’t really know the custom in the United States (which seems rather different)…

I think it’s the same here in the US, it just depends on what they learn.

A confessor’s authority in all things is to be used judiciously…but also not timidly when a confessor needs to act decisively, such as when the penitent is approaching the sacrament too frequently or is using it in a way that is spiritually unhealthy or is approaching it in a manner not conformed with the theology of the sacrament. To do otherwise is not being faithful to the sacred entrustment given him, by means of his faculties as a confessor, by the Church.

If someone is in mortal sin, he cannot be reproached for wanting confession (provided, of course, that he’s truly sorry etc.). If a person is in mortal sin, he cannot receive the sacrament of penance quick enough. You’re right in saying that for someone who is doubt as to whether he committed a sin should simply wait until his next scheduled confession (and I agree too that more than once a week would be excessive), but this does not apply to someone who knows he’s in mortal sin. As I said, in such a case, he ought to receive the sacrament as soon as he can.

No. You are incorrect here as well…

I stand corrected.

Having agreed, however, to hear a confession…just because a penitent comes to a confessor and the confessor agrees to hear the penitent does not mean that the confessor must make a determination to absolve. The determination not to absolve may rest on one of various foundations.

As a physician of souls and as a judge, the confessor can make other disposition, including the finding that the person is endeavoring to receive the sacrament too frequently and the sacrament is to be deferred as a remedial response. This is true regarding reconciliation just as we can determine that someone who may be ill is not to be granted the anointing of the sick, however earnestly they seek it or, again, that the person who seeks Confirmation is not to be granted it presently or in the near term.

Again, there can be no question of too much frequency as long as the sins confessed are truly mortal. In such a case, the penitent is doing what is right. You’re right, it’s confessor’s duty to determine whether absolution should be given, but he may not refuse to a penitent who has made a sincere confession of mortal sin (which all acts of impurity are) with true sorrow either.

It is not the person who seeks these sacraments that is the determiner. Thus ecclesiastical authorities have the discretion granted by universal and particular law relative to the celebration of the sacraments.

True.

As I have had occasion to say a few times over the decades, it is not the laity or even my brother priests who get to determine my competence regarding the priesthood at this point of seniority…it is my bishop and, beyond him, the dicasteries of the Holy See. And, of course, for matters purely academic and related to the academy, those who are my peers in my fields.

I am at least well enough acquainted with the masters of the spiritual life to have been entrusted at different times with either teaching them to students preparing for the priesthood or to have been appointed a spiritual director deemed competent to companion them…to the satisfaction of members of the College of Bishops.

I’m not suggesting you’re incompetent; all I’m saying is that if you read the OP’s post, he said he fell into impurity, which is unquestionably mortal. If he really has committed a mortal sin, then absolutely he should go to confession as soon as possible. He should not wait because he thinks it’s “too frequent”. Again, it’s one thing if there’s a doubt, it’s another thing if there’s certainty that the sin was mortal.

Saint Alphonsus, moreover, is no longer a measure in these matters and has not been for a very long time – neither for moral theology nor for the regulation and administration of the sacraments. The application today is according to contemporary dispositions…not those of the era of Saint Alphonsus and his thoughts…which are not dispositive for the Church of today any more than I, as a contemporary confessor, would be guided by penance and its practice in the pre-Chalcedonian era.

Well, St. Alphonsus must have been regarded as an authority when Pius XII declared him patron of confessors in 1950. Honestly, if he’s not regarded as an authority, God help the Church. Honestly, the world really hasn’t changed that much; there’s nothing new under the sun.

Have I made the matter more precise for you?

I understood what you were getting at the first time, but some of the advice is not good. I’m not saying you’re a bad priest or anything like that.

Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

Forgive me, but I’m going to engage you in some fraternal correction.

You’ve been a Catholic for something like four years, and I’m fairly sure you’re not old enough to legally drink alcohol.

Respectfully, you’re not in the position to be lecturing Father about this. I would encourage you not to overestimate yourself in your zeal.

I’m really not trying to say that I know more than Father. I understand what he’s getting at. But I’ve talked to numerous priests about this and all of them say that one absolutely should not wait to get to confession if one falls into mortal sin, particularly if it’s impurity. Father seems to deny this, and that’s why I’m speaking up. The OP does sound a little scrupulous, but wanting confession after mortal sin is not a manifestation of it - it’s prudence.

God bless,
Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

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