Odd penance question



I have been going almost weekly to reconciliation for some recurring sins and made this clear during my last visit. I usually go to one of to churches for reconciliation. To my surprise the parish priest started asking if I knew the reason for reconciliation. After answering this and several more questions correctly he then proceeded to give me a penance to NOT attend reconciliation for at least one month! And told me that I could come talk to him (make an appointment) if I would like and he would love to discuss some of the things I mentioned during my visit. He gave me absolution and
made it clear that visiting him was not part of the penance and that if I was comfortable doing so to schedule the appointment. In short I assume he thought I was somehow abusing the sacrament?
As I stated I was going weekly to receive the graces that are aquired during reconciliation and this definitely flies in the face of some of the things I have learned about the good reasons for going even more when your fighting sin. I have to admit I am a little angry at this but am trying not to be. Any ideas? Answers? All would be appreciated.


Hi irishbryan,

It sounds to me like he was encouraging you to go and talk to him. So, that is what I would do, if I were you. That way, you can ask him to discuss any concerns or questions that you might have, and he can clear anything up for you.


Maybe he thought you were being scrupulous?
Still, I think that it is a really weird penance…I would go and talk to him…if he sounds like a priest who is nice and personable.


That’s what it sounded like to me, as well, based on that. It must be he thinks monthly confession would be sufficient for you, then, or he wouldn’t have said that.


Sounds as though your priest wants to give you some spiritual direction, he may be seeing signs of scrupulosity or feel that some other in depth discussion is needed to help you with these particular recurring sins. It may sound like an odd penance, but sounds to me more like a really concerned and dedicated priest who would like to help your spiritual life. This would also give you a chance to explain why you felt you needed weekly reconciliation for the graces to fight these particular sins.

I have to admit I am a little angry at this but am trying not to be. Any ideas? Answers? All would be appreciated.

Rather than being angry and trying not to be, why not make the appointment, if you feel comfortable with this, and you and your priest can listen to each other and get a better understanding of each one’s point of view.


IrishBryan, it may be that the priest thinks that going to confession weekly means that you suffer from scrupulosity. Going to confession weekly does not necessarily mean scrupulosity! Members of Opus Dei are urged to go to confession weekly. Perhaps you should make an appointment to meet with him and discuss why he recommended that you limit confession to monthly, and why you feel the need to confess frequently.

If, after the meeting, you both come to an understanding - of why you go so frequently, and whether or not you may have tendencies to scrupulosity, then you will know whether or not his advice was wise for you. We do not always recognize tendencies within ourselves.


If it were me, until proven otherwise, I would go with the assumption that the priest wants what is best for me and I would meet with him to gain further spiritual direction and to better understand why he said what he said. If I still felt uncomfortable after the meeting then I would consider making my confessions at a nearby parish. But it has been my experience that the priests really do care about our souls. I think some may just be like doctors who don’t have a good bedside manner or clear communication skills.


Hello everybody. Thank you all for the advice. I see that the consensus send to be scrupulosity, and that I should go talk to him. Which I will may do however by the time they get me on his schedule the.month will be almost over I am sure.

As for being scrupulous I did actually ask him if he felt I was abusing the sacrament and in a round about way he pretty much said yes. He was nice in how he said it but nonetheless that’s what he said. In addition he added that most of the sins that are committed are venial (praise the Lord) and are actually forgiven during the mass anyway. The problem here is that I was confessing a mortal sin? He also eluded to the fact that by not getting to go that it may be better because I would kind of be forced to fight harder and be more appreciative of the gift of reconciliation. To be honest I really like the graces that come with confession and to a certain extent am not the type who really struggles with coming clean so to speak. I have also been made aware of just how important it is when one is fighting sins of habit or are in need of extra grace. While it can be hard sometimes to go on a weekly or just about basis I know it is necessary. But it is by far not my preferred activity for every Saturday. Normally I am not a weekly penitent but more like a quasi monthly or longer type. So if I am scrupulous I definitely haven’t thought I was being so concerning confession.

And on one last note I do remember the priest mentioning something about how people who go “weekly to confession” and kind being a little miffed as though they are (like my self) doing something wrong. So once again was he nice about it yes but I can’t help bit wonder if was a little perturbed in general and kind of “misusing” the confessional for his own purposes.

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