EWTN Catholic Q&A
Personal question in confession
Question from Julianne on 10-17-2013:

I recently confessed a sin of impurity in confession. The priest asked if I was unmarried, and then proceeded to ask whether or not I was still a virgin. Isn't this a highly personal question? Although I tried viewing it from his perspective, such as wanting to know just how deeply I have fallen into this sin, it felt very uncomfortable. Would it be wrong not to go back to this priest for confession because I am just not comfortable with him?

Answer by Catholic Answers on 10-18-2013:


When priests ask questions in the confessional, it is usually because they want to clarify the seriousness of the sin. For example, since marital chastity differs in some respects from single chastity, asking whether or not you are married was a fair question. But I can see no reason why he would need to know whether or not you are a virgin. His concern should be with the sins you are confessing now, not with any past sins that he should assume have already been confessed in the past unless you indicate otherwise. In fact, his question about whether or not you are still a virgin is so inappropriate and unnecessary that I have to wonder about his motivation for asking it.

Given all that, you are absolutely within your rights to seek out another confessor in the future, and I encourage you to do so.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers