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Monday, November 14, 2005



I think priests don't invite people warmly enough or strongly enough.

First, the pastor of a parish needs to set multiple times of regular confession time a week, at convenient hours that say, "Come on in." Let the number of people who come set the length of the hours, but let it not limit the frequency. Confession times should include before at least one of the Sunday Masses, before the Saturday vigil, one weekday evening time, and one weekday lunch-hour-type time. If there are several opportunities per week for regular confession, it says "I want you to come in."

Second, the priest should preach frequently about confession at the regular Sunday Masses --- not just on our "need" for it, but also on our "desire" for it, and how it is beneficial to receive the sacrament frequently even if we don't fall into mortal sin.

He should also take the time to say that he wants to hear confessions, that it's one of the most important parts of his job. He needs to overcome some people's fear of "bothering" a busy pastor.

He could also post in the church, or print from time to time in the bulletin, the times and locations of regular Confession in nearby parishes, for those who need an alternate time or who feel that they are more truly anonymous at a parish where they are a stranger.

Confession behind a screen --- preferably with separate entrances for penitent and priest --- MUST be made available. Not all of us are comfortable with face-to-face confession, and --- let's be frank --- many people don't feel physically safe going alone behind closed doors with a man, priest or no.

Finally, periodically (maybe quarterly, or once each season including Ordinary Time) the priest could schedule a special evening at which he, and perhaps priests from other parishes, are available for as long as necessary to hear confessions. Many parishes do this once during Lent; why not do it four times a year?


One of my pastors tried to tell me that the confiteor part of Mass had the same effect as confession. Jesuit of course. They think people like me suffer from over-scrupulousness and need only to be relieved of our guilt.


I believe this serious problem lays mainly in the hands of our priests. The vast majority of churches now do not offer private confession; instead, they have these goofy "reconciliation rooms" which afford no privacy and are not even properly sound proofed. One of our main cathedrals, Holy Name's (this is where Cardinal George usually celebrates Mass) reconciliation room has such poor sound-proofing that unless one whispers, everyone outside waiting can hear this poor person's confession. Also, most churches offer confession for 45-60 minutes on a Saturday. In addition to being so restrictive on one's schedule (I personally think this is also anti-family), it also offers very little privacy as one would most likely see the same person over and over if they attend confession on a regular basis. Other churches have an even worse policy of "Confessions by appointment only". I don't see Dick Durbin calling Father Wahl at Old Saint Pat's anytime soon to arrange for a confessional time...

Finally, priests need to get tough and talk about hell, purgatory and the need for redemption and pennance in their homilies. They are not leading us in church to be friends in a fuzzy community, they are here to deliver us from evil and lead us to heaven.

As a side note, these priests who neglect their confessionals and confessional times also need to institute Eucharistic Adoration. This is how one starts to rebuild their church in glory to God.

I am so fortunate as my parish in Chicago offers daily confession as well as confession before every single Mass. We also have real confessionals inside our church for a private confession. Way to go Opus Dei!


Perhaps we need a return of the fire and brimstone homily ;)

God Bless.


I agree that it lies majorly in the hands of our priests. I can't recall the last time I heard about Confession during the homily- other than when I was still in school at Franciscan U.
Without ceasing, we need to be told again and again about confession.

That being said, I don't say it's ALL the priests' fault. WE take on a responsibility for our own faith- and part of that is frequenting the Sacraments. It can be inconvenient. Tough for us, we should still go. But we are such a "convenience" society. We are selfish and lazy, and that doesn't come with Confession. Confession means admitting we did something wrong?! Yea, many people would prob. find that to even be politically incorrect.

I admit I don't go as often as I know I should. It's sometihng I hope to change.


My parish offers Confession once a week, for one hour, Saturday afternoon. It would be nice to have some options.


Our spirituality on the journey of faith is in the end our responsibility. The sacrament of reconcilliation is a gift from God not just in the forgiveness, but in help on the journey. I read that Pope JP II went to confession once a week and that blew me away. I decided that if he was going to do this, I certainly should do so as well. After doing this faithfully for over three months, I found that the weekly need to look at my soul and allow the words to come out to another being who was given great power by our Lord allows me to sharpen the razor of my conscience and grow some backbone. Try going each week for some period of time and see how it impacts your life. You will be amazed and delighted with the result.
As to many of the comments above, I agree with many of them. I searched out a church that had this sacrament delivered the way that was most comfortable, but also looked for someone that was not just putting in time, but that offered me help and advice. Seeing me every week, he is getting to know the struggles I have and the weaknesses and has changed a few things around to help me on this journey.

Paul Diczok

How often did people confess in the 1900's, 1800's, 1700's, etc.? Maybe the late-20th century weekly confession thing is a recent corruption of true traditional preactice.

Casey Khan

Living in the Diocese of Phoenix, I have been blessed for association with a young religious order called Miles Jesu. The priests in this order are strongly devoted to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. This priests will drop about anything they are doing to hear confession. They are committed to the sacrament in the same manner as St. Anthony Mary Claret.

To any of the posters, like Kelly, who are from Phoenix or the Chicago area, I strongly urge you to check these guys out. I go once a week during my lunch, and they will listen whether it takes hours or ten minutes.


The reasons almost no one goes to confession are as follows:
1) priests do not talk about it.
2) Europe has lost it's faith and the US is not far behind.
3) out of 1 billion catholics, only 20 - 30% practice their religion.
4) there is no sense of sin anymore, thanks to Hollywood and TV.
5) People no longer believe in Hell or Satan.

PS: Satans greatest triumph...
he is convincing the world that he does not exist!


Maybe the reason people don't want to go to confession is that it isn't anonymous anymore. I thought cannon law stated that confession should be anonymous unless the penitent requested a face to face confession. In my church you have no choice but to go to a face to face confession. Now, that is not anonymous! No wonder people don't want to go! Priests should be making this easier for penitents...not harder. I vote for churches to get closed confessionals with privacy back.


It seems as though the US is in exactly the same position as the UK. Our Church does have private confessions and I recently attended to make a confession because I had been so long out of the church. The priest was an outsider and told me that I should speak to my Parish Priest after being away for so long. [He was working a Sabbatical in our Church and he meant the priest he was working under] So I phoned the PP and left a message on his answering machine asking for an appointment. I didn't get a call back so, after Mass I identified myself as the caller. He looked a bit embarrased and said 'Right we must fix up something'. We never have. Maybe Priests simply don't want to know their parishioners let alone hear their confession.

I now go to another Parish to confess.

anti vatII

We will no longer alow this sacreligios scandel any longer!! these priests are dangerous for our souls ALL NOVIS ORDO priests are Questionably ordained they folow a tainted doctrine!! GO TO SSPX MASS !!!!!! READ ABOUT ARCH BISHOP LEBFERE !!! HATE THE SECOND VATICAN COUNSELL!!!! PRAY TO OUR LADY!!!!! DOMINOS VOBISCUM !!!


I completely agree that churches should go back to traditional, PRIVATE confessionals. I am not at all comfortable with face to face confessions, and that is all that my church offers. I guess the idea is that this is more "relaxed" and welcoming, but it has the opposite effect, and I think it scares people away. I know it scares me away!


can someone tell me what it feels like to take part in the sacrament anointing of the sick? thanks

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