Need advice on conferssion


#1

Hi:
Could somebody please help me with this issue? I have trouble discerning if this sin of mine is serious enough to find a confessor as soon as possible. I am a mom who is seriously trying to learn patience and control my temper, but occasionally I do lose it. Not to the point of abuse (in my opinion anyway), but when the last straw has broken, I do harangue them. I do apologize and try to make it up to them and I really am trying to be better.
I also (from what I can tell anyway) think I tend toward scrupulosity. When these blowups happen, I try to get to Confession immediately (ie, by the following weeken). However, with schedules as they are (growing kids in school with all their activities, Christmas and a parent in the hospital and the other in a nursing home), it is not easy to get to Confession sometimes, or make an appointment. (Especially as these blowups tend to happen when I am already under pressure from too much going on.)
How can I tell if my blowing my stack is an urgent enough sin to get to confession? It always feels like a serious sin to me.
Also what about attending a weekday or Sunday Mass in the interim? Do I not go (or receive Communion in the case of a Sunday Mass at which I cannot get to confession beforehand?)
I realize I shouldn’t receive in the case of mortal sin Is this mortal? Surely I can’t be the only one in our rather large congregation who has lost their temper in the previous week, yet when I do decide not to receive Communion, it seems like I am.
I’d ask my confessor, but one tends to not give counsel and the other is much more on the liberal side and when I ask a question like this, I feel silly.
Thank you for your help with this. Please pray for me.


#2

In order for it to ba a mortal sin three things must happen:

  1. A grave matter: the act is intrinsically evil
  2. Full Knowledge: you must know that it is evil and immoral
  3. Delibrate Consent: you must Freely Choose to do the act

In my opinion, and I am no priest yet God willing in 6 years, What you described is not a mortal sin. I don’t think that it is intrinsically evil because at times an outburst of frustration may be justified. I also don’t think that you freely choose to upset it is part of your character.
Confess it when you confess your sins but I don’t think it would be necessary to abstain from Communion for this act.
Again just my opinion.
Sincerely,
Benjamen J Wren


#3

This is a great question for your confessor! And by the way, you do have the option of visiting another parish for confession, if you cannot put your trust in the priests at your parish. Examine yourself on this point, though: you think yourself scrupulous, but still think yourself capable of judging whether or not a priest is being too easy on you? Maybe you want him to join in and be scrupulous for you? Or let you hold on to* just a little* scrupulosity, for your own self-image?

I want to say this gently, but when you talk to a priest about this, do bring up how worried you are about comparing yourself with everyone else and wondering if they are more or less sinful than you are. You may need to ask yourself if you really believe you are nothing before God and receive everything from Him as pure gift, or if that is just parrot talk. After all, “Judge not” is one of the big ones.

Do not let “feeling silly” – that is, the prospect of humbling yourself – get in the way of discerning how to advance in the spiritual gifts. Beware of the need to advance in ways not recommended by your confessor, while neglecting areas he may point out to you. Pride is the oldest trick and the deepest pit in Old Scratch’s book.

Angry outbursts, by the way, are something we are more prone to when we have expectations that we feel should be met that aren’t met. I’ve found it helpful to learn to expect the behavior and situations that set me off, and think about how I might better respond to them. Really, people aren’t going to be perfect. Life isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect, they’re not perfect… and in this life we never will be. God forgives me, I need to forgive them. That has helped me.

Also, when you’re on edge, you may want to get out into nature to pray. When you have a need for perfection, taking the time to bask in the works of God, shouting His glory, may well feed what you hungering for.


#4

best advice that i can give is to go… and go often… :thumbsup:


#5

[quote=benw98]In order for it to ba a mortal sin three things must happen:

  1. A grave matter: the act is intrinsically evil
  2. Full Knowledge: you must know that it is evil and immoral
  3. Delibrate Consent: you must Freely Choose to do the act
    [/quote]

Reminds me of a news story from a few years ago about a hot-tempered mother who beat her 2-year old daughter to death during an ungovernable rage. She publicly stated that she felt that she did not commit any sin because she couldn’t control her temper and therefore did not have Delibrate Consent to commit the act.


#6

[quote=Sir Knight]Reminds me of a news story from a few years ago about a hot-tempered mother who beat her 2-year old daughter to death during an ungovernable rage. She publicly stated that she felt that she did not commit any sin because she couldn’t control her temper and therefore did not have Delibrate Consent to commit the act.
[/quote]

Yeah there is room for abuse but that’s the teaching.
Catechism 1857-60
Ben


#7

[quote=Laura B]Hi:
Could somebody please help me with this issue? I have trouble discerning if this sin of mine is serious enough to find a confessor as soon as possible.
[/quote]

When I teach non-Catholics, this often comes up. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is a VERY scary thing. My advice is always, “Talk about what bothers you.”

To paraphrase the Gospel, man was not made for confession, confession was made for man. God in His mercy has granted you a way to ease your conscience, your mind and your soul.

The next time you confess, ask your confessor about this issue.


#8

Anger in itself is not a sin. Jesus was angered by the money changers in the temple and it seems that He did some minor damage. But as we know, Jesus never sinned.


#9

Hi:

Thanks for all the advice, especially Benw98. (I will pray for you and your vocation.)

I guess I did not express myself clearly in some aspects of my original post.

As far as the scrupulosity issue, my response is: The scrupulous have difficulty in that they think every thing is a mortal sin, including just such a circumstance. Anger sure feels like a serious sin at the time and to receive Communion at a weekly or Sunday Mass seems wrong. Yet, I realize Communion exists for the forgiveness of sin, as the words of Consecration state. I also want to attend daily Mass when possible to help me avoid these occasions of sin and to pray for my parents and other intentions. It is difficult for me to discern at what point that line is crossed.

As far as comparing myself to others, it really is not an issue with me. I only mentioned it as part of how I am trying to reason through this matter. Perhaps the following would explain better my thought process: “I committed a sin by being frustrated with my kids and venting against them. Perhaps going to Communion would be wrong as I could not get to Confession beforehand. However, surely in this whole congregation, I cannot be the only one who has gotten angry at her kids and shouted at them, yet I don’t see anyone at all hanging back from Communion. Ergo, perhaps it is okay for me to go too.” No, I don’t know (and don’t want to know) what they’ve done, but surely I can’t be the only one in the building who’s done what I have. I don’t really see that as judging or considering myself as better or worse than them.

As far as consulting with my confessor. I don’t want to go confessor shopping but, frankly I do have difficulty in finding the right confessor for me: The first one I mentioned earlier is a very good priest, who had previously counseled me to go once a month to confession. However, he doesn’t tend to give counsel and seems a bit abrupt and put out when asked for it. (There usually is quite a line when I go to him.) The other confessor (at a different, more contemporary parish), gives good counsel, but he is more “liberal” than I. (He has made disparaging comments about more traditional Catholics, such as I being “pre-Vatican II” and implied that my preference for using the Confessional screen was silly. That’s what I meant about “feeling silly.”

I agree about the anger being caused by expectations not being met. However, while I understand the suggestion about going out into nature at those stressful times, I can’t see where that would work: At those moments, I’m usually swamped by those expectations (both mine and others), I don’t exactly have the time to go outside.


#10

[quote=Laura B]As far as the scrupulosity issue, my response is: The scrupulous have difficulty in that they think every thing is a mortal sin, including just such a circumstance. Anger sure feels like a serious sin at the time and to receive Communion at a weekly or Sunday Mass seems wrong. Yet, I realize Communion exists for the forgiveness of sin, as the words of Consecration state. I also want to attend daily Mass when possible to help me avoid these occasions of sin and to pray for my parents and other intentions. It is difficult for me to discern at what point that line is crossed…
[/quote]

Let your conscience be your guide. If you feel the need to go to Confession, then go.

[quote=Laura B]However, surely in this whole congregation, I cannot be the only one who has gotten angry at her kids and shouted at them, yet I don’t see anyone at all hanging back from Communion. Ergo, perhaps it is okay for me to go too." No, I don’t know (and don’t want to know) what they’ve done, but surely I can’t be the only one in the building who’s done what I have. I don’t really see that as judging or considering myself as better or worse than them.
[/quote]

This is your issue, not their issue. If you feel uncomfortable, then you should follow your conscience.

Think of yourself as a jogger, not a racer. You do not run to compete against other peope, you run in competition with yourself, to make yourself a better, healthier, happier person.

[quote=Laura B]As far as consulting with my confessor. I don’t want to go confessor shopping but, frankly I do have difficulty in finding the right confessor for me: The first one I mentioned earlier is a very good priest, who had previously counseled me to go once a month to confession. However, he doesn’t tend to give counsel and seems a bit abrupt and put out when asked for it. (There usually is quite a line when I go to him.)
[/quote]

Don’t be bashful – he’s there for you, and you have a right (Canon Law 212) to guidance. Just ask for it.

[quote=Laura B]The other confessor (at a different, more contemporary parish), gives good counsel, but he is more “liberal” than I. (He has made disparaging comments about more traditional Catholics, such as I being “pre-Vatican II” and implied that my preference for using the Confessional screen was silly. That’s what I meant about “feeling silly.”
[/quote]

Why not talk to him about both issues – about your problem with anger AND your feelings about being told you’re “silly?”

What’s wrong with saying, “Father, when you say things like this, it hurts me?”


#11

[quote=Bob Baran]Anger in itself is not a sin. Jesus was angered by the money changers in the temple and it seems that He did some minor damage. But as we know, Jesus never sinned.
[/quote]

Right on two counts: anger is an emotion, not a moral act, and responding to emotion appropriately sometimes means stepping outside the artificial boundaries of what is “proper” or “nice”.

In the case of Jesus, he would not have looked back and said, “I should not have been so harsh with the money changers.” His response was appropriate in light of what he saw over time and what his own mission was.

But many of us spend a lot of time getting angry with people and situations because they don’t fit our own self-centered and unrealistic expectations. We want what we want, the way we want it, and we want it now. That is a recipe for the sins that are precipitated by anger.


#12

[quote=Laura B]I agree about the anger being caused by expectations not being met. However, while I understand the suggestion about going out into nature at those stressful times, I can’t see where that would work: At those moments, I’m usually swamped by those expectations (both mine and others), I don’t exactly have the time to go outside.
[/quote]

I have the same problem. It’s like getting enough sleep… you have to think ahead and make it a regular part of your life, because you are right: when you need it, it is too late to get it!

There is something that does help very much, which is this prayer: “God, you be patient with them, you love them, because I just *can’t. I’ve had it!” *And somehow it just happens through me. Not by my trying harder… as the moments pass, I just melt, somehow, or they do, or something gives a little and it all cools down. It is like going to God, utterly losing it, and getting picked up and sent on my way with a hug. It isn’t like magic, but… well, it is impossible to explain, except that it is a wonderful gift in response to a quite impertinent prayer. But it does happen all the time. Probably you have a prayer in you like that, too.

I see what you mean about comparing yourself to others. You’re just trying to talk yourself down from a tree. It’s the reverse of my mistaken take on it: you are thinking more along the lines of I think they’re forgiven and I wouldn’t stand between them and communion. Why can’t I believe that about myself?

As for me, if my choices were one priest who didn’t have time to give counsel and another who wasn’t willing to let me decide which of my choices helps me relax and let go… I’d look a little farther. I will tell you, though, I remember when I found our pastor was leaving that I asked God to please send me a confessor. Did He, and how! Wonderful. So pray first, then see what God brings you. Maybe a confessor more to your liking, maybe some help that will allow you to reap more from those you have. He’ll take care of you. Good luck, and God bless you!


#13

Thank you, one and all, especially BLB and Benw. All the advice is helping.

If I can get to Confession today, God will get me there. If not, there’s tomorrow. My family’s demands will be what God uses to help me determine that.

It’s still hard to determine when a sin will cross the line between reception of Communion would be desecrating a sacrament or the beginning of healing from that sin. But I will try to trust more in His bountiful mercy and less on my faulty emotions. After all, it was my faulty emotions that got me into this mess, wasn’t it? :slight_smile:

Thanks again, each and every one of you.
God bless you and yours


#14

How explicit should one be in the confession?


#15

[quote=Asking]How explicit should one be in the confession?
[/quote]

One should be completely honest with the priest, remembering always that the priest is forbidden, under the strictest terms of defrockment[stripping of the faculties of the priesthood] of revealing that you said something or of holding it against you personally.
It has been my experience that most priests seem to just forget what is said.
Hope this helps
Benjamen J Wren


#16

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