Who should I confess to?


#1

I saw a handsome man (a little older than me) at the grocery store a couple of months ago and kinda flirted with him. The following Sunday at Mass I saw him again. He's our new assistant pastor! :blush:

I don't think it's a sin that I flirted with him because I didn't know he was a priest (he didn't flirt back). The problem is now I still kinda have a crush on him. It's to the point that I've changed what time I go to Mass to avoid the ones he normally presides at (out of sight, out of mind). I haven't received Communion in a month because of this crush, which feels wrong (like it's a form of lust or something). I went to Confession last weekend, but he was the priest, and I couldn't bring myself to confess this to him. (so I still haven't received Communion)

What should I do?

Confess this to him? (I would hate for this to somehow become a stumbling block for him)

Set up a time to confess to the other priest in our parish? (I would be really uncomfortable since it would be face-to-face)
Confess to a priest at another parish? (What should I say if he asks me who the priest is?)

Should I start going to a different parish altogether to avoid him completely??? (out of sight, out of mind)


#2

Well, for the sake of your own sense of dignity, I hope the flirting was very light and wouldn't have violated any boundaries of propriety or decency if the man in question hadn't been a priest! Flirting can mean many things and cover a wide range of behaviors. You might want to revisit how you interact with attractive men in general. A commonly accepted (e.g. dictionary) definition is "to behave as if to indicate superficial rather than serious interest or attraction." That can cover a lot, from harmless joking to some pretty aggressively sexually suggestive behavior. Ask yourself where this incident fell on that continuum. Additionally, ask yourself if, had this man not turned out to be a parish priest, you would be sorry that you engaged in this behavior. As you know, sorrow for sin is a main ingredient in the recipe for confession and absolution.

I don't know what you can do to get rid of the crush you are experiencing, other than prayer and engaging yourself in wholesome activities, the busier the better. Every time you start finding yourself daydreaming about him, say a prayer and do something else! And actually, I'd attend a different Mass other than the one he says on Sundays, at least until you can overcome this "crush." You don't need to be battling this distraction at Mass, and need to be able to receive the Eucharist in a state of grace and free of distraction for the strength of your own soul.

To his credit, he didn't reciprocate the flirting. If he's attractive, it's probably happened to him before, and he's had to deal with it. He can probably deal with it pretty gracefully by now. However, if I were you, I'd understand completely if he gave you a wide berth at parish functions for quite some time!

I'd go to a different priest, confess what happened, and then remember the incident, if only to avoid any provocative behavior when you see the new assistant pastor in the future. Obviously, if the priest hearing your confession asks who the recipient of the flirting was, you'd have to answer him honestly. You can ask a different confessor on advice on how to handle the situation as well as how to deal with crushes in general.

"Amending my life" in the act of contrition means learning from sin how to not sin in the future. Changing behavior and patterns of thinking is what you're after here.


#3

You recognize the sensitivity of the situation and you are seeking to resolve it by turning to confession. Thus you are doing what is proper.

If married, flirting with any man can be dangerous simply because flirting is much like the ocean - no matter which way you swim in the middle of it you find yourself in deep water.

Find another priest at a different parish, confess, do your penance and Thank God for His mercy. Then move on having learned a lesson but let go of the sin. God will forgive you thus forgive yourself.

Pax Christi


#4

[quote="SHoJ, post:1, topic:307151"]
I saw a handsome man (a little older than me) at the grocery store a couple of months ago and kinda flirted with him. The following Sunday at Mass I saw him again. He's our new assistant pastor! :blush:

I don't think it's a sin that I flirted with him because I didn't know he was a priest (he didn't flirt back). The problem is now I still kinda have a crush on him. It's to the point that I've changed what time I go to Mass to avoid the ones he normally presides at (out of sight, out of mind). I haven't received Communion in a month because of this crush, which feels wrong (like it's a form of lust or something). I went to Confession last weekend, but he was the priest, and I couldn't bring myself to confess this to him. (so I still haven't received Communion)

What should I do?

Confess this to him? (I would hate for this to somehow become a stumbling block for him)

Set up a time to confess to the other priest in our parish? (I would be really uncomfortable since it would be face-to-face)
Confess to a priest at another parish? (What should I say if he asks me who the priest is?)

Should I start going to a different parish altogether to avoid him completely??? (out of sight, out of mind)

[/quote]

Woops. :blush:

First of all, the other priest is not going to ask you about which brother priest it is! :eek: Remember, priests have heard EVERYTHING in confession so this will not be the first time any priest has heard of this problem. Go to another parish for your own comfort. If you did choose to confess this to the other priest at your parish, the seal of confession would protect you so that nothing would ever be said to the priest you flirted with.

I hope this taught you a lesson about flirting with unknown men. What if he HAD NOT been a priest, he was married, but flirted back? Then what???

Pray to Mary for her intercession. Say the rosary as often as possible. Whenever you think of that priest, say a Hail Mary immediately. Pretty soon your crush will fade away. And then you can pray for him as a priest, because our priests need prayer.


#5

If yo are mentally prepared you can even confess directly to him, because he represents the eternal high priest there. and also a priest is not suppose to carry with him what he hear while doing his sacred duty. Above all he would be the right person to give you advice.
But if you find it difficult to confess to him, please approach any other priest for confessing the sins is more important than the minister. And always to see Jesus in the confessional. This can make every confession a fruitful one. If the priest insists for the identity of the priest don’t hesitate , because he hasn’t done anything wrong.


#6

In addition to going to confession in whatever parish or whatever way works, you might consider starting to attend his Masses. Seeing him at the altar might be a good way of putting him in his proper role.


#7

The priest is not actually permitted to ask for names in the Confessional, so you should not have to worry about that. Further, this is one of the reasons why priests should wear their collars, especially the younger ones gifted with attractive qualities. Because you didn't know he was a priest, there is no additional sin of sacrilege on your end, so as far as sin is concerned, in your conscience, he wasn't a priest at the time this happened, thus it doesn't have to be mentioned in the Confessional. Now you know he's a priest, so if you see him in public in civies, then you know not to flirt with him.

If it's face-to-face Confession, I'd go somewhere else because some priests, especially the younger ones, can be sensitive to these things and may become overly paranoid and interaction becomes awkward. I know of one priest who is like this with single young women. I thought it was just me until my friends told me it's how he is, and that "he's not as bad as he used to be." Good to know.


#8

This is excellent advice. Flirting can mean different things. A little friendly banter in the grocery store is usually OK. Suggestive talk or posturing is something you shouldn't be doing with anyone you don't know - priest or not!

You may be making too much of this because of your embarrassment. Go to confession the next scheduled time (at any parish) and say "I flirted with a man who I later found out is a priest." Period. You don't need to say which priest or where because it really doesn't matter.

As for how to get over the crush, time will do that. I think that it would probably help to see him at church because then you won't imagining so much. He may not be as good looking as you remember, or you will simply get used to his looks.

Prayer, and the Eucharist, will help. Get to confession because this is bothering you unduly and then you can go back to communion and your usual devotions with a clear heart.

[quote="odile53, post:2, topic:307151"]
Well, for the sake of your own sense of dignity, I hope the flirting was very light and wouldn't have violated any boundaries of propriety or decency if the man in question hadn't been a priest! Flirting can mean many things and cover a wide range of behaviors. You might want to revisit how you interact with attractive men in general. A commonly accepted (e.g. dictionary) definition is "to behave as if to indicate superficial rather than serious interest or attraction." That can cover a lot, from harmless joking to some pretty aggressively sexually suggestive behavior. Ask yourself where this incident fell on that continuum. Additionally, ask yourself if, had this man not turned out to be a parish priest, you would be sorry that you engaged in this behavior. As you know, sorrow for sin is a main ingredient in the recipe for confession and absolution.

I don't know what you can do to get rid of the crush you are experiencing, other than prayer and engaging yourself in wholesome activities, the busier the better. Every time you start finding yourself daydreaming about him, say a prayer and do something else! And actually, I'd attend a different Mass other than the one he says on Sundays, at least until you can overcome this "crush." You don't need to be battling this distraction at Mass, and need to be able to receive the Eucharist in a state of grace and free of distraction for the strength of your own soul.

To his credit, he didn't reciprocate the flirting. If he's attractive, it's probably happened to him before, and he's had to deal with it. He can probably deal with it pretty gracefully by now. However, if I were you, I'd understand completely if he gave you a wide berth at parish functions for quite some time!

I'd go to a different priest, confess what happened, and then remember the incident, if only to avoid any provocative behavior when you see the new assistant pastor in the future. Obviously, if the priest hearing your confession asks who the recipient of the flirting was, you'd have to answer him honestly. You can ask a different confessor on advice on how to handle the situation as well as how to deal with crushes in general.

"Amending my life" in the act of contrition means learning from sin how to not sin in the future. Changing behavior and patterns of thinking is what you're after here.

[/quote]


#9

Hi OP,

Aside from what everyone else said, which was very good advice, I noted that you said this:

I just want to be absolutely sure; did you go into the confession and then you couldn’t bring yourself to confess this, or did you simply not enter the confessional because of it?


#10

I am really shy and am trying to “come out of my shell” a little more. It was basically making eye contact and trying to make small talk. I’m trying to improve my socialization skills by being more confident and approachable. This has been a setback to that goal. Even if he had been a married man instead of a priest, it’s not like I would have given him my number or anything.

I didn’t realize that he would be taking over Saturday confessions, so I went in but could not confess this one thing. I was so embarrassed because I figured that he might remember who I was. :blush: I know he’s in persona christi during confession, but I would hate to tell him that I flirted with him and that I have a crush on him in case it causes him to have any kind of sinful thoughts or make him feel uncomfortable.


#11

[quote="SHoJ, post:10, topic:307151"]
I am really shy and am trying to "come out of my shell" a little more. It was basically making eye contact and trying to make small talk. I'm trying to improve my socialization skills by being more confident and approachable.

[/quote]

From this description of your behavior your actions weren't sinful. In fact your actions sound quite innocent.

I would hate to tell him that I flirted with him and that I have a crush on him in case it causes him to have any kind of sinful thoughts or make him feel uncomfortable.

You should never tell any priest young/old, cute/ugly that you are attracted to him. If you need to bring this up in Confession it should be with a different priest. It would be very inappropriate to reveal such thoughts to the priest himself!

Why would you bring it up? Having a crush isn't a sin. Passing thoughts aren't sinful. If you dwell on or entertain a passing immoral thought then you do need to confess … say something like, "one time I entertained a lustful thought."

If you're obsessing over the poor guy, you need to practice some strict self discipline and perhaps mortification. Don't engage in any intentional thoughts of him — none whatsoever. And when an involuntary thought arises, no dwelling on it; rather, immediately switch to another thought. You might also say a short prayer to Our Lady for help each time.


#12

[quote="SHoJ, post:1, topic:307151"]
I didn't know he was a priest

[/quote]

Priests are supposed to wear a black suit and Roman collar or a cassock (the cassock is the norm for the Latin Church) in public. This priest in disobedience to Church law: "suitable clerical clothing, according to the norms issued by the Episcopal Conference and according to legitimate local customs." (Canon 284)

Complementary Norm: "The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric."

Congregation for the Clergy: "In a secularized and tendentiously materialistic society, where even the external signs of sacred and supernatural realities tend to be disappearing, the necessity is particularly felt that the priest – man of God, dispenser of His mysteries – should be recognizable in the sight of the community, even through the clothing he wears, as an unmistakable sign of his dedication and of his identity as a recipient of a public ministry. The priest should be recognizable above all through his behavior, but also through his dressing in a way that renders immediately perceptible to all the faithful, even to all men, his identity and his belonging to God and to the Church.

For this reason, the cleric should wear “suitable clerical clothing, according to the norms issued by the Episcopal Conference and according to legitimate local customs.” (Canon 284) This means that such clothing, when it is not the cassock, should be distinct from the manner in which laymen dress, and in conformity with the dignity and sacredness of the ministry.

Apart from entirely exceptional circumstances, the non-use of clerical clothing on the part of the cleric can manifest a weak sense of his own identity as a pastor completely dedicated to the service of the Church."

Nevertheless, I think you should just confess to him, unless perhaps you are planning to confess your crush to him. But I don't think that is necessary if your feelings come natural. And flirting with other men is just normal behavior for single women.


#13

Hate to break it to you, but that’s not really flirting. That’s just ordinary friendly conversation. I think you are making much too much of this event. He may not have noticed anything and may have even forgetten the whole thing by this time. You need to do the same.

I didn’t realize that he would be taking over Saturday confessions, so I went in but could not confess this one thing. I was so embarrassed because I figured that he might remember who I was. :blush: I know he’s in persona christi during confession, but I would hate to tell him that I flirted with him and that I have a crush on him in case it causes him to have any kind of sinful thoughts or make him feel uncomfortable.

Since this action wasn’t a mortal sin (and doesn’t sound like it was really a sin at all), you were not obligated to confess it. However, it isn’t a good idea to deliberately withhold something you planned to say in confession. If you had deliberately withheld a mortal sin, you would have committed another sin.

I suggest again that you confess (to another priest) that you have been having lustful/desirous thoughts about a priest (do NOT name names) and clear your mind and heart of this topic.


#14

I am wondering quite what sin you have actually committed but there again I am not Roman Catholic so will have subtle different take on this but there again...

I think you are probably experiencing a natural process of embarrassement. So you found out he the local assistant pastor. You actually did nothing wrong as far as I can tell?

So you had a few 'dreams' over this guy which lead you to further embarrassement. Easily done but still don't know exactly what sin you are committing. Lust seems a bit strong for a normal attraction process.

You're shy and embarrassed and haven't been to any of his services since you found out who is actually is.

But for your confession, apart from you skip his masses, what would you exactly confess to anyway? Not who you would confess to, but what you would confess to. You need to somehow put the matter to rest so you can move on and am not sure quite what you would say in confession that is a sin apart from missing the masses because you are embarrassed it him. What did you do wrong to bring it to confession? You may want a private chat with a priest about it for guidence but you guys tell me confession isn't about that but being sorry for you sins and getting them absolved. What sin has been committed to receive absolution here?


#15

It’s really sad, I’ve actually seen a few priests that don’t look like priests at all. I went to this one parish and the priest wore a short sleeve white button up shirt, tan pants, and no collar!

There was NO way to tell he was a priest (or the pastor, for that matter) and when I was introduced to him it was quite shocking for me to realize that this person I was talking to had actually been ordained, but had no external sign to tell me so!


#16

If her conscience at the time was telling her she was flirting, or it was her intent to flirt (she says she has a crush on him :shrug:), then it would be considered flirting.

That said, under normal circumstances that wouldn’t be flirting, unless “by making eye contact” you mean were making eyes at him, and your “making small talk” was being obnoxious and kept “innocently touching” him, or trying to be cutesy.

It is possible to flirt with people and not even realize it, though. I had a guy friend whom I really liked, but he didn’t like me back the same way. I thought I was acting normal, but he kept accusing me of flirting with him. To this day I have no idea what he was talking about. :shrug:


#17

If you didn't know he was a priest, than how could you have sinned? Unless your behavior was overtly sexual and inappropriate for an interaction with any man...?

If is was just casual, harmless flirting, I don't see how that could have been sinful?

However, the crush thing...is it purposeful or involuntary? When you mention that you fear it may be leaning toward lust, are you intentionally thinking and feeling this way toward him? Because one cannot sin without an act of will. If everything that you are feeling is not willed, I don't see how you could have sinned at all.

If you want to confess to feel better, I would go to a different priest at a different parish. Once it's over, let it go and try not to think about him in that way anymore. Continue to go to his church if you want to, I don't see any harm in that. Imagine him as a married man--because he is married to the Church :). Focus on his role as a priest and try not to think about how attractive he is.

Good Luck and God Bless!:)


#18

None of the priests in my parish and the parishes around it wear their clerical clothing in or outside the church. Before and after Mass, it’s jeans and sweaters. One time I went for confession and asked our new pastor where the priest was, thinking he was a parishioner… Thank God for Catholicism on the internet to keep me informed about our faith and the larger community.


#19

[quote="Dolezal, post:18, topic:307151"]
None of the priests in my parish and the parishes around it wear their clerical clothing in or outside the church. Before and after Mass, it's jeans and sweaters. One time I went for confession and asked our new pastor where the priest was, thinking he was a parishioner... Thank God for Catholicism on the internet to keep me informed about our faith and the larger community.

[/quote]

That's sad.

:(


#20

[quote="Deo_Gratias42, post:16, topic:307151"]
If her conscience at the time was telling her she was flirting, or it was her intent to flirt (she says she has a crush on him :shrug:), then it would be considered flirting.

That said, under normal circumstances that wouldn't be flirting, unless "by making eye contact" you mean were making eyes at him, and your "making small talk" was being obnoxious and kept "innocently touching" him, or trying to be cutesy.

It is possible to flirt with people and not even realize it, though. I had a guy friend whom I really liked, but he didn't like me back the same way. I thought I was acting normal, but he kept accusing me of flirting with him. To this day I have no idea what he was talking about. :shrug:

[/quote]

I just don't see where that type of flirting would be a sin. Maybe I missed it where she said she was married?

So she flirted with a man. :shrug: Big deal.

If he has a problem with it, maybe he should wear his collar when out. :thumbsup:


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