When Priest Gives No Spiritual Advice in Confession

I went to confession on Friday, was the very first person in the line, and did not make a really long confession at all, but the priest basically said like 10 words, “Be open to the spiritual graces of Holy Week”, and then he absolved me.

Maybe I’m not used to going to confession enough, but it’s not very satisfying when you don’t get at least some little piece of encouragement or insight into your spiritual life concerning the sins you confessed etc.

I have to confess this is something of a complaint. Am I expecting too much here or should I just go to a different priest if I didn’t like the way he heard my confession? Does this happen to you in your past confessions? Seemed like it was just a race to get the confessions done as fast as humanly possible.


Priests sometimes anticipate a long line, and he probably did not want to elaborate on anything so as to get to the other people. Our lines at church are very long. You would think that they are giving something away.

Reminds me of stores on the Thanksgiving weekend.


The priest isn’t required to give advice so there’s no problem on his end. Perhaps because it’s the end of Lent he was anticipating a long line for confession and acted accordingly.

If you’re really looking for spiritual advice, a spiritual director is the way to go. You meet with someone who knows you and have enough time set aside to talk about what’s going on.


S.D. is nice and I suppose I agree with what you said, but 30 to 60 seconds of something would have been nice. I’m in a complainy mood this morning, I suppose.

Yeah, sometimes we just want a little more – not even all that much, but more than we got. Hang in there!


Usually the priest just says “remember, all that’s behind you.” or something like that in addition to the necessities from what I recall.

The confessional is not the same as spiritual direction.


He was busy, it sounds, and perhaps tired. Give the guy a break.

And perhaps you ought to think a bit more about what he said. How are you going to be open to the spiritual graces? What do you plan to do? Go to services? Talk to others? Vlog/Blog/journal? Prepare your house? Learn new prayers?

I think what he said merits much though–perhaps more than you seem to realize.

That would of gone well with Deacon’s homily this week on “I know you are busy, but Holy Week is unique”


It is quite common for a priest to simply ask you to make an Act of Contrition and then absolve your sins. Your sins have been absolved, rejoice and be glad.


This is Holy Week the busiest year of the week for priests.


Oh good grief. For some reason it would not edit. Week of the year


Then make sure you pray the Rosary more often…

The priest is likely saying the same thing to everybody who comes in who isn’t having some major, major problem because, like everyone else says, there are huge crowds at Confession this week.

I’m sure you can get some more detailed advice when you go after Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday are over. In the meantime, ask God to give you insight into how best to apply the busy priest’s advice,and pray for the priest.


I honestly hear that :wink:

Okay, as a routine confessant (likely word doesn’t exist, but it would mean the one who makes a Confession.) As one, on a really routine basis - O’ how I stumble and fall; O’ happy fault of Adam! :wink: I have gone through a dozen or more of priests. Just remember though: they are human, and they are called to priestly Apostolic Sacramenal Ministry. Each person is unique with their talents, gifts, and treasures. Some have charismas like the one you most emphatically want. And others don’t have. Be patient. I suffer this too. We’re all in the same boat, the storm is unsettling. We all want to walk on water through our Confession, as Saint Peter sought the counsel of Christ. And yet, he sank. We do too. But Jesus gave him courage and lifted him out of the water. You and me, the same. Just by going to Eucharistic Adoration can help. Just as Saint Peter kept going to Christ out of the boat.

I have had a priest, during Confession, offer me to go to his psychological seminar after saying it sounds like I have OCD. Mind you, in his ability as a man (just as Saint Peter meant well in telling Jesus not to go to Jerusalem.) Because, Jesus observed and told him: you think like men do. Priests will do the same. But the priest still gave me absolution. Another priest just said I was scrupulous, but also gave me absolution. And then my greatest and best moment in Confession was an Irish priest who could read my conscience, and that was the most memorable moment of Confession. The best. Because when I went to receive Jesus, in the Mass, I received Jesus from him. The priest offering me Jesus, said my name. It broke the tomb of my heart to Christ like Lazarus being called out of his grave. Then there were other times spiritual insight seemed broken and inconsistent between priests. But then again, God said: My ways are above your ways.

It just takes time. Keep going. Do be careful, cautious, prayerful. But do not be afraid. Be gentle as doves, but prudent as a serpent in the end.


Confession is confession. Not Spiritual Direction or counseling You’re blessed if they offer more and have the time but there’s nothing wrong with what he did.


This approach certainly impacts the dignity of the celebration. But the graces remain efficacious.

No, you’re not expecting too much, but on the other hand it is we who are repentant and offering to make recompense when we approach this sacrament. The point is to receive mercy and absolution. It is up to us to accept the terms.

Yes, I know priests who do not assume penitents want advice instead of absolution and a chance to have the consolation of making some amends. If your penance was to be open to the spiritual graces of Holy Week, well, you have your work cut out for you. Allow that openness to work on you before giving in to disappointment. I would see your reaction not as a sin but it is an opportunity for the tempter. Ask that the grace of Holy Week come to you without delay, so the work of the tempter on your downcast emotions will be defeated.

The dignity? Maybe the degree to which there are easily discernible consolations, maybe even the degree to which the sacrament directly helps the penitent overcome tempations to fall in similar ways in the future, but giving absolution without offering advice is not a slight on the dignity of the sacrament.


Obviously you need to commit sins more worthy of comment!

I certainly understand the desire for more direction. I think there is a natural desire for someone to say something to indicate they really heard and understood your particular sins. But the sacrament doesn’t require this.

I’ve gone to a priest who hardly speaks English and he never says anything other than the pennance and words of absolution. It is different but in that case a good reminder of the greatness of the sacrament, the efficacy of the priesthood regardless of native language, and the catholicity of the Church.

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The dignity of any sacrament is diminished when any or all of their parts are celebrated in a truncated fashion, with a lack of enthusiasm, or in a rushed manner. That’s an obvious fact easily observed.


Nothing was “truncated”…the OP didn’t get molly-coddled…that’s it. And if he really wanted sound spiritual advice, he doesn’t need much more than those words. Quite frankly, there would be much good done wiht less spoken many times.

Priests give spiritual advice!?! Be blessed you went to confession and found a priest willing to hear your confession. They are scarce, the ones that hear confession are busy, especially just before Easter when Catholics come out of the woodwork for their yearly ritual.

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