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Marilyn Kowallek wrote:

Hi, guys —

When I was a child I went to Confession and left out sins of impurity because the priest yelled at me and I was frightened. I haven't been to Confession since.

I receive Holy Communion, feel I am condemned to hell and have suffered with depression ever since. I take medication for the depression, but I'm still sad.

Marilyn

  { How do I get over this bad experience I had with a priest? }

Mary Ann replied:

I am so sorry for your experience, Marilyn.

Now you can stop letting this childhood incident control your life. You can stop letting this priest control your life. Just go to Confession again. You will find that the priest is kind and understanding, and also sorry for what happened. You will be forgiven for whatever needs to be forgiven, if anything, and healed.

God bless you.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Dear Marilyn,

Thanks for the e-mail; I'm glad you contacted us!

Although I wasn't as young as you were, I had a similar experience with a priest.

What I found out later, unknown to me, was that his mother had just passed away.

My point: Although the faithful rightfully tend to look toward their priests as godly people, we have to remember, they deal with many of the ups and downs of family life like any other family in the parish.

As my colleague Mary Ann said, you can't let that incident control your life.

I would say the same thing to other fallen away Catholics reading this posting who have left the Church over a bad incident. Let go of the grudge or bad experience and go to Confession.

ONE scandalous incident by a pastor, priest, deacon or lay leader in the Church doesn't represent the whole Catholic Church... far from it!!

It's very important to always receive the Blessed Sacrament in a state of grace.

If you have problems with sins of the flesh, just go to Confession first, before going to Mass. Most, if not all, parishes have a regular Confession schedule on Saturday; just mention this in Confession. Also tell the priest, you wish to make good, holy Communions. (Just a good practice, in my opinion.)

Let Jesus, through the sacraments he established FOR YOU, mend your body and soul. The priest will be kind and be more then happy to hear your Confession. In all Confessions, it's important to remember, although the voice sounds like a priest, it's NOT his voice! Through the sacrament of Holy Orders, Jesus USES his voice to absolve you of all your sin, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Personally, after receiving absolution from the priest, but before I leave the Confessional, I always thank the priest for their priesthood.

If you are under the supervision of a doctor, keep taking your medication for depression but go to Confession on a regular basis. Most bishops recommend once a month; others can go every two weeks.

The fact you struggle with sins of the flesh just means you are human like all of us.

We are a Church of saints and sinners. : - )

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi, Marilyn —

I don't know how old you are but there was an age when priests were put up so much on pedestals that people hardly thought they were human. They thought they could do no wrong but let me let you in on a secret: They are human. Just like you and me. And sometimes they make mistakes. This priest made a mistake with you. He will have to answer to God for it.

Meanwhile, forgive him, pray for him, and find a priest and sit down and make a general Confession — that's a Confession of all of your sins for a particular time period in your life, as much as you can remember them. Then you can resume going to the Eucharist. God is merciful, even if the priest isn't. All you need is his absolution. If this one rebukes you (and I doubt he will) ignore it.

Eric

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