Too ashamed to confess at my own parish


I find myself too ashamed to confess at my own parish and often times will travel to another parish to go to confession.

I always feel like even though you are behind a screen that the priest knows who you are and may recognize your voice… and perhaps this would make things “weird” in the future.

Does anyone else do this? Or am I crazy?


Usually, I don't confess to our Parish Priest because I am ashamed too, and confess to other churches which are nearer to us. The priest told me that it is okay to confess our sins to other Priests if we are not comfortable to our own Parish Priest, as long as we repent to our sins.


I think you are normal !!!


I was wondering the same thing recently. Thanks for posting this. I won’t be baptized until next year but, I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable confessing to my parish priest. I live in a small town and the ick factor had me wondering. I think I’ll be confessing a few towns over when the time comes.


This is fairly common. There’s nothing wrong with going to another parish priest if you’re that ashamed, but you should consider that it is very dangerous to put off confession if you’ve committed a mortal sin. Better to suffer shame and embarrassment before your regular confessor than risk dying in a car accident, etc., before you get to another parish and receive absolution.

Also, confessing to the same priest may in fact help you avoid further sin. He’s there to sit in Jesus’ place in the sacrament of penance, and if he hears that you’ve committed the same sin over and over again, it might be that you could use a little admonishment. Such confessions can be a true act of humility and submission before God. Chances are, though, that he’s not going to give you a hard time about whatever you’re telling him. God is merciful, and so are his holy priests.

In any case, what matters most is that you repent truly, seek forgiveness, and get to the confessional sooner than later, no matter which priest you see. God bless you!


I don’t think it matters where you confess, but you should confess, and you should try to use the same confessor every time, so the priest will know you better and will be able to help you better.


Going to the same priest every time is a good idea.. kind of like going to the same doctor every time.


In our case, we have a lot of Catholic churches here in our community.


I actually don’t know anyone who confesses to their own parish’s priests. I mean, I imagine it must happen, but…

I have an “excuse:” I live in a country whose language I speak with some difficulty, so in order to be more comfortable and certain I’m getting the right thought across I confess to an English-speaking priest 140 miles (222 km) away. I don’t get the same priest every time I go, but it’s usually one of two. Unfortunately, I can only get there once every three months. So I’m gearing up to learn to confess in the local language and to confess to my parish priest, who, to my knowledge, does not speak much English (if any). I recently had a 45-minute appointment with him (just a chat, not a confession) in which I laid absolutely everything on the table - my past misdeeds (already confessed), my present concerns and challenges - so there is no longer anything I would be ashamed to tell him because he has heard the worst of it already. I want to get to the point where I confess to him only, and I’m hoping he is open to becoming my spiritual director. I’m blessed to have an exceptional parish priest, probably the best I have ever had, and it would be a shame not to come under his guidance in these matters.

This is not to say I’m not nervous about taking this step - I am absolutely terrified. :frighten: Wish me luck! :gopray2:


You are not crazy, a lot of other people do that, and you have the freedom to do so. The problem that I see is that the shame that you carry might be what will help you to stop sinning. If we are not scrupulous then it might be quite good for us to feel ashamed and to truly face our weaknesses. However, if such shame would prevent us from confessing our sins than we should play it a little bit safer and confess to a different priest. Just remember that the priest does not make any difference, what really matter is the way God looks at you and the way you look at yourself. Once you are absolved and outside of the confessional you will be the only one still judging yourself for your past sins.


I’ve done it, but I don’t think it makes much difference, at least in my parish. First, we have standard anonymous confessionals. You don’t see the priest; the priest doesn’t see you. Second, I usually go to confession before weekday afternoon Mass. There’s nearly always a line. The line moves fairly quickly and the priest most often asks the penitent to say the act of contrition in the pew, not the confessional, to save time. The average time for a confession is about 2 minutes. By the time the priest rushes into the sacristy to prepare for Mass, I doubt that he remembers what was confessed, let alone by whom, even if he thought he recognized their voice, which he doesn’t because he’s not trying to, and its a large parish!


I live in Guatemala in a small town. There is no screen. You confess in front of the Priest ,while the rest of the congregation continue in their adoration of the Holy Eucarist. Plus I have to confess in a foreign language. Spanish. Not complaining, just be thankful where you are. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:


Yes, I am indeed thankful! But even where you are, I guess one ought to be thankful for the mere presence of a priest to hear confessions. There have been times and places and probably still are, where a priest is unavailable for months at a time.


[quote="UpUpAndAway, post:9, topic:288662"]
I actually don't know anyone who confesses to their own parish's priests. I mean, I imagine it must happen, but...


I do. I'm one of those odd ones.

He is a wonderful confessor, and since he has been at my parish (5 years,now) I've had no reason to go anywhere else. I have interactions with him outside of the confessional, and it does not feel awkward or strange.

Emailing him for an appointment for confession a few months ago felt a little weird, but it all worked out.


I confess to my parish priest. I like him a lot and he’s very easy to talk to.

But when I first moved here, we had a different priest, and we didn’t get along so well, so I went elsewhere to confess. I have done face to face and behind a screen, in a box, and once where the priest was right there but had his back turned to me.

Do we have to confess in the priest’s spoken language, or can someone who speaks English confess to someone who speaks Spanish, or Italian etc. ???
For some reason, I thought it didn’t matter if the priest understood the confession or not…???


It's all good, Jesus loves that you are going to confession. He is excited to be closer to you.


This is my first post and it appears that this is as good a thread I as have seen to make this post. I would agree that going outside the parish for confession is something preferable in my opinion. Of course, I am saying this because I have not been to confession in 22 years when my wife and I both went before we were married. This despite the fact that I rarely miss Mass and try to be a good Catholic. I can give excuses and reasons for this but that is beside the point. I intend to go immediately. The primary motivating factor is that I need to confess the fact that I wanted our long time nanny/housekeeper to be free of her domineering husband who treated her very badly. He was verbally and sometimes physically abusive to her and has the mentality of a 12th century primative who believes a wife is a slave. A while ago, he began to have a number of health issues, primairly heart disease. He had bypass surgery, then developed cancer, all of which responded well to medical treatment. I was not happy about this to be perfectly honest because this women still has her health, she is a saint in every sense of that word, and has been taking abuse for over 55 years from this person. She is simply a wonderful human being and did not deserve the abuse. "Why does he just do her the courtesy and leave this life," I used to say. This is a person being kept alive by the finest medical technology has to offer and for what? To keep a detestable human being alive.

Well, he passed away today. Certainly, she is very upset and while I am concerned with her mental stablilty right now, I cannot help but think she is finally free and I am not sad about the fact that the man is gone. For this, I feel I need to speak to a priest and start going to regular confession. It will be outside of my parish.

Any thoughts are welcome.


I confess to my parish priest, but it took me a long time to be willing to do so. I am a member of a very small parish and my priest and I know each other quite well. I always thought it would be awkward, especially because Confession in the Byzantine Rite is always face to face. I finally went to him one day out of necessity. It had been a long time since my last confession and I was having a difficult time getting out on Saturday afternoon due to my kids' schedules. Father and I both happened to be at the church one day, and I asked him if he had time to hear my confession. There was no awkwardness (other than the fact that I'm always uncomfortable during Confession) and he has turned out to be a wonderful Confessor. I now only confess to another priest out of necessity.


I’ve never had a problem confessing to my parish priest, in fact, I’ve not known anyone who doesn’t :shrug: I’m not saying they don’t, just have never known anyone who doesn’t.


It sounds like you have a wonderful situation, and I’m glad you are blessed in this way. I’m hoping to have such an arrangement myself, which is why I’m preparing to take the leap from confession in English four times per year to confession in French every month (or more often, if my parish priest [Fr. B] and/or I think I need it). I’m especially happy for you that your interactions with your confessor outside the confessional are comfortable. I unfortunately do not have a similar situation - my interactions with Fr. B are usually awkward, strange, and often quite schizophrenic - but I’m reasonably confident it will come. I do get on with our other priests rather effortlessly, so it might seem odd that I would insist on confessing to the one with whom I have the most difficulty, but I am drawn to him because I know he will tell me what I need to hear, which is not necessarily what I want to hear. He challenges me. I need the challenge.

(For the record, my relationship with Fr. B does also include relaxed, tender, and sometimes even funny moments. It’s not all thunder and lightning. I don’t think I could confess regularly - or even at all - to someone with whom my interactions were always tense and uncomfortable.)

I’m happy for you also that you have a confessor with whom you feel comfortable right in your own parish. It’s very important!

I have been told that as well, and that would work for me if I’m only seeking absolution. In my case I also want guidance and, eventually, spiritual direction. For that, my confessor and I will need to understand each other. I do speak French - two people cannot have a 45-minute conversation without being able to speak a common language - I’m just not all that comfortable with it. There are times when I simply do not understand what he is saying. :shrug: He gets exasperated when he has to repeat himself three or four times (I’m also a bit deaf, which doesn’t help…come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned that to him…maybe I should :D). So this ain’t gonna be easy, but my mind is made up.

So you have the opposite situation from me. To be honest, I’m glad to hear it! My mother, who confesses to her parish priest with whom she doesn’t particularly get along, told me that if I don’t confess often to someone who sees me regularly, the absolution may be valid but I won’t have a good opportunity to get help in overcoming my shortcomings and avoiding future sin. It would be like treading water vs. actually swimming. Having taken that on board, I eventually came to conclusion that I need to find a regular confessor, someone who sees me often outside the confessional as well, who can gauge my progress and advise me accordingly. So that’s where I am today.

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