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Miss Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

I just went to confess and my punishment is no video games for this week.

The thing is, video games is my only safe place to go to. Let's just say I'm in that stage of time where I'm depressed. Playing video games, right now, is my only happiness. I felt as if the priest just took away my happiness. I want to play but I feel like I would be betraying the Church.


  • Do you have any advice?

Miss Anonymous

  { What should I do when my punishment in Confession is my only form of happiness? }

Eric replied:

Miss Anonymous,

It's not a punishment. It's a penance, a way of showing earnestness in our sorrow for what we've done and attempt to repair the damage that our sin has caused.

I don't know what sin you confessed, and I'm not going to ask, but I'm guessing it's related to video games and the priest, perhaps wisely, saw that being consumed with video games may be blocking your relationship with God in some way. You need to face reality and not escape from it. The penance your priest gave you is designed to be a step toward healing and maturity. It's not a punishment (as you called it) or retribution or any such thing. Maybe the priest didn't approach it as well as he could have but I think he has your best interests at heart; he's giving you strong medicine that may not taste good but is a prescription for good spiritual health. Sometimes radical and immediate surgery is required to stabilize a patient that is ill. Perhaps that is what he meant to do.

If you say that video games are your only safe space it sounds to me like you're living in a difficult family situation and need some help sorting things out. You need to face your problems and not flee from them. It's certainly not easy but ultimately withdrawing into video games is not going to solve your problems, it will only cause more problems.

I don't know where you live but if you live in the U.S., try:

  • dialing 211 (that's 211, not 911) on your phone and see if they can connect you with someone that can help you out with the issues you need to be safe from, and help you find someone you can talk to confidentially, or
  • see if your priest can help

  • Have you explained your problems to your confessor?

Resolving those issues are what you should focus on.

And of course, above all there is prayer. Put your trust in God and entrust this situation you are dealing with to Him. Explain to God, in prayer, your frustrations and anger and how you feel, about everything. Ask him for understanding. Pray for those you are having difficulty with, I presume chiefly your parents. If you haven't read the Bible, pick one up and start reading the Gospels (maybe start with Mark, it is the shortest, but also Matthew, Luke, and John). The book of Proverbs is also a good book to read. Maybe this week you should pray and go to the Bible and read it instead of playing video games.
  • How's that for an idea?

God is not out to get you. He loves you very much, more than you can ever imagine, and has put people in your life to guide you to the right path. Make a commitment to follow the Lord and His Gospel first.

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)

Establish a relationship with God; He is the master problem solver. He wants you to come to Him with your problems! Just lay everything at His feet and trust in Him. It will probably take a while to sort through things but He is faithful.


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