People Misusing Reconciliation


#21

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:312774"]
Our parish has reconciliation every Saturday from 4-5. I've attempted to go to confession for 3 weeks now and have found it impossible to go because there are several parishioners who take 45 min to an hour to confess. The past 3 Saturdays 2 people have been able to go to confession in the allotted hour. This past Saturday I showed up 10 min before 4 and still found it impossible to go because the person in front of me took the entire hour. :rolleyes:

Assuming these folks aren't just discussing the weather, they must have some serious emotional issues and need counseling. I am glad they are seeking help, but more than a little peeved they are not seeking out the proper venue. Am I out of line for wanting these people to be brief and a little more considerate? Should I ask the priest to handle them? Should I ask them to let me cut? I take no more than 2 minutes so it wouldn't kill them to let me go first.

[/quote]

This is a common problem. People, instead of just naming their sins and getting on with it, will begin explaining circumstances, and go all around the story, and start talking about other people, etc. Most of the time is not spent actually telling the sins.

My pastor deals with this by actually cutting the person off softly when they begin going on, and saying, "Ok, so what was your sin," or "That's good now, tell me the next sin." This way he avoids long confessions.

He has also spoken at the pulpit once or twice, just reminding people the real purpose of confession, and how to make a good one without wasting time.

I suggest just speaking to your pastor and asking him to consider helping the confession move along a bit better. If he doesn't not reciprocate, don't feel bad about it; it is, after all, sometimes difficult to fix that problem.

Perhaps you could also ask for more confession times, or a private, scheduled confession.


#22

Below are some useful tips from Jimmy Akin on how to avoid taking too long in the confessional.

I read this a couple of years ago and have since applied it to my own confessions and found it very helpful - not just for confessing more quickly, but for also confessing better.

He is answering a question about a confession which was terminated abruptly before Mass, however the response would also apply to much of the discussion here.

From Confession Validity

(emphasis added.)


Here are some tips for how to avoid this kind of thing in the future:

[LIST]
]Take note of this priest and if the phenomenon repeats with him in the future, go to someone else (if you can).
*]If you need to make a lengthy confession, don’t do it right before Mass. Either show up way early or make a special appointment.
*]
To the extent possible, avoid lengthy confessions. There are three ways of doing this, all of which should be pursued simultaneously:*
[/LIST]
Sin less often. This, of course, is what you should do. In fact, we are obliged before Christ to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that, even if we presently have besetting sins, we grow out of them.

Go to confession more frequently. It’s obvious that if you just went recently that you’ll have had less time in which to commit sins and thus are likely to have fewer sins to confess. Further, going to confession frequently is important when you are growing out of a besetting sin. After you’ve committed it, go to confession as quickly as possible to help gain strength to resist the temptation in the future. If you delay going to confession, you may be tempted to commit the sin again on the grounds that your next confession will absolve both instances of the sin.

*Confess in a businesslike manner and omit irrelevant detail. People have a tendency to give way more detail and background than is needed.
*

While (not being a priest) I don’t hear confessions, I am well acquainted with this phenomenon as it happens every time I’m on the radio show. People don’t just ask their questions, they tell stories about how the questions arose and what their tentative answers are and they include way more detail than I need to help them out. That’s human nature. The same thing, I am sure, happens in confession. Penitents give way more background and detail than is needed.

To avoid this, don’t tell stories or try to explain or justify what happened. Just say "I have to confess one incident of this. I have to confess two incidents of that. I have to confess some thoughts of this nature." If applicable, add any exacerbating or mitigating circumstances that apply (e.g., "I knew full well what I was doing and did it anyway," "I was really tired and angry when I did it"). Proceed through your list in a businesslike manner, without pausing in a way that invites the priest to comment (people feel psychological pressure to speak up when there is an awkward pause). Get the list out and trust that he’ll ask any questions he needs. Save any question syou have for him until after you’ve said the list.

Also, while confessing venial sins is a good thing (if not done to the point of scrupulosity), it is not necessary to confess them and thus don’t do it if you’re confessing right before Mass. It puts more time pressure on the priest and is more likely to rattle him as he worries about Mass and the congregation and how many more people may be behind you in line.

Finally, don’t use confessions immediately before Mass for purposes of seeking spiritual direction, The time pressure on the priest may be too great. Make an appointment or grab a priest after Mass.


The comments on this have gone, but I remember when I first read it that a priest had responded with a big "thankyou!".


#23

This is excellent advice! Two things that I have learned from priests over the years are to start with mortal sins if you have any to confess. Second is to work to improve by focusing on one (or one category of) venial sin. So instead of mentioning every instance of impatience, bad language, gossiping, etc. Your confession would be foused on bad language say, until you felt you had that habit/temptation in check, and then move to impatience and so on. (This assumes you either don't have mortal sins to confess, or have confessed those first).

I think it is very likely that those taking a very long time in the confessional are experiencing a combination of factors - a long time away from the sacrament, many sins to confess, asking or needing advice, but also a long-winded way of presenting their sins.

I again urge the OP to speak to his priest and ask if additional time for confession can be added to the schedule. He should also either make an appointment for confession, or if possible go to a different church that might have longer hours or more priests hearing confession.

[quote="Edmundus1581, post:22, topic:312774"]
Below are some useful tips from Jimmy Akin on how to avoid taking too long in the confessional.

I read this a couple of years ago and have since applied it to my own confessions and found it very helpful - not just for confessing more quickly, but for also confessing better.

He is answering a question about a confession which was terminated abruptly before Mass, however the response would also apply to much of the discussion here.

From Confession Validity

(emphasis added.)


Here are some tips for how to avoid this kind of thing in the future:

[LIST]
]Take note of this priest and if the phenomenon repeats with him in the future, go to someone else (if you can).
*]If you need to make a lengthy confession, don’t do it right before Mass. Either show up way early or make a special appointment.
*]
To the extent possible, avoid lengthy confessions. There are three ways of doing this, all of which should be pursued simultaneously:*
[/LIST]
Sin less often. This, of course, is what you should do. In fact, we are obliged before Christ to cooperate with the Holy Spirit so that, even if we presently have besetting sins, we grow out of them.

Go to confession more frequently. It’s obvious that if you just went recently that you’ll have had less time in which to commit sins and thus are likely to have fewer sins to confess. Further, going to confession frequently is important when you are growing out of a besetting sin. After you’ve committed it, go to confession as quickly as possible to help gain strength to resist the temptation in the future. If you delay going to confession, you may be tempted to commit the sin again on the grounds that your next confession will absolve both instances of the sin.

*Confess in a businesslike manner and omit irrelevant detail. People have a tendency to give way more detail and background than is needed.
*

While (not being a priest) I don’t hear confessions, I am well acquainted with this phenomenon as it happens every time I’m on the radio show. People don’t just ask their questions, they tell stories about how the questions arose and what their tentative answers are and they include way more detail than I need to help them out. That’s human nature. The same thing, I am sure, happens in confession. Penitents give way more background and detail than is needed.

To avoid this, don’t tell stories or try to explain or justify what happened. Just say "I have to confess one incident of this. I have to confess two incidents of that. I have to confess some thoughts of this nature." If applicable, add any exacerbating or mitigating circumstances that apply (e.g., "I knew full well what I was doing and did it anyway," "I was really tired and angry when I did it"). Proceed through your list in a businesslike manner, without pausing in a way that invites the priest to comment (people feel psychological pressure to speak up when there is an awkward pause). Get the list out and trust that he’ll ask any questions he needs. Save any question syou have for him until after you’ve said the list.

Also, while confessing venial sins is a good thing (if not done to the point of scrupulosity), it is not necessary to confess them and thus don’t do it if you’re confessing right before Mass. It puts more time pressure on the priest and is more likely to rattle him as he worries about Mass and the congregation and how many more people may be behind you in line.

Finally, don’t use confessions immediately before Mass for purposes of seeking spiritual direction, The time pressure on the priest may be too great. Make an appointment or grab a priest after Mass.


The comments on this have gone, but I remember when I first read it that a priest had responded with a big "thankyou!".

[/quote]


#24

@Miss Sally. Thankyou, and I have also found the things you advise helpful, namely to confess mortal sins first (and clearly), and to focus only one or two venial sins which are most troublesome at the time. I try to confess any other venial sins privately, or before Mass, but I don't treat this legalistically.


#25

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:312774"]
Our parish has reconciliation every Saturday from 4-5. I've attempted to go to confession for 3 weeks now and have found it impossible to go because there are several parishioners who take 45 min to an hour to confess. The past 3 Saturdays 2 people have been able to go to confession in the allotted hour. This past Saturday I showed up 10 min before 4 and still found it impossible to go because the person in front of me took the entire hour. :rolleyes:

Assuming these folks aren't just discussing the weather, they must have some serious emotional issues and need counseling. I am glad they are seeking help, but more than a little peeved they are not seeking out the proper venue. Am I out of line for wanting these people to be brief and a little more considerate? Should I ask the priest to handle them? Should I ask them to let me cut? I take no more than 2 minutes so it wouldn't kill them to let me go first.

[/quote]

Why would you assume the worst of people? That they are ignorant, inconsiderate, won't let you go first, and aren't' thoughtful enough to make an appointment?

Why not assume the best, instead? Perhaps they have not been to confession in 30 years, and need a lot of guidance and instruction? Realize that this kind of person simply does not call to make an appointment. In fact, they often come to confession several times before actually gaining the courage to go into the confessional and confess. I've seen it--been in line while people came, scouted the line, looked panicked, and left. Same person back the next week, same action. Instead of steaming with impatience, you should be praising God with joy that another sinner has returned to Christ and His Church. This scenario can apply to regular parishioners also--many were poorly catechized and didn't understand the need for confession.

Now, I would certainly give some feedback to the priest. Tell him the basic facts: I've been early to confession for the past three weeks and unable to get in to confess. If the priest has been rambling and taking too much time with each penitent, this is feedback he needs. If the priest is allowing penitents to ramble on and take too much time, this is feedback he needs.

We have a young friar, newly ordained. The first few times in the confessional, he took 15-20 minutes per penitent. Each time, he would come out at the end of our 2-hour confession time and see a line of 10 or more people still waiting. That was the feedback he needed, and he's much more efficient now. By the way, he would always come back after Mass or Benediction and hear the confessions of whoever was waiting.


#26

Surely you can speak with your pastor and explain that you've tried to go to confession three weeks in a row and have been unable to because a few have taken so much time.

I usually get to confession a half-hour early so that I'm first in line. I generally cantor at the mass following confession and have to set up equipment and do other things so getting there early just takes the pressure off me.

We are quite fortunate where I live. Our parish has confessions in 3 churches from 3-3:45, before the 4:00 PM masses on Saturday evenings and in one church on two extra afternoons per week. (As it is, sometimes we start mass a few minutes late because the priest is hearing confessions right up until 4:00 PM.) Our diocese also has "The Light is On for You" events during Lent and Advent when at least one church in each parish throughout the state has an hour of confession available 3-5 nights in a specific week. We also host penitential services with individual confessions during these seasons.


#27

I had my first confession a couple of weeks ago. It was scheduled so I didn't take up anyone's time. My priest suggests going at least once a month. Well, I am super duper new and I still have trouble figuring out different degrees of sin still.Growing up I was taught that sin was sin. Anyway. So, when I go to my next confession it won't be scheduled. I will have to stand in line and I might need some guidance while I'm in there. I would hope that those behind me aren't so grouchy and upset with me.


#28

[quote="GwenL, post:25, topic:312774"]
Why would you assume the worst of people? That they are ignorant, inconsiderate, won't let you go first, and aren't' thoughtful enough to make an appointment?

Why not assume the best, instead? Perhaps they have not been to confession in 30 years, and need a lot of guidance and instruction? Realize that this kind of person simply does not call to make an appointment.

[/quote]

:thumbsup: Why not, indeed?

[quote="GwenL, post:25, topic:312774"]
In fact, they often come to confession several times before actually gaining the courage to go into the confessional and confess. I've seen it--been in line while people came, scouted the line, looked panicked, and left. Same person back the next week, same action.

[/quote]

I have seen this, too.

[quote="GwenL, post:25, topic:312774"]
Instead of steaming with impatience, you should be praising God with joy that another sinner has returned to Christ and His Church.

[/quote]

Yes.

[quote="GwenL, post:25, topic:312774"]
Now, I would certainly give some feedback to the priest.

[/quote]

I agree, and I think most of us are conceding this point as well.


#29

Again, what is your evidence that long periods in the confessional manifest these supposed faults among penitents?

Precisely how are you “sure?” A radio show is not the confessional. You cannot draw equations between one and the other. For a discussion of radio shows, I invite you to visit the Radio forum on CAF to read the opinions there, including my own, on unnecessary back-stories and the host’s attempt on CAL to limit those. There is a big difference between a public radio show and a private sacramental confession. The similarity between them, though, is that a show host and a confessor do have some control or responsibility to limit rambling conversation, should that be occurring. When it comes to confession no one here knows (including the OP), if that is happening, unless the pentitents offer that information.

Again, you have no evidence that penitents are not doing that ^. You merely assume they are not. For example, my former confessor who a took a long time with me, each time (15-20 minutes; one time it was about 30 minutes, I think), probed after, not before, I recited my sins, which were done succinctly and in the way they are supposed to be told, with priority of importance (at least I thought) and with minimizing of detail & explanation. Nevertheless, it was by drawing me out on something which I had asked parenthetically, that the priest helped me uncover a much more serious sin, which I had been in some denial about. Despite my experience and knowledge, it took his insight and initiative to help me discern that. Had he rushed me or himself, it wouldn’t have occurred.

I trust the Holy Spirit to be working through the priest – not just for me, but for others. I actually really believe that the confessor is in persona Christi, and because I believe that, I am of the opinion that I should give every confessor the benefit of the doubt.
:slight_smile:


#30

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:20, topic:312774"]
And some people want to get more out of confession than reciting a list. And many priests want to give more in confession than hearing the list. By the way, God knows the list far better than you know yours or I know mine.

Indirectly, it can be. It's not for you or for me to demand that the priest not give direction related to sin if the priest judges that to be necessary/important. You're not in the position to know what is and is not required in any particular confessional.

[/quote]

Are you saying that you take a really long time in the Confessional?


#31

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:29, topic:312774"]
Again, what is your evidence that long periods in the confessional manifest these supposed faults among penitents?

[/quote]

The evidence is in the testimony and statement of many priests. I know priests who give instructions to people outside of the confessional as to how to confess quickly and efficiently, because they have many, many people who are long-winded in a way that wastes time.

We've got it down to a science in my parish. People who confess weekly take 2-5 mins. People who confess monthly or every few months are 10-15 mins. They all come out beaming, all the same.

Because of this, we don't begrudge people who take a very long time, because we understand that they need it.

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:29, topic:312774"]
Again, you have no evidence that penitents are not doing that ^. You merely assume they are not. For example, my former confessor who a took a long time with me, each time (15-20 minutes; one time it was about 30 minutes, I think), probed after, not before, I recited my sins, which were done succinctly and in the way they are supposed to be told, with priority of importance (at least I thought) and with minimizing of detail & explanation. Nevertheless, it was by drawing me out on something which I had asked parenthetically, that the priest helped me uncover a much more serious sin, which I had been in some denial about. Despite my experience and knowledge, it took his insight and initiative to help me discern that. Had he rushed me or himself, it wouldn't have occurred.

[/quote]

To the point =/= rushed. To the point means you mention each sin clearly with its context, and move on. If you need more time anyway, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with having a lot of confess; there may be a problem with taking so long to confess a few things that it wastes time.


#32

[quote="dshix, post:31, topic:312774"]
The evidence is in the testimony and statement of many priests.

[/quote]

None of that is evidence. It is all speculation based on generalities. In general, yes, priests provide testimony that these things do in fact happen. There is no evidence, however, that any particular long line or any protracted confession incident is one that you have any personal insight into, nor do I, nor do random priests who accurately report past/recent tendencies. A tendency or a frequent occurrence is no justification for concluding that one's particular confession line is the result of a pentitent, or several pentitents, "misuing" confession.

To the point =/= rushed. To the point means you mention each sin clearly with its context, and move on. If you need more time anyway, that's fine. There's nothing wrong with having a lot of confess; there may be a problem with taking so long to confess a few things that it wastes time.

Again, you are not in a position to determine what amount of time any particular penitent needs. It's the penitent's business and the confessor's business, not any of us.

I want to be clear that I have stood in many a long line, and I have also stood in many a short line, behind a long confession or two. Again, it's part of the entire experience. I would think that (hmmm) perhaps I should also confess Impatience and Rash Judgment if I were standing in that line privately fuming about the gall of any other penitent not to understand my needs, and concede to them. ;)

I appreciate any particular Catholic's sense of urgency, and/or frustration, about confession opportunities. Again, I have "been there." The difference is, my response is not to criticize those in front of me but to seek, aggressively and consistently, an opportunity for myself. Like anyone else, I would have several options: (a) come really early (and again, I have had to do that myself); (b) seek other parishes/confession times; (c) make an app't with a priest. (I like "c" the least because I do support our canonical right to anonymous confession.") Finally, (d) a courteous plea written to the priest, regarding repeated experiences with this. That may prompt a change in his habits, it may prompt longer confession time; it may prompt no change.


#33

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:32, topic:312774"]
None of that is evidence. It is all speculation based on generalities.

[/quote]

That is false. I already gave you my case and proved it, and you seem to have ignored that part of my post.

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:32, topic:312774"]
In general, yes, priests provide testimony that these things do in fact happen. There is no evidence, however, that any particular long line or any protracted confession incident is one that you have any personal insight into, nor do I, nor do random priests who accurately report past/recent tendencies. A tendency or a frequent occurrence is no justification for concluding that one's particular confession line is the result of a pentitent, or several pentitents, "misuing" confession. None of that is evidence. It is all speculation based on generalities.

[/quote]

I'm not sure where you are going. I never mentioned "anyone's particular confession." I am speaking of general concepts, that is, people spending most of their confession time talking about irrelevant background or circumstances.

The conversation never DID come around to talking about a "particular confession." The topic of this whole thread is about confession in general.

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:32, topic:312774"]
Again, you are not in a position to determine what amount of time any particular penitent needs. It's the penitent's business and the confessor's business, not any of us.

[/quote]

Once again, you have changed the topic from confessions in general to confessions in particular. If you want, you could make a thread ranting about how people judge other people for taking a long time in confession, but that's not the purpose of this thread.

I never mentioned judging an individual person. In fact, I said that at my parish every is very understanding of long confessions, because the priest is adept are making sure irrelevant details don't waste time.

I myself have made some very long confessions, without being checked by the priest, because the entire time I was on topic and succinct. I have also occasionally started going off on a tangent, and had the priest tell me to stay on topic.

There's not hurriedness or pushing or rush about it; it's just clear and to the point.


#34

[quote="dshix, post:33, topic:312774"]
That is false. I already gave you my case and proved it, and you seem to have ignored that part of my post.

[/quote]

No. You have merely proved (and I agreed with you) that priests themselves have said that some people ramble, use confession unwisely, don't get to the point, etc. That's a generality; it is not a particularity. This thread is about particularities, which have resulted in assumptions about what particular penitents have and have not done, do or do not do, including what the priest -- in his judgment and with his specialty training -- must supposedly not be doing.

You are in absolutely no position to judge that, nor am I, nor is the OP. That is fact. :)

Once again, you have changed the topic from confessions in general to confessions in particular.

Nope. The subject of this thread is particular unseen/unheard confessions -- the length of those -- and supposedly what conclusions can be drawn about those particular confessions.

No conclusions can be drawn.


#35

Let us read the orginial post, shall we?

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:312774"]
Our parish has reconciliation every Saturday from 4-5. I've attempted to go to confession for 3 weeks now and have found it impossible to go because there are several parishioners who take 45 min to an hour to confess. The past 3 Saturdays 2 people have been able to go to confession in the allotted hour. This past Saturday I showed up 10 min before 4 and still found it impossible to go because the person in front of me took the entire hour. :rolleyes:

Assuming these folks aren't just discussing the weather, they must have some serious emotional issues and need counseling. I am glad they are seeking help, but more than a little peeved they are not seeking out the proper venue. Am I out of line for wanting these people to be brief and a little more considerate? Should I ask the priest to handle them? Should I ask them to let me cut? I take no more than 2 minutes so it wouldn't kill them to let me go first.

[/quote]

It may appear at first sight that the person is complaining about the individual people who he/she has had to wait for in line, but I contend that this is not the case. The OP is asking what to do about waiting for people for a long time in general, and if he/she should talk to the pastor.

My response was that it may be helpful to speak to the pastor and ask if it would be possible to give a sermon on how to make a good confession, or how to give details without being long winded, etc.

From the beginning, I have seen this as a general discussion of the sacrament and how some people are fast, others slow, and how the priest can affect the speed.


Now, it's wholly possible that I have missed a post or set of posts (I frequent many, many threads so I sometimes miss something) and in that case I'd like you to direct me to what I missed.

However, as it stands, it still appears to me that this thread is not at all directed towards individual penitents as much as the sacrament in general.

To finish, I will say (again) that I have no intention of suggesting that we should judge individual people by the length of their confessions. Never did I suggest that, nor did I see the general conversation in the thread veer towards that. However, I will read it again more carefully.


#36

Comparing this below with the OP:

[quote="dshix, post:33, topic:312774"]
The conversation never DID come around to talking about a "particular confession." The topic of this whole thread is about confession in general.

[/quote]

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:312774"]
they must have some serious emotional issues and need counseling. I am glad they are seeking help, but more than a little peeved they are not seeking out the proper venue.

[/quote]

= particular confessions. The OP was referring to a moment in time.

There is no basis for knowing that those particular confessions contain inappropriate content. It's pure speculation, unless penitents later revealed the contents of their confessions to the OP.

(It's always good to keep in mind the reference point of a thread.;))

There is no arbitrary "amount" of time appropriate for confession in general. Some times it will take 5 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes. I trust the particular priest in that confessional, not someone outside the confessional making assumptions, based on general statements other priests have made, or based on private assumptions he or she makes. :)


#37

[quote="dshix, post:35, topic:312774"]
Let us read the orginial post, shall we?

[/quote]

Yes, shall we not? (I just did for you. ;))

It may appear at first sight that the person is complaining about the individual people who he/she has had to wait for in line, but I contend that this is not the case. The OP is asking what to do about waiting for people for a long time in general, and if he/she should talk to the pastor.

Nope. The OP referenced particular people and the character of what they must be saying in there. The OP was very explicit. I quoted the OP in my last post. :)


#38

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:36, topic:312774"]
Comparing this below with the OP:

= particular confessions. The OP was referring to a moment in time.

[/quote]

I'm sorry, no. There is nothing to suggest that the OP was referring to a moment in time; that happens all the time! That post by no means suggests that the OP is complaining about a particular confession, but rather confessions in general.

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:36, topic:312774"]
There is no arbitrary "amount" of time appropriate for confession in general. Some times it will take 5 minutes, sometimes 45 minutes. I trust the particular priest in that confessional, not someone outside the confessional making assumptions, based on general statements other priests have made, or based on private assumptions he or she makes. :)

[/quote]

I never said that there was a time limit on confessions.

...

Please read my post again and try again.


#39

[quote="Elizabeth502, post:37, topic:312774"]

Nope. The OP referenced particular people and the character of what they must be saying in there. The OP was very explicit. I quoted the OP in my last post. :)

[/quote]

I'm not sure what you're reading. If that's explicit...

Please outline to me how you see that the OP was directly complaining about a person, rather than a behavior of a general set of persons.


#40

[quote="dshix, post:38, topic:312774"]
There is nothing to suggest that the OP was referring to a moment in time; that happens all the time!

[/quote]

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:312774"]
This past Saturday I showed up 10 min before 4 and still found it impossible to go because the person in front of me took the entire hour. ......they must have some serious emotional issues and need counseling. I am glad they are seeking help, but more than a little peeved they are not seeking out the proper venue.

[/quote]

That referred to a particular confession incident. :)


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