Scared of Confessing


So I need to go to confession today. I need to confess to feelings of lust. But the thing is, I’m terrified to. My pastor wants me to do my confessions now face to face; he recognized my voice last time and asked me to come to the face to face side. Im really scared and embarrassed to confess to lust again. I know everyone says priests have heard it all before, but I’m still scared that he’ll think of that sin every time he see’s me. I’ll admit, I have a problem. I always think people are judging me because in my past experience, they have been. I have no problem confessing sins. It’s just this one, after I swore to myself I wasn’t going to lust anymore(however hopeless that thought may be), I’m totally scared to confess; especially face to face. Help?


I am sure priests themselves can have feelings of lust too since they are human too. Don’t worry, if he is worth anything as a priest he will not think bad of you but he would be happy that you trusted him enough to open up in tellinf him your sins. We all have feelings of lust every once in awhile to different degrees.


Try to think that you are going to confession for God and for obtaining his forgiveness and that nothing else matters: neither the way the priest will react to your sins, or if he will remember them or not (which I’m sure he will not), or if you will be embarrassed or not. Try not to think about yourself, but focus your attention on God. You could also offer your embarrassment to atone for all the sins of pride committed in the world. This motivates me sometimes to get over a difficult moment.:wink:


Maybe you can try to figure out what you are scared of. Is it judgement of the priest? I suggest you mention how scared you are to the priest. Also remember confession is about forgiveness and love not punishment or judgement. Pope Franciscans said confession is not to be a torture chamber. Which makes me smile because it sometimes does feel that way :slight_smile:

That said I read your other posts and see you are new back to the faith. These things take time to work out. I remember being very afraid of confession got when I came back to confession. Focus on Love and how much God loves you rather than how sinful you are. God bless!


First of all, unless you are confessing in an Eastern Rite church, the pastor can ask all he wants, you are not required to confess face to face. I prefer it, but it is your right to confess behind a screen. Give it a try, though. You might find that face-to-face has advantages that you hadn’t considered.

We all have those sins that we bring to confession time and time again. Yours is different from mine, and perhaps yours is different from your confessors. Sin is the human condition. My confessor once said to me, when I was in a moment of whining about my lack of progress and everyone the supposed superiority of every one else, "If you could hear what I hear, you would no that there is no one who is better. We’re all walking through this valley of tears. " You fell. Get back up. You’ll fall again. Get up. Some sins we may not overcome this side of heaven. What matters is that we keep getting back up, asking for God’s mercy in confession.


[quote=babochka]First of all, unless you are confessing in an Eastern Rite church, the pastor can ask all he wants, you are not required to confess face to face. I prefer it, but it is your right to confess behind a screen.

This is absolutely true, Canon Law says this…

[quote=Canon 964 §2.]The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that the faithful who wish to can use them freely.

In the United States the complementary norm on this Canon says…

[quote=Complementary Norm of the USCCB for Canon 964 §2.]Provision must be made in each church or oratory for a sufficient number of places for sacramental confessions which are clearly visible, truly accessible, and which provide a fixed grille between the penitent and the confessor. Provision should also be made for penitents who wish to confess face-to-face, with due regard for the Authentic Interpretation of canon 964, §2 by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, July 7, 1998

Regardless of the country in which you are in as long as you are confessing in the Latin Rite then you are guaranteed anonymity. In addition priests should not tell you that they know it is you behind the screen. It makes penitents feel uncomfortable and essentially removes the purpose of the screen in the first place. Nothing prevents you from going to a different parish and/or priest for confession;however, it is best to choose a good confessor and stay with him regardless of embarrassment or shame.


Not precisely. One is guaranteed the right to confess behind a screen or fixed grill. This does not guarantee anonymity. Propriety, rather than anonymity, was the original reason for the screen.


What makes for a “good confessor?” :confused:


I had a similar fear.
When I confessed face to face, I reminded myself that the priest in standing in the person of Jesus. I began to see myself speaking directly to Jesus. Made the chance of me falling back into that particular sin pretty minimal in the future. because I remembered the gentle and forgiving countenance of Our Lord. And I couldn’t bring myself to toss that aside. It brought home for me, the loving nature of confession. I stopped thinking about it as a public display of my shame, and more a invitation to return to Him.
It’s reconciliation. Think of that. reconciling peace.

Peace to you,


That’s a good question. For us, a confessor is like a “doctor of souls.” And just as there are all kinds of medical doctors, priests also come into the confessional with their own personality, and the sum of their training and life experience. Thankfully, any validly ordained priest can administer the sacrament of confession, regardless of their personality or whether or not we feel compatible with them. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to find a good “fit” - a priest we feel comfortable enough with to bare our soul and accept any recommendation he might offer. This is what I think of when I consider the term a “good confessor”, and the qualities will vary from person to person. Many of us need a more gentle, pastoral approach, while some others prefer a more tough, no-nonsense type of confessor.


Is there another parish with confessions within 45 minutes of where you live? Google it. The guy might not recognize you there or might let you confess through a grail. Or disguise your voice in confession.


Anyone with an honest heart can relate to what you are going through. We all have fallen, and most of us have struggled with what I call “sticky sins”.
With one sin way back in the past that I was so embarrassed to confess, I would drive miles to another parish, rather than confess to the same priest. I was only really fooling myself, and in a way, allowing myself to continue to sin. Looking back at this, I have to question my level of repentence. Finally I made a decision, the same priest, no matter what. And it was difficult. Thank God for the grace of perseverance. Eventually, in a moment of great temptation, everything that was in me yelled out, (interiorly and exteriorly) NO MORE! It almost seemed like it was a game that satan was playing with me, like a puppeter. The temptation eventually left, through the Grace of of the Healing Sacrament of Confession, and the grace to persevere. And I’m so grateful, for so many reasons. That victory led to another victory of an unhealthy habit, (smoking).

I think it’s important to remember that this is a Sacrament of Healing, like a second Baptism, it cleanses you of the sin. AND heals you.

John 5 1-18: Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me. Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.

I had to reflect on my own sinfulness, and reflect on Jesus asking me, in truth, “Do you want to get well?” When I had finally had enough of this dance with the devil, the sacrament and my own final honest repentence did indeed help.

Now I just have to deal with the other six deadly sins :shrug:

My prayers are with you! I’m sure everyone reading your posts agrees.


This is what I do, I go to other parish church and do my confession there so the priest would not recognized me. :wink:


You know, I used to be scared to death of face-to-face confession. I would always kneel behind the screen, and worried that Father would recognize my voice. After I fell away from the Church for 3 years, I recently made my first confession in that length of time last Thursday at the parish in the town I live in now. Have never met the Pastor up until then. It’s a small parish, so the confessions take place in his office. You walk in through the entrance to his office on the side of the sanctuary (there’s two entrances to his office) It was an interesting setup because when you walk in, there’s a kneeler and kinda “portable” screen by the entrance. However, he sits at his desk a few feet away. He can clearly see whoever walks in since the screen was short. So I figured, well I may as well sit at his desk and do the face-to-face confession, I don’t know him and he already saw me walk-in. Anyways, I’ll be honest, I was VERY nervous to the point of shaking for a brief moment. But as soon as he started giving Pastoral advice, I felt an absolute peace come over me. I think I was really scared at first, because I didn’t know him and he was silent during the beginning. All he did was make the sign of the cross, I said “Ave Maria Purissima” and he said the response and I went on to confessing my sins. Man I was nervous. But I felt so much better after he gave me his advice. I walked out with my head held high and giving thanks to Jesus for his Sacrament of Reconciliation. Pray about it. Ask St. Michael and our Blessed Mother to intercede for you and grant you strength. :thumbsup:


well-reconciliation-the way i experience it-would be to, afterwards, take the eucharist with joy…generally, i might discuss a weakness with a confessor, in hopes that i might form a better conscience-just speaking for myself; i would add there are good confessors and extrodinary confessors; but if agreeable, here on this forum-i publicaly mention the sacrament (christ present), itself-reveals a servant-that being the greatest servant-jesus; i would add, by my personal faith; mother mary is servant…and the priest a servant…the greatest in the kingdom is a servant…I think christ present in the sacraments, including confession…is the beginning of strength in many virtures…despite the sin…;

.therein found a giving of gifts; or while the rosary and gifts might be discussed is how many strengths are there to be asked for on the rosary(often penance is an our father or hail mary) …the spiritual trend being weakness to strength…
so some people consider virtues as strengths-wikipedia summarizes many:
Temperance, prudence, courage, justice;spiritual virtues-faith, hope, love/From a young Ben Franklin-
Silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, …moderation, cleanliness, tranquility/
As stated, from Wikipedia, suggested virtues as emotions/love, kindness, joy, faith, awe, pity./
Expanding values to life and values…(three) as reason, purpose, self-esteem;
From psychology-transcendence and wisdom; those virtues of self-efficacy via perseverance and persistence; those of kindness, forgiveness and compassion…From Maslow’s research-then adding beauty, uniqueness and playfulness…
society and america have changed since ben franklin’s time…life is more difficult…via rapid change and media…so maybe i am wrong on a replacement theory of lust verses virtue…persuasive is moreover christ present- persuasive is when the benefits are much more than the anxious state before walking into the confessional door. thx patrick


A priest may not oblige a penitent to confess face-to-face.


oh, one other thing( i am no theological expert by the way); and it might be just me…but i am well practiced at not having eye contact with the confessor…all be it face to face…i usually shut my eyes after being seated…but that allows me to pray…and listen to the confessor very closely…(i don’t think this is ‘closed eyes’ due to feeling shame-rather concentration…) to add, impromptu…for some reason -given one out of two priests-- that by chance one consistently seems better than another-to make you comfortable…or suggesting the better penance, or offering very practical advice…but then, i probably have a set perception on my part; indeed, i have went to another parish-just to avoid one priest…(by the way-that one of whom -i avoided- …he was removed by the bishop for having a sexual affair-this is public information in the diocese)…i suppose if you live long enough-you may see a lot…Fortunately, the catholic church has the sacrament of confession…(as protestants churches don’t ); that being the case, one is pressed in the human condition to be reconcilled, not pressured/the advantage being sometimes-if one has to just speak and get something off their chest-if only to if just to talk to another person-or say -of if one really feels the need to say ‘I am sorry…’
thx patrck


Just to update things, confession went great. I really think the Lord gave me strength to confess it and now I am not scared to confess anything. BTW, when it comes to having to do the confession face to face, its really just me. I personally think its a little silly to go back behind the screen after seeing him face to face. Feel like I need to man up and confess now face to face. But it went great. Thanks everyone


Glad to hear it went well. In my experience, I usually go to confession 20 minutes or so before a weekday mass, so it’s almost always face to face, and I’ve found the advice from the priest to be much better, as he knows who he’s talking to, and can tailor his advice properly, or ask additional questions if he needs to. One thing I’ve noticed as well, is priests do NOT remember what you’ve confessed, they really don’t. One priest told me he figures it’s a grace, that God wipes his memory, or prevents it from entering his memory. But priests do hold the seal of confession in great regard, so he will not react differently to you after confession than before. But again, I am glad your confession went well - it is a great blessing to receive the forgiveness and healing of Christ through this oft-underused sacrament.


I believe nobody should be obliged to confess face to face. However, if that is not possible in your parish, you can always go to another parish where the priests don’t know you; you have already “confessed” to us, to people who do not know you! Also, in the past sometimes I have found it helpful to write down my sins on a piece of paper and read them off from that. You somehow distance yourself from your feelings of embarrassment that way.

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