I am doing some research on private confession and absolution. Do any of you gentle readers know of any good materials on how to choose a father confessor?
For the typical parishioner, this is not really a issue, or at least it shouldn’t. They go to their pastor. But to the parish pastor, he has to make a choice. Some (including the wise Dr. Kenneth Korby) urged that one go to your circuit counselor. I have personally never bought that argument. So much of private confession is based on trust. If I don’t trust the pastor, I am simply not able to confess my sins to him. I wish it were otherwise, but that’s the way it is.
Any guidance or thoughts on the subject which you have would be greatly appreciated.
4 thoughts on “How to choose a father confessor”
It’s not as easy as they tell you it will be when you leave the Seminary, that’s for sure. Which is actually unfortunate, as you point out.
I don’t know if this is the “best way” but this is how I got mine:
I developed a relationship where my “father confessor” and I would actually both fill that role for each other, trading off. This way it established a level of trust between the two of us. We both started off with just “dipping toes into the water” but now we’re fairly comfortable confessing bigger sins.
Doh! I missed that this was for research purposes in that first comment. Unfortunately, after scanning my bookshelf I came up with nada for you.
I believe Korby says that if we do not trust our fellow pastor we now understand how our members feel about us. And then he tells how his circus counselor broke the seal of confession.
That being said. I understand your dilema.
This is true, and I have heard Korby say exactly that. Having said that, however, if one of my parishioners does not trust me, how do I respond as a pastor? Should they trust me? Yes. Can I make them trust me? No. The onus is on me as their pastor to build that trust.
That is why I have never bought Korby’s argument about circuit counselors. The circuit counselors need to build trust among their pastors, not put the weight upon the pastors to man up about it.
That’s my initial reaction, at least.