Confession is really, really hard.
No one tells you this when you become Catholic. They’re all like, “Confession is so great”, “Confession is the sacrament of healing”, “Confession is such a great experience of God’s mercy.”
But please, don’t believe it for a moment.
Sure, you encounter the mercy of God, your sins are forgiven and you even receive the grace to put to death those particular sins you confessed. And yes, it is a wonderfully liberating moment of humility, and honesty, and joy, and grace but please – don’t be sucked in by all that.
Why? Because you actually have to confess your sins first.
Yep, I know right!? The cheek of it all. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? Well, this is my message to all those wary of Confession. You are right to be.
The main Protestant objection to Confession is that you must confess all mortal sins to a priest. But they are missing the far bigger problem: you have to confess your sins, to speak them aloud like they’re real and yours.
This is horrible.
Because speaking your sins will give them a seeming objective reality they never had before. They will sound like actual sins. You will have to identify them as sins. This is very dangerous.
Speaking your sins also means you have to own them, like they’re yours or something. They won’t just be things out there, they will be yours. Again, this is very dangerous. Much better to blame someone else, preferably God or your parents if you can manage it.
Worst of all, speaking your sins will not only identify your sins, but also the non-sins. Rather than a fog of sinfulness, you will find several largeish rocks of specific sins. This will encourage you in the delusion that you can, by God’s grace, grow in holiness because you will think, I could move those rocks. I can’t move mist but those rocks, that’s doable.
This will give you hope but since you will inevitably fail, it will just discourage you. My advice is to wallow in your sinfulness but avoid specifics. It’s the infallible logic of lowering expectations. If you’re just a sinner, then no one’s disappointed when you sin. Voila!
So I beg you, ignore what any practicing Catholic says about Confession. Follow the man above and refuse to sucked in by Confession. It makes you see your sins, acknowledge them as your own, and then gives you the hope and graces to, little by little, overcome them.
Your sins deserve better. They ought to be treated like the One Ring of Mordor…
Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
Because people, Confession sucks.