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Why I Confessed My Sins to a Jesuit Priest

Even though I’m a Protestant pastor.
Why I Confessed My Sins to a Jesuit Priest

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been 31 years and I have never practiced confession.”

If I had followed the traditional formula, perhaps that is what I would have said to the priest who took my confession in November of 2014. But I’m a Protestant and we didn’t bother with formalities. I think he and I were both a little surprised to be sitting across from one another.

Last year, I took a five-week sabbatical. Part of that time I spent in silent retreat at Montserrat House, a Jesuit Retreat Center. I needed rest—I knew that. What I did not know was, while there, God would introduce me to the transformative power of private confession.

Feeling forgiveness

On the last night of my retreat, the Jesuits made themselves available to anyone who wanted to practice confession. Father John had led the retreat so I caught up with him, breaking the silence to ask, “Can I come to confession tonight. I’m Protestant.” Father John smiled and answered, ...

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