Relationship with confessor?

What sort of relationship should one have with his confessor, especially if one chooses anonymous confession through the grill? I feel like a n00b asking this lol, but I feel bad listening to my priest straining to give slightly different advice/assurance of Christ’s mercy each time, especially if I confess the same sin over the course of several sessions. No, I won’t discuss the sin in question - that’s between me, Christ and “Persona Christe”!

Advice/experiences appreciated…

It’s a little difficult to have a relationship with one’s confessor if one chooses the anonymity of the grill. Even if the priest recognized you he’s not going to admit it and make you feel uncomfortable. God’s mercy is God’s mercy, however the priest expresses it, and he can’t change the fact of anyone’s sin or of whether or not they have repeated it before the next confession. He can only give the best advice he can at the time in hopes that you will find something useful. Just take it as a grace that God is trying to find some way to help you help yourself, and if one way doesn’t work He’ll try another. The priest is primarily there to give absolution. Anyone can give advice but only the priest can give you absolution, in “Persona Christe”. His advice is his human response and it isn’t infallible, but offered as the best he can offer in his learning and knowledge in the present moment.

If you confess fairly frequently and use the same words to tell the same sins, the priest will usually figure out that he’s dealing with the same person. Many years ago, I struggled with a habitual sin and went week after week to the same priest. Very gently, he would inquire, “Have I heard your confession before?” I would answer, “Yes, it’s me again.” In recent years, I’ve gone to the same priest for several years in a row. With the first (17 years’ worth!) I would simply identify myself when I went in: “Hi, Father, it’s Betsy.” And he’d ask about my family, whom he also knew, and then we’d continue. With the next, I was dealing with a rather unusual situation which gave me away, so he always knew it was the same person, although I don’t think he knew who it actually was on the outside. And with my current confessor, he knows about that same situation, but I haven’t brought it up in confession yet - he’s new to me - but he’ll know it’s me when I do. That, plus the fact that he smiles and waves to me on his way into the confessional when I’m waiting makes me think he knows it’s me every time already. Eventually, it will be “Hi, it’s Betsy” with him, too. I hope it’s 17 years or more, too, because he’s an amazing confessor.

Betsy

Thanks for the tips! Its pretty obvious that he at least recognizes my voice/habits, so I think I’ll try the “its me again” thing as well so that it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to start from scratch each and every time. His advice is working, so I think him having some positive feedback would help :slight_smile:

Haha, I always try arrive after he gets in to avoid that!

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