Thursday, August 23, 2007
Confession and Anonymity
Lately, I’ve run across several articles dealing with confession. I have grown to appreciate this sacrament in the last few years. Yet, I still feel like I have a long ways to go to get a really mature handle on confession. I definitely see the benefit of frequent confessions. However, I have heard over and over it is a good idea to find one priest to be your primary confessor. This spiritual mentor will have a memory of your past confessions and can better guide you towards holiness. Intellectually, that makes perfect sense. But am still behind the screen and anonymous. I am actually quite relieved that the priest is not keenly aware that the sins I am confessing are remarkably similar to the batch I confessed just six weeks ago.
I do know that I really enjoyed going to our previous pastor for confession. When he arrived at our parish his tone from the pulpit could be somewhat scolding. For that reason I avoided his line during confession. However, there came a time when it would be painfully obvious that I was avoiding his line so I took a chance. My goodness! He was marvelous in the confessional. You could just feel the love and compassion emanating from him. He was a bundle of absolute joy over being able to offer God’s forgiveness. From then on I sought him out for confession. Still, I stayed behind the screen.
Another good confessor was a parochial vicar where I sometimes attend daily Mass. This relatively young priest would always stay and say the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet after Mass. Then he would offer to hear confessions. I always took advantage of this when I was there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a schedule to know when he was saying Mass so finding him in the confessional was hit or miss. He has since been transferred so I am once again without a favorite confessor.
I know that some people are very comfortable with the face-to-face mode of confession. I also know that theoretically there should be no problem with having the parish priest with whom I work with on multiple projects, hear my confession face to face. But I am just not there yet. I like my anonymity. Behind the screen it is easier to just stay on topic, cover the sins, formulate a plan for avoiding sin, receive my penance and absolution and move on. Face to face and I would be tempted to turn it into a gab session with more venting and less repenting.
Does anyone have any experience with utilizing a regular confessor who truly knows you, both inside and outside of the confessional? I would love to hear your perspective.