The trouble is this: the priest who was my spiritual director since early 2012, is 2000 miles away. I moved across the country and was without a spiritual director for many months; April of 2013, due to a very trouble mind, I reconnected with my spiritual director over the phone and he offered to continue giving me spiritual direction over the phone for one hour once a month. I am very grateful for his generous offer, and always will be, but after our last conversation in May of this year, I believe it is best that I discontinue spiritual direction with him because of practicality issues. For one, I realize that his priority is to the people of his own diocese. Also, I need therapy. He told me this, and urged me to get professional help, though the context was not scrupulosity by a depressive state. Through an online search, I found a Catholic therapist in the same city that I will be heading back to for college.
I think it’s best to find a spiritual director in the area, because things would just get more complicated in doing spiritual direction over the phone. Not to mention that it’s been almost two years since I last went to confession with my spiritual director precisely because our conversations were limited to phone calls and a few emails.
Second Problem: I have gone to confession with various priests. Sometimes, I purposely go to confession with a different priest so I don’t burden the ones I’ve been to before, especially if my confessions are within proximity of each other. My parent’s home is in a rural area in which there is only one Catholic Church and one priest – the pastor. He became my regular confessor after I moved from San Diego. But I’ve also gone to confession many times with the elderly priest who fills in for the pastor when the pastor is out of town. Then I went to college, two hours away from my parents to a major city, and naturally found other confessors during my year in college.
Third Problem: A priest I met with recently – who is a chaplain at the Catholic elementary school next door to my college – is one I have gone to confession to a few times. I like him quite well, he’s an Irish priest and is an OBGYN doctor by background.I asked him if he could be my spiritual director, and he explained he is not keen on it. He did however recommend another priest by name. He did not however, recommend me asking “Will you be my spiritual director” because he said some priests will back away from that. He also told me that he sees that I am a nervous person and that I would benefit from someone who is direct with me.
Fourth Problem: How does a priest give me his conclusive objective judgement about whether I am scrupulous without him violating the seal of the confession? Since they will have to “gather” from my confessions, whether I am scrupulous? But they are not supposed to use information they’ve obtained from confessions.
The most recent indication of my scrupulosity was my second to last confession, when I was done reading my notes, the priest asked me when my last confession was after having looked at me in a humored and bemused way during confession. That and two years ago a certain priest denied me absolution because he said he heard no sins and that the purpose of confession is to confess sins and other people are waiting. And that wasn’t even during the time in which I was going through the mental Hell I am going through now!
Given the above complexities, should I seek out a priest I’ve never confessed to before, to get a “fresh” perspective, so to speak?