If for a variety of reasons this type of pastoral care cannot be applied there are still some practical helps that the priest can engage.
The first pastoral skill that can be implemented is for the priest confessor to understand that the confession of a scrupulous person is often highly structured and ritualistic. It may sound to the inexperienced ear to be an invitation for counseling or spiritual direction but it is not. Frankly when a scrupulous person is performing the ritual of confession what they desire is only the completion of the ritual and nothing more. The most loving response of the confessor is to hear the ritualized litany, and without comment to offer the needed absolution. Secondly the priest confessor should understand that the appropriate penance should be easily understood and simple to perform effectively eliminating any possibility for doubt or confusion. I would suggest something like “pray one Our Father, even if it is distracted and imperfect, all that is required is that you try and pray this prayer, nothing more.” Avoid any penance that cannot be measured easily such as “tell someone that you love them or spend a few minutes in silent prayer.” Believe me the scrupulous penitent will be most grateful for your brevity and your clarity.
To arrange a presentation please contact Rev. Thomas M. Santa, C.Ss.R. directly at email@example.com.