Priest's advice infallible?

I am a bit confused about what the church says about taking a priest’s advice. If a priest, say during confession, tells you to do something or not to do something, is that always considered infallible?
I am asking because as a scrupulous person I am sometimes (like right now) afraid of going to confession or asking a priest for advice because what if he says something that causes even more fear? That is to say, what if I ask a priest for reassurance and instead he tells me my scruples are right? I know it’s important to go to somebody who knows about my problem, but I am still a bit afraid. It is kind of a horror vision that a priest would tell me to give up a big dream or something (I call my scruples dream attackers because they usually go after what is really dear to me)… Would I have to do it then, because he said so?

Kathrin

Short answer is no, the priest is not infallible. His advice is merely that, advice, and you can take it or leave it. My spiritual advisor/confessor has given me some very good and some not so good advice. I generally will pray on something I’m not sure about, and if God tells me the same thing, then I do it, otherwise, I don’t.

But if a priest tells me I am not to worry about something, it’s not a sin, then I can trust that it is true, right?

Hm, but here also, it needs to ring true with my innermost thoughts, right… which it usually does, because usually when I have scruples I already feel what I would advise myself if I were a priest… or let’s say, what I would tell somebody else with the same fears.

Hi,

And peace be with you.

You need spiritual direction, and must be certain to find someone who can help you. This is a difficult task, but our first obligation in following our conscience is to form a right conscience, neither too lax or too strict.

The internet is certainly not the best place to seek advice. You must find some authentic Spiritual director who knows you, and can help you.

God bless you.

Lux

I am sorry to hear you struggling with this. I have struggled with scrupulosity myself over the years, and I know that it is not an easy burden to bear.

In answer to your question, priests are human and are not infallible. That said, you have to understand that scrupulosity is a disordered thought process. You may find yourself attributing grave sin to minor transgressions and finding sin where there is none. I would strongly advise you to find a regular confessor that you trust the judgment of. It can be very difficult to remain impartial when you are dealing with scrupulosity. Remember, to be a sin, you must be aware that what you are doing is wrong. You can not “accidentally” commit a sin.

If you trust your confessor, I would advise you to follow his advice, even if you are unsure of yourself. I would highly recommend that you pick up the book “Understanding Scrupulosity” by Thomas Santa. I have found his book invaluable, and he has a whole section just on questions regarding priests and confession.

You can also try praying to St. Alphonsus, a Saint who struggled with scrupulosity. Always remember that there is you can do to make God stop loving you. I will pray for you.

Kathrin: I will be praying for your also. I have friends who struggle with varying degrees of scrupulosity and I know how difficult it can be to sort out who to follow and what to believe in the advice and counsel one gets, even from a priest.

I agree with the poster(s) who advised a personal spiritual director. I don’t see how anyone who struggles with scrupulosity, even a little bit, can make significant progress in their spiritual lives without such a person. Remember that a spiritual director need not necessarily be a priest; there are many good and holy lay persons who are trained in spiritual direction.

Seek out such a person and share your concerns and needs with them. I will be praying, very much, that God will send someone to you for this purpose and to guide you. Pray, also, to your holy guardian angel…your guide on this earth to all things beneficial to your soul and salvation.

Keep the faith! You remain in my prayers…:crossrc:

Keep in mind that not all Priests are trainned in Spiritual direction. They all have the power and the faculties (provided they are given them) to absolve sins, but not many are good for spiritual direction.

Keep praying and don’t allow yourself to be scrupulous, the Faith isn’ta bout not sinning, but about Loving God above all things.

I had a very good confession. :slight_smile:

That’s what the priest has often said to me too: What is important is love.

Kathrin

The only way to please God is if you Love him above all things and keep his Commandments. That Love must be put into action and must not be merely recited by our mouths/tongues. By loving God above all things, sin becomes alienable and resistable.

Well, since I have been having a very bad problem with scrupulosity, the priest of course needed to tell me about God’s love. The tough stuff I tell myself more than is good for myself usually. We talked about how to think of God… as a loving Father. Becuase I’ve had these thoughts that tell me I have to punish myself and stuff like that.

There is nothing in Church doctrine to say that a priest is infallible although there is the legendary doctrine of papal infallibility introduced in the 19th Century which says that the Pope is infallible when defining dogma for the Church (also contended I might add). A priest is just a human being and may not be any better or worse than you. Sometimes the Holy Spirit can speak to you through the priest but at the same time if it’s only a small sin that you’ve confessed don’t worry too much if he’s upset you. We all feel vulnerable in Confession and the priest’s advice can get up your nose.

Confession isn’t the easiest of sacraments so everybody feels the same and finds it hard to go but don’t let it put you off and try to go more often.

I must say so far my fears in this regard have been mostly if not coompletely unfounded. It is usually just my mind that makes me feel bad, and the priest at confession makes me feel better. That’s because I guess I am usually too hard on myself.

Just didn’t want you to think that this is based on a real bad experience at confession. :slight_smile:

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