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WantToBeACatholic wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Since I have anxieties about telling another person my deepest darkest secrets, is there any alternative to Confession?
  • If there is no alternative, is there any other procedure?

I am thinking about becoming a Catholic but must first confess my sins before receiving the Eucharist.

WantToBeACatholic

  { Since I have anxiety about telling a person my darkest faults is there an alternative to Confession? }

Bob replied:

Dear friend,

There is hope, do not fear.

Unless you are getting baptized (which includes absolution/purification from all sin) Confession is likely necessary. But that doesn't mean you should fear it as a painful experience. To the contrary, all you have to do is tell the priest your anxiety and express your sins without the gristly graphic detail.

For example:

"Bless me father, for I have sinned, this is my first Confession. I am really nervous and embarrassed a bit, because I regret a lot of things I've done. I've done sexual sins outside of marriage (by myself or with others), stolen, lied, lusted, etc. I've lost count because I was not always living a reflective Christian life. I really want to start fresh and be forgiven.”

This is just an example of how you can mention some things without graphic detail that he doesn't need to know. Sexual sins don’t need detail. You can state the important category, adultery, porn, whatever, without a blow by blow description of the sin. Priests have heard it all and far worse, plus they don’t carry this stuff around in their memory. It's forgotten right away.

I know that feeling of embarrassment and shame from having violated my conscience and good sense, but I have never come away from Confession with anything but joy and relief. If you have a splinter stuck in your eye, you may dread the extraction process done by a parent, nurse, or doctor but in reality you won’t mind it at all because you will feel so good when it's out that can't help but smile.

Just keep in mind, Jesus is the one who is there, using the priest to give you the words of absolution, so you can put it to rest. He already knows you inside and out and wants you to be well and move beyond the past . . . let Him have this moment to do just that.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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