The Papists

Apologetics and Evengelization
  • May 29, 2014 10:27 pm
    Anonymous:  Hi, this is probably a stupid question, but I will be going to Confession at a new church for the first time and the priest's English skills are pretty weak. He's hard to understand and I don't know how much he'll understand from me. What do you suggest I do? (Also, not sure if this is relevant but this church only offers face-to-face Confession, not behind a screen.)

    Well, there are really two options that I’m aware of in a situation where you can’t find a priest who speaks your language for confession.  

    1) If you know someone who speaks English and the language of the priest, and you are comfortable with it, (and it’s okay not to be,) that person can act as a translator for you.  This person would be bound by the seal of confession just like the priest is.  (That a translator can be used in confession is made clear in Can. 990: No one is prohibited from confessing throughan interpreter as long as abuses and   scandals are avoided andwithout prejudice to the prescript of  can. 983, §2.)


    2)  The other option is to simply go in there, and do your best using your English and hand gestures to try to help the priest understand as much as possible. Remember, if the priest gives you absolution, and you are sorry for your sins, then the sacrament is valid and your sins are forgiven.  That stuff is lost in translation doesn’t change that.  (Of course, if you truly cannot understand this priest or vice-versa, it would be best, if you have the ability, to find a regular confessor who’s English skills are stronger, so that you can receive spiritual direction about your specific sins.)

    Something that might help, is if you google translate some of the more important words in your confession so if need be, you can use those words in the priest’s language to help him understand.  

    Other than that, continue practicing the sacrament of confession regularly.  Aim for once a month at minimum, and if possible go more often, even once a week if possible, and you will be amazed how much your spiritual life grows!  

    God bless! 


  • March 26, 2013 9:33 pm
    Anonymous:  If someone had said "a girl with a dressed in - that has a - on her face confessed -" is that breaking the seal of confession?

    Yes. The priest cannot give any identifiable information about a person from a particular confession. Priests take the seal of confession extremely seriously, because it is an extremely serious matter! Breaking the seal of confession is grounds for excommunication and being stripped of one’s duties as a priest for life. 

    As a side note, I have heard that priests often have a difficult time remembering what people confess to them, likely one of the graces of the sacrament. And they hear so many confessions, there’s almost no way they would remember who said what. 

    When talking about things they hear in the confessional, the most I have ever heard a priest say are things along the lines of, “People who struggle with anger and lust usually are dealing with an underlying problem, which just manifests itself in that way,” for example.

    Thank you for your question!

  • January 1, 2013 2:18 pm
    Anonymous:  You mentioned a while ago that "The Confiteor at the beginning of Mass (like any Act of Contrition) forgives all venial sins." Does that mean that if one says the Act of Contrition privately in their own home, their venial sins are forgiven, or must it be said within the context of a Mass?

    Yes.  Venial sins may be forgiven by private acs of contrition, good works, and reception of the Eucharist. 

    However, it is still good to confess venial sins when one goes to confession, for it is a healing sacrament.  Here is a good link.  Does this answer your question?

    - Niko

  • November 17, 2012 5:59 pm
    Anonymous:  What makes a confession invalid?

    All the Sacraments must meet three criteria to be valid: they must have correct form & matter and there must be correct disposition.  If anyone of these is not present, the sacrament is deemed invalid.

    Form: The priest must say some form of absolution. It is generally accepted that the words “I absolve you from your sins” are the essential words.

    If these are not said, then the sacrament is invalid.

    Matter: The matter is contrition, confession, and satisfaction. Essentially, is the person truly sorry?  Did they confess all their mortal sins as far as they can remember and in kind and number?  Are you steadfast in desire to amend for your sins, at the very least doing the penance assigned by the confessor if the confessor assigned one?  If the answer to any of these questions is no, the confession might be invalid.

    Disposition: According to where I took a comment and adapted it for this post, this essentially means that the confessor needs to be a priest, and the person confessing must be Catholic.

    “Even if there is some question about the validity, remember that Ecclesia supplet (the Church provides): if a priest accidentally forgets some of the words of the ritual or changes them, the Church recognizes the good faith of those gathered and their right to valid sacraments. She provides sacramental validity in the case of a human error or priestly malpractice.”

    - Niko

    (Adapted from a comment on

  • November 13, 2012 3:02 pm
    therainbowcatholic-deactivated2:  I'm not sure how to approach this, but when I made my first confession, and then remembered things I wanted to confess after that, was my confession made invalid?

    Not at all!

    While we should make a sincere effort to remember everything, absolution is not invalid because we legitimately forgot something. (As the last confession post shows, there’s a difference between genuinely forgetting, and deliberately concealing.)

    However, it is our duty to remember it for next time, and confess it then. (Some priests will tell you that’s unnecessary, but that is inconsistent with the teaching of the Church. If we are conscious of a sin we have never confessed, it is our duty to confess it.)

  • November 13, 2012 9:33 am
    Anonymous:  If I failed to mention a sin because I was embarrassed, does that make my confession not valid?

    Refraining from admitting a sin in Confession is actually committing another sin. 

    I first learned this from Nuns when I was in CCD and I didn’t want to believe them. But when you think about it..who are you going for Confession? You’re confessing to God! If you refrain from admitting a sin you are still trying to hide from God. Does He know your sin? Well yes of course He does. He also knew Adam’s sin, but Adam still hid:

    The Lord God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you?

    He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked so I hid”.

    Genesis 3:9-10

    God went looking for Adam even though He knew Adam sinned. It is just for us to go before God and admit we failed so that He can smile at us and say “Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more”.


  • November 12, 2012 12:43 pm
    Anonymous:  What are the rules for receiving the Eucharist after you sin?

    Although it is encouraged to go to Confession after any type of sin, being able to receive the Eucharist depends on whether or not the sin was mortal or venial.

    If you are in a state of grace (ie: have not committed a mortal sin), then you may receive communion. The Confiteor at the beginning of Mass (like any Act of Contrition) forgives all venial sins, as does receiving the Eucharist Itself. 

    If you have committed a mortal sin, then you must not receive Holy Communion until after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance. (Receiving the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin is in itself a mortal sin. It is a grave offence against the Blessed Sacrament.)

    1 Corinthians 11:27-29: “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgmenton himself.” 

  • August 25, 2012 4:46 pm
    Anonymous:  Different anon, but jumping off the question that Olivier answered: If you are in a life-threatening situation and there is not a priest present, what should be done? I know a regular person does not have the authority to forgive sins, but can you confess your sins to a brother or sister in Christ?

    Well, confession can only be done by a priest, but you can give a perfect act of contrition, which means that you can honestly say you are sorry for your sins, not just because you fear hell but because you love God and are sorry for offending him, then that is as effective as confession.


  • July 23, 2012 10:52 pm
    Anonymous:  Are non-catholics allowed to go to reconciliation? why or why not?

    Code of Canon Law 844 §4 says:

    If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

    If you’re a baptised Christian (baptised with water and in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), you may licitly receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation provided it is a grave circumstance (it’s usually the case that death is imminent) and you truly believe in the Sacrament (i.e. you must believe that the priest who is hearing your confession has the authority to forgive sins in persona Christi, and that forgiveness only comes with true guilt and a resolve to sin no more). 

    God bless.


  • April 26, 2012 5:44 pm
    Anonymous:  If someone was raised Catholic and was confirmed, but "fell away," and wants to come back years later, what do they have to do?

    Praise God! In order to return to full communion all that’s necessary is to go to Confession. It would help if you scheduled one by calling your local parish priest; that way you wouldn’t be restricted by time restraints. Then, lead a regular sacramental life!

    Be holy! Be happy!

    - Phillip