I Had Sort of an Embarassing Confession


#1

So I usually go to Confession weekly, because there are a lot of sins that I really really struggle with, and though weekly may seem like a bit much I like to clean my slate every week. However when I went to confession today, the Priest said that he recognized me from the last confession. I felt really odd after that. I mean it is not like he said anything wrong, it is a fact that he recognized me, and that I went to confession…just I sort of felt embarrassed since he sort of knew who I was. Not just that but after I went to pray, I think he saw me, because he had his confessional door open, because someone who was handicap was confessing. Just curios to if someone else has even had an embarrassing moment like this a confession, I just felt like getting this out because I really did feel embarrassed. Now I do not know if I even want to go for awhile, I probably will just go somewhere else.


#2

Priest a few weeks ago asked me for a hug.

I went to a church I would never have gone to but was in the area doing some side work which ran late. Lets just say that the trads wouldn’t like this parish but I went anyway because it was close to where I was working.

After confession the priest stood up, opened his arms and said, “Give me a hug!” I was like, “Nah, I don’t feel like a hug right now. I’d rather just go pray.” and he was like, “Oh, give me a hug!”. I said, “OK, but does it count toward my penance?” and he said, “Oh, you’re funny.”

I gave him one of those man-hug jobs where you flex your arm and pat each other on the back. :shrug:

I asked, “Is Father always so full of joy?” and the other people on line nodded and said that he was like that with everyone.

-Tim-


#3

Well, that does sound a bit unusual. I’ve never had a priest mention a previous confession before, in any way whatsoever, other than to support me in my practice of weekly confession. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it, but I am sorry you found the experience so embarrassing. I would encourage you to continue to go to Confession frequently, weekly if that is your practice, and if this happens again tell the priest that his comment makes you uncomfortable. I assume you do not confess face-to-face and prefer the aura, at least, of anonymity.


#4

Two thoughts:

Having the same confessor each week or nearly every week puts you in good company. Many of the Saints had a regular confessor who effectively gave them spiritual advisor. I used to have a Priest who I felt comfortable sitting down with each time, because he could recognize causes of some sins and counsel me on how to correct ("my swing, as he used to say).

The Second is rather mundane, but some people (priests included) recognize a lot of faces but not names or sins. Several people I know for instance I smile at say hello to and with a slap on the back or a hug, and I have no idea who they are. I just like to make people feel as though they are remembered by people they encounter.


#5

It is hard not to be sensitive about confession. Others might feel the same way.

Priests are humans, so he himself may be thinking the same thing, “I hope I didn’t mess up and make him feel uncomfortable, he acted a little different when he left.” It would not bother me if my confessor remembered me. I might not want him to remember my FIRST confession though…:eek:


#6

Just look at it this way. He was just seeing a familiar face in the confessional. These days Priests around here jokingly say that no one sins in this Parrish because they see so few people. They want you to be as regular as you need to be. I would take it as a compliment, as he gets to know you better he can council you even better. Keep up the good work!


#7

I admit that I would find that awkward as well, but don’t let it stop you. I like the idea of creating a clean slate each week. To be honest, I’m trying to get in the practice of going to Confession more frequently, but I feel so uncomfortable seeing the same priest and confessing the same embarrassing sins. I’m trying to put my feelings on the back burner, because I know that this Sacrament is healing me. Hopefully, with time and prayer, I’ll slowly become less self-conscious.


#8

My first thought was that he said that (rightly or wrongly) to let you know that if you wanted a regular confessor - for scrupulosity or such, that he was available and remembered you. It’s possible that he thought that weekly confession was “over the top” and thought he’d let you know it. I’m not saying that weekly confession is “over the top” but he might feel so.


#9

I would probably have taken it as a caring thing to say. I also don’t mind if the priest saw me in the pews praying afterwards. It is good to go and pray right after confession! Having said that, he might have been very focussed on the next confessor and not even noticed you.

As some have suggested, especially since you go weekly, it could be good to find a regular confessor. It can be of great benefit, and then you don’t have to be concerned about anything like this happening.


#10

Well he sort of branched off on my last confession to draw a point. And what he said was not different then what I have heard many other priest say. I am too hard on myself. After he said he recognized me, he went on to ask what made me different from others, and that we all have the same struggles. He is right, and I do agree, I am hard on myself.


#11

I would highly encourage going to the same priest, despite the embarrassment. I started confessing to the priest I least wanted to know my sinfulness, and it turned out to be a great thing. Among other things…in all seriousness, sometimes I could stop myself before sinning with the thought, “I don’t want to have to tell him THIS!” So embarrassment, in this case, can be your spiritual friend!


#12

Sounds like good priest to confess to!


#13

I completely understand where you’re coming from. I have a tendency to avoidance when I am embarrassed, and I tend to confession-hop because of it.

But I’m sure it was meant only as an effort to establish more of a connection with you. Keep going and see where this leads. Make a concerted effort to try to suppress your embarrassment (and pride :wink: ) - this priest is signaling that he is interested in helping you. He probably doesn’t have a lot of ‘regulars’ and is thrilled that you are making such an effort. Try to see it as the blessing that it is.


#14

Strictly speaking (if memory serves), a priest can’t refer to your previous confession (at least not the detail). However, there really comes a point where reality needs to take over.

I know from my own experience just how difficult it is to go back to the same priest and confess the same thing. At the same time though, I’ve also found it to be an incredibly humbling experience (it’s never easy to admit that you’ve stuffed up, again!) and actually quite helpful for your struggles with sin. It’s easy to try and hide from our struggles out of a sense of shame or guilt but what I’ve found is that the greatest gains come from being honest with yourself, and with God by confronting your struggles through returning to the same priest. that way he will develop an awareness of your struggles and be better able to help you to deal with them.


#15

I usually confess face-to-face, and it’s the same monk every week unless he’s away as chaplain at a women’s monastery.

There’s a lot to be said for having a regular confessor who knows you. It can help avoid, among other things, scrupulosity.

I wouldn’t be too embarrassed about the type of sin committed. They’ve heard it all. Mine was confessor for many years at Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. I would imagine he’s heard quite a lot there as it’s visited by people from around the world!


#16

I am 100% sure that my priest always recognizes me by voice. The next time we greet each other, he is always as gracious as ever, and I usually have forgotten my confession anyway.

So do not worry. If you are a regular confession-goer, then the priest WILL remember and recognize your voice, and this is usually seen as a good thing. Many people advise that to make serious progress in the spiritual life, to have a regular confessor. This is because he will be able to help you recognize patterns and give you appropriate counsel.

However, just because he recognizes you in the confessional, does NOT mean that he recalls your confession later. I have been told by a priest that many priests are blessed with forgetfulness after they leave the confessional. And they are bound by the Seal, and cannot bring up anything from your confessions to anyone outside the confessional.

I hope that helps to bring you peace of mind. Please don’t change your habit of regular confession over this. It is such a good habit and will bring you such graces. God bless you!


#17

I confessed once to a priest who had been a chaplain in the war in Vietnam. He said, “Listen, I’ve heard it all. There is nothing you can say to me which I haven’t already heard.”

-Tim-


#18

Some great comments already and I can’t add much to them, but I commend you for going to confession every week. I don’t believe you can go too often… we are talking about your soul and your place in heaven after all.

When I go to confession, I see my pastor and he knows me very well. I like that in a way because he knows about me and knows my struggles. I will admit though, there have been sometimes that I have had a sin that I really was embarrassed about and I have gone to a different parish and confessed there. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Yes, I could go to my pastor and go behind the screen and confess, but I know my pastor would recognize my voice, so I don’t do that.

On a funny note, I do recall back in the 1970’s when I was in Catholic grade school we had a new pastor come to the parish. We were all set for our monthly visit to the confessionals and all lined up between the four priests that we had back than (we only have one priest now… oh how times have changed). Anyhow, I recall all of a sudden hearing in a very loud and upset voice “YOU DID WHAT!!??” come from the pastors confessional… and then everybody in that line did a “student body shift” move and went into the next priests line.

I forget who the person was that came out of the confessional, but how embarrassing that must have been.

YBIC - John


#19

Here is a video of St. Josemaria Escriva speaking about the marvel of confession…

youtube.com/watch?v=NaGz7zVozZo

-Tim-


#20

My pastor (and regular confessor) also knows me very well. Last week, was in a similar situation. I had a particular sin on my conscience that I just did not want to confess to him - mostly out of pride. I kept trying to get to confession at another parish, with plans to go behind the screen and just get it over with, but my Saturday afternoons were not available. This situation had continued for a week and a half. I see my pastor a couple of times a week, and he is very approachable for Confession. Finally, one evening while we were at the church, hanging out after a parish event, I just bit the bullet and asked him if he had a few minutes for Confession. He heard my confession, which was about as hard as I thought it would be for me, and then gave me some very good advice and some words of comfort. It was a really good experience of God’s mercy and forgiveness, and also a good opportunity to practice humility beyond my comfort zone.


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.