How to get over fear of confession?

Few things make me more nervous than going to confession, it scares the c*** out me. I’m fine once in the confessional, but waiting makes me so nervous, how can I get over this? I’m 15 btw.

It’s not a bad thing to be nervous about it…I’d be more worried frankly if you had a blase attitude and just thought it was no big deal. You’ll get over it when you pray to God for strength and just move quickly through your fear and into the confessional booth. It’s a wonderful, cleansing experience but it’s not supposed to be fun and relaxing.

I promise you that it won’t be as bad as you’re thinking it will. But you already know that! Tell the priest how you’ve been feeling and he’ll help you.

Well, it scares me cause I often have embarassing things to confess, and when I was in PSR, we waited till we were told to go, It made me really nervous. I’ve only gone outside that by appointment once. but I need to go again, and I’m a little hesitent to ask to go, although i feel a strong pull. I want to know how to get over this hesitation.

A few things-

  1. Limit your visits to the confessional. Only go if you have mortal sins. After that, go once every month or two, and only confess a few venial sins

  2. Go to a priest you have never met before. That way you could tell him the most embarrassing sins in the world, and there’s no need to fear he’ll remember you

God bless!

Just offer up the nerves in reparation for your sins - never too early to get a headstart on your penance, after all.

Prayer will defiantly help, you may even want to bring a rosary along for if there is a line and you have to wait. Also, you should make an appointment with yourself to go. Put it on your calendar with a specific time and date.

The nerves and the fear are part of our personal expiation, it seems to me. It should be part of the penance we endure and accept in the more comprehensive experience of the sacrament. When you think about it, the whole thing leading up to the moment of telling our sins is part of the sacrament (though of couse, not technically). The process of self-examination, self-disclosure, acknowledgment, sorrow, decision to confess: it’s all part of penance, and with that, the emotions – anxious, uncomfortable, & consoling --that accompany that journey.

(I’ve stopped trying to “get over the fear,” because the fear is part of it. I would worry more if I felt nothing.) In fact, for me the most important part of the lead-up to confession, and the confession itself, are the feelings.

I also don’t think the type or category of sin matters. What is shameful to me to admit is probably very different from what is shameful to others to confess. I’m going by what I read on CAF. My sins are not the ones talked about on any forum here – or at least, very rarely. Yet I find them humiliating to confess (and they should be!).

I don’t know if you every really get past the nerves and fear. I’m about 3 times the age of the OP, and it’s still there. Sometimes I start to feel it on the drive over. I feel it walking from the parking lot to the church. Walking towards the confessional. But when I put my hand on the door of the confessional and open it, the fear seems to leave. Sometimes I’m still a little nervous, but I think the holy spirit takes over.

Just know that you are pretty normal and go with it. OP, does your church offer regular confession times - like on Saturday afternoons? Our parish has confessions before daily Masses and on Saturdays and that’s when I go. I’ve never made an appointment. But when I feel that pull, I start to look at the calendar and see when there is a date and time that is going to “work”.

For me at this point, the most humbling sins to confess are often the stupidest ones.

Yep. Exactly.

I’m 47 and I still get nervous…I don’t know why. But what helps me is saying the Rosary before I go. Also, every time I confront that fear it lessens, as with the case of confronting all fears. Here’s a nice little saying: Fear knocked on the door, faith opened the door & nothing was there.

You just gotta move through it. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can work on or get rid of. Have courage (pray for it!) and be thankful that you have access to the sacrament of confession.

I know how it feels, the being embarassed thing. But it’s good that you have shame for your sin. Shame is a necessary prerequisite for true contriton, so I am convinced this embarassment/hesitation is a grace in itself and evidence of a healthy conscience.

I was fearful of confession throughout my childhood, and a bit nervous upon my rebirth into the Faith several years ago. i have come to love confession, as it frees me from anything that may keep me apart or away from God. before confession, i say a few short prayers and ask the Holy Spirit to help me, give me the strength and grace to confess my sins to receive reconciliation with God through his good priest. try it!:slight_smile:

You don’t want to get over it. That takes becoming cold hearted and you don’t want that. The fear you feel is actually a good thing because it is a natural way of showing humility and being humble is one of the ways we show our Lord our respect and love. If you can relate your fear to being embarrassed or humiliated at having to admit and confess your sins, that is where the fear comes from. It is embarrassing in may ways to openly admit the things we do wrong but it is admitting them sincerely and not wanting to do them again that gives us strength to fight the same sins over again. It is through the grace we gain strength and each time you succeed in fighting some kind of temptation you are smacking the devil upside the head and giving God praise. It is like saying a very powerful prayer that God never forgets when you succeed against a temptation. Who wants to repeat the same sins over and over. That would really be embarrassing wouldn’t it? And the priest is not there writing the sins down under your name when you confess them, he is there to offer God’s forgiveness and mercy. Consider your fear a part of what will strengthen you to fight those sins again. fight the temptations as hard as you can knowing you are smacking satan upside the head while God stands behind you and loves you. It takes a good heart to fear sinfulness and you apparently have a good heart. God bless you.


I know what you are you going through, whenever I go to confession I have gotten the same feeling of being nervous, to be honest I think it is God’s way of keeping us inline and on our toes. One thing I have done was said a prayer to God for Guidance in the Confessional, when I have said my prayer I go into the confessional and do what I am there for. When I come out I feel like a ton of bricks came off my shoulders. It is the greatest feeling in the world, the only people that know your confession of sins are the Priest, You and God. It might seem a lot but once you go and make a habit of it, it is like you have been doing it for years, which reminds me I need to get back to the Confessional

I think it’s safe to say that whatever you have done, the priest has heard before – many, many, many times before. So in terms of shame or embarrassment, there is not as much to worry about.

Also, confession is listed in the Catechism as one of the sacraments of healing (along with anointing of the sick). So the Church view it the same as going to a doctor when you are sick, in order to get healed – but first, the doctor needs to know what is ailing you, before he can prescribe anything, so you have to tell him…

Others have compared confession to going to an ATM to get money, but instead of money, we go to an ATM for graces. This is why some people go to confession every week…(!)

In any event, even if you can’t get past seeing confession as a form of judgment (rather than a form of healing, which is what it really is), think of it as you – not God, and certainly not the priest – being your own accuser.

And so accuse yourself – or rather, your sins – fully and enthusiastically, and God will be the judge, jury and executioner of such sins.

To be honest I think the format of Confession needs changing, although it does depend on the priest. The current priest we’ve got just heavy breathes when you enter the Confessional and he doesn’t say a word and then he’s a bit tough. It would be nicer if we could say good things aswell as bad things in Confession and also just areas of improvement. Part of confession is about improving yourself so you could just say I would prefer to be better at something rather than I’ve done something wrong.

“He doesn’t say a word…”

Budgie, it’s up to the penitent to begin the conversation. (As in “Bless me, father,” etc.)

And I’m not being sarcastic or critical when I say this: I’m glad you’ve advanced enough in the spiritual life to want to concentrate on “just areas of improvement,” but most of us sinners need to acknowledge our many sins first. And that is the primary purpose of confession, because indeed we do have so many sins and sinful tendencies, which are illuminated by more frequent trips to the confessional.

The fact of the matter is if he doesn’t say anything when I enter how do I know the priest’s even there? Most priests actually initiate the conversation and my former priest said the sign of the cross out loud. It’s just poor technique and you feel awkward because you’re not sure if he’s in the box.

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