Report or not to Report Bad Confession Experience?


Hi, I had very bad confession experience yesterday and am unsure what to do about it. When I entered the confessional, I was thrown off when the priest started with, “Well” and only gave him 1 sin instead of 2. To make it easier to understand, here’s how it went:

Me - I revealed other’s fault several times last week.
Priest - (Absolves me)
Me - Father, I have a question.
Priest - You are not a good listener. (I’m assuming he means that he’s done with me and I should be leaving.)
Me - I remember something else. I receive holy communion after committing this sin because I was unsure if it was a mortal sin or not.
Father - Good bye
Me - But I’m not done.
Father - Boy you don’t listen. I said bye. Now go.

I left feeling so shocked and sad upon leaving the confessional. It still affects me now thinking about this. My question to you, is this something that should be reported? I just don’t want him to be doing this to others who are on the fence about their Catholic faith because experiencing this could quite possibly change their views. Or is this a battle that I will not win. He’s a new priest to our parish but he’s very old and grumpy.


You didn’t do anything wrong, the priest in this case wasn’t the one who wasn’t listening. You wanted to tell the second sin, but he didn’t want to listen is almost seems.

I don’t know if you see this priest often, but you could talk to him and say that you feel bad about the last confession and also the why. Maybe the priest was having a bad day, who knows. Maybe then he realizes he should have listened to you more carefully and whishes to take confession again. If he doesn’t regret it, well, then maybe you could go talk to his superior.


I don’t think I caught him on a bad day, I seriously think that’s just how he how is. He’s older and from what it sounds like to me, he’s impatient with listening to people’s sins. Or at least that’s how he made me feel yesterday.

There’s no way I can go back to him and talk to him again. He wanted nothing to do with me. Aside from his words, the way he talked to me was really hurtful. I’m scared to go back to him.

I really want to say something but I don’t know if this is the right solution or should I just overlook it and hope I don’t get him again.


well this bad behaviour should be reported to a superior, he shouldn’t be hearing confessions especially if this is the case with everyone, that means this isn’t an isolated incident
If he is the head of the parish, the bishop should be notified, in other cases, the head of the parish.


I had a very bad confession with a priest who was acting like you and I told him, “Father, I know you are acting in Persona Christi, but would you let me leave and go to confession with another priest?” He told me I could and I emailed the bishop and copied the priest on a complaint where I cited exactly what you talk about: the effects of such actions on people who could just blame the Church and leave it. I say report him and copy him on it.

I left that church for a while and started going to Mass at another one, but about three or four months later, I returned to his church and greeted him on the way out. He was cordial and we remained cordial until I moved to another city.

I believe it’s our duty to report those in the clergy who treat others as those priests treated us.

God bless,


Peace and all Good!

I’m very sorry to hear about your experience. As has been said by others, I think you should report it, either to the head of the parish, the bishop or the Religious Superior if he is a Religious Priest. You rightly point out that it could affect others very badly as well so I definitely think a Superior should hear about it.

If it is discussed with him by a Superior, then hopefully it will help him to improve.



You could send a letter or talk to your pastor, but just be aware that the priest can, in no way, defend himself without breaking the seal. We have a priest in our parish who is horrible at confessions. He upsets too many people. But he is foreign. Perhaps it is cultural, perhaps not. We have just spread the word not to go to this priest for confession if at all possible. I went to him once and will never again, because he doesn’t listen, and he seems to have a thing against women.


Report it to the Bishop so he can do something about it.

I would not CC the priest nor mention it to him. I would tell the bishop you have been restricted in confessing 1 or 2 sins and then cut off when you have more to confess.

We have a right to confess our sins and unrestricted. In the mean time, if you are able, I would go some place else.


I have had a very bad experience, considered contacting the bishop, but let it drop because I don’t think anything will happen. Our diocese is running on very few priests. Who am I amongst the thousands in each parish? I am encouraged to write to the bishop, however, because I wish it upon no one else to have to go through what I did.


Report this by all means. There is no excuse for a Priest being this indifferent to someone who is trying to confess their sins. I have had a couple of bad experiences myself. I managed to finally report one priest as his approach was beyond rude and indifferent. He got transferred as one result.

Your other option is to go back to this Priest, and rather than give a confession tell him your would not bother to do so because he is rude and does not seem to care about his vocation. Further, I would tell him that you would tell everyone possible how terrible he is as a confessor. Then I would walk out. Yes, I would scold a priest.

They are not above reproach and maybe he might take a harder look at himself. I am tired of priests who think they are gods and above being told off when it is due.


go talk to him and tell him that you felt very uncomfortable in confession. Depending on how he responds you than go forward. You may need to remind him what he said or just explain what happened, I’m not sure how the seal applies, if you talk to the priest outside of the confessional about your own confession.

Note: if you go to someone in higher authority they will first ask did you talk to the priest.


The priest cannot answer questions regarding a confession.
That is why I think it is best to go to the Bishop as if he is doing this, restricting, the Bishop needs to correct him and you don’t worry if he MIGHT break the seal or can’t talk about it because it deals with a confession.


I, too, feel bad for you, and the priest, about this incidence.

Don’t report anything to a superior until first you have talk to him, personally, and only about this instance.

At the same time, you should be praying for the priest.

Then, depending on his reaction, and if this attitude and behavior continues, then take it to his superior.

If everyone went immediately to the Bishop based on a less than cordial interaction with a parish priest, the Bishop and his staff would have no time for their other responsibilities.


the problem is based on what you said nothing can be done.

if you go tell the bishop without informing the priest, than you put the priest in a difficult situation he can’t defend himself because he can’t break the seal. IF you go to the priest and tell him what he did, he could say in that situation I did x for this reason.

go to the priest and tell him I was uncomfortable in confession. Tell him what he did than that will be out of the seal so nothing that happened in the confessional needs to brought out.


Why do you think nothing can be done?
It happened at ours and the priest was corrected and stopped.


I am glad to hear this.


The priest can’t defend himself. If you just go straight to the bishop without first talking to the priest.

a canon lawyer or someone who knows this stuff well may need to correct me. But if the penitent approaches the priest outside of the confessional and says exactly what happened the priest won’t break the sacrament if he explains why he did in that situation. A penitent I believe can talk to the priest about what happened in confession. I don’t know how the seal applies in those situations though.

note: i did overreact a little, but any time you think something bad happens with a sacrament talk to the priest FIRST than go to the bishop.


What you do is you write the Bishop and give name of priest and that you are being restricted of how many sins you can confess.
The Bishop then gets to speak with the priest and correct him. The priest can be corrected without breaking the seal (even mentioning sins - don’t mention sins in letter to Bishop) and that SHOULD be that.
Ask the Bishop you would like to remain anonymous and the priest will not know who went to the Bishop and everyone benefits! Priest is corrected and you are not put in a situation that could cause angst.


The priest doesn’t have to defend himself.
If he is doing it, and the OP is not lying, then he needs to stop.
That is really it.
If the priest is not doing it, then he gets to listen to his sweet father, the Bishop, and say yes sir.


And to underscore it, the Bishop could send out a letter to all of his priests informing them that this is not allowed.
There are so many ways he can deal with it.

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