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Bringing sensitive matters to confession


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#1 Anne M.

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 09:41 PM

This is my first time posting. I am female and currently single and struggle with the occasional need to bring something to confession that seems awkward to discuss with a priest. I know there are some clergy that post on here and maybe can help shed some light. Having to confess lustful thoughts and actions is difficult and I am unsure if the priest expects me to be specific, or if I can be general and say "lustful thoughts and actions." I don't want to share something with my priest that would make him feel uncomfortable. I also don't want to give too much information. I also sense I should be honest in confession.

With other sins, I feel comfortable being very open and discussing them in detail in hopes for some spiritual guidance. Of course, in areas of sexuality we need guidance more than anything else. However, getting spiritual counsel means discussing something in more detail, which I am afraid to do in matters of sexual sins.

Any feedback would be very very helpful. What does a priest expect and encourage in confession, regarding this matter? What is protocol?

Sincerely Anne

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 11:13 PM

if I can be general and say "lustful thoughts and actions." I don't want to share something with my priest that would make him feel uncomfortable. I also don't want to give too much information. I also sense I should be honest in confession.


For the most part, a general statement such as the above is sufficient. I have heard all kinds of little codes for such sins and it all works. If a confessor, for some reason, might need additional information - he will ask. For example, if a person confesses to me that they lied, then I will probably ask what prompted them to lie so that I can understand the underlying passion better - is it pride, is it cruelty, is it covering other sins, is it blatant dishonesty or any one of a number of other options. One specific that I sometimes find helpful is the conditions surrounding those "lustful thoughts and actions" and I have found in that case that inactivity or boredom is part of the picture. That too helps me understand and give direction in how to avoid or resist that temptation in the future.

In spiritual counsel the ideal is that by hearing the nature of the sins, the confessor can see the nature of the underlying passions and temptations and thus come closer to treating the root rather than the many branches of the root.

What is expected in confession is honesty and repentance and a desire to resist and overcome those temptations in the future.

Fr David Moser

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 11:22 PM

Dear Anne,

Not in any regards to make light of your question, but you might check our archives. This topic has been discussed in several areas before. Here are a few to look at. If you still don't find what you are looking for, please ask again. Many here will help you.

Paul

#4 Jeremy Troy

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:47 AM

My confessor tells me that he has been given a particular gift. When a person confesses to him, he is unable to remember the confession (or any penance that he might have prescribed) as soon as he says the absolution. When the same person confesses to him again, he immediately remembers every confession that they've given in the past. I know that not all confessors experience this, but it makes it easier for me to not feel embarrassed about confessing certain things. Still, I think it's generally recommended that confessions be more toward the general side, and the priest will ask for more details if he needs them.

In Christ,
Jeremy

#5 Jim Andersen

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 10:57 PM

From the way I understood it, full disclosure of our more shameful shortfalls was supposed to generate the necessary humility that would break the root cause of that sin, which is Pride. Through this true repentance would come. But this is the way I understood it, I guess if one feels compelled to describe the sinful act in more detail one is free to do so and the Priest would willingly listen?

#6 Paul Cowan

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Posted 03 July 2010 - 12:19 AM

As has been said in several threads before on this topic. Ask your priest how detailed/graphic he wants you to be. Probably won't want the how-to's of it all.

#7 Thomas Brunson

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 03:18 AM

Jim, I think that how you confess a sin or sins is important to understand, and what is meant by "full disclosure" is most important to understand. My Father Confessor years ago told me just to confess the sin in humility, not to make excuses for the sin, but to be HONEST at the same time. I gathered that full disclosure would be as follows: (Considering one who had sex outside of his marriage) His confession could be something like this, ie. I had sexual intercourse with a woman that was not my wife three times in the last two weeks. I think that this would be considered full disclosure and if your Priest needs any more information he will ask, and of course we should be honest and discreet in our replies. +Thomas

#8 Nina

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:16 PM

Jim, I think that how you confess a sin or sins is important to understand, and what is meant by "full disclosure" is most important to understand. My Father Confessor years ago told me just to confess the sin in humility, not to make excuses for the sin, but to be HONEST at the same time. I gathered that full disclosure would be as follows: (Considering one who had sex outside of his marriage) His confession could be something like this, ie. I had sexual intercourse with a woman that was not my wife three times in the last two weeks. I think that this would be considered full disclosure and if your Priest needs any more information he will ask, and of course we should be honest and discreet in our replies. +Thomas


Yes, Fathers say we must not go into too much detail describing sins to the dot. As Father David has mentioned above, when a Spiritual Father needs more clarification he will ask.

#9 Christophoros

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 06:54 PM

This morning I came across a very interesting and relevant article by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov (ROCOR) entitled, "There is No Sex in Church," published in vol. 4, no. 1 of the American Theological Inquiry: A Biannual Journal of Theology, Culture and History. The volume is found online here: http://atijournal.org/ATI_Vol4_No1.pdf

#10 Alice

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:28 PM

Christophors: I could not find the specific article you mentioned. Could you perhaps tell us on what page it is to be found? Thanks. :)

#11 Michael Commini

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:36 PM

Christophors: I could not find the specific article you mentioned. Could you perhaps tell us on what page it is to be found? Thanks. :)


I'm not Christophoros, but perhaps I can help- it's on page 65 if you type it into the top of Reader or 61 if you go by the page numbers of the document itself.




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