The fruits of my shouting at you and harassing.

This is the sort of note I live for:

I hadn’t been to Confession in seven months because I had an uncomfortable experience with the priest afterward the last time and was nervous about going back. However, your endless repetition of GO TO CONFESSION helped me to get off my rear end this morning and into the Confessional. Thank you!!!

Let’s re-cap.


Fathers, schedule confession times in your parishes.  Preach about confession.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, GO TO CONFESSION, HONORED GUESTS, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, The Coming Storm and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ella says:

    I need to go to Confession (you simply do not let it “slip my mind”) but it sure would be easier if there was more times available throughout the diocese. I have to work every other weekend (0630-1930) so I miss out on the ubiquitous Saturday confession hour. Seriously, just how many people do you think a priest can fit in in one hour a week? Our parish has started offering Confessioin during two of the Sunday Masses (which is a good thing) but so many show up it ended up with me feeling very rushed and given no penance. Your average Catholic could easily get the impression that Confession isn’t all that important to most priests because of the paucity of time dedicated to it. Our last young priest was a very strong proponent of Confession (and every thing else Catholic) but he was just transferred far away which makes me (and my family) sad.

  2. lucy says:

    Confession times are severely lacking in our diocese also. The priests say, “Well, no one shows up.” Well, if no one is showing up maybe Fr. needs to preach about it more. If it were more available, people would come. At our parish, there is often a sign on the confessionals that says, “There will be no confession this weekend or next” for such and such reason. The first thing to go is always confession. On the other hand, we’re very blessed that our priests who say our traditional Mass on Sunday afternoons always get there in time to hear confessions for 30 min prior to Mass. My family doesn’t always rely on that, because the lines can be long. We often go to other churches for confession. We have the Oblates nearby who offer a lot more confession times than the diocesan churches. Bottom line: Offer it and they will come. Give it time for word to get around. Preach about it often!

  3. I would just like to thank Fr. Z. for urging us regularly to go to confession.
    Ella, Lucy – it’s sad to read your posts. I suppose it is possible to make an appointment for confession where you live, too (I do this when I can’t make it on Saturday of if I need an emergency confession) – but to do this first you have to be convinced of the importance of the sacrament…

  4. LA says:

    Many people have much difficulty finding an available priest to hear their confession when they need it. Sounds like a state of emergency in the Church to me.

  5. APX says:


    I wouldn’t call it a “state of emergency”. Sometimes we must inconvenience ourselves slightly to get to confession, but it is still possible to get to confession.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    I love posts like this. Never metanoia didn’t like.

  7. Ella says:

    It is possible to schedule an appointment with one of our two priests for confession. However, I (probably in vain) harbor the belief that what I say in confession is anonymous and I cannot sustain that belief if I am face to face with my priest. Am I guilty of pride? Absolutely. I did spend well over 40 years as a protestant and Baptist and was told routinely how worthless and even dangerous confession is. After two years as a Catholic, I know that view is incorrect but the fact that it is not much heralded or supported in American parishes does not help the matter. I thought confession would be like the movies with those super-cool and very private confessionals, not sitting or kneeling in an almost completely open room. I did try going on my Saturday off with my little ones but that was disastrous. That being said, I am not going to give up, there is too much to lose.

  8. RafqasRoad says:

    At my local Maronite parish, there is confession before and during every First Friday, first Saturday, Vigil, and Sunday mass (of which there are between five and seven). The lines are always to the door of the church!! Now, confession has rarely been preached about there, but because people see it operating every Fri, Sat and Sun, with the young, old, children, rich, poor, everyone, lining up, its always utilized, because its an organic part of the Church life. We just queue along the wall…I’ve stood on my feet for nearly a whole mass waiting my turn on many an occasion. Love Fr. Ronnie and the team who hear the confessions!! Now, this is possible in a parish that is a monastic parish as this Maronite parish is, with six active priests, plus two retired priests who still do time in the confessional for us layfolk…I can see where things would be more difficult in parishes with only one priest. However, I’ve been to these also, (our local bog standard Urban Roman Rite parish five minutes up the street) with the ‘half an hour on Saturday from 5:30PM’ timeslot. Now, Fr. might be a bit hard to find, but he’s happy to hear the confession and is actually an excellent confessor. Even the locum priest who filled in while he was on holidays from a liberal parish was actually a fantastic confessor also and happy to hear mine. Our Tue and thu chaplain at university Fr. A., is amazing!! he has been given a very special gift from God to be able to meet people where they are and bring them up, along, and into the orbit of Christ Jesus (even if said students are your average millennial uni student with typical views etc.). he calls out ‘hello’ whenever he sees me passing by and is invariably speaking with someone or someones who he introduces me to. A dear soul who gives one of the best NO masses I have ever heard, reverent, and right, if it wer in Latin there’d be barely a cigarette paper between his mass and Fr. Wong’s weekday mass at the TLM parish, tackling the hard subjects but he’s able to do it with love. he calls us out on confession, the essential of serving and surrendering to Christ Jesus (because anything less is by default serving the other side,eeven if we don’t think so – there is no ‘neutral’ side in the Christian walk), the importance of sanctification, focusing upon the lives of the saints, the sacraments, being right with God, pride, sinful habbits that need excising, plus love and Christ’s mercy and prayer. He has instigated Divine Mercy hour every Tue and Thu when he’s on campus and also has Adoration there. it starts with Christ and His mother, and his dedication to both is amazing. He also has a special dedication to St. Faustina and everything to do with the Divine Mercy, which is rubbing off on me also. he’s the one who has suggested to revive the little church down the road from my new address, just start one hour of adoration once per week, even if its just me…and the rest wil follow…even if I’ve got to get permission from the priest to set up and be trained to do so (if this isn’t kosher I’ll accept the verdict)…and he’s admitted that he’s always got his stole on him now because people just approach, ask to confess, and he’ll here them there and then…he’s an amazing confessor, as good as Fr. Wong, Fr. Ronnie or Fr. G. from the local RR church up the street…I’ve been to his first Fridays at the church he’s one of the priests of and he hears confessions till midnight!! he serves an inner city parish that sees the rough side of life with many broken people. He’s also a hospital chaplain. Pray for Fr. A.!!

    Folks, if you’re seen utilizing that ubiquitous ‘5:30 Sat Afternoon’ timeslot regularly, the local priest will have cause to keep on offering this sacrament and others will invariably see you waiting. I have a theory that its the restaurant theory…packed resteraunts always have queues to get in whereas folk will be hesitant to step into an empty restaurant, even if the fare is wonderful. Once someone takes that brave step, others will follow and word will get out…

    One final thought; I’ve had bad confessions also and have received all but heretical advice in the confessional that (in my aussie larykin way’, had me wanting to start brawling…please don’t thump the confessional windowsill folks, its a bad look and shows one’s pride – arguing the toss just spades you deeper into the hole you’ve started digging!! :-) but chalk it up, if Fr. absolves you despite any novel suggestions from his side of the booth, all’s well. Also, if Fr. forgets to give a penance, I’ll ask and they’ve all been happy to oblige. Ah, the rough and tumble of the sacramental life.

    I can say this, however, as one who has come from a mixed background of evangelical Anglicanism and SDA’ism, the sacrament of confession is awesome!! it embodies the ‘confess your sins to one another’ and ‘bear one another’s burdens’ words of the NT beautifully and is better than any Evangelical ‘accountability partnership’ programme I’ve ever encountered; after all, it is the original and ultimate ‘accountability partnership’ programme!! and its helped me be released from real habitual sin and other issues that I couldn’t shake either as Evangelical Anglican, or as SDA. Confession works. Like anything, it takes time and regularity, but it works and is amazing!!

    THANK YOU TO ALL CONFESSOR PRIESTS, BE YOU NO, TLM, AO, other Eastern rite or Anglican use), MR, ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’…THANK YOU!! And thank you all for burning yourselves up for Christ daily, be you Fr. Z., Fr. A.J., or Fr. Jim4321…thank you.


    Soon to be south Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite)

    Aussie priests who read here, especially if you’re in the Shoal haven, remember Sacred Heart Bommaderry and how’s about an hour a week of adoration to start with, I’ll be happy to be trained and set up if such is permissible. I know you’re stretched thin, but it’d be fantastic…and confession at Bommaderry???Please, would be wonderful!!

  9. Lin says:

    There is only one priest in our diocese that I am aware of who preaches about confession. In fact, in all my travels it is rare to hear a priest even mention confession in his homily. Our current pastor makes it a habit to not sit in the confessional but rather to wait outside for someone to show. Needless to say, this has discouraged many from going. Most churches in the area schedule 1/2 hour per week! How does a parish of several thousand serve the needs of the parish in 1/2 hour per week!?! There was a time in my youth when many Catholics went to confession every week. And that was not unusual! There were lines and you could wait an hour or longer! I did make an appointment once before minor surgery but I felt like I put the priest out. It was probably just my feeling. I can’t say for sure that he felt put upon. Pray for our priests! Without priests, no Eucharist!

  10. av8er says:

    Great post. Confession rocks!

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