Advanced search

to go to confession if I'm not a Catholic?

(79 Posts)
SheldonHickey Fri 20-Jan-17 12:44:47

I'm not religious. But I really want to talk to someone about some issues I'm having with (probably out of proportion) guilt. I can't afford therapy, which I suspect would be my best bet. Am I allowed to go and talk to a priest?

DJBaggySmalls Fri 20-Jan-17 12:48:52

You can go and talk to a priest but not in a confessional. Its not therapy.
It would be better to talk to your GP and see what therapy is available on the NHS. Also many therapists offer a sliding scale of fees.

WorraLiberty Fri 20-Jan-17 12:50:08

From distant memory, that's not really how confession works.

In the kindest possible way, they're not free therapists and as you're not religious, I don't think it's fair to take up their time.

ollieplimsoles Fri 20-Jan-17 12:50:48

Is it the fact you want to remain anonymous when talking about it?
What ever you do don't go to a priest!

Wolfiefan Fri 20-Jan-17 12:51:26

I think you would be better speaking to a friend you trust or see your GP if it's affecting your quality of life.

Mari50 Fri 20-Jan-17 12:53:09

As a catholic, I wouldn't recommend going to a priest, unless you happen to know one. Confession is all about judgement (in my recollection- I stopped going when I lost my virginity as promising to try my hardest not to do it again clearly wasn't an option)

identityhidden Fri 20-Jan-17 12:53:56

Yes, you can talk to a priest (Catholic) but it might not be 'confession' in the strictest sense. Last confession I did involved prayers, an absolution and a penance - most of which you might find doesn't help much if you're not a practicing Catholic. I did find talking to the priest very calming though , much better and more helpful than my first confession at age 8 when I was told to recite a list of why I'd been 'bad'!!

MrsDustyBusty Fri 20-Jan-17 12:54:17

I think you'd be really disappointed with confession if you went. The priest tends to listen impassively and offers no thoughts or questions.

HumpHumpWhale Fri 20-Jan-17 12:54:52

Confession is a sacrament. I'm not religious, but that's really not ok. What about ringing the samaritans? They're great, just non-judgemental listeners.

HallowedMimic Fri 20-Jan-17 12:56:07

You can talk to a priest/vicar/minister any time you like.

If you go to confession, the priest will expect you to reel off actual sins.

And express contrition, and he'll absolve you, but that won't count for anything unless you hold Catholic beliefs.

I've never been longer than ten minutes in confession, and in fact our priest only has fifteen minutes scheduled for hearing the confessions of the entire congregation every Saturday grin.

Broccolirevolution Fri 20-Jan-17 12:58:47

I agree with previous posters, it's not quite the right thing. You'd be better with a doctor.

Gooseygoosey12345 Fri 20-Jan-17 12:59:07

I don't think confession will help if that's what you're looking for. Nowadays a lot of priests won't actually ask you to tell your sins as it's supposed to between you and God. There's nothing wrong with going but it's very impersonal, you won't get a reaction and they're not really allowed to discuss it with you (or that's not the done thing anyway). You might be better off speaking to a counsellor through the NHS if you can, or if work provides some kind of support use that

FlyWaxSleepRepeat Fri 20-Jan-17 13:01:03

You'd probably be better phoning the Samaritans or something.

"confession" at my church is like a conveyor belt.

TheCustomaryMethod Fri 20-Jan-17 13:04:45

If you believe in God without actually practising religion, might your local (non Catholic) church's minister be a better option?

If you're not a believer, I think pps' suggestion of your GP or the Samaritans would be more helpful; or, if your guilt relates to a particular incident in your life, there might be a specialist free source of support in your area.

semideponent Fri 20-Jan-17 13:06:01

Yes, of course you could talk to a priest. I'd call ahead and ask first though. Bear in mind that they are human beings and all different: some are much better at this kind of work than others (and devote more time to it). If you're up front about what you're after, I'm sure most would recommend another priest or religious you could talk to if they felt they weren't able to take it on or wouldn't be able to help.

Retreat houses might be another port of call if your parish priest can't help.

There are also some books out there - Guilt by Caryll Houselander comes to mind, though I don't know if it's still in print.

You can talk to a priest or minister but we are not cut price therapists. What most of us are really good at is listening. I am often able to signpost on to other organisations which might be a GP or the Samaritans or something else. You can find you local C of E church on the website A Church Near You. Other denominations are available.

SheldonHickey Fri 20-Jan-17 13:47:59

Thank you all for your thoughts - that's very useful.

I would call myself open minded - I'm by no means I die hard athiest, and think religion probably has a lot to offer. I just know very little about it.

I appreciate all the responses - thanks again.

SheldonHickey Fri 20-Jan-17 13:50:24

I don't think it's fair to take up their time.

I appreciate this as a perspective, but I thought religious leaders generally considered themselves keen to help people from all walks of life, irrespective of belief? But then, I don't really know any, so may well be wrong...

VeryBitchyRestingFace Fri 20-Jan-17 13:52:12

Definitely not what confession is for.

Are you looking to be absolved of your sins?
Do you believe a priest can do that?
Are you genuinely contrite?
Are you willing to do penance?

SheldonHickey Fri 20-Jan-17 13:53:16

Are you looking to be absolved of your sins?
Yep, probably.

Do you believe a priest can do that?

Are you genuinely contrite?
Yes, very.

Are you willing to do penance?
Not sure - what's penance?

VeryBitchyRestingFace Fri 20-Jan-17 13:56:23

Yep, probably

Needs to be stronger than that otherwise no point.


See answer above.

What's penance?

Performing an act of contrition, ie, 100 Hail Mary's. grin

SheldonHickey Fri 20-Jan-17 13:58:43

Really, VeryBitchy? You have to be sure about these things to bother? That surprises me.

ElspethFlashman Fri 20-Jan-17 13:58:44

Priests have thousands of parishioners. They literally do not have the time to be therapists. That's why confession is efficient and brisk. Which I suspect is not what you are looking for.

Forgiveness and Penance go hand in hand. You are forgiven, but it you have to make up for it too.

ElspethFlashman Fri 20-Jan-17 14:01:03

Why would you go to confession if not for absolution?

No point.

Again, you're confusing confession and therapy. With the latter you're working through your feelings of guilt. With confession you're sure of it and want to be forgiven and atone.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Fri 20-Jan-17 14:03:58

Do you believe in God, OP?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: