Originally Posted by Tradd
Too many Catholics across the country I talk/email with describe Confession going like my above description, so it seems to be at least somewhat common practice.
That's odd that that is the sum total of your Catholic friend's experience with Confession. I have been Catholic less than a year and have confessed with various priests at three different parishes within the months that I have been Catholic and not one of them wanted a laundry list from me and they all gave council on various sins that I confessed. In fact the last time I went I ended up taking all three of my children with me (never again! and I had nothing "exciting" to confess so it wasn't inappropriate, I considered it a teachable moment for my 4 year old
) and even feeling overextended with all three of them there fidgeting and being loud, the priest STILL took the time to offer council.
The parish I participated in RCIA in did teach that confession is necessary prior to receiving communion if a mortal sin has been committed with every month being suggested otherwise to take care of venial sin. I can't tell you how many homilies I've heard in the last couple years that directly deal with the necessity of confession, the topic is especially discussed during pentitential seasons.