I see at Vatican Insider that there was a penitential service at St. Peter’s Basilica.  We have once again the image of a Pope making his confession, not hearing confessions.


Meanwhile, Francis addressed a gathering of the extremely-helpful annual workshop for confessors held by the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica.

Among his remarks, the Pope said:

In fact, the confessor is called daily to go to the “peripheries of evil and of sin” – this is an awful periphery! And his work represents a genuine pastoral priority. To hear confessions is a pastoral priority. Please, let there not be those notices: “Confessions are heard only on Mondays and Wednesdays from this hour to that hour.” You hear confessions every time they are requested. And if you are there [in the Confessional] praying, keep the Confessional open, which is God’s open heart.

I would add to that, expand your times for confession and, Fathers…


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  1. Absit invidia says:

    Nothing is more disheartening to a layman than standing in line for an hour and being turned away when the clock strikes exactly 5:15 pm. Especially knowing that the priest took 20 minutes per penitent who were standing in line before you.

  2. jarocookies says:

    As a former Protestant, I appreciate all the sacraments, but confession is one of the most meaningful and precious to me. I’d done general confessions to fellow Protestant laymen and clergy in the past, and though they listened kindly and read words of absolution from Scripture, it was by no means the same. Confession is good for the soul in all forms, but I would never want to lose the sacramental kind now that I have it available to me.

  3. MouseTemplar says:

    I’m trying. I’m in a very rural area–a camper parked in a cow paddock, actually–but found a Church and got myself there at the advertised hour Saturday afternoon. Turns out it’s a visiting priest who may not know the schedule (or covering more than one parish) and didn’t show. Hoping to try again before Mass tomorrow.

  4. majuscule says:

    Our parish is fortunate to have almost daily confession hours at the parish church plus monthly Holy Hours with confession at the mission churches (where you once had to ask the priest to hear your confession when he was there for Sunday Mass). It’s always heartening to enter the confessional with nothing much to confess–nothing that couldn’t wait another week–and to have Father be pleased that you came for the grace that confession would give.

  5. mo7 says:

    I’ve needed to go to confession for two weeks now, I can’t make the 45 minute one on Saturday afternoon. I left work early to go to another parish’s adversed time, no one was there. Ill have to try again next weekend. No communion for 2 weeks. You think during Lent they could have evening hours???

  6. mo7 says:


  7. Imrahil says:

    The Holy Father is quite right to speak out against “Confessions only then” notices. And I am quite happy that around here we do not seem to have that at least.

    That said, the “contrary” is (in my view) almost equally important: to do have fixed Confession times where the priest sits in the Confessional without any previous appointment from the penitent, even if he’s always ready for such appointments.

  8. Andrew_81 says:


    The good advice I received in my moral theology classes was that as confessors (or soon-to-be, in my case) we should rarely allow a regular confession to take more than 5 minutes (unless there are serious reasons), and a general confession should never be more than 15 (the latter is straight from St. Alphonsus). There are, of course, some exceptions, so let’s not make this into a judgement of the penitent ahead of us.

    Obviously if your priest is regularly exceeding, say 10 minutes per penitent for weekly normal confessions, he probably is trying to be a good priest (since he’s taking time to give direction to penitents, or letting them unburden their conscience for that long). He might respond well to a gentle, prudent small complaint, about how hard it is to get to confession regularly. No sour grapes, or bitterness. Be a child opening up to dad about his difficulties.

    But at the same point, it’s good to remind ourselves of the “3 Bs of confession” (from an old priest friend):
    1. Be sorry.
    2. Be brief.
    3. Be gone.

    Call up a priest nearby. It doesn’t have to be your parish. You don’t have to give your name, but a good priest is always willing to make a few minutes for an impromptu confession. If you’re concerned about anonymity, ask if he’s willing to here an anonymous confession and meet you in the box at some time. From my own experience, if there’s a resident ICK, FSSP, SSPX or other traditionally-minded priest, I am sure they would happily schedule a private personal confession at a convenient time for you.

    In short, if you need to confess ASAP, don’t get stuck thinking your only option is to wait for a scheduled time. Get in an Catholic priest’s box, ASAP.

  9. Sonshine135 says:

    I love this! Please Fathers….Please! Please return to regular confessions before every Mass. You have no greater duty than to help souls get to heaven!

  10. Cornelius says:

    How touching. Does the Pope confess the havoc he’s deliberately creating in the Church and his wink and nod for persistent adulterers to receive Communion? Does he confess his fomenting of sacrilege? Does he confess his deliberate assault on the unity of the Church, already manifesting itself in San Diego, Germany, Malta, and Argentina? And if he does, does he have a firm purpose of amendment?

  11. Leppert says:

    Apologies for the length of this comment. I hope it is at least a little interesting and relevant. I was recently called back to the Church after spending the last 20 years living without God. I needed the sacrament of communion in my life but also knew that to take communion in a state of mortal sin would be a sacrilege.

    My local church (a post VII modernist shed) was found to be entirely devoid of a Priest except for the 45 minutes in which he raced through the Novus Ordo as quickly as possible before heading off to the next of his four churches.

    I visited the church near my workplace during my lunch hour (a lovely Pugin church that had a wonderful reverent atmosphere when empty). As I was heading back out to work I bumped into the priest who introduced himself. I explained my situation and the fact that I needed to confess. He informed me that he didn’t have time right now but I should come back on Saturday morning. He then spent 25 minutes talking about the church building. On Saturday there was no sign of anyone. On Sunday I watched in horror as a litany of all the worst VII elements were combined into a single hour: guitars, popular music, altar girls, communion in the hand, people gossiping in the pews…

    I almost gave up.

    Instead, somehow, I ended up driving an hour to a shrine church of the ICKSP. The priest who took my general confession insisted that I come for communion during the mass and asked me to meet him after the service. He provided me with support, encouragement, material to read and advice in my journey back to being a practicing Catholic.

    In the space of two weeks I encountered the best and worst that the modern Church has to offer the average layman. Confession, at least here in Britain, seems to be an endangered animal.

  12. iamlucky13 says:

    God bless Pope Francis for this! Concerns about him aside, there are certain things I really appreciate about him, too.

    Refreshingly, the homily at today’s Mass included an invitation to confession. The parish is having a Lenten mission including 7 extra times for confession this week beyond the regular parish schedule.

    “From this hour to that hour” as Pope Francis puts it, has different meanings at various parishes I’ve been to. I know of a couple priests who return to the confessional after Mass without even being asked if there was still a line when they had to leave to celebrate Mass. In contrast, I recently went to a parish near my work in the middle of the scheduled hour to be told, after I spotted the priest in the narthex chatting with a parishioner, that he was done for the day. Admittedly, I could have made it a bit earlier that day had I paid more attention to the clock, but I wasn’t expecting an hour before Mass starts to be a problem. Regardless, I do appreciate that he did still hear my confession when I asked.

  13. Nan says:

    Once again, the Saturday night special at the anonymous church basement with curtains and whispering. Friday into Saturday this week is the archdiocesan 24-hr confession at the Cathedral. I leave for the Holy Land in the wee hours of the 28th and wanted to make sure to get to confession before I go although it’s an option while I’m gone.

  14. Ellen says:

    Our parish offers extended confession hours during Lent and the people do take advantage of them. Me included. I’ve been teaching RCIA and singing the praises of confession to all our candidates.

  15. AndyMo says:

    Perhaps he is already quoting someone else, but can we spread to the ends of the world this paraphrase of HH’s last paragraph?

    “The open confessional is the open heart of God.” Beautiful stuff.

  16. tskrobola says:

    It certainly is confusng to hear occasional nuggets of love and pastoral wisdom like this from His Holiness, only to be bombarded most of the time with the opposite from him and from his closest advisors.

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