Confession: what the priest heard!


A beretta tip to Leila Miller, of Little Catholic Bubble fame, for bringing my attention to a simply wonderful article on confession. What it does so well is give the priest’s perspective and I really urge you to follow this link and read it in full.

Why? Firstly because it is one of the best articles on confession that I have ever read. Secondly because it is Lent and making your confession should be at the centre of any proper observation of this penitential season.

15 thoughts on “Confession: what the priest heard!”

  1. One cannot help wondering why – if the practice of confession is as wonderful as priests and popes make out – most Catholics stay away from it.

    1. Just as one cannot help wondering why, if the practice of physical exercise and good diet is as wonderful as fit people make out, many unhealthy people stay away from it?

      This is a very selfish age in which pride is elevated and belief in spiritual realities thin. Many no longer believe in hell, or have been served up such a touchy feely dose of Catholicism-lite, as to imagine their sins don’t matter.

      Then there is the fact that the devil will do all in his power to keep people out, meaning it takes strength and humility to attend, and you get the picture.

      I could go on…

  2. It’s always easy to blame the laity, the state of the world etc. – what about the teaching they get from the Church? My experience is that after preparation for first communion and confession, there is hardly any further formation given to Catholics through the regular channels of the Church to help them grow in the practice of confession, to approach it in a more mature and real way, so it stays at the childish level. All we get is exhortations about how important confession is. Not surprising that mostly they walk away from it.

    1. If you notice I did not lay the blame solely with laity but highlighted the fact that teaching has not been robust as you mention. Hence my mention of the serving up of sleepy touchy feely Catholicism lite.

  3. Sixty years ago, I made my first Confession. After all these decades, every time I wait in the queue, I still quail a little. I don’t think I would have it any other way. Whether one’s sins are slight or serious, it is a beautiful thing to emerge from the Confessional with the certainty of God’s forgiveness. There is nothing like the feeling of newness, of starting afresh.

  4. Hello Father Ed,

    I can comment from experience. The modern Mass does not emphasise the need for forgiveness and grace in order to receive Our Lord, as you will know most people now present themselves at communion – maybe they are all in a state of grace maybe not. The Church though actively encourages participation in the Sacrament whereas in the past this was maybe a once in a year event usually at Easter following the Lentern preparation. Now the Blessed Sacrament is undermined by an acceptance that kneeling in front of Our Lord is not required, handling the bread of life is no longer restricted to the Priest but is now permitted by all the faithful. By undermining the Sacrament why do you need to prepare by going to confession? Since I have begun attending the Traditional Mass my attendance at confession has been very regular because I am more aware of my failings and need to confess.

    God Bless,


  5. Confession at Westminster Cathedral often involves queuing for well over an hour – doesn’t feel like most Catholics staying away.

  6. Westminster Cathedral is very untypical in this regard. In most parishes there is only a small handful coming to confession, while the great majority never do. I think today’s Catholics are quite capable of seeing through “Catholicism lite,” if that is what they are offered, but if robust teaching in place of that means threatening people with hellfire and the devil, as used to be the case, I can’t see it making much difference.

  7. Of course your piccy shows confession in an Anglican setting. Look at the surplice! Just like the ones worn at your successor’s induction.

    1. Specs, motes, planks- dear Midland Vicar. just search yourself before you present yourself at your next confession!

  8. The fact that confession in many parishes involves a half hour slot on a Saturday morning means that serious Catholics often have to go elsewhere. All the London parishes that offer daily confession have long queues and the priests sometimes have to finish with people still waiting.

  9. Confession is a good thing, and always seems in fairly rude health in the Catholic churches I’ve been to. That said, the author of the article seems to take a trivial attitude to wrong-doing. It’s no surprise that paedophile priests were able to get away with their crimes for so long with attitudes like this from confessors.

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