Reasons People Avoid Confession by Lorraine Murray

Published: June 7, 2012 in The Georgia Bulletin

A priest once mentioned that the loneliest time of his week was Saturday afternoon when he sat in the confessional waiting for parishioners to show up. Although his comment was humorous, it points to a real problem. And here are some reasons many of us avoid this sacrament:

1. We may be afraid of looking foolish because we haven’t been to confession in a long time—and are uncertain about what to do. If you fall into this category, you can ask your confessor to guide you—or check this website for a refresher:

2. We may have bought into the notion that we can confess our wrongdoings directly to God—and thus don’t need this sacrament. This belief goes against Catholic teaching, however, and it is not scriptural. Christ instituted the sacrament of reconciliation when he said to his apostles, the forerunners of today’s priests and bishops: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

3. We’re uncertain about what to confess. One solution is getting a good examination-of-conscience guide to help us discern our sins. Many parishes provide these guides in the narthex, or you can ask a priest or deacon to suggest one. An excellent one for teens can be purchased at the Life Teen website: A good examination of conscience for adults can be found online following my column at the Georgia Bulletin website.

4. We are embarrassed to mention our sins to another person. This is a common feeling because it is hard to admit our failures out loud. Praying ahead of time for the grace to be honest and courageous will help. It also helps to realize that the priest acts in persona Christi, which means that he is standing in for Jesus Christ, who knows our hearts so well.

5. Many people have been taught there is no need to confess venial sins, and they have not committed any mortal sins—so they don’t go to confession. However, according to the catechism, confession of venial sins is strongly recommended, since it helps us fight against evil tendencies.

6. Perhaps we struggle with the same sins over and over, and we are ashamed to admit this. It is true that part of a good confession is promising to avoid sins in the future—but we may fall short of the mark. Confession reminds us that God’s well of forgiveness is infinitely large.

7. We may need more than just a few minutes because we require spiritual counseling about our sins. In this case, it is best to make an appointment to see the priest in his office.

8. We are afraid of shocking the priest. Keep in mind many priests have heard thousands of confessions over the years. They surely won’t be astonished by what we confess. In fact, most priests are overjoyed that people are coming to confession, and they are eager to offer absolution.

9. We may be hesitant to tell our sins to someone we also socialize with at church suppers. The confessional has a privacy screen, but if this isn’t reassurance enough, you can always confess to a priest at another parish. Keep in mind that priests will never divulge to anyone what you have confessed.

10. We may be afraid the priest will ask us to make changes in our lives. For example, a confessor may tell a couple engaging in pre-marital sex that this is a mortal sin, or tell a married couple that using contraception is a mortal sin. It is hard to face the truth about ourselves and often it is difficult to change. But if we avoid doing this, our souls are in grave danger.

CCH Featured Apologetics Question: Why don’t Catholic priests marry?

Screen shot 2011-11-14 at 9.22.19 AMFind out the answer here! Click on the “Answer” button to this question on the Priesthood page of our website.

Here are some great articles that also deal with priestly celibacy:

Priestly Celibacy

Celibacy of Clergy

Feel free to check out the other questions and answers about the priesthood on the page. And don’t forget to stop by our sister website,!

CCH Featured Apologetics Question

reconciliationWhy do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?

Find out the answer here on our website.

Haven’t been to Confession lately? Advent is the time to go. Prepare your heart from Christ’s coming at Christmas by taking advantage of this wonderful sacrament at your local parish.

Thanking and Encouraging Those Who Serve

Thank You To the Veterans Who Serve Our Country and the Priests who Serve Christ’s Catholic Church.  Enjoy the Inspiring article, below:


Veterans DayThanking and Encouraging Those Who Serve
Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Ph.D., V.G.
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
Archdiocese of Boston

A few weeks ago, I had a very encouraging experience as I flew on an overnight trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. For the first time in many years, in my service as an Air Force Reserve Chaplain, I was on a commercial airline in military uniform. I was inspired and humbled by the thanks offered to me throughout the trip by total strangers. At Logan Airport, for example, as I headed to the baggage claim area, I heard someone calling out to me, “Excuse me, sir.” I turned around, thinking perhaps I had dropped something, to be greeted by a young woman, with her hand extended to shake my hand, saying, “I just want to thank you for your service to our country.”

The people who greeted me did not know me personally; it was seeing the uniform that I was wearing that prompted them to offer their words of support and gratitude. Consistently, I am struck how strongly the people of the United States support and encourage our troops who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country. Indeed, in numerous churches, liturgies and parish bulletins, prayers of support and care are offered regularly for our young men and women serving overseas. Viet Nam veterans will tell you this was not always the case. I am delighted that we make a special effort today to express our gratitude to veterans who were not often thanked during the time of their service. Thankfully, our Veterans Day honors all veterans.

When I travel in priestly clothing the usual reaction I experience is significantly different.  If I am lucky I might hear a polite “hello, Father.”  Sometimes people avert their eyes or turn away.  The most common response is distance and reserve.  In today’s culture and circumstances, strangers do not often stop and thank priests for their service.

A priest does not search for thanks or for praise from others; his source of strength is in the Lord. For me, to be a priest remains a humbling and enormously privileged experience.  People invite the priest into the most personal and challenging moments of their lives, times of great joy and deep sorrow. Yet, while the life of a priest is profoundly fulfilling, there are some challenging and difficult times.

Your expressions of gratitude can encourage priests in good times and in challenging times. Think of the ways a priest may have touched your life recently: by officiating at the marriage of a family member, celebrating the baptism of a new grandchild, bringing the Holy Eucharist to a family member in a hospital or nursing home, teaching the faith to the next generation of young Catholics, witnessing faith and joy through the reverent celebration of Mass and the preaching of the Gospel in your parish.  Many priests who have served you in the past continue to pray for you today.  There is much to be grateful for in the service of our priests who offer their lives to lead everyone to the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. LOGO 041610Recently, as I was watching our excellent CatholicTV show “This Is the Day,” I heard reference to a newly established website whose mission is to encourage priests in their ministry:   I invite you to visit this website and to explore their suggestions on ways to express your gratitude to the priests who have generously served you and others in God’s family.

The 13th century Dominican Meister Eckhardt wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” As we honor our veterans this week, and express our deep appreciation to them, we also thank those who selflessly serve us in the Church: priests, deacons, consecrated religious, lay ecclesial ministers, volunteer lay women and men. Our faith lives are enriched because of you!  To those who serve our country and to those who serve our church: thank you. Encourages You To Thank a Veteran, and a Priest Today! Website Extends Mission of the Year for Priests

Catholics Come Home



ATLANTA, Ga. (June 22, 2010)—The new lay Catholic outreach effort™ has just launched its new interactive and expanded website to support priests.  The apostolate launched on Holy Thursday and the new interactive website went live this Father’s Day, June 20, 2010.

The new website comes on the heels of the “Year for Priests” in an effort to extend the Holy Father’s call for the laity to show our love and support for the many holy Catholic priests around the world.

“This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word ‘priesthood,’” said Pope Benedict XVI.
Collar-HollerThe mission of™ is to promote vocations and support ordinary men who do extraordinary work as Catholic priests, celebrating Mass and the sacraments, preaching, evangelizing and tirelessly serving the needs of their communities and the world.

On the new™ website, visitors can learn more about the priesthood and vocations through audio, visual and written material on the site and on the blog. People will also find resources to show their gratitude for the priests in their lives through spiritual bouquets, written and video greetings, and short “Collar-Holler” e-cards. Encourage Priests™ can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.™ has already been welcomed by priests and lay Catholics around the country.  “Great concept…Will be a tremendous help to the morale of priests,” said Bishop Sam Jacobs from the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. Several Catholics have submitted words of encouragement about their priests, like Rose who said, “He is truly a great priest who is always there for God’s people, no matter what. His presence alone is a blessing to his parish and ours. I pray that he stays strong throughout his priesthood to continue to be a great priest.”

To schedule an interview, please contact:  Louisa White at 678-585-7886, or by e-mail is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc.

The Diocese of Phoenix Newspaper, The Catholic Sun, Reports the Launch of

The Catholic Sun, newspaper of the Diocese of Phoenix, reports on the Father’s Day launch of Send a local priest a ‘Collar-Holler’ this Father’s Day

The Year for Priests ends June 19, but a new website will help keep its spirit alive indefinitely., which launched on Holy Thursday — the day that marks the institution of the priesthood — will become fully interactive June 20, Father’s Day.

The site is designed to equip the laity with easy yet powerful ways to affirm the priests in their lives through spiritual bouquets, printable and electronic greeting cards — dubbed “Collar-Hollers” — and testimonials.

Visitors to the website will also be able to learn more about the priesthood, support vocations and explore features including homily highlights, “Words of Wisdom” and “Fatherly Advice.”

“It all happened very, very quickly,” founder Tom Peterson said of the new outreach ministry.

It started when Peterson, who is also the brains behind its partner Catholic media apostolate,, simply told his spiritual director earlier this year about his own heavy workloads, loneliness and the demands of ministry. His spiritual director mentioned that priests face the same struggles…
click here to read entire article

Visit today and spread the word to all your friends and family.  Our priests need our encouragement!

Check-out Ashley's Video Encouraging Fr. Peter

Catholics Come Home

We hope you are as excited as we are about the interactive website which is just weeks away from launching on Father’s Day, June 20th!

Check-out the video below that we just received from Ashley in Georgia.  We love it, thanks Ashley!

We hope Ashley’s video inspires you to send your encouraging words to your favorite priest! We look forward to receiving your short written testimonial or video greeting message to help our effort to thank and support priests around the country.

To send a video greeting like Ashley’s to your priest and have it featured on our YouTube channel or to submit a written testimonial, please visit our testimonials submission page at

Thank you for helping us to encourage our holy and heroic priests.

In Christ,
Your team
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc.  Its mission is to encourage priests and promote priestly vocations.

Tell Us About Your Priest!

Catholics Come Home

ATLANTA, Ga. (June 1, 2010) – We are just weeks away from the launch of our interactive™ website! To make this launch exciting and truly inspiring, we want all of our supporters—including YOU—to submit a short testimonial, either written or in a 60-second video format, about a priest or bishop you are grateful for, or one who has inspired you in some way.

Is there a noteworthy priest in your community who has done something heroic?

Do you have a funny, inspiring, or wisdom-filled story to share about a priest at your parish?

Do you know of a priest who has truly touched your life in some way—big or small?

Help us spread a positive message about the priesthood to our culture via the web by sharing your story or words of encouragement.

Your participation is easy, but truly valuable.  A 250-word story or a 60-second video greeting card takes just a few minutes of your time, but can have a huge impact on spreading a message of love and encouragement for our holy Catholic priests.

Visit™ for more info and to submit your short testimonial this week!

Thank you for your prayers and support for our heroic Catholic seminarians, priests, and bishops. Together, we can show our secular culture the true value and beauty of this sacred vocation.

### is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc. Its mission is to encourage priests and promote priestly vocations.

Tell Us About Your Heroic Priests – Now Accepting Video and Story Submisssions

Catholics Come Home



ATLANTA, Ga. (April 29, 2010)—The new lay Catholic outreach effort to support priests called™ is now accepting video and story submissions for the launch of its updated, interactive website.

Catholics around the country may submit written or video stories about priests who have had an impact on their own lives or who are doing heroic work—on a small or large scale—in their parish and local communities.™ is inviting all lay people to get involved in an effort to show their appreciation for their priestly fathers this Father’s Day.

Written story submissions should be 250 words or less.

Video submissions must be 100MB or smaller and can be standard or high definition. If standard definition, video dimensions should be 480×360 if 4:3 video or 640×360 if 16:9 video.  For high definition, dimensions are 1280×720 (720p) or 1920×1080 (1080p). Videos can be .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, .MP4, or .MPEG files.

Please visit to submit all entries. will accept and post stories and videos on an ongoing basis, but if you would like your entry to be considered as a feature on the Father’s Day launch, it must be submitted by June 1.

For more information, visit
E-mail all questions to™ was established in Lent 2010 by the non-profit Catholic media apostolate, Catholics Come Home, Inc. ® (  Its mission is to encourage priests and promote priestly vocations.

### is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media apostolate, dedicated to producing and airing Catholic evangelism television ads on local, national and international television networks.™ is a special communications outreach project of Catholics Come Home, Inc.

Feeling Bored at Mass?

Sadly, many Catholics haven’t had the opportunity to really learn what’s happening at Mass… By journeying through the parts of the Mass, we hope you will find new excitement in this joyful and meaningful celebration of our Faith every Sunday (or every day)!

Today’s Bored at Mass feature: The Opening Rites

Okay. You just finished singing the opening hymn and Mass has begun! Together, as a community of believers, everyone makes the sign of the cross. Here is what one of the Early Church Fathers had to say about the power of the sign of the cross:

“By the sign of the cross all magic ceases; all incantations are powerless; every idol is abandoned and deserted; all irrational voluptuousness is quelled; and each one looks up from earth to heaven.” –St. Athanasius (De Incarn. Verbi, t.1)

Did you know that the priest’s greeting to you that follows comes straight out of Scripture? “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). In another greeting, the priest says, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:3). “And also with you!” we reply.

Catholics Come Home Lost & Found Tip: When the priest invokes peace upon you, take a moment to prepare yourself to receive that peace. Ask yourself if you really are in a peaceful state of mind as you begin the Mass. Offer to God anything that may be keeping you from your peacefulness. Chances are, you’ve spent all week waiting for a moment of “peace”—well, now you’ve got it!

To dive deeper into the parts of the Mass, grab “The How-To Book of the Mass” by Michael Dubruiel in our bookstore!