As strange as it may seem, there is a big difference between confession and communion. Repentance is a voluminous concept that includes the awareness of your sins and the determination not to repeat them again. Confession is a narrower concept that may not be accompanied by repentance.
Are Confession and Repentance Equal
Everything that a person endures in life patiently, realizing his guilt, is repentance. Suppose he hit himself on the finger with a hammer and instead of spewing curses, he says with tears in his eyes: "And for my business, for my sins I need to beat off all my fingers." The main thing is not murmuring, but humility.
Often a person comes to church and in front of the priest "pours out" all sorts of nonsense that is not worthy of attention: he drank milk on Wednesday, drove a fly, worked on Sunday, etc., but for some reason forgets that he does not care about his parents at all, does not help those in need and is jealous of his colleagues. The process turns into a banal listing of sins without a sense of remorse.
Real confessions happen 1-2 times in life. A truly repentant person evokes compassion. Standing in front of the priest, he sobs, hits himself in the chest, with difficulty pronouncing the words. Usually such a confession is delayed, but the soul is purified. Of course, it is impossible to repent like that every time. For example, A.S. Pushkin. at death he wished to confess, and the stunned priest, leaving him, confessed that he would like such a confession to himself before his death.
Confession cannot replace repentance. This is only an integral part of repentance, and not the most important one. Confessing does not mean repenting. This term means to tell or discover. Thus, people can talk about their sins to their close friends and relatives, but there will be no remorse.
Repentance is a serious upheaval in the soul. This is the desire to change life and not return to the old path. How many of us are capable of this? It happens that believers come to confession on a weekly basis and without contrition enumerate, as it seems to them, wrong actions in their lives, and not every priest can reason with such a person.
Discovery of thoughts is a high bar
If such a confession occurs often and according to all the rules, then it already turns into the discovery of thoughts, which is found in the practice of monks. Suppose a believer does not commit mortal sins, lives piously, prays, but feels that he has a struggle inside him. Sometimes he can not restrain himself, get annoyed, think something wrong, etc. Such thoughts and actions will not be considered sins. They will be the outward signs of that very inner struggle.
The practice of the clergy has mixed confession and revelation of thoughts into one heap. Not everyone is capable of accepting these revelations. It is not possible for a layman to confess like a monk. He will have to run to confession every day. The parishioner, having expounded all his thoughts, again returns to his usual environment, where his family, relatives, neighbors, etc., and the "sticky mud" that he removed before the priest again settles on him. He senses changes and the next day he runs to the temple again. For such people a monastery is more suitable, where such a tradition is taken as a rule, and each monk daily confesses his thoughts to his “elder brother”.
If the bar is set very high for a believer, it will not work very well. He may not reach it and will become discouraged. Reaching it, he cannot stay there and, having lost it, again becomes discouraged. Blessed is the shepherd who is able to distinguish between fundamentally important things and minor details. If a layman begins to confess on all sorts of little things, there will be no good. There will be a high burden on the clergy, but the parishioners will suffer even more. They will literally go crazy, digging out the little things in themselves, which will become more and more every day.
It is necessary to forget about the pieces of paper on which parishioners write their sins (or thoughts) and, thus, talk about their hard life. It is necessary to separate the concepts of conversation and confession. Conversation is not always possible, especially when there is a long line behind the confessor, and time plays a key role.
All a parishioner needs is faith, prayer, liturgy, holy scripture, and let the priest be what God sends. He cannot be a friend, he is a guide between the penitent and God. It should be treated like a drink machine: tossed a coin, took his own, and walked on.
Based on a conversation with Archpriest Andrei Tkachev.