Dear Father Angelo,
I’m…. and I am 2… years old. I am writing to you because I came across your website by chance, while looking for some clarification in the good corner of the internet. I would say to you that my situation is very particular, and I have not been able to find an answer that can give me the serenity I am looking for. Today, 03/09/2019 I went to a priest to confess after having committed a very serious sin. The sin I tell you about, and which I regret bitterly, is that of the impurity committed with another boy of my own sex who was 17 years old. I want to specify that it was not a complete act.
While I was confessing I said that I had done impure acts, but the priest interrupted me asking me if these acts had been done alone or with other people, and I replied that I have done impure acts both alone but also with other people, but I didn’t specify the sex. The priest, after giving me the right advice, gave me absolution.
Once back in my car, as I was heading home, I felt a big guilt inside me, I was afraid of not having made a good confession, and therefore of having committed a sacrilege. In the afternoon of this same day, I composed myself to pray and decided to do a good examination of conscience, and so, to try not to forget anything, and to confess all my sins well, I wrote my sins on a slip of paper. So I went to a shrine … and I asked to confess.
And it was precisely here that the unpredictable happened. As soon as the confession began, I immediately said that the recent confession had been the morning of that same day, so the priest immediately interrupts the confession, says that he cancels it, otherwise I would have committed a very serious sin, namely that of not believing in the power of the Grace of God. This priest then said that although I have omitted something, I must not make any problem for myself, the Lord has forgiven all my sins, even those defined as “virtual” and I did not understand what he meant by the adjective “virtual”. I immediately specified that I had omitted to say that the person with whom I had committed an impure act was of the same sex as me, and he nevertheless reiterated that the confession made was still valid, and that the absolution had removed all sin, therefore at that moment I was in a state of grace. Still this same priest told me that he was a professor and that he told me these things on the basis of theology, and on the basis of canon law, which requires the confessor not to investigate the penitent. Now I am in a state of great confusion and pain. Therefore I desire your help, and I ask you:
-Is my confession valid? Or should I go back to confession and say everything?
-To confess an impure homosexual act, do I just say: “I have committed impure acts with other people”, or should it be specified that they are people of the same sex?
-Are the things that priest told me true?
-Can it be that the excessive scruple I have makes me think that God has not forgiven all my sins?
I conclude by saying that I do not consider myself a homosexual boy, as I do not frequent communities of that kind, I am very Christian and practising, and last night’s fall is due to a moment of weakness due to a sad period that I am going through. . I believe this is a trend, so I will commit myself with prayer and with God’s help to definitively abandon this situation.
Thank you for the answer you will give me, while waiting I offer my best regards.
1. I am very sorry for what happened in the second confession, when you went to confession in another church.
It would have cost that priest so little to welcome you with patience and sweetness.
In the confessional the priest must be a living image of Jesus the good shepherd and of divine mercy.
2. I partially understand his first reaction as soon as he heard that you were confessed in the morning. He may have thought: this is a scrupulous person who goes to confession several times a day.
But even in this case he had to listen to the reason for the confession because in your case it was not a question of scruple.
3. When you went to the first confessor you were too general in saying “I have committed impure acts”.
Since the priest in confession is also a doctor of souls, how can one give appropriate advice if he does not know exactly what it is about?
Hearing your words he could think of autoeroticism, premarital impurities …
In your case, however, it is about impure acts of homosexuality.
As you can see, this is such an important circumstance that it changes the species of sin.
It was your duty to confess this aspect as well.
4. So it was your duty to go back to confession and say “I have committed impure acts with other people of my same sex”.
And the priest was required to give you absolution.
It would have cost him so little …
5. That priest said he was a professor. Aside from the fact that he didn’t need to specify that qualification, however, what he told you is wrong.
Church discipline prohibits investigating the name of the accomplice, but not making the confession complete.
In other words, the priest could not ask you to tell who the boy was with whom you committed impure acts.
But it is his duty to make confession whole and understandable, for the good of the penitent.
6. Yours, therefore, was not an excessive scruple. It was what you had to do. And that’s why you felt restless.
7. Make a commitment not to fall back into this or any other sins that make you impure. These are falls, and falls always hurt. They never help one to grow.
8. Now let’s go back to the priest because he told you that he is a professor and that on the basis of theology and on the basis of canon law he should not investigate the penitent.
Here that priest was wrong because the Church requires him not to investigate the name of the accomplice in the sin.
But as far as confession itself is concerned, the priest can and must help the penitent to make a correct confession by asking the questions he deems appropriate for the validity and fruitfulness of the sacrament.
I assure you of my prayers, I wish you well and I bless you.