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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Asking Questions During Confession


My husband went to confession last week and the priest asked him very direct questions about whether he had watched pornography. My husband was not very bothered about the question but I am unhappy. I feel that priests should not ask questions to get you to admit sins. Now I feel uncomfortable at church. Is this a normal question for a priest to ask?


First, it is best that penitents not discuss their confessions with others because a priest is under the seal and cannot defend himself.

Second, if he told you what transpired, then you have a certain liberty to talk with him or to anonymously explore the issue; however, if it be something you overheard while your husband was in confession, then you would be under the seal as well (and could not bring it up).

Third, the questions that a priest asks are often based upon the sins normally confessed. A priest might ask about pornography because many other sins are associated with it. Withholding a mortal sin is also a mortal sin so the penitent would best confess such a sin without too much prodding.

Answering your question, yes it is an appropriate question. The sins we are uncomfortable in admitting are precisely the sins that should be confessed to a priest. He wants to insure that the penitent makes a good confession.  Purposely retaining a mortal sin would in itself constitute sacrilege which is also mortal. Be thankful that the priest helped your husband to receive God’s mercy.  This is far more important than any embarrassment or discomfort you might now feel in church.