Fathers! You are the mighty enemies of our enemy, Hell!

Artgate_Fondazione_Cariplo_-_Molteni_Giuseppe,_La_confessione 945GO TO CONFESSION!

What a victory for the demons of Hell it has been to run down the Sacrament of Penance until it is barely thought of in some parishes.

Fathers, if you are parish priests and have the obligation to hear confessions, hearing confessions can help to keep you out of Hell.  If you are parish priests and you don’t hear confessions or you won’t teach about confession, you will probably go to Hell.  Just try to deny it.  Just.  Try.

At the ever-valuable Crisis there is a piece entitled: “The Spiritual Roots of the Church’s Crisis”

Certainly we can identity many factors, both within the Church and from outside the Church. This article, however, starts with this:

[…]

Lack of Confessions
Any examination of conscience for Catholics today needs to begin literally with our lack of examination. I live next to a large, suburban parish, which has 30 minutes of Confession a weekend. How could such a short period of time suffice for thousands of people? It seems as if parishes have resigned themselves to serving the small percentage of Catholics who desire to go to Confession. [Yes, indeed.  There is a less than virile prostration before the ways of the world in this, isn’t there?  A kind of cowardice?]

When we speak of mercy, it has to begin in the Confession, with the sacrament that Christ gave us to bestow his mercy on us. When we look at the numbers, it appears that Catholics are rejecting or are simply unconcerned about receiving God’s mercy. [And these numbers don’t seem to have changed a lot over the last few years.] A report from CARA, Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, conducted almost a decade ago shows that “three-quarters of Catholics report that they never participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation or that they do so less than once a year.” Frankly, this statistic alone demonstrates the heart of the spiritual crisis facing the Church. The Church has been given the enormous grace by Christ to forgive sins, but people just aren’t very interested.

[…]

He also points to…

  • Irreverence toward the Eucharist
  • Minimal Penance
  • Bad Catechesis Leads to Dissent and Disbelief

Toward the end we find…

[…]

In the 1980s a book pushed a cardinal to international prominence as he put his finger on the controversy of faith in the Church following the Second Vatican Council: The Ratzinger Report. I found another interview book with a cardinal helpful in refocusing us on the true task at hand: Cardinal Sarah’s God or Nothing.

[…]

If you haven’t read it yet… or if you haven’t given it to your parish priests yet…

US HERE – UK HERE

And Card. Sarah’s most recent book is now available to PRE-ORDER in ENGLISH. It will be released on 15 April (Holy Saturday).  A great Eastertide reading gift to yourselves or friends.

US HERE – UK HERE

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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46 Responses to Fathers! You are the mighty enemies of our enemy, Hell!

  1. Spade says:

    If your parish has access to the Formed website, God or Nothing is on there as an e-book.

    “I live next to a large, suburban parish, which has 30 minutes of Confession a weekend.”

    That’s nothing. I live next to an entire diocese where it’s hard to find anything other than “by appointment”. In my diocese (Arlington!) our newly retired Bishop apparently made it a priority as it’s hard to not find times available on every day of the week at some parish. Same in DC. Sometimes it’s only 30 minutes a day before noon mass on the weekdays, but that’s not nothing. My parish does it twice on Saturdays and on Wednesday’s during evening adoration.
    And our new priests are good on it too. Friend of mine got assigned to his first parish and it only had confession twice a week. His comment was, “Yeah, I’m gonna have to talk to the Pastor about that.”

    Speaking of which, I’m way overdue. :-/

  2. APX says:

    When I was trying to return to the church and trying to find a priest to hear my confession, it took me from February 1st until the Feast of St. Joseph in March to finally find a priest willing and available to hear my confession, which only took 15 minutes (and I had to drive to a city two hours away). One priest (who is now dying, so please pray for him), even flat out refused to hear my confession after the Saturday evening Mass (after I drove around the city looking for a priest actually hearing confessions during their scheduled times) because he “doesn’t do confession except when he schedules them” (which is rare).

  3. KT127 says:

    Finding times to go isn’t so bad here. But I have moved to a new location and the priests seem more chatty here. They don’t like the kind and number and want me to go into more details. I try to be charitable and assume the priest is making sure he knows the severity of the sin. The problem is I feel like they are inviting me to explain and justify my actions, which I don’t want to do. I know I messed up, I know I have my justifications. I try hard not to justify my bad behavior. But I am a woman, invite me to talk and I’ll give you an earful.

    I don’t need someone to build my self-esteem or tell me I am a good girl. I need someone to say “I accept your apology and I absolve you” If the priest wants to say “By the way, you seem to be struggling in this area- here’s some advice to help next time” that’s cool and appreciated. But please stop making Confession feel like therapy. I avoid therapy more than I avoid Confession.

  4. rmichaelj says:

    I know that some people may not prefer it for a multitude of reasons (good and bad) and it can only be done in a parish which has more than one priest- However, having confessions during mass really does seem to work. Additionally, seeing others in line for confession may make one think before going up for communion when they shouldn’t.

  5. gracie says:

    Back in the 1980’s, a Marianist priest told a women’s group I belonged to that we were all saved. Needless to say, we were all startled, having been raised in the pre-Vatican II Church. He saw our reaction and asked us if we were all baptized. Everyone there said “yes” to which the priest responded: “Then you’re all saved”. I’m sure that that is the viewpoint that has been taught to several generations of Catholics. Try putting the genie back in the bottle on that one.

  6. jose.a.0121 says:

    Not only should a priest hear confessions but I think he should be speaking about the importance of confession. And of course, how he approaches the confession booth also has an impact on the parishioners. I live in the northeast Philadelphia area. Sometimes, if I can’t make it to confession at my Church, I’ll go to another one close to mine. And when I go to that other place, it’s almost a ghost town during confession. You can probably count the number of people going to confession on your two hands during that 30 minutes. It makes me wonder, what the heck is going on. I’ve gotten the sense the place is one of these modern churches. Plus, one time I was in the church waiting for the priest to arrive. He came in a few minutes late and in shorts. He turned on the lights to the church and then went into the confessional in shorts. I felt a bit sad. Not sure if priests should be dressing like that while giving the Sacraments. Maybe I’m just a bit too rigid. ? By the way, I’m in my 40s. So, I’m a rigid 40 y/o.

  7. New Amsterdam says:

    Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert Barron, has written a great forward to Hans Urs von Balthasar’s famous book Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? for the 2014 Ignatius Press edition of the book.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/158617942X/?tag=woonfi-20
    Here’s a short excerpt from Bishop Barron’s introduction:

    “…the Biblical witness in regard to this issue is, to say the least, complex. Alongside of the many references to Hell and those who will suffer therein, there are at least as many Biblical evocations of universal salvation. To cite simply a few of the best known: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (Jn. 12:32); and “He has made known to us the mystery of his will…as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10); and of course, “This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4). That these passages rule out the certitude that many are in Hell and justify at least the hope that Hell might be empty strikes Balthasar as self-evident.
    The testimony of the Fathers is, he convincingly shows, just as multivalent and textured. To be sure, Augustine and many of his colleagues in the Christian West advocated the harsh view that the vast majority of the human race—the massa damnata—will find their way to Hell. However, this teaching was countered by many weighty fathers in the Christian East, including Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and especially Origen of Alexandria, all of whom taught universal salvation, or something quite close to it.

  8. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Was my submission not apropos? I know it was long. It certainly addressed the problem though not in a parish, and I hoped it would call for prayer for those misguided nuns and the priests who were supposed to be their shepherds.

  9. majuscule says:

    Up until a few years ago in my parish, confession was available only at the main parish church for 45 minutes on Saturday or by appointment. At my Sunday-only mission church you could request a confession after Mass and the priest would agree if his schedule allowed.

    That changed when a new parochial vicar began offering convenient confession times (evening and morning) almost daily at the parish church. He also instituted a monthly Holy Hour at the mission churches with confession available. I could see that this might be difficult if the pastor had an issue with these added “extras”–use your imagination–but this was not the case.

    However, we are likely losing this priest. At a recent meeting with the diocese about our parish needs, the spiritual benefit of our increased confession hours was mentioned by many people. It’s depressing to think of the hours being cut back! Fortunately, there is a large parish within an hour’s drive that offers convenient confession times…but not everyone in our rather poor parish would be able to avail themselves of that.

  10. It would be nice to some positive experiences recounted as well.

  11. Joseph-Mary says:

    None of this started with the laity of course….
    You want positive? Here it is: I go between two parishes. One has confession times 6 days a week and the other has it 7. And twice a day on weekdays for each one. None of this by appointment or a 45 minute window that is hard to get to in a busy family life. That is laziness! But I am in a good archdiocese, Denver, and I know I am very much blessed with a good archbishop and good parishes.

  12. ajf1984 says:

    With regard to Father’s request to have positive experiences recounted (I was going to post this even before I saw that request!): I was most edified by my seven-year-old, who went through our parish’s First Reconciliation catechesis this past fall. He turned seven in early 2016, and was mentally and spiritually ready to make his first confession probably sometime when he was 5! Still, we wanted him to attend the classes, and between our parish’s course and the preparation he did at his Catholic grade school, he was definitely ready. The fated day in early December crept closer, as did a pretty horrendous winter storm. He was crushed to find out the day before the scheduled confession that the parish had to close due to inclement weather!

    Now for the inspiring part: our director of youth education scheduled an alternate date toward the end of January for the class to come and make their confessions for the first time. Not satisfied with waiting, our son asked us to speak to the pastor to find a time before Christmas when he could partake of the Sacrament. Our pastor gladly obliged (seemed a little surprised at our son’s insistence, but in a happy way), and on December 23rd our son made the first of what I pray will be many confessions!

  13. Mike says:

    Not long after I reverted I was attending Sunday Mass at my parish church when Father paused before the beginning of the Penitential Rite, cast a gaze over the pews, looked me straight in the eye (as it seemed) and announced that there was a priest in the confessional. I didn’t need to be told twice! Also, the knock-on effect of one penitent inducing others to go to Confession has been in my experience both real and highly edifying.

  14. Defender of Truth says:

    I have had quite the opposite experience from most of the posts. A priest has never refused to hear my confession prior to or following Mass and there have been several times that I asked. There was a 28 year period when I left the Church. A lot of sins can accumulate during that time. When I wanted to return I found a priest who was anxious to help with my return. After many hours of discussion over a few months, mostly concerning theological issues I had, it was in his office that he simply asked if I wanted to make my confession. I was ready and made my confession after which we retired to a nice Chinese restaurant for lunch.

  15. beelady says:

    I am blessed to belong to a parish in a small town with a fantastic priest! He speaks frequently of the need for Confession and the lines are always long. He is the only priest and still makes time to offer the Sacrament during Eucharistic Adoration every Monday and Wednesday evening for an hour and a half each night! He also hears Confessions on Saturday mornings (no ending time) and Saturday afternoons for an hour before Mass. Once I was the last person he had time to hear before he had to prepare for Mass. He asked me to lead him (his eyes were closed) out to the line. He told those waiting that he would finish until all were heard after Mass. He is an incredible blessing! Please pray for him, his name is Father Eric.

  16. KT127 says:

    Ah. Sorry, Father. Didn’t mean to gripe. Priests have a hard job and I am sure we are an impossible to please lot.

    Honestly, most priests I have confessed to are rock stars even if I have quibbles with their style. My non-Catholic friends always ask about confession and I tell them I feel sorry they don’t get to have confession. You get to go in, unload all the stuff that is making you feel guilty and you are kicking yourself over. You talk to a nice priest who is way kinder to you than you deserve and has worked you into his busy schedule because he cares enough about your soul. Then you walk out prepared to fight the good fight. Plus, sometimes the priest says something that is so uncannily on point that you wonder exactly how direct is his connection to God. :-)

    My friends think I am Tom Sawyer trying to get them to paint the fence. I just point out I am generally happier and more cheerful than most of them….confession is my secret.

  17. Nan says:

    I live in a diocese that’s a little of both. There are parishes with little bits of confession and those with 6 x weekly. Some priests offer confession before Mass. I’m between parishes but confession times weren’t an issue. My Byzantine rite parish offers confession before the Divine Liturgy and by appointment, in several languages.

    One thing I like is the Saturday night special… Confession at 8 pm, in an anonymous Church basement with curtains and whispering. Another is a monthly adoration event with confession, where I once found one of our lovely young priests.

    I also like being able to confess as part of spiritual direction, although I don’t always make confession part of spiritual direction.

  18. rmichaelj says:

    I guess I didn’t make it clear, my experience of having confessions during mass at my FSSP parish is positive. And they have extended confession hours every day.

    There is also another priest who at a University parish has confession hours every day.

  19. paladin says:

    About 5 years ago, a new pastor moved into a modestly large parish in the city where I work; in rather stark contrast to the prior pastor (who, to his credit, did offer Confession once or twice a week, and by appt.), announced, during his first weeks, that he was aspiring to model his priesthood after St. John Vianney… at which point he instituted Confessions every day, before daily Mass, in addition to at least an hour AFTER daily Mass on Monday (when Eucharistic Adoration was going on until noon), in addition to the previously posted times! He also started a Saturday morning Mass (which was unheard-of, save for two other parishes at least 40-50 miles away, in opposite directions. He also preaches on the subject regularly… compassionately, with humor, but touching on the needed topics (e.g. the need to make a good Confession when returning to the practice of the Faith, before receiving Holy Communion). He’s a gem! :)

    Re: Bishop Barron’s comments… I’m afraid I’ll have to add that to my list of his comments about which I’m very leery. Whatever happened to “narrow is the road to Heaven, and few travel it; wide is the road to perdition, and many travel it”? It’s not as if we (or any sane person) WANT people in hell; it’s just that wishful thinking shouldn’t take the place of what’s actually the case (cf. Divine Revelation and common sense).

  20. inviaadpatriam says:

    A note on a positive experience: My wife and I were in the suburbs of Chicago for the baptism of the first-born girl of some friends of ours. They are Roman Catholic, but we are not (I am Ukrainian Catholic and my wife is Orthodox). We went to a local Byzantine Catholic parish for Divine Liturgy. This happened to be a Sunday very near to the beginning of our Philip’s Fast before Christmas (starting on November 15). The priest preached at length about the need for confession. He furthermore said that he has been the pastor of the church long enough to have baptized most of the teenagers there, but does not see many of them for confession. He noted his own failure to get them there, and said that he was going to start working on getting them back to confession ASAP. He then noted too that he is willing to drop anything that he is doing for the sake of hearing a confession—just call or come to the rectory, he said, and off to the church for confession he would go.

  21. Moro says:

    Mine is a mix of positive and negative experiences.

    1. Opus Dei – I’m not a member but their priests are happy to hear a confession, pretty much at the drop of a hat. I’ve lived in several different cities and have found this to be the case universally. And as a rule, they don’t screw around with the words of absolution.

    2. Mall Chapel – There was a mall chapel with confessions, basically anytime there wasn’t mass going on. It was hugely beneficial. The confessional wasn’t always filled with penitents but there was a fairly steady stream of people most of the time. I’d even see priests I knew going here from time to time.

    3. A parish where they were committed – I knew two priests at a parish (not mine) where they had confession 20 minutes before and after every mass on Sunday, and probably daily as well. You know the people will be there on Sunday and so will the priest. Talk about meeting people where they are! It’s also the perfect excuse for a priest to escape any inane sacristy chatter. Sadly, this was done away with under the next pastor. But it serves as a good example to priests.

  22. Benedict Joseph says:

    While it is not easy to admit, in my remote and ecclesiastically taxed area the Jesuit parish provides confession for twenty minutes every day before the early morning mass, and for an hour – before and during the noon mass Monday thru Friday – two priests. Then there is something similar on Saturday. While they can be more than left of center at times, they are there, hearing confessions. God reward them.
    My parish has confession for 75 minutes every Saturday, before First Friday mass as well. And Father is known to be available when you need him. He is on his own there and he does a great job.
    But let’s not put the cart before the horse. The bottom line is there is mostly no catechesis. Where there is catechesis, it is almost always either gravely erroneous or grievously inadequate. And that is always traceable back to the bishop. Without the bishop’s firm demand for orthodox teaching “they” will do what they want.
    But most tragically, I hear very little about the catechetical collapse, and it should be at the top of the list. Catholic education need be restored.

  23. capchoirgirl says:

    Confession at my parish: every weekday, 12:15 until done. Weekends: 4:00 on Saturday until the 5:00 Mass, and 30 minutes before all Sunday Masses. We have multiple confessors available during Advent, Lent, and Holy Week, with confessions even being offered on Good Friday from noon to 2:45. Our Dominican friars truly spend hours in the confessional, and even go to other parishes to offer the sacrament when their priests are out of town, visiting the sick, or otherwise can’t offer it at the regular time.

  24. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    If our genial host would like something positive, I feel obliged to share.

    My parish sadly only offers confession weekly for 30 minutes. My school chaplain, however, never lets us forget that when he’s on campus, the door of mercy is always open; he even keeps a stole at the ready. All one must say is “Father do you have a minute?”, and then proceed to his office. Each advent and lent the campus ministry office welcomes ~15 priests for two hours. Teachers are instructed to let students go no matter what. Additionally, the cathedral of my relatively small diocese offers 45 minutes of confession each day before midday Mass.

  25. Spade says:

    “It would be nice to some positive experiences recounted as well.”

    Okay.

    So DC seems pretty good about confessions and since I work not far him the Hill I try to go to confessions at St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill. They offer confessions every day 30 minutes before noon mass. The priests there take it seriously. I showed up once and there was a funeral going on. I hung around, for no good reason really, and once the priest had finished everything up and the family was standing around outside chatting, he hustled (without even changing out of his vestments) down to the confessional and jumped right in. The lady behind me couldn’t make it before mass so he asked her to stay after mass if she could and he’d pick it back up since the funeral had delayed him.

    There’s always a line. And 75% of them tend to be young men who look like they work on the hill (or other places, we all hide our work badges for obvious reasons). So that’s comforting.

    Nice church too. The words about Peter being the rock are in gold Latin around the second story bit above the aisle (I’m very bad at church architecture terms).

  26. rwintercpa says:

    In Los Angeles I have quite a few parishes to choose from . Most have weekly hours. One in particular has confession for two hrs before Mass on Saturday and them another hour after Mass.

    Another parish has two priests at the same time.

    I do tend to see the same bunch of sinners (myself included) on a regular rotation of confession. Sad that I do not see more people.

  27. chantgirl says:

    Fr. Z- Here is a positive experience: In my early twenties when I decided that I needed to start really living as a Catholic, I felt impelled to seek out a priest for confession. It was evening, and I drove from parish to parish looking for a priest who would answer the door. I finally found one, and the little old priest who had to have been nearly 90 looked tired, but agreed to hear my confession. He was extremely kind and explained to me that if I died with mortal sin on my soul, that I couldn’t go to Heaven. I pray that God rewards that priest greatly for answering the door outside of business hours, agreeing to hear a confession, and telling me the truth. It was truly pastoral, more like having my chains broken than a torture chamber!

  28. Mary Jane says:

    My FSSP parish has confessions before and after almost every mass (there are masses every day of the week, sometimes more than one). Sometimes more than one priest is hearing confessions during these times. After making my confession, either before or after saying my assigned penance, I always pray for the priest who gave me absolution. So grateful for these servants of God!

  29. Prayerful says:

    A nearby Passionist house (Novus Ordo Missae only) offers confession two hours a day, Wednesday to Saturday, while the Dublin Mass Chaplaincy which offers daily TLM only seems to have confessions every Sunday half an hour before the Sunday High Mass and until roughly the offertory. People still waiting are heard after Mass. The SSPX chapel has confession scheduled half an hour before daily Low and Sunday High Mass. If people aren’t waiting, a person might need to knock on the sacristy door to get a priest to hear my confession. It means that make absolutely sure to get early to the Indult parish as it means a really long wait otherwise. Confession is surely a very hard thing for a priest, but it is scarce in most places. The problem is that very few people go to confession compared to the numbers going to Communion (no one at NOM will ever hear or read 1 Cor 11:27–29). People see no need to go to Confession.

  30. Aquinas Gal says:

    I’m lucky because there are plenty of opportunities for confession in my area. One young priest at a parish I sometimes visited would often preach about confession. Leaving church I thanked him, and he said, “If we preach about it people will come.” Our diocese also has “The Light Is on For You” during Advent and Lent, on Wed. evenings, to encourage more people to go.

  31. krissylou says:

    I don’t want to go into many details, partially because I don’t want them to cause a distraction and partially because that’s my own story and not for the internet. But I grew up in the 1980s Catholic church that didn’t emphasize such things. (As far as I know, neither of my parents has gone at any point in my lifetime.) As a child I couldn’t avoid First Reconciliation but after that got very good at switching from the “Waiting for the priest” line to the “I already did my thing and waiting for everyone else to be done” line. But in a variety of ways, God has been getting my attention on this subject for the last couple years.

    My favorite example was going to a Taize prayer service and one of the chants was “Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus” which the books translated as “Give thanks to God for He is good.” And I was looking at it thinking, that doesn’t look right. My Latin is incredibly rusty but that HAS to be the same verb as Confiteor, right? So that’s got to be “Confess to God for he is good” hmmm that’s quite different. Ah dagnabbit, what was I just saying about “if God keeps bringing this to mind there’s probably a reason for it …” Well it turns out we were both right. It is the same verb (plural imperative) but “give thanks” is a secondary definition and this is the first line from the Vulgate version of a Psalm. Add the sin of pride for thinking I know Latin better than the monks to my list. ;) And I think God was snickering at me.

    When I broached the idea my pastor was tremendously gracious but also let me follow up when I was ready. Fr. Z would probably want him to have been pushier [?!? Why would you say such a thing?] but this worked for me and when I was ready to follow up he was more than happy to find a time quickly. Since he doesn’t get many requests he was able to take a chunk of time with me, which I appreciate. (And no that doesn’t just make it therapy. This is something very different.) And I’ve gone back since. Probably not as often as Fr. Z would like but considering where I started from this seems like progress. [?!?]

    Meanwhile, the topic has come up a few times in conversations with other people in the parish and I share my experience (not the details of my list of course, but why it seems significant and valuable to me) and some of them seem interested too. I don’t know if they’re following up right away or whether it has to percolate for a while with them like it did with me, but there does seem to be something happening.

  32. jilly4life says:

    So I rarely go to my own parish for confessions, because the lines are too long! It is easier to hit up one of those “confessions not well attended” parishes and get in line with the 3-5 people than potentially not make it to confession because father has to say mass. Our priest added a bunch of confession times for the year of mercy last year (doing it right!) and he must be filling up those, because he added a bunch more times just last week. They are short times before and after masses, and a few more longer times (first Saturday (?) there are confessions twice, morning and afternoon). Such a big improvement over having confessions only on Saturday before Mass.

  33. beelady says:

    My family and I visit Chicago several times a year. Our first stop is always for Confession at St. Peter’s in the Loop. It is staffed by the Franciscian Friars. They hear Confessions from 7:30am- 6:00pm M-F and from Noon until 4:30pm on Saturday. They also have a priest available all day in the Mezzanine if you have any questions or just need someone to talk to. The church is a short walk from Union Station. I highly recommend it.

  34. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Confession available frequently here.

    Every day in my parish, before Mass.
    Several parishes (including at least one in the Archdiocese of San Francisco) have confessions available during Mass. As a musician, I find that especially helpful.

    Exposition and Benediction on First Saturday, sometimes accompanied by Confessions.

    Still hard to make confessions: lines are substantial. It’s a good problem to have.

  35. krissylou says:

    Sorry if I’ve misjudged you Father Z!

  36. msc says:

    Krissylou: the basic sense of confiteor is ‘acknowledge,’ and from that comes ‘avow,’ ‘admit’, and ‘confess.’ But in later Latin it often means ‘acknowledge,’ and takes a dative (‘give acknowledgment to…’). Its presence in the penitential act makes the confusion easy.

  37. MrsMacD says:

    We’re well taken care of at our parish. Thank you Holy God! But (!) I still have the same favouite confessor who lives three hours away and it’s a rare and wonderful thing to get up the gumption to step into that box. It’s like stepping into heaven to say sorry to Jesus and He leaves a piece of Himself (Jesus does) with me when I leave.

    I had a very hard time with confession as an older teen and it’s to the sacrifice of one priest, who stayed in the confessional even after Communion on Sundays, when the lines were gone, that I owe my life of grace during that time. God bless him and repay him!!!

  38. crownvic says:

    Please keep in mind that the Priest is sitting in the confessional and not all confessionals are exactly comfortable for long periods of sitting. I know of one confessional locally that is in need of renovation. The confessional sits on the exterior wall of the building and there is a window in the “stall” where the Priest sits. The window is long past due for an update and can’t be closed fully. It leaves a gap about an inch wide which lets in cold air. Not a big deal when it is 50 degrees out, but when it is -2 for the high, the Priest is quite chilly in there. The window comes in handy as A/C can’t get in there in the summer. I digress.

    Keep in mind that the Priest isn’t always kicked back and relaxing in there, sometimes it is not a physically comfortable position for them. Want to help? Consider a donation earmarked for confessional rehab. Or, join the building and grounds committee and take up the cause.

  39. PA mom says:

    As the leader of our parish Moms group, I asked our assigned priest if he could offer confession during our meeting one week. He was DELIGHTED to do so, and I know for a fact that for some of the women, it had been a while (am thinking more than a year from the sound of it). How BEAUTIFUL it was to finish our meeting freshly rejuvenated and joyful (even those who werea bit emotional).

    Perhaps if parishes continue to push back against additional set confession times, at least they could more broadly offer it through established groups within the parish. At this point, I firmly believe there is great work to be done even there. ASK on behalf of your groups, and maybe it will gather momentum.

    There is no greater gift anyone has ever given me than the priest who heard my confession some 13 years ago. May God grant that one of my own children can assist people in this awesome way one day!

  40. JimP says:

    Here’s a positive experience.

    While most of the parishes in the Diocese of San Jose seem to follow the practice of scheduling Confession for 30 minutes to 1 hour on Saturday afternoon, I am fortunate that my parish offers Confession during each Mass except for two weekday Masses, plus an additional 1 1/2 hour on Saturday afternoon, for a total of 26 scheduled times, plus by appointment. When I go, there is usually a line. An announcement is made before Mass that priests are available for Confession during Mass, and our priests frequently mention our need for Confession and encourage us to attend.

    The Institute of Christ the King also makes Confession available before each EF Mass, which is offered daily and twice on Sundays at a relatively nearby church.

    I can appreciate that priests have many demands on their time, and that in many parishes there are only one or two priests, but it seems to me that that is one of the most important duties of a priest, publishing a schedule announcing that Confessions will be heard for 45 minutes once a week sends a message to the faithful that it must not be too important.

  41. JimP says:

    Sorry for my poor proof reading. I meant to say:
    I can appreciate that priests have many demands on their time, and that in many parishes there are only one or two priests, but it seems to me that hearing confessions is one of the most important duties of a priest, and that publishing a schedule announcing that Confessions will be heard for 45 minutes once a week sends a message to the faithful that it must not be too important.

  42. bys says:

    Another good report here from a large diocese (1.1 million Catholics) and from my parish. There are many parishes here with confession times open multiple days per week, such that you can really get to confession any day of the week easily in almost any part of the diocese.

    At our parish, which I must say has many theologically-liberal parishioners, the priests speak several times per year during the homily about going to confession, and there are parish penance services at least two times per year (not with a general absolution, but with many priests available…like 8-10). They make it easy to go to confession at least once a year, and encourage it more frequently.

    In many parishes run by the Norbertines here, daily confession is available. I think Fr. Z’s saying, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World”, is accurate from what I’ve seen from the Norbertines.

  43. WYMiriam says:

    I’ve had a few mighty positive experiences with the Sacrament of Confession, and it’s wonderful to hear about the number of parishes where confessions are heard often and regularly!

    I humbly ask that those of you who are fortunate to live in such parishes to pray for us who live in the spiritual boondocks. My parish lost its before-Sunday-Mass confession time at least partly because “no one came.” On the other hand, I rarely saw the priest in the confessional (or even in the sacristy) at the stated time — even though I am usually in church at least 15 minutes before Mass starts, well within the time frame for confessions. There were several times, over the last few years, when our priest heard a very last-minute-before-Mass confession (which is a very good thing!), so I wonder what other reasons there were to cancel that confession time. Our situation is not such that we can just drop in at the rectory and ask for the sacrament; the total number of hours our priest has for us over a week’s time is very, very short. While I understand (I think) the difficulties our two priests have, being responsible for three widely-separated parishes, it still hurts to have seen the “the light is on for you” posters in the vestibule for most of the Year of Mercy, and then come to church one day and find that the light had been turned off.

    So please, in your kindness, pray for my parish and our priests! And thank you, and God bless you!

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  45. APX says:

    I’m happy to report that the number of people going to confession at the Anglican Use Ordinariate has greatly increased over the past few months since the time I started going there for confession (the priest is a really good confessor. A priests’ priest. I was referred by my former confessor after he was transferred and I wasn’t really getting anywhere with his replacement.). Most of the time it used to just be me there. Not anymore.

  46. ChgoCatholic says:

    Every time I’m at Mass, I wish there were confessions being offered there & then. Our parish and the surrounding parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. seem only to have them for about 45 minutes on Saturday afternoons, and then Weds nights but only during Lent. Unfortunately, I think this is commonplace across the U.S., from what I’ve seen or heard.

    Of course, we pray for more confessions. And for our priests to take confession. Especially those of Holy orders who are out today “marching in solidarity” with the Women’s March; including, sadly, a number of Franciscan Friars in full habit. Reportedly, they feel they can march in solidarity without somehow supporting the major sins that the March and its groups are using the occasion to help promote.

    An interesting aside: I notice a bunch of the priests all in my hometown of Chicago (ahem, Cupich territory, ahem) supporting this Women’s March all have some ties back to Fr Martin and/or America Magazine. #thingsthatmakeyougohmm