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In an older book on Confession it says if a priest is known to live a bad life, we should confess related sins to another priest, so this first priest wouldn't be tempted and fall. Yet if a priest is living a good life, its ok to confess to him. I was thinking.... Let's say there's a new priest who just got ordained. He's not living a bad life at all and seems like a good priest. Yet are there certain things that should only be confessed to more experienced priests? Could something the new priest hears really affect him? What do you think?
Generally speaking, I find that new priests are good confessors. I think the training in seminaries these days is pretty good and the priests are ready for virtually any scenario. When I go to confession I usually hope that I have a young priest in his 30s or 40s. If I have a confessor in his 70s or 80s I wonder whether he is going to tell me something heterodox or overtly liberal like I shouldn't bother confessing venial sins.
(07-12-2016, 12:16 AM)little_flower10 Wrote: [ -> ]In an older book on Confession it says if a priest is known to live a bad life, we should confess related sins to another priest, so this first priest wouldn't be tempted and fall. Yet if a priest is living a good life, its ok to confess to him. I was thinking.... Let's say there's a new priest who just got ordained. He's not living a bad life at all and seems like a good priest. Yet are there certain things that should only be confessed to more experienced priests? Could something the new priest hears really affect him? What do you think?

First of all, I only confess to well-trained priests.  Overwhelmingly, that would mean priests in traditional apostolates.  Occasionally that would mean or could mean N.O. priests also, but only if one knows what kind of training they received.  For example, I wouldn't blindly trust a diocesan priest; I would first find out what his moral understandings were before I would consider confessing to him, and even them, I would only do so (and have only done so) absent a trad priest with known orthodox training.

However, with regard to the bolded portion above, assuming reliable training in traditional moral theology, there shouldn't be any confessional matter that a new priest could not be relied on for, by definition.  Training in hearing confessions is a major aspect of seminary (at least, as I have been told), and that training covers all matters.  What the priest "gets better at" is not the categories of sin or the ability to discern and authentically absolve, but what kind of advice/guidance to give so as to discourage attachment to sin and encourage ongoing conversion and holiness.  Some of that will be acquired and sharpened with experience.

And if the priest is so weak that hearing confessions early in his priesthood will lead him readily into sin, then he was not ready for ordination because he was poorly prepared or poorly evaluated by his superiors.

A very new priest recently came to visit our parish.  I didn't happen to have the opportunity or need for Confession during the week he was here, but if I did, I would have had no hesitation to confess to him, because the congregation he belongs to gives their candidates rock-solid training and demands exceptional personal spirituality of those priests.  That's what you want in a confessor:  outstanding training in the sacrament, in the moral theology foundational to the sacrament, and extraordinary spiritual formation.
This is not the first time that the bolding has not worked when posting, and even when modifying (trying a second time).  Must be a glitch.
Thanks for the replies... I don't really mean this question about a regular confessor, but more about going to a priest when travelling etc. Let's say he's a diocesan priest (Novus Ordo) and he wears a cassock and gave a good homily. He seems orthodox and good.  But he only arrived at the parish very recently and heard maybe just a few confessions. I was wondering if there are certain things that would be a little overwhelming hearing for the first time? I dont mean a repentant serial killer comes to confess. I mean more like a person with scruples who struggles with bizarre intrusive thoughts. Things like that.

1) Assume the best about everyone unless you have some reason to believe differently.

2) IMO, it's dangerous to think about Confession in terms of the confessor's holiness or lack thereof. You're confessing to Christ, and the priest's been given the power to absolve you. If a priest uses the right form, then you should be good to go, no matter whom you're confessing to. Even if a priest thinks to himself, "eh, big deal, that's not even a sin in my opinion" to something you're confessing, if he uses the right form, you're OK and forgiven. The power in the Confessional comes from Christ, not from the person of the priest.

With regard to actually scandalizing a confessor ("scandalizing" in the real sense of the word), well, it's, in part, his job -- his vocation -- to hear confessions. If he's unable to hear a confession revealed in a non-prurient way without being tempted to sin, he needs to do some serious reassessment. I can't imagine how being a "new priest" rather than an older one would necessarily or probably play a role in his capacity to be scandalized. Priests aren't ignorant about the ways of the world. They live in the same world we do, ya know? They're men, obviously, so can be scandalized like anyone else, but hearing sins recited in a matter-of-fact manner -- I just can't imagine how that could be (truly) scandalous to anyone. I mean, it's one thing to put on a Marilyn Monroe voice and go with, "So, you see, Father, this gorgeous man and I were walking in the park, when he suddenly he slid his hand down my back, pulled me to him, and started kissing and biting on my neck so passionately I felt my legs give out. And then he -- ", etc. -- and another to say, "I committed the sin of fornication." The latter's being (truly) scandalous would be hard to believe, and that's how confessions are supposed to be done.

3) If you're needing or wanting spiritual advice, then you can get that outside the confessional and would obviously seek out a priest or other type of spiritual director who's got it together spiritually, knows the Faith, and has a gift for discerning how to guide someone spiritually. But as long as a priest says "ego te absolvo" after hearing your confession, you've got nothing to worry about.

My two cents.
I definitely didn't mean anything bad about the priest like him sinning or saying something incorrect for advice. Or anything about his level of holiness. Let's say he's a holy priest who wouldn't be likely to sin and who is patient and gives good advice.

Of course I'm not a priest and I don't know what its like to hear confessions :) I'm sure they are capable. And its their vocation.

I have scruples and struggle with intrusive thoughts that are often very disturbing. Its hard to tell if i consent but even if not, i still see a sin there in dwelling on them at times. The advice I got in confession has been really good.  I just sometimes feel sad for making someone listen to all this garbage, even if their response is perfect. :( with experienced priests, I think they've probably heard most things and are used to confessing people. I feel bad having to describe my struggles to a brand new priest.. Not because he wouldn't be capable per se (I agree its wrong to think that, plus I have no reason to), but because I just feel bad having to make anyone hear these things at all - they are ridiculous and shocking just on a natural level.
(07-12-2016, 02:00 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]1) Assume the best about everyone unless you have some reason to believe differently.

2) IMO, it's dangerous to think about Confession in terms of the confessor's holiness or lack thereof. You're confessing to Christ, and the priest's been given the power to absolve you. If a priest uses the right form, then you should be good to go, no matter whom you're confessing to. Even if a priest thinks to himself, "eh, big deal, that's not even a sin in my opinion" to something you're confessing, if he uses the right form, you're OK and forgiven. The power in the Confessional comes from Christ, not from the person of the priest.

Not only do I know that I was not referring to the form of the sacrament, I assumed that the OP was also not referring to the form of the sacrament, and on subsequent replies, she has made that clear.

Quote: If you're needing or wanting spiritual advice, then you can get that outside the confessional and would obviously seek out a priest or other type of spiritual director who's got it together spiritually, knows the Faith, and has a gift for discerning how to guide someone spiritually. But as long as a priest says "ego te absolvo" after hearing your confession, you've got nothing to worry about.

Again, neither she nor I was referring to "worrying about absolution."  And I could not disagree more that there's no spiritual advice to be gained or sought in the confessional, but that you should wait instead for an extra-confessional opportunity for that.  Quite the contrary.  With respect to sin and the avoidance of specific sins confessed, there is relevant advice to seek and expect.  That said, I do not "assume the worst" about a confessor I have not met, necessarily, but that would be much more true of a confessor within a traditional/orthodox congregation than a diocesan priest, because there's a huge range with the latter:  there are some diocesan priests who are fantastic; others will give bad advice. call mortal sin venial, etc.  (Yes, it happens.) 

I'll just share with the OP my experience:  If I am going to an unfamiliar confessor, and really need the sacrament, I just pray and trust that I will end up with the "right" (a "right") opportunity.  If I have a choice, I do frequent the confessionals of priests I know to give sound advice because their own spirituality is evident.  I do not frequent the sacrament merely for some technical absolution but because I meet Our Lord there in a deeper than surface way.

The OP has revealed that she suffers from scruples.  Again, seminarians today are well-trained to recognize and to deal with scruples, but because there is a special need, I would bring that need before Our Lady. Then, trust her.
(07-12-2016, 03:15 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]Again, neither she nor I was referring to "worrying about absolution."  And I could not disagree more that there's no spiritual advice to be gained or sought in the confessional, but that you should wait instead for an extra-confessional opportunity for that.  Quite the contrary.

I never said a confessor can't be or shouldn't be a good spiritual adviser; he should be. That'd be great. But I wouldn't put off going to Confession because Priest So-and-So isn't "holy enough" or what have you.

(07-12-2016, 03:15 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]With respect to sin and the avoidance of specific sins confessed, there is relevant advice to seek and expect.  That said, I do not "assume the worst" about a confessor I have not met, necessarily, but that would be much more true of a confessor within a traditional/orthodox congregation than a diocesan priest, because there's a huge range with the latter:  there are some diocesan priests who are fantastic; others will give bad advice. call mortal sin venial, etc.  (Yes, it happens.) 

Most definitely. My only point is that even if one of those egregiously bad priests uses the proper form, the penitent is absolved, and I wouldn't put off going to Confession because the only priest around is a bad one.

(07-12-2016, 03:15 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]I'll just share with the OP my experience:  If I am going to an unfamiliar confessor, and really need the sacrament, I just pray and trust that I will end up with the "right" (a "right") opportunity.  If I have a choice, I do frequent the confessionals of priests I know to give sound advice because their own spirituality is evident.  I do not frequent the sacrament merely for some technical absolution but because I meet Our Lord there in a deeper than surface way.

That's great if you have such a priest. Lots of people don't, and that's the problem. They shouldn't refrain from going to the confessional because they don't get good spiritual advice along with absolution

(07-12-2016, 03:15 AM)Miriam_M Wrote: [ -> ]The OP has revealed that she suffers from scruples.  Again, seminarians today are well-trained to recognize and to deal with scruples, but because there is a special need, I would bring that need before Our Lady. Then, trust her.

It's precisely the problem of scruples that makes not becoming overly concerned about the personal holiness of one's priest important. And I urge anyone who isn't well-catechized to educate himself so he can recognize a priest who gives bad spiritual advice from a priest who gives good spiritual advice. While going to Confession with the former if that's all you've got is fine and good and should be encouraged, saving the advice-getting from a good priest who knows what he's talking about is also important. But the former is a Sacrament; the latter is a great thing when you can get it, but too rare. People who don't have the blessing of having a Padre Pio for a confessor shouldn't wait around with mortal sins on their souls until they find one.
 
(07-12-2016, 12:16 AM)little_flower10 Wrote: [ -> ]In an older book on Confession it says if a priest is known to live a bad life, we should confess related sins to another priest, so this first priest wouldn't be tempted and fall. Yet if a priest is living a good life, its ok to confess to him. I was thinking.... Let's say there's a new priest who just got ordained. He's not living a bad life at all and seems like a good priest. Yet are there certain things that should only be confessed to more experienced priests? Could something the new priest hears really affect him? What do you think?

I would say that is probably very bad advice in the book.

It might make sense when you have the situation of multiple priests in a place, and many opportunities for confession, to rather, get in line for a known holy priest if you have a difficult case, but today that advice might be the worst thing I've ever heard, given the lack of priests and opportunity for confessions.

To obtain good advice, of course, you should approach a traditional priest, but if it's a situation where you've fallen into mortal sin, you need confession ASAP, you don't need to be trying to weigh which sins you confess if you go to which priest, or whether you can confess to Fr. X or have to wait for Fr. Y. Get in the box, and get your soul right with God.

Confession, do not forget, is a supernatural act as well as a natural one. There is grace involved, and if you confess correctly, the priest will have grace sufficient to resist any temptation that arises.

The one point to make, however, is that you really must be sure to be clear, straightforward, and succinct. All that is necessary for confession is to state your sins by their name, how many times you committed them (if mortal) since your last good confession, add any relevant circumstance that makes them more grave, answer any questions, make your act of contrition, receive absolution and do your penance.

It is especially important to say your sins clearly by name and give as best an estimate of how many times. You don't need to prove your sorrow by lots of tears or explanations. Name and number. You stabbed 100 people -- say "I committed 100 murders". That's sufficient.

Especially with sins against the 6th and 9th commandments, you need to be clear, but not graphic. If you had sexual thoughts twice a day during the last two weeks, say, "I had sexual thoughts, twice a day for the last two weeks". If you had a desire to fornicate, say, "I had a desire to fornicate". If you engaged in passionate kissing and you are not married, say "I am not married and I engaged in passionate kissing". All of these are straight forward accusations which are not graphic, and should not be any temptation to any priest, young or old. It is when out of shame that people say, "I was impure" and the priest has to ask question to find out what that means, that then the graphic details come. Graphic stories can lay out a temptation, but names of sins will not.

If you have questions on some matter you can certainly ask them, or propose your doubt, but again, be clear and straight forward, without being graphic.

Again, long stories or explanations just complicate things.

As regards young priests, they may lack some experience, but remember, they've just recently studied their theology, so may, in fact, be better equipped. A good priest will always tell you if he needs to study the matter and get back to you, if your case is very complicated.

And from the many young priests I know, I know that it doesn't take very long before most have heard almost "everything in the book". Human nature, being what it is, it is not unexpected that a priest will within a few years he will absolve the most heinous sins you could imagine. Such does not bring scandal to a good priest, but rather, beings great joy to restore a soul on the edge of Hell and so deep in the depths of sin to God's grace and the road to heaven.
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