If a priest in the confessional suggests you do something but does not specifically say it is your penance, are you required to do it?

I was recently in confession and the priest stated “you may want to do this to be free of your guilt” and then said to say two Hail Mary’s for my penance. I said my two Hail Mary’s but the thing he suggested would have meant I’d have to reveal my sin to others.


A priest cannot require that a penitent reveal their sins to others. If they could then that would render the seal of confession pointless.


I had the same questions about once a priest (not my normal confesor) asked me to to pray the rosary every day I committed a certain sin as well as another thing. I wasn’t sure about it.


There are suggestions. There is penance.

The priest, acting as a counselor, may suggest things that he thinks would benefit you (including suggesting that you reveal your sin to someone to be free of your guilt). You are not required to take him up on the suggestion. It was merely a suggestion that he thought might help you.

The priest also gives penance: "Say x amount of prayers", "Spend some time in adoration", etc.

Andy92, the above would sound, in my personal opinion, like a suggestion to help you get over that particular sin, not penance. Since I don't know your circumstances, I think it is best for you to speak with your normal confessor about this.


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