We’ve probably all had good and bad Confessions. For me, a bad Confession is when the priest just listens to you reeling off your sins, and offers you no input other than your penance (which was actually also forgotten once). I know that I am still absolved of my sins and that’s what matters, but let’s be honest… that isn’t usually all that we want. We want some advice, some guidance in how to overcome our sins and grow in holiness.
I have been to Confession a few times at my local parish, but it was always as described above. I left feeling frustrated that I was none the wiser on how to work through some of the sins that I repeatedly have to confess, and that the priest didn’t seem to think they really mattered. So I knew I had to find somewhere else for Confession.
There’s a Latin Mass parish not so far from me, so I decided to try there. Although I am not a TLM devotee, I imagined that the priests there might be more ‘involved’ confessors. I was right.
When married to someone who does not share your Catholic faith, there are certain marital issues that come up time and time again. The Catholic theology of marriage and the body is unique and beautiful and one of the most wonderful teachings the Church has to offer the world… but it’s VERY counter-cultural, and tends not to go down well with anyone who did not receive good Catholic formation.
As such, I have ended up in the confessional with the same sins time and time again. I have never received good guidance about them, until yesterday. Whilst I will not disclose the details of the conversation in the confessional, the priest reassured me that as long as I am praying about these issues and broaching them with my husband when the time feels right, then I need not feel the burden of the sins. He encouraged me to come back to Confession as often as necessary to work through the issues.
I left with such peace. I am not absolved of responsibility; through prayer and perseverance, I must try to lead my husband towards the Church’s understanding of marriage and sexuality. But if I can honestly sit before God having done everything in my power to live the Church’s teachings in my marriage, then I can be absolved of my sins.