Hello… sadly it has come to a point where I’m struggling. My parish priest for months now has been denying me confession because “you went recently” he hit the final straw yesterday when I went to ask him for confession and he said “you went recently” even though I went to this priest a good two months ago, which then led to as always literally begging him to hear my confession… I had a mortal sin on my soul and I wanted to repent. This happens so many times where I literally have to beg to go to confession and he is saying I’m being too scrupulous. Saturday evenings before Mass, when I approached him is our scheduled confession time - even though it is only me wanting confession. I go every week or two as my spiritual father has told me to. But yesterday, when he denied me again he heard my confession after Mass, so I missed out on Holy Communion. It’s not the fact I’m asking at a bad time for him because always he’s just talking to people about random stuff or just chilling in the sacristy… And my confessions with him are terrible, I know it’s not necessary but he gives no penance or advice, literally after I confess I say the Act of Contrition. Many times he says certain things aren’t sin and just “normal” like missing Sunday Mass or something… and I recall one time I had a terrible-terrible confession, with loads of mortal sins, and he cut me off half way through and was like “well, God will forgive you” which basically ended up in my trying to argue my way through my list so I could confess everything… really don’t know what to do - it’s awful. It’s so hard to get to another parish from where I live, this is usually my only option
I would first like to say that unfortunately you aren’t the only person who experiences this problem of having a poor confessor. It is definitely a challenge and quite irritating when one is convicted to confess their sins and repent only to find an unwilling priest. As you do have a canonical right to seek reconciliation I’d suggest you look for another priest as a spiritual director and confessor. I understand that it may be difficult to attend another parish although it would probably be in your best interest if you were at least able to make it to another church every two or three weeks for confession. This way you aren’t going months without reconciliation. Try to pray for this priest you are having issues with. Priests need prayers also. This you already know I’m quite sure. Sometimes it takes years to find a good spiritual director and confessor so please be patient as you look for another priest whom you feel comfortable with to guide you on your spiritual journey.
Maybe you could try talking to him outside confession and bring up some of the points you have made here without being accusing. something along the lines of “I was told I should go to confession frequently so I’m having some trouble understanding why you have been denying me confession. Could you explain it to me please?” He may have a reason that he hasn’t explained well. About not believing missing mass is a sin and not believing other mortal sins are sins I’m not sure what to do. If he isn’t open to listening maybe you should go above his head. I would recommend talking to him first though.
I’ve tried talking to him, and he just doesn’t let me still… it’s horrible
Seems like the answer is simple, go to confession to a priest who is willing to hear your confessions. Why must you go to this priest for confession?
It sounds like you have an ongoing relationship with a different priest. Why not go to him for confession? Especially if scrupulosity is a problem, having a single confessor is a good way to go.
You need to record him saying this and report it to your bishop so that he can be retrained. From what it sounds like, this priest is causing scandal, sending others into sin EG telling them to receive the Eucharist in a state of Mortal sin by refusing to absolve.
Does he have a weekly confession time?
And you could stick to that out of respect to him,
And if in mortal sin just attend mass without receiving communion in the meantime.
I found out myself that a Cistercian Monastry has confessions Monday, Thursday and Sunday each week from 3pm to 4pm, it’s a 40mins drive after work on a week day but worth it.
Could you google confession times near you?
Must be frustrating to be denied confession. I was denied confession one time by one priest for another reason, in which case I was just able to another who heard my confession and absolved me.
I was going to suggest trying another priest, but you already said that wasn’t an option. I don’t know what else you can do in that case except ask him if you can confess monthly, and then hope for the best.
Insofar as confession is concerned, I can usually confess in about 5 min. We have some people in my parish who go in, and there will be a huge line of people. Nobody else gets to confess, because that one person will take the time.
Priests are spread a bit thin nowadays. Now, they may not have as much time, being they are so overextended.
I once had a priest level with me, say he was working 14 hour days!
I used to take a long time in confession, thinking I needed to get into the details, but no. You don’t need to get into any detail.
I come armed with a list…first commandment, second commandment, third commandment, etc., and whatever sins which are included.
I say the number of times for mortal sins. Sometimes, I even through in some venial ones, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Here are some examples of an examination of conscience, scborromeo.org/confess.htm and usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/examinations-of-conscience.cfm
As I say, one can normally confess in about 5 min., or so, give or take.
I have gotten compliments from 2 priests, one in the US, and one in Mexico. I got complimented on a general confession in its completeness and in Mexico, on my brevity.
The second priest actually even thanked me for having a “simple” confession. I don’t generally give much detail unless the priest asks, and in my experience, they rarely do.
So, it’d be commandments 1-10, each, x number of times. If your priest wants more detail, he’ll ask.
If your confession runs about 5 min., priests a lot of time have patience for a 5 min. confession, but if it goes on for a long time, some begin to lose patience. They have others waiting to confess, other responsibilities. Priests are, after all, also, only human.
As a favor to the priests I confess to, I try to come very prepared, knowing what I want to say, with a written list, and very, very brief.
I have found since I’ve gotten in the habit of blitz brief confessions, priests seem to even welcome seeing me in confession, because it’s relatively easy for them.
I read one case of a priest on CAF of a priest who had a huge line of people waiting for confession, that he got on the microphone and said to come in, be brief, and then “be gone”! lol
If more counsel is required, I think I’d seek a counselor (say, through Catholic Social Services) rather than a priest, since a priest in modern times doesn’t normally have a lot of spare time to counsel, just quick confessions, in and out.
Scrupulosity is a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, and counseling may be helpful, additionally, to manage it, especially if your priest doesn’t have the time/patience/inclination.
I feel for you. I’ve never had a priest like that. But the Church teaches us to confess frequentaly. Even Pope Francis goes to confession once a week. Confessing weekly even if it was just a venial sin.
I don’t know how to help you other than to say pray A LOT asking God to either change that priest’s heart (who is not doing his job btw) or just send another priest to your town, a more loving one.
My prayers with you dear.
Because this is the only priest for miles, and I can’t drive or have money for the bus
My spiritual father lives on an island hundreds of miles away from me, he is traditional so he recommends to go weekly or fortnightly, I don’t have a problem with scrupulosity
I have to agree with ClearWater that most likely you have slipped into OCD or scrupulosity over going to confession. I would find a new priest, then, I would explain to him how obsessed you are with having very frequent confession and that if does not happen on your timetable you are freaked out.
Can I make clear to everyone I don’t have scrupulosity… my priest just thinks it is scrupulous to confess more than a few months each time. My Spiritual Father told me to go every 1-2 weeks to stay on top of things, let me emphasize he is a very holy and traditional man and to frequent confession so much is a devotional practice. I’m not worried about my sins this much to run there every week, it is just what I have been told to do, so I’m sticking to it and being obedient to my Spiritual Father. I think St. Padre Pio said something like “a room may be clean but it still gathers dust” I’ve also read a quote something like “we wash our bodies daily, why not wash our souls once a week?” Did Padre Pio not also go to confession daily? I know weekly-fortnightly confession is not absolutely necessary for me, unless I fall into a mortal sin - but I am not doing it out of fear but with the desire to grow closer to our Lord and to grow in love for him.
I think this is a little over the top and not very christ like. I think it’s time to ask WWJD?
No one hear can really answer well, as too many particulars are unknown. Share your concerns with the priest. It might be he is right. For example, depending on the circumstance, missing Sunday Mass might not be a sin. As to cutting you off, I would ask how long does confession lasts. A priest has many souls under his care and he may feel the needs of others pressing on him.
The priest is obligated to hear your confessions once a week. That is not asking too much. You in turn are obligated to do your best to go at the times the priest has scheduled to do confessions and when you can’t do this, to call ahead of time and make an appointment with him.
If all this fails, then you may want to consider writing a short letter to the Bishop about this.
It sounds as if your priest thinks you are scrupulous. You may not believe you are, but your post sounds like many on this forum written by those who are struggling with scruples. Maybe you should think about it?
If your priest absolves you, you are absolved. It doesn’t matter if you got everything out; you intended to. Perhaps you should relax and approach your priest less frequently. He is the one who has heard your confessions, and he is the one to know if you’re approaching him too often and confessing in what he feels is a scrupulous manner.
The point is, though, that you are absolved and don’t have to worry. Or if you have no way to confess (priest doesn’t think it’s time), you’re still okay. Just write your sins down and save it for when you can confess. Surely God isn’t waiting to zap you for not having a chance to confess?
It is best to discuss this question with your spiritual father. You can call by telephone, send a private letter, or e-mail, with the best option being calling by telephone and speaking to him in person. If he is not there, you should ask for the best time to call back to speak to him personally.
Out of curiosity, did your SF order you to confess this often, or is it simply a recommendation?
This is my advice as well. If you encounter difficulty following your SF’s advice/instructions, run the situation by him and ask what you should do.