No Priest At Confession

So i just tried to go to confession, and the priest wasnt. Confessional lights off and doors shut. Now i was running a bit late, but by my count, i still had 3 minutes until 430pm; which is when confession is over. The church was dark and it seemed like others were waiting for confession too, but im not sure. This is really unsual for my parish. I guess its possible our pastor called confession early, but again, i dont know. All i know is i went in and no one was there. Now, what state of grace would that put me in? I made an attempt to go to confession, but no one was there. I dont know exactly if i have any mortal sin on my soul. So am able to take communion tomorrow? Id be really hurt if not.:frowning:

Try to be there at the start of confessions. Maybe the priests watch is five minutes fast or he just had one or two confessors.


In practice, if one wants to confess, it’s best to be there right at the start of the confession time. A lot of priests will not sit around waiting if there’s no one there.

The others sitting in the dark church may have gone to confession and are doing their prayers of thanksgiving and penance.

sorry are you seriously saying that you waited to the last three minute before the confessions were to finish, i think you should do what the other posts said turn up at the beginning not at the end.

It was only 3 minutes before confession end, like the others said, Priest don’t wait around for people to come, if no one comes then he’ll just step out, assuming nobody is going to come at all.

You attempted to go to confession, I don’t know if that put you in a state of grace if you had mortal sins on your soul. I don’t think it would. I’d say an act of contrition just in case and I would also not take the Eucharist tomorrow just in case. Though, if you come to the church early you can ask to do confession right before mass. Most Priest wouldn’t turn you down.

God bless. :slight_smile:

If there is any doubt, don’t go to communion…you don’t have to receive at every Mass, although of course we desire it.
you can do this instead while the others are receiving:

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.


If you happen to live in an urban area, you could take a little time this evening to see if any nearby parishes have confessions before mass on Sundays. I was totally surprised to discover just how many parishes within 10 miles of my home have Sunday confessions!

Just one more option.

God bless you!


My question is if you had to catch a bus would you wait for the last 3 minutes to stand at the bus stop hoping that you had not missed the bus, or rather would you say to yourself just in case my watch is a few minutes fast I better go the bus stop 10 mins before the bus comes. When you leave anything to last its always a 50/50 whether you will get Confession or the bus . Would you arrive 3 mins before you were meant to start work.

So you have to look to yourself why you left it like the above, priests are busy people and don’t generally hang around to the last dot of the watch to see if anyone is going to turn up.

The places I’m familiar with? You arrive exactly when the bus is scheduled to be there, knowing it’ll be a minimum of 5 minutes late. :smiley:

But yeah, it’s probably best to turn up a bit early. At the beginning of confession is probably unnecessary (sometimes schedules aren’t terribly accommodating) but aim for a good 15-20 minutes before the end.

I generally try to be at confession when it starts also, but my schedule allows for that. In the real world not everyone has that luxury. I think it is a bit uncharitable to suggest that the OP was being lax by running late. We have no idea what his or her life is like.

As for Priests leaving confession early due to light traffic, well I think you would have to consider that on a case by case basis. I would like to believe that the Priest either had a fast watch or the OP had a slow one. The posted hours are the posted hours. If no one is coming and he wants to leave, then they need to change the posted hours of confession.

OP, if you get hit by the “proverbial bus” after you missed confession your fine, you made the attempt. I like what pianistclaire suggested as an alternative.

As far as communion goes, that is up to you to decide, but if you feel you have mortal sins to confess, I too would suggest waiting. God wants you to be at Mass no matter what! Take care!

Only the priest can tell you if the sins you confess are mortal or not. We cannot say if you are in a state of mortal sin or not. As you are not required to receive Communion (apart from once a year during the Easter period, albeit it is recommended to receive regularly) I would say better not to receive this time.

Wow, you were going to prepare yourself, and confess, receive absolution, all in the three minutes left on the clock?

I guess that was a little on the critical side, but surely, your confession would have left the priest little time to meet with the newly engaged couple waiting for him, or for visiting the sick, or whatever was next on his busy schedule.

While I have been in your shoes, I would say try to get there earlier rather than later, and if you really can’t be there with enough time, go elsewhere, or call for an appointment.

I wouldn’t partake of the Eucharist, but that’s just me.

I’m sorry… but it seems that you’re suggesting that a person in a state of mortal sin, who attempts to go to confession but doesn’t succeed, and happens to die in that state, is in a state of grace sufficient for salvation by virtue of that intent to confess?

Can you provide a magisterial teaching of the Church that says what (I think) you’re saying here? 'Cause I’ll tell you the truth – this isn’t Church teaching… :nope:

So, you think that if a Catholic lives in a repressive country (like North Korea) with no access to confession and they die having committed mortal sin, they have no hope of salvation?


(My husband says that the traditional teaching is that without confession, you need perfect contrition, i.e. contrition motivated not by fear but by love of God.)

Ah, but you’ve changed the situation, haven’t you? The context isn’t “I have no access to confession”, now, is it?


Yep. Real bummer not to have access to a priest. Less of a bummer if you have access, but don’t avail yourself of that access and still hope to skate in on a technicality… :rolleyes:

(My husband says that the traditional teaching is that without confession, you need perfect contrition, i.e. contrition motivated not by fear but by love of God.)

Ding ding ding! Give that man a kewpie doll! And, it’s not just a “traditional teaching”, it’s the teaching of the Church… :wink:

Even so, there’s an important part that’s missing: perfect contrition “obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.” (CCC, 1452)

(So, your theoretical North Korean should be ok; the OP might be a different story, and while we don’t have enough information to conclude ‘perfect contrition’, we might have an interesting discussion on the ‘ASAP’ part of it…)

did Mass start at 4:30? If that is the case a priest will usually leave the confessional, if no-one is coming in and Mass is about to start.

I would suggest this for the future, if confession starts at 4pm get there at 4pm. there are a mutlide of reasons not to wait till the last minuet.

  1. the priest may leave the confessional if no-one is coming in.
  2. the line may be long and you may not get confession before mass
  3. you don’t want to be rushed in confession.
  4. getting there early allows you time to calm yourself, do an examination of conscious and confess well.

He has no access to confession if he went to confession intending to confess, there wasn’t a priest, and then he got hit by a bus.

That’s just a shorter, less dramatic version of the North Korean example.

Functionally speaking, they’re identical.

Functionally speaking, they’re not identical; the difference isn’t merely drama.

The OP had access to confession, but by showing up three minutes before the scheduled time ended, it’s difficult to suggest that he had a “firm resolution” to avail himself of that access. (Note that it’s not not possible to make an airtight case here: maybe the OP was at work, and showing up at 4:27 was, objectively speaking, the earliest he could’ve made it there. Yet, even in that case, the question to be asked was whether this was the only opportunity he had to get to confession, whether at that church or at another. However, it seems that, since we’re not talking North Korea, it’s likely that there was sufficient opportunity to get to confession. If not, then that’s a different story. However, assuming that lack of any other possible access is the case, without anything to support that presumption, is more an attempt to read your own facts into the case than it is a reasonable summary of the facts, and leads to the invalid conclusion you’re asserting.)

Note, too, the fundamental difference between the OP’s story and your North Korea example: the North Korean Catholic knows that he does not have access to a priest, whereas the OP knows only that he failed to take advantage of the access to a priest that’s available to him. Critical difference, there.

You are wrong.

The OP DID have access to Confession. He just got there late through his own fault.
Not having access to Confession and getting there too late are NOT the same thing.

Intending to go to Confession does NOT put you in a state of grace.

If you make an act of perfect contrition (and I defy anyone to really know if they have made such an act - saying the words are not sufficient) and get killed on the way to Confession then you would be saved but from the OP’s post that is certainly not what he did.
Simply going to Confession but arriving late does not put you in a state of grace.

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