My priest didn't show up for confession

I waited 45 minutes and he never showed up Someone at the church said he forgets regularly. Are my sins still unforgiven because of this?

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Yes. You didn’t receive the Sacrament.


You still will need to go to Confession. I like to think God is understanding of these types of situations, too.


Ok. I’ll try again next week.


Are you sorry for your sins because they offend God, and not only because you’re concerned about eternal damnation? If so, then you have perfect contrition. That forgives sins, if you’re resolved to get to confession when possible. Get to confession when you can, and don’t worry about it. You’re good. :+1:


This is true BUT you can’t receive Communion until you’ve actually confessed any mortal sins in Confession including their kind & number.


Umm…no, that’s not my understanding. Can you point me to a citation of Church teaching that makes this assertion?


My understanding is Jen7 is correct. Assuming the OP was going to confess one or more mortal or grave-possibly mortal sins, then he’s not in a state of Grace till he confesses and gets absolved. If for reasons beyond his control he can’t yet confess, then perfect contrition would keep him out of hell if he were hit by a bus leaving the church. However, assuming he’s not hit by a bus, he can’t receive communion until he’s actually absolved. The common sense argument here is that if a priest is present to consecrate and distribute Communion, then the priest is also available for Confession, so you can’t argue that you had no access to Confession. However, I will look for something more official.

Edited to add, here we go, this was discussed on a past thread.

Bottom line is that as described in the linked post, both CCC 1457 and Can. 916 say that if you’ve committed a mortal sin, then even if you have deep contrition, you must receive sacramental absolution before receiving communion, unless there’s a “grave reason” for you to receive. I presume a “grave reason” would be you’re in danger of death, or you’re trying to save the Body of Christ from Satanists by consuming it, that sort of thing. Not just “the priest didn’t happen to show up for confession on Saturday and now it’s time for Sunday Mass”.


There must be a grave reason, such as possible death.


1457 According to the Church’s command, "after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year."56 Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.57 Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time.58

56 Cf. CIC, Can. 989; Council of Trent (1551): DS 1683; DS 1708.
57 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1647; 1661; CIC, can. 916; CCEO, can. 711.
58 Cf. CIC, can. 914.


Can. 988 §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.

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Yes, it’s this exception that I was thinking of, but I didn’t remember that it was in the CCC and canon law.

I’m not certain that “grave reason” is construed that broadly. And, of course, “danger of death” doesn’t mean “I’m bleeding out and will be dead in five minutes”. During a time of pandemic, especially, it would seem that this standard would be relevant, especially for those who are elderly or in high-risk groups.

On the subject of c.916, Beal and Coriden says, “grave reasons for going to communion without confessing include danger of death and serious embarrassment if communion is not taken. Lack of opportunity to confess includes absence of a confessor, inability to approach the confessor at a schedule time for the sacrament, and the availability only of a confessor who is known personally and who cannot be approached without embarrassment.”

So… yes, but with a fairly broad set of exceptions (which would seem to give the OP the opportunity to go to communion in this case and then go to confession later).

With all due respect, you seem to be bending over backwards to find an exception for the OP to just go to communion because the priest didn’t show up.

This is not how most of us practicing Catholics think. We can differentiate between a truly “grave” reason, such as we’re very sick in the hospital or we’re about to go into battle the next morning and we would like to receive Jesus, and the run-of-the-mill priest didn’t show up, bus was late so I didn’t get to the church in time, guy ahead of me took up 50 minutes of the allotted confession hour, etc . We skip communion for the run-of-the-mill situations. We don’t just go receive and say, “Oh, there’s some excuse for it if I look hard enough.”

The OP has not given ANY facts that would suggest he’s in a situation of “grave reason” or “serious embarrassment”. It’s rather wrong for you to keep suggesting this is no big deal if he receives now and confesses later.

I’d tell him to just sit in the pew, and maybe look into whether there’s another parish nearby where the priests are more vigilant about confession times. I can tell you that around here the priests don’t just miss confession or cancel it on a whim, but I have seen this happen in other areas where churches were understaffed. The priest gets too much going on at once and if he is not the type to emphasize confession, then he may decide confession is the low priority because only a couple of people show up, etc. It’s sad. If there’s no other parish, call the priest and make an appointment and mention to him that you were there for confession at the regular time but missed him.


Since your profile is hidden, I can’t tell if you’re representing here as a Catholic, but from your many past comments asking about basic teachings, my guess is that you are not.

Kindly respect the fact that Catholics take receiving Jesus very seriously and that we try to follow a few very simple rules out of respect for Our Lord. If that seems like too “technical” to you, all I can say is you really don’t get it.

I would further note that if the OP isn’t in grave-possibly-mortal sin then this whole thing is a non-issue because he doesn’t need to confess unless he has done something seriously wrong. Although we all sin, many of us manage to avoid sins that might be mortal, and one big motivation that helps me to avoid such sins is I don’t want to have to go through the hassle of going to confession outside my regular schedule, and confession might not even be available depending on when and where this is. Might seem like a silly reason, but if it gets me to not sin, then it’s doing God’s work. Likewise, if the fact that the OP’s priest sometimes doesn’t show up for confession might motivate the OP to try harder next time to avoid a grave sin, then that would be a good thing.

2 Likes can make it easier to find an alternate parish for confession.

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Yes, just remember to always doublecheck on the parish website, if possible in the latest parish bulletin.

COVID has caused changes to some churches’ schedules, and MassTimes is not always getting updated with the latest info.


They don’t appear to agree based on what you posted. They said that “danger of death” or “serious embarrassment” are grave reasons to receive. I explained above that there has been no grave reason to receive here.

If this is directed towards me and the others who pointed out that your initial advice is at best incomplete and at worst in error, I and others are trying to give the correct Catholic teaching to someone who asked a question. That’s the purpose of the forum.

No one is “forced” to do anything by a post. People have free will.

Muting this now as the correct answer has been given to the OP by me and at least two others on the thread. There is no need to keep going back and forth with you on this.

To be fair, the OP only asked “are my sins unforgiven?”

In the context of perfect contrition, the answer is “no, provided you have perfect contrition.”

The assertion about receiving communion came from @Jen7, who made a statement that was categorical. I’m pointing out – as you have, through recourse to the CCC and canon law – that it’s not the case that there are no exceptions.

C’mon, Tis! I could equally as well say “the advice ‘no you may not’” is in error, too. The correct Catholic teaching isn’t “no, you must wait till you go to confession”, since you’ve shown that this is not what the CCC and canon law say.

The information is only correct if the parish either never changes confession times or is diligent about updating this website.

I would suggest our OP make an appointment for confession, speak to the parish office to see if the hours have changed, etc

Appointments aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I find masstimes useful, especially the app, but calling to confirm a schedule is a good idea these days.y

Assuming Beal and Coriden are a magisterially loyal source, and not some flaky 1970s thing like the problematical catechism Christ Among Us (Anthony Wilhelm, avoid this book like the plague!), this sounds reasonable. Father Robert J Fox, whose magisterial loyalty was absolute and never subject to question, pointed out in Catholic Truth For Youth that there could be circumstances where not receiving communion with one’s family would basically amount to a manifestation of conscience — he was very careful to warn young people that this privilege must never be abused — and that the young person, unfortunate enough to have committed a mortal sin, could make an Act of Perfect Contrition, receive, and resolve to go to confession as soon as possible (to confess the repented mortal sin, not to confess having received under these circumstances, for that is no sin).

We are never required to manifest our consciences to anyone — a religious superior in a monastery or convent cannot even require this of their monks or nuns — aside from the priest in confession. Given this, Father Fox’s advice seems very sound.

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It’s a pretty standard resource:

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