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Confession

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"When I go to Confession, I've been told I need to speak to a counselor or a therapist, but that isn't something I want to do. I suppose if I can't forgive myself there really isn't any reason for me to go to Confession, right? But I love going to Communion, but when I do I feel guilty because I don't go to Confession. What should I do?"

 

Arrow Answer / Resources:

[click link(s) below, as applicable]

Maybe it would be helpful to realize that Confession isn't about forgiving ourselves. Rather it is to seek God's forgiveness for our sins. We should seek God's forgiveness & grace even if we are not yet able to forgive ourselves for something. We can then ask God for the grace to forgive ourselves. What really matters – what is essential – is whether we are forgiven by God. Remember that Christ himself invested his priests with the authority to bind and loose, so when you have a good Confession & hear the words of absolution from the priest, it is as if you hear them from Christ himself.

As for receiving Holy Communion, you must NOT do so if you have committed a mortal sin until you have had a good sacramental Confession. In fact, someone who receives Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin thereby commits another sin.

As for when to go to Confession, we should go frequently, but especially after committing any mortal sin.

If it was me, I would speak directly with a priest about what you need to do in your particular situation. If the priest advises that you speak with a therapist and you do not want to, perhaps you can discuss the matter further with him (e.g. why he is suggesting that course of action?, what are your objections to his suggestion?, are there any suitable alternatives?).

It is not good to wait for a long time for Confession, so I would advise that you resolve whatever impediments you may have as soon as possible. A good priest should be willing to help you in more detail. You can always make an appointment with a priest to meet outside the confessional in order to discuss the particulars of your situation.

Remember that you are God's beloved child and there is no sin whatsoever – no matter how evil or how many times it has been committed – that cannot be forgiven if we you are truly sorry. So take courage and trust in the Lord who sacrificed His own life for you.

If you are still hesitant, think about how lovingly the father of the prodigal son treated his son when he returned home in Christ's parable. Also consider the rejoicing Christ says occurs in heaven when a sinner returns. Sinning is displeasing to God, but turning away from sin is very pleasing to Him. We have all sinned and need to repent. You are not alone. Just trust in God and do what is necessary in order to receive God's forgiveness. Perhaps after you do that you will find it easier to forgive yourself.

Best wishes to you for God's blessings.

+++

"May the Lord bless thee and keep thee. May he show his face to thee and have mercy on thee. May he turn his countenance to thee and give thee peace." [From the Seraphic Blessing of St. Francis of Assisi (cf. Num. 6:24-26)]


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Other Resources:

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Penance / Confession (Topic Page)

Holy Communion (Topic Page)

 

  

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