SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Should My Confessor and Spiritual Director be the Same?

Dear Dan, should I get spiritual direction from the priest who regularly takes my confession? I don't know if he would be interested but I wanted to ask about the appropriateness of this approach before I ask him. Is there a downside?

for post on one's confessor and spiritual directorAs with most questions we receive, yours is very encouraging. The first level of encouragement comes from your regular commitment to confession. The second is that you are answering the call to deepen your faith through spiritual direction!

The answer to your question is, it depends. It is ideal for spiritual direction and confession to happen at the same time. Why? Because the essence of confession is to deal with our sins (our most prominent and problematic flaws). If we have a regular confessor, this then affords him the ability to see the heart of our struggles in a way that is uncommon when spiritual direction and confession happen with different people. It is also more common to feel comfortable with a discussion about our sins in the context of a confession than it is with a layperson. The final point worth noting here is that good confessors often make good spiritual directors.

The downside of combining spiritual direction and confession is that in the present state of the Church, most priests don't have the time. This brings us to a compromised situation. However, some may know that in his younger years, Pope John Paul II had a lay spiritual director. Holiness and wisdom in the church are not in any way limited to priests and religious.

So, if your confessor is helpful and offers spiritual direction, that would the best option.

Other Posts on Spiritual Direction:
Spiritual Direction Index
Faithful Priests are Too Busy – What can I do?
Spiritual Direction is NOT Confession
Spiritual Direction is NOT a Boss-Employee Relationship


Art for this post on whether one's confessor and spiritual director should be the same person: Interior Scene [Confession], Jean Alphonse Roehn (1799-1864), unknown date, PD-Worldwide, Wikimedia Commons.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. In 2018, he launched the annual Avila Summit held at Hanceville, Alabama. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband, father of four, and grandfather of one, the President and Chief Operating Officer of EWTN News, Inc., a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!