Priest In Confession

I was wondering if anyone here has ever had a bad experience in confession, where the priest scolded them or said something to make them regret seeing that particular priest to hear their confession?

Nope, all good here.

I guess if one goes to confession often enough, a less than fully satisfying experience is bound to happen every so often. Everyone has a day on which they may be misunderstood, sometimes it may be on my side of the screen, sometimes on the priest’s side. If the priest was overly harsh, he most likely still gave absolution. Consider the scolding part of a penance if you can. God bless.

Yes I did. I went to another church for Adoration one afternoon and decided to go to confession with a priest I did not know. He was not happy that I was taking up his time with only venial sin. I explained my priest said to confess venial sin also, so that I could get the graces to avoid sin. I was happy, but I was out spoken, so I hope it helped him.

The next time I saw my own priest, who is a wonderful confessor, I told him what happened. He couldn’t say much, except I should still go to confession with venial sin.

I had a very bad experience when I was 10 years old. I just remember running home crying because the priest yelled at me and then yelled at me because I was crying. I used to go to confession every week before that incident but I do remember everyone said avoid the pastor, but that day the usher (they had ushers for confessions back then) made me go there because he had no line… I found out why.

That was over 40 years ago but left a very bad taste for confessions for me. I have never come across a priest who was as bad as this one was. I do have a regular confessor for the past 13 years who is the best. When I can’t go to him I have found some other great confessors. Some I have liked better than others but no one has ever yelled at me since that one time.

At our Parish Mission Mass last night, the guest priest gave a homily on how important Confession is, and made an apology to those who have been scolded by priests in Confession (this was not his exact wording). We spoke after Mass and he said that he felt it is really a shame that when you go to experience God’s infinite forgiveness, that you should end up feeling hurt instead.

This is something I am thinking about. I personally have not made my first Confession yet and I look forward to it with both excitement and a tiny bit of fear.

Most of my confession experiences have been OK, and some have been great blessings to me, but I have had a couple of bad experiences as well. One priest was quite gruff and once he even yelled at me for one particular sin. :blush: Hello, I knew it was a bad thing or I wouldn’t have gone to confession! Another gave me a good scolding, although I must admit I deserved it. I figure I’d rather get my scolding now from the priest than to get it later from Our Lord! The first priest is still around, and if I know he is hearing confessions and I need to go, I will go to a different parish or to the cathedral downtown. The second one has retired, and when he did, I thanked him for hearing my confessions and told him that, while sometimes what he had to say hurt my feelings, I knew that he was giving me solid Catholic teaching.

I can only remember 1 “bad” experience. I shared it on her last week/earlier this week, but I can’t find the post. I am just too lazy to retype the full story.

The cliffnotes version is, in my past I committed many sexual sins. I went to confession at a different church, because I didn’t want my regular parish priest to know. I would have felt awkward seeing him weekly at mass with him knowing all my dirty little secrets…anyways, after confessing the priest told me that I was a “wicked woman” and that I needed to spend alot of time in prayer begging the Lord for grace. I was absolutely horrified that I came to the sacrament for forgiveness only to be told I was “wicked” something I already believed to begin with.

Since then, I started monthly spiritual counselling with my parish Priest and he knows all those secrets I was so desperate to hid from him, and I find it a HUGE comfort. He also knows about my experience, and basically for my own peace of mind, he “reheard” my confession.

I’m 50 years old and am still afraid of being yelled at. I’ve never had a bad experience with confession but I do know of someone who has. I plan to go sometime between now and Easter and I’m becoming anxious thinking about it.

Bad experience in confession is quite rare. I had a few times, but I immediately started to work on that, that I deserve the bad treat, and this is God’s way to show me, how unworthy I am.

In the reality priests are men like us, and they had bad days like us. We honor the priest not for his human qualities, but for the power he received through the ordination, and possess through his jurisdiction.

No one deserves to be yelled at in confession. We go in there to experience God’s love and mercy, not his wrath. Look in the Gospels of how Jesus treated sinners, with compassion and great care.

A priest does not know how a person would react to his anger or yelling. Like it was with me, a person could leave the confessional afraid to go back to confession. Like you, think they deserve bad treatment. I have known others who have left the Church because of an insensitive priest.

When one goes to confession they make themselves completely vulnerable before God and another human being. That human being (the priest) has no right to take advantage of that. I want to add that I don’t think the priest has to simply be accepting of the person’s sins. He can and should admonish the sinner. But he should do so with love and sensitivity.

It took me a long time to be comfortable with going to confession. I would force myself to go at least once a year, and there were times in my life when there were years between confessions because I was so afraid of the priest. Now I have a wonderful confessor who is not afraid to admonish me but does it with such gentleness that I can truly feel Christ’s love through him.

I might also add that if I cannot go to my regular confessor I am very selective who I go to. I usually will only go to a priest I know and if that is not possible I ask others how that priest is in confession. We get recommendations for everything else why not confessors? Even in RCIA we steer the candidates toward priests we know are good rather than just tell them to go to anyone.

yes but in retrospect I realized the priest was absolutely right and I needed to hear what he had to say. Humility is a requirement to approach all the sacraments in the right attitude. I carried some anger and resentment for a time, but as I came to see the truth of what he said I have thanked him for it many times. He saved me from years of persisting in the same sorry state. No it was not being “yelled at” or “scolded” although those were words I used, it was being firmly corrected without any of that pastoral I’mokay your okay garbage.

Maybe what you deride as “pastoral I’m OK you’re OK garbage” isn’t really garbage. Maybe it is. Whether it is garbage or not, I suspect it is a(n) (over)reaction to centuries of some (notice I’m not blaming all priests) priests turning the confessional into a practical torture chamber.

I would also add, and I’m not directing this towards you personally, that I’m puzzled by the amount of excuses made here for conduct of priests, that’s, well, pretty much inexcusable. It seems to me that there are too many priests who have forgotten the various scriptural mandates about how they are too exercise their leadership (in particular, I’m thinking of 1 Peter 5:1-3).

where on earth do you get the historical picture of the confessional as torture chamber? have you a reliable source fo rtha tclaim

Yes there are priests who have violated their vows and their position to harm innocent people, in the confessional and elsewhere, but as there are strong rules and penalties for their actions we know the church does not condone this.

OP used the word “scolded” not “tortured”.
Being told that a continuing state of sin is “okay” as so many of us married women were in my day when we started using ABC is a real scandal and abuse of confession and it is that type of advice that urges the sinner to go by their own conscience to reject Church teaching and God’s law under the label of “being pastoral” that I condemn as an abuse of the sacrament, a direct mortal sin because it encourages other to continue in sin, and a crime against the priesthood.

A couple of years ago I went to another parish for Confession (because the times fit in with my work schedule), and the priest was very rude and made some cutting remarks and he lectured me something fierce. I was stunned and embarrased. You would have thought I confessed to murder or something.

Afterwards I got angry about the incident, but I am over that. I did reflect on the incident to see if perhaps it was pride or something in me that caused this, but I don’t think so. His behavior was uncalled for. I just chalked it up to him having a bad day or something and forgave him.

But I won’t confess to him again. He scared me away. I don’t mind it if a priest tells it to me straight, I need to hear the truth, but rudeness is another matter. Priests should not yell at people in the Confessional.

Other than that, I have not had any bad incidents in the confessional. The priests have always been very kind and helpful, even when they are being straight up with me.

Read some of the sorts of confessional questions some priests would ask in the late medieval era. But that wasn’t really my point. I was referring to the abuses of SOME priests, which, I thought my post made clear.

Over the years I have been to several priests and for the most part I have had very good experiences. Yes, there were those few times where a priest would misunderstand the intensity of my sin and make a much bigger deal about it. For example I confessed looking at an inappropriate image online and I was scolded that I should not be wasting all of my time looking at pornography when that was not really the case. But did I leave all upset? No, actually I felt relieved that I knew that I didn’t do all of that.

Confession is a very sensitive sacrament whereby one bears the innermost secrets of their soul. Most priests know how much courage it takes on our part to even go and so they are very compassionate. But my recommendation is if you get a priest who is harsh now and then just remember how harsh Jesus was treated when He went to the cross for sins that He didn’t even commit. And then thank God that Jesus did that so that all we have to do is listen to a few harsh words rather than have to hang on a cross for our salvation… thank you Jesus, teachccd

It is impossible for me to regret seeing a ‘particular priest’ in confession. Catholicism has taught me one thing strongly: to have a spirit of mortification. Being insulted, offended, made to feel sad, etc., are part of penance. We’re not in this world to be comforted all the time, but to be challenged. If a priest is harsh, think of yourself as deserving harsh words, instead of father being mean-spirited. Charity is everything. :slight_smile:

One of the kids in my catechism class got yelled at by our newish priest a few weeks ago. Now, that particular kid has sleepwalked through 8 years of catechesis, learning nothing, and also loves to push people’s buttons. I know from direct experience how provoking he can be.

But, bottom line, the priest is both an adult and a priest. He should never have "lost it."Now we are hesitant to send any of the children to him.

Possibly. But the fact remains, the priest should not be harsh. Think back to the Gospel where Jesus spoke to the woman taken in adultery. Did He speak harshly to her?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit