Describing Confession

Hi folks :] for one of my non-CoG novels, I’m writing a scene where the main character goes to church for confession. I’m not catholic and am too introverted / lazy to go to a church and ask how it happens or what the little room looks like.

I was wondering if anyone could describe the process to me? Describe the environment of the confessional room (smells like wood, or insence, or the last dude who was in here, what? is it dim? is there a light?) and like, if you or the priest say certain things. And what do you call that guy? Is he the priest, the father, does the f get capitalized? Anything at all would be great.

Thanks for any help! :slight_smile:

I am atheist but raised in a nun catholic private school. It is just a small box like a public toilet with a small window where you can’t see a thing Only a syluet and then you only comment all you want to declare the priest of father asking you stuff of give you advice and what you have to pray and then ab solve all your sins and you are free . But I recommend you don’t include anything like that if you’re not catholic. All not catholic people who try to write about it they did only weird strange offensive stuff. I don’t understand why so many people think in weird stuff about catholic confession boxes. it is like voting boxes. And many time yoy just talking the priest outside of it.

I am not a Christian nor ever did confession.
Sorry for posting but I’m just curious about your game
So my guess is that when you wrote the game you thought either or US or European country as a base for the surroundings am I right.
(Most probably US)

This one isn’t for a Choice of Games work, it’s a personal novel I’m writing. But I figured with the community of writers here, that I might get some responses. I can google, and have, but first-hand accounts will always be better.

The novel takes place in the US, yes.

@poison_mara is correct as if you are not that religious or catholic I would not reccomend you to use these things otherwise necessary for a convincing story.

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The only thing I recommend is don’t describe it as something dark and shady. All not catholic imagine the confession boxes as like a porn boxes. I always was so confused about it is offensive and has nothing to do with the stuff. It was that way to make people felt secure give info in old times. Nowadays if you know the father you give confession talking face to face . It is like going to a psychological therapy for some people.

Disclaimer: Don’t rely on people from the internet for this kind of sensitive information :wink:

Probably the best way to get some insight into how that works is in fact to not be lazy and actually to go to a Catholic priest to explain your project and ask if they can walk you through the steps.

If you explain to them that you want to write a non-offensive, factual account of how that works, I’m sure they’ll be happy to help you.

That said, you can find literature on the internet to give you a rough idea.

Here are some resources:




The catholic org however, shows a very formal presentation that is not normally the case in people regular to the church. Same that other Christian faith have a private relationship with their religious pastors same happen in catholic just with a Sacramento that wipe out the sins you admit always you are really determine to change and feel sorry

I’ve seen a lot of advice saying that you shouldn’t include confession in your game if you’re not Catholic, and I completely disagree. By this logic, white people couldn’t write black characters, straight people can’t write gay characters and anybody with no physical or mental problems can’t write about someone with a disability.

I would recommend looking into it yourself though, if not going to a Catholic church in real life, then at least looking it up online. You could also read books or watch movies about Catholic people to get a basic understanding of what confession is like. I recommend Angela’s Ashes. :blush:


I’m with @Avery_Moore. I personally don’t see any reason why you couldn’t if it adds to your story, as long as you treat it with sensitivity and do your homework. Same as most religious practices. You may even find some churches are happy for you to go in and have a look if you’re respectful and they’re not being used.

There’s nothing really that weird about a confessional box really when you get right down to it. As poison mara says, they’re not sinister or shady. Some places don’t even use them any more, doing confessions face to face. But in reality they’re just a small room, the ones I’ve seen have been decently lit, usually with a grill to where the priest is so they can hear you, a quiet place where you can privately and to talk to a minister in a semi-anonomous way.

The traditional opening line is usually something along the lines of “Bless me father for I have sinned it’s been x days since my last confession…” however again, there’s really nothing that says you have to. You can simply walk in and ask the priest if you can confess a sin. It depends how traditional you or the church is. You basically talk to the the priest about anything you are genuinely repentant about and they may or may not ask you more details or talk about it in more detail. They will then give you a pennance which could be anything from hail mary’s to doing “good works” etc.


It is possible to write things you don’t know firsthand ( that’s what fiction is ), but to make it convincing is a different matter - it is possible but it would require a lot of web-surfing, reading some real life experiences and information-hunting overall its hard but not impossible and as far as i can read @PumpkinPie said he was lazy doing research so if @PumpkinPie want to include it and make it convincing or realistic he should make some exceptions in being lazy.

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You might like this video, which stages mock confessions for adults who are preparing to become Catholic. It doesn’t give detail about how a confessional looks (and with different priests the experience can be somewhat different), but it gives some examples of what confession can be like:

Well, I was raised as Christian but as I grew up I gave up on this. I was like 9 or 10 years old the last time I did a confession so maybe I’m forgetting something, but:
My first time ever was when I was having my first communion. It was a room with some curtains and some pillows for you to knee and as poison_mara said, with a small wooden box with a priest inside. There are some holes on it (so the sound can go through and the priest can breath, I believe) and I do remember it had a strong smell of wood, because I had to knee and sort of lay my head on it.
My second and last time it was a normal church day, I believe, and it had a line to enter this room. Same thing as the first time but with no pillows or curtains and just this box.
In both of times, I kneel and said “I ask for your blessing, priest”, he gave me it and asked me why I was there. Then I told him my sins. In my first communion, when I finished he asked me which of my sins I thought it was the most serious. I told him and the said I should pray 3 Ave Maria (The Hail Mary? I don’t know how it’s called in English). The second time he just said something about God forgiving me, I think.
Then in both times I had to say the Sign of the Cross (again, I’m free translating here lol) and the he told me I could left.
The room had natural light both of times and it’s very quiet because there’s just the priest there. I just think the air is kind of stagnant in there. I couldn’t see the priest’s shilhouete, but sometimes you can, I guess.
These both times happened in a small church in Brazil, in a suburban neighborhood. Maybe it’s different depending of the country and the church’s area and popularity.

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