SPLIIT: Confession/reversion hassles


As a revert, who remembers a time when Saturday night confessions were the norm EVERY WEEK so you were in a state of grace for communion the next day, I do not understand how or why this situation has evolved. When did ‘once a year’ come in to play? Why was it impressed upon me as a child the need to confess no less frequent than once a week? THE problem here is that there are in no way enough priests. Its the elephant in the room that nobody addresses. Why? Can you seriously believe that 1500-2500 families can be served by one or two priests? The Eastern Orthodox say its about 150 souls per priest. There are a lot of Roman Catholic souls hurting out there. We have no spiritual direction, we are not receiving the sacraments, we fall away because of it, and some of us never return.

I am sorry for your predicament, HeadingBackHome. It may be why I am no longer RC. I have access to a priest weekly.


Since the Fourth Lateran Counsel in 1216.

More info from previous posts:

Also, from the Baltimore Catechism 1941:
Q. 909. When are we bound to receive Holy Communion?
A. We are bound to receive Holy Communion, under pain of mortal sin, during the Easter time and when in danger of death. baltimore-catechism.com/lesson23.htm

To me, this has more to do with timing and logistics. It’s easier for me to get to see my RC priest than my EC priest.


I believe by "once a year " he was speaking of confession.


Correct. I went to amend my post with the following from the 1941 Baltimore Catechism, but the time had expired:

  1. Which are the chief commandments, or laws, of the Church? The chief commandments, or laws, of the Church are these six:

  2. To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holydays of obligation.

  3. To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.

  4. To confess our sins at least once a year.

  5. To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.

  6. To contribute to the support of the Church.

  7. To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.

It stands to reason that 3 & 4 go hand in hand, lest one receive unworthily.


Once a week was recommended to you POSSIBLY as a teaching aid for kids. It’s not the norm, and never has been.
You must confess mortal sins as they occur, and at LEAST once a year. It is noted on the USCCB website that the Church would like each person to go to confession at least twice a year, regardless of the type of sin, recommending also, Advent and Lent as great time, since there are always Penance services offered with no less than 15 priests in attendance for the convenience of the laity. Of course, one can go to confession weekly if you so desire, but likely the priest will tell you that of you are not in a state of mortal sin, that it’s not necessary. We have regularly scheduled confessions weekly. Rarely are more than 7 people in line.
Venial sins are remitted as part of the Mass (see Confiteor). Receiving unworthily has to do with having a mortal sin on your soul. While it is a laudable practice, you do NOT have to go to confession before communion. Many immigrants from Mexico in parish are also misinformed thus, causing the Spanish speaking priest to feature it as a frequent topic of his weekly homilies.
The “elephant in the room” that you speak of is the fact that the laity are not well catechized. From the beginning.


I am concerned that this may be an occasion for others reading this thread to likewise be misinformed with that same error. It is unfortunate that someone wrongly catechized you, stating that you must go to confession weekly, and it was never corrected all during your adult years. It simply is not true, and dear, I am well over 60 years old, attended Catholic school all my life, and never heard such a seriously wrong teaching.

Please read the Church’s instruction from our AAA Apologist, who is quoting Canon Law 989.

Q. Is a Catholic required to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once a year if he/she has not committed a mortal sin?

A. No. Church law requires confession only of grave (mortal) sins at least once a year. If a person has committed no mortal sins, he is not obligated to go to confession. Code of Canon Law (CIC) states, “After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year” (CIC 989).

It is also very problematic that you disdain the Church over something that was so easy to be corrected. Maybe it is true that you did not like the answer, nor desire to seek the truth, preferring to be angry at the Church. How unfortunate!


Have I put the cart before the horse? So who is to blame for the faulty catechesis? Lack of priests? I brought up ‘elephant in the room’ because no one locally wants to address this issue and they seem like frogs in a kettle of water over a fire. They are used to it (the lack of clergy) and have devised a wacky system to deal with the shortage:

Confessions by appointment
Delayed sacraments
Eucharistic ministers handing out the elements
Absence of spiritual guidance

The water is boiling.

My confessions a burden for our overworked parish priest?

I live in a large diocese and every church in my area has confession scheduled at least one time a week and often twice. I can drive no more than 15 mins and go to confession any day of the week. This is not to mention mass offerred twice a day and Eucharistic Adoration 12 hours a day Monday through Saturday.

I have set up personal meetings with my priest with zero problems. On fact I usually have to assure him it’s not an emergency and can wait a week or so to accommodate my schedule. He has always spent at least an hour with me.

So needless to say, your caricature of the church is not very accurate. At least not in liberal California.


To Sirach2,

Put yourself in my shoes… For over a year I attempted making appointments with priests. For months I was kept hanging by my home parish, they finally admitted they were limiting Father’s appointments because he was in the process of being transfered out of the area. That parish never got a permanent priest until just a few days ago. I have had my appointments canceled, I have had a priest not show up, leaving me waiting in the parking lot crying. I have had church office staff tell me week after week that the priest was not available that week to call next week. I finally get to talk to a priest and upon my second meeting, he had not remembered me or anything we talked about, therefore starting from square one. That priest has since retired due to failing health, Lord have mercy on these servants of God. I finally just gave up, I tried parish after parish here, all seem to be big, multi-Mass Sundays and they are just too big to be bothered by a peon of a badly catechized sinner like me. I am sorry.

Edited to add, I was formed Roman Catholic, and I tried my heart out trying to get back, I am still RC in my heart, just not content with the ways things turned out. I do not know the church anymore and it doesn’t know me. God knows.


One must take charge of their own education by seeking out well-formed Spiritual Directors, legitimate documents and good reading material. Faith Formation is a lifelong process.
Get certified as a catechist, and make a difference. The problem is not so much a priest shortage, as a tendency to want the answer NOW. TODAY. These things take time to really learn and absorb. We operate on the Lord’s time, not our own. For every person that is demanding something of a priest today, there are a hundred in line who believe their situation is more important than yours.
There is nothing at all wrong with confession by appointment.
The priest may delay Sacraments if a person is simply not ready.
Eucharistic ministers don’t “hand out” anything, This is a whole other argument that I’m not even going to dignify with a response.
One can obtain a Spiritual Director by asking for a list of approved Directors from the Diocese. Call them.
Turn the stove off.


Put yourself in your pastor’s shoes. If you expected to be given private appointments for WEEKLY confessions, then I can appreciate that you might get a cold shoulder after awhile… Especially if the priest is aware that the content of your confessions is venial matter. I am wondering if he instructed you about that, but you still believed it is absolutely necessary to go every week. Wouldn’t that be called overly scrupulous?

Now let’s assume, by a wide stretch of the imagination, that you committed mortal sins every week after a resolving to avoid these sins in a good confession the week before. Obviously, there is a problem with this, and you would need spiritual direction for either a lax conscience that has no intentions of giving up mortal sin, and/or spiritual counsel in overcoming addicting sins. I suspect, though, that the weekly confession of sin is venial in matter, which may be absolved in the penitential rite of the mass or a sincere act of contrition.


Miscommunication. The appointments were not for confessions. I was told I needed to speak to a priest, to begin revert process. All paperwork must be initialized by a priest. Once you are on the inside everything falls into place. You can receive the sacraments, you can heal, you can grow in the faith. But if you are ever outside, as I was because it was my parents who left the church with me as a child, it is very hard getting someone’s attention. You are ignored. God never ignored me. I am not angry as I am intensely sad by the way I have been treated. I wish that no other soul on earth has to go through that. So don’t get mad when I suggest to every male child that they should consider the priesthood. I have a story to tell.


Then the leap to miscommunication is on your end. You began complaining that priests are not available for weekly confessions, and stated, " It may be why I am no longer RC. I have access to a priest weekly."

It appears you still believe you must go to confession weekly or be unable to receive the Eucharist. Maybe you should stay in the Maronite rite.


with all due respect, you have said this so many times, and so many times I have wondered why you just didn’t change parishes?
We’ve heard how hard it has been…in spades. But as I said, when someone does you wrong, you pick yourself up and move on. To another parish. There are far more lovely, inviting, warm parishes than the one you describe.
Listen, I was treated ghastly by the Catholic school in the area. But then I began working at a parish which is wonderful. I could come on here every day and bash the school, and I have plenty of stories to tell…yikes. :frowning:
Some of what you encountered was because you had bad information.
You still have some bad information. Become a certified catechist and make a difference.
Change starts with each of us. Pray for vocations yes, but get out there and make a difference.
Or… just keep posting about misery. :shrug:
Best wishes.


Unless you formally ‘defected,’ what paperwork is required of a revert? :confused:




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