Ideas for Increasing Confession (from Twitter)

Ideas for Increasing Confession (from Twitter) October 11, 2018

Confessional (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)
Confessional (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

Recently, several prominent Catholics have been tweeting about confession on Twitter. The consensus seems to be that Catholics frequent this sacrament less than they should. I want to not only present the problems but offer solutions.

First the stats,

Now a concrete example of a problem,

Every parish needs more than 20 minutes a week to help God’s people with this sacrament.

Solutions to get Catholics to Confession More

Posts like this lead me to look for solutions. The first – and often hardest step is admitting we have a problem. However, that alone is insufficient, we need to propose solutions. I want to point out solutions people gave which I think are helpful. I don’t think there is one silver bullet but I think combining a bunch of these will help. These are meant to help brainstorm and I don’t endorse every word others suggest here.

It seems my followers go more than the average in Matthew Schmitz’s tweet.

About 90% who responded fall into the first two options (most frequent 14% of Catholics) with 1/3 answering “weekly.” It shouldn’t be too surprising that most of those responding to a priest’s poll on Twitter will be more active in their faith than average.

More Times for Confession

Many agreed with Sr. Aletheia above that a huge problem is that many parishes offer confessions only for a short period and often at times that are inconvenient. Often the suggestion is to have the sacrament before Mass but depending or circumstances other times may work well. A parish near me has Tuesday adoration at 7pm with the opportunity to confess during it, and it is always a full hour for 2-3 priests confessing.

Help People Understand Sin and the Sacrament

Many also noted that they or others don’t understand the gravity of sin, the reality of the afterlife, the need for confession, or how to confess.

If you don’t know how to confess, here are instructions from a diocesan initiative.

Ensure All Possibilities Are Available

Different people have different needs and tendencies: some want face to face, some want a screen; some want a priest who knows them, some want a priest who doesn’t know them. I think as a Church the best is to offer people flexibility here.

Clean up our House

Finally, we need to clean up problems we have either with confession or the Church in general. This is about removing obstacles people have to confession.


Hopefully, some of these ideas will help to increase your own or your parish’s use of the sacrament of God’s mercy.

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