CCC 1452: “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramtental confession as soon as possible.”
Those highlighted words have often been a source of deep misery for me when I have found myself in a state of sin.
You see, I have a lot of anxiety about the sacrament of confession. There are certain priests who very much scare me in the sacrament of confession, especially if I’m confessing the same sins as I’ve confessed before. And I’ve had this fear validated before by the reaction of at least one priest and, given the nature of my emotions, this fed further into the fear. This means that often there might be a “chance” at confession, but with a priest who scares me, so I end up waiting for an opportunity for a gentler or less intimidating priest.
Needless to say, this obviously means I’m not going “as soon as possible.” Why, technically, the fact that I would even wait for a scheduled confession negates the possibility that I’m going “as soon as possible” because I could be calling around town to find out what priests are available within hours (if not minutes, depending on the time of day) of my sin.
And so I often feel a sense of despair. Even True Contrition, I fear, would not grant me any peace, because it doesn’t “include firm resolution to make recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.”
Does anyone else ever feel this way? What are your thoughts on how literal “as soon as possible” should be taken, however strictly or broadly? Are there mitigating factors? If so, what are some hypothetical examples? Would they only be “you literally can’t physically get there?” or “some psychological/emotional inhibitions may count,” etc.?
Don’t worry, I’m not treating you guys as spiritual directors, just looking for thoughts and feelings of others as I work through my own.
Blessings in Christ,