“Ask a Priest: How Can a Priest Like Me If He Knows My Sins?”

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Q: I go to confession regularly to the same priest. I find it very humiliating. I know it is prideful, but I want the priest to like me, and how on earth could he when he knows all the sinful things I do? I have heard/read that priests don’t think ill of people who come to them for confession. Can you give me any type of certainty that the same could be the case with the priest I see for confession? What is it like for you to hear all the things people do; and then see that person involved in parish ministry or, say, at Bible study? I am not looking to change priest confessors; he is very good and helpful. But I am wondering if there is ever a point when confession stops being humiliating, or if that is just part of the nature of the sacrament that I need to get used to? -M.W.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It might sound odd, but priests sometimes feel closer to penitents and care for them more deeply, precisely because they have had the chance to impart God’s mercy to those souls.

That someone approaches a priest for confession is indeed a humbling experience – for the priest! Priests are sinners too. They know what other people go through. To be a witness to the inner sorrow of a sinner who seeks God’s mercy can be a very uplifting experience for a priest.

So don’t worry about the priest to whom you confess. He is there to help you. He is a father who wants to help you on your path to eternity. If he is “very good and helpful,” count yourself blessed to have such a confessor.

As for your own humiliation: If it helps you realize your own weaknesses and how much you need God, then that is OK. That is a step toward holiness.

Whatever you do, keep taking advantage of the sacrament. It is one of the Church’s greatest treasures. And it can help you become a saint.

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