Please use the sharing buttons! Thanks!
I went to church this wednesday to a Lent conference. The guest Father organized a “write your sins in a card, be absolved and burn your sins” ceremony.
Is my understanding that you have to say your sins to a father in order to be absolved, so is this ceremony valid? I’ve never seen this in my life!
And I hope you never see it again!
I am amazed that priests still do this stupid and childish game-playing with the sacrament.
You are right. You have to confess your sins, all your mortal sins, to a priest confessor (a priest who has faculties to receive sacramental confessions).
Writing them on a card and burning them is not enough.
You have to communicate your sins to the priest.
Say, for example, you recently had your tongue cut out by brown-shirts of Pres. Obama’s new Domestic Security Force because you spoke out against the HHS mandate. You need to go to confession because you are angry that Kathleen Sebelius, a catholic, is abetting him in his massive power-grab and the erosion of your freedom. Since you know that there is a priest in hiding nearby, you want to confess your sins. Since the President’s brown-shirts cut out your tongue, you can write the sins down and give them to the priest to read. Has has to read them and he has to give you absolution vocally. He can’t write the absolution form.
This “writing your sins and burning them” instead of actual confession of those sins is a childish and dangerous distortion of one of the most important gifts Our Lord gave us.
I would write to your local bishop and ask him what he thinks of this.
Perhaps someone will correct this priest. I want to give the poor chucklehead the benefit of the doubt. I want to imagine that he thinks he is – all by his creative self – doing something “meaningful”. But we don’t want Father to wind up in hell for deceiving people into thinking that doing this instead of actually confessing sins is a valid substitution.