Was this confession valid??


This past weekend I was at a retreat where I went to confession. I confessed several sins in regard to my relationship with my husband–not being submissive, being unkind and impatient. I have been struggling with contraceptive issues, as I am a convert, and my husband is still Protestant. I am pregnant my fourth child in 6 years, the last 2 “unplanned” due to trying to use NFP. I have wondered if I were sinning by taking these issues in my own hands and pressuring my husband to not contracept. I guess I don’t know where the line is in respecting his role as leader and obeying Church teaching. (I have done some research on this matter and know the “rules”, as in I am allowed to have relations with him if he chooses to contracept on his own.) I am/was just trying to do a good examination of conscience and felt it was something I needed to confess. The priest in this confession acted as if none of the sins I confessed were even sins, and then went on to recommend that we check into our options for contraception! He did give me absolution, but I had to ask for a penance. I left feeling completely unsettled, and I do not know where to go from here. Please help!

Please forgive me for the long post.


Dear LC,

The absolution was valid—even though the priest was in error. I would suggest that you find another confessor. I know that this is not always an easy thing to do. If you contact me privately, telling me where you live, I might be able to help you find an orthodox Catholic confessor.

Your concerns are on the right track. God’s hand is on you. It is only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that you have such concerns. You are in my prayers and know that you are not alone. I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who struggle as you do. The Lord is much closer to you that you can imagine.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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