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A friend has just told me that at his last confession the visiting priest actually asked him for his name. Being new to all this, when asked I could not say if this was normal or not.

So is it unusual?
That's an odd one.  I've never had a confessor ask for my name.
Yes. That is not only unusual, it's quite wrong.

A penitent is never even bound to use the services of an interpreter to make a confession. Such is the extent to which the Church wants to protect the penitent from anything which might make Confession an undue burden.

All that is necessary is the specific name of any mortal sins omitted since the last confession, and contrition. The priest needs nothing else, and even is admonished by every single traditional moral theologian never to ask any superfluous questions—questions which are not absolutely necessary to understand the specific sin and number of times, or to provide advice and assistance on how to avoid these sins.

One's name is in no way necessary, so a superfluous question.

It sounds like one of these "call me John" type of priests, who thinks that if he knows the name of the person he can have a pleasant dialog with the person confession, as if Confession is just a way to "forgive yourself".

Tell your friend to run away from those types. Fast.

Confession is medicine for those in the State of Grace to avoid the fatal disease of mortal sin. For the soul in mortal sin, it's CPR. In no way it is a psychiatrist's couch. That attitude is precisely what leads priests to those stories of abuse that you hear about in confession. Father decides he wants to be a counselor and to "walk with" the soul here. He abandons the Sacrament for psychoanalysis and he loses the graces necessary to his state in life. Add a proclivity towards certain sins, and absent the necessary graces, it is no wonder the devil gets in.
(09-09-2019, 04:11 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]Yes. That is not only unusual, it's quite wrong.

A penitent is never even bound to use the services of an interpreter to make a confession. Such is the extent to which the Church wants to protect the penitent from anything which might make Confession an undue burden.

All that is necessary is the specific name of any mortal sins omitted since the last confession, and contrition. The priest needs nothing else, and even is admonished by every single traditional moral theologian never to ask any superfluous questions—questions which are not absolutely necessary to understand the specific sin and number of times, or to provide advice and assistance on how to avoid these sins.

One's name is in no way necessary, so a superfluous question.

It sounds like one of these "call me John" type of priests, who thinks that if he knows the name of the person he can have a pleasant dialog with the person confession, as if Confession is just a way to "forgive yourself".

Tell your friend to run away from those types. Fast.

Confession is medicine for those in the State of Grace to avoid the fatal disease of mortal sin. For the soul in mortal sin, it's CPR. In no way it is a psychiatrist's couch. That attitude is precisely what leads priests to those stories of abuse that you hear about in confession. Father decides he wants to be a counselor and to "walk with" the soul here. He abandons the Sacrament for psychoanalysis and he loses the graces necessary to his state in life. Add a proclivity towards certain sins, and absent the necessary graces, it is no wonder the devil gets in.


Thanks for the detailed response.

I will let him know and its good to know for myself also.
(09-09-2019, 12:21 PM)MyLady Wrote: [ -> ]A friend has just told me that at his last confession the visiting priest actually asked him for his name. Being new to all this, when asked I could not say if this was normal or not.

So is it unusual?

I could see how a priest who wants to make the experience feel more personal would want to ask a penitent’s name. That would be perfectly reasonable if he was doing a counseling session, or selling someone a car. Confession isn’t the place for that.
It's bad enough in a small Parish like mine where Father recognises our voices in the box, but if a Priest asked my name, I would excuse myself and find another Confessor ASAP.
(09-09-2019, 11:08 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-09-2019, 12:21 PM)MyLady Wrote: [ -> ]A friend has just told me that at his last confession the visiting priest actually asked him for his name. Being new to all this, when asked I could not say if this was normal or not.

So is it unusual?

I could see how a priest who wants to make the experience feel more personal would want to ask a penitent’s name. That would be perfectly reasonable if he was doing a counseling session, or selling someone a car. Confession isn’t the place for that.

If a priest does not understand that the confession is not a counselling session or sales pitch, then he probably shouldn't be hearing confessions.

Saying "I screwed up" and then listing how you did is personal enough.
I sit in front of the Priest for confession. He knows my name already.
(09-10-2019, 09:13 AM)SeekSalvation Wrote: [ -> ]I sit in front of the Priest for confession. He knows my name already.

Unfortunately this is the case for me, too. In a way it's good, because he's come to know my soul well after so many years, but on the other hand it's absolutely mortifying.
I once went to confession and there was nothing there to keep it anonymous, just sit in a chair in front of father, it felt very odd. Deep down I felt like it wasn't the right time at a different Church I knew little about, but at the same time I didn't want to miss an opportunity to confess, because for all I know it could be my last. I avoid these kind of dodge practices around the confessional whenever I can. Next time I encounter it I think I'll pull one of these and confess elsewhere.



God Bless
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