What if I need to go to confession and can’t because churches are closed?

by Steve Ray on May 19, 2020

I have been asked this question many times over the last few weeks. With churches closed and sacraments suspended, what can we do if we need to get to confession? Here is how I answered that question for a young man named Jose.

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JOSE ASKS: What can I do if I’ve fallen into mortal sin and there is no priest around for confession? Steve, it is really important to me.

STEVE RAY HERE: Hello Jose, yes, I understand your situation and distress. Two things you can do:

If you live near a church you can call and make an appointment with the priest for confession. From what I understand, he won’t refuse you. Call and tell him you need to have him hear your confession. He should invite you over, probably with you wearing a mask and keeping within their rules for distancing, but he should hear your confession.

If you are unable to get to a priest, or if for some reason he will not hear your confession, there is a remedy which is explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read paragraphs 1451 and 1452:

download (1)CONTRITION
No. 1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.

No. 1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

So Jose, if you cannot get to confession, confess your sins directly to God with contrition for your sins based on love for God. Then resolve to go to a priest as soon as one is available, and even your mortal sins will be forgiven.

1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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