There is a good piece at Crisis today about the Sacrament of Penance. It touches on many issues, including availability of confession times, some poorly formed confessors who don’t acknowledge certain sins as sins, and the lack of support some sound priests have for teaching the truth.
At the onset, the writer gets into the availability, or lack, of confession times. I was pleased that, when she used the site masstimes.org she found something good:
The situation regarding availability of scheduled confessions is, quite literally, all over the map. You can find plenty of confession times throughout the week in Madison, WI, the diocese of the late great Bishop Morlino. Further east in Saginaw, Michigan most churches only offer a half hour on Saturday. My childhood diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts remains a confession desert as does much of the once Catholic stronghold of New England.
Yet another indicator of why so many people are watching the appointment of Bp. Morlino’s successor.
All in all, the Sacrament of Penance is a mess, for reasons that I mentioned above. Some parishes offer a scant 15 minutes. Some confessors are off their rockers when it comes to the most basic tenets of moral theology. Some sound priests are constrained by their superiors.
Clamor for confession times! Don’t let dopey priests get away will saying that black is white or that 2+2=5! Thank the priest after receiving absolution! Show up when confessions are scheduled, not when they are about to end!
GO TO CONFESSION!
Fathers, bishops, if you are not hearing confessions because you don’t want to or because you think the practice is outdated or because you don’t believe in mortal sins… listen closely now…
… YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO HELL.
In the Novus Ordo Rite of Ordination of Priests, you priests made a solemn promise during the examination by the bishop of the ordinands. You promised
to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ handed down by the Church, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people.
Holy Church puts hearing confessions right up there with saying Mass.
Some might argue that, in the first version of the rite of ordination, revised after the Council under Paul VI, when it came to the examination neither Mass nor Penance were mentioned. How many of you readers know this I wonder. In face, that first version said: “Are you resolved to celebrate the mysteries of Christ faithfully and religiously as the Church has handed them down to us for the glory of God and the sanctification of Christ’s people?” The absences were in the Latin. This was considered a serious problem about the identity of the priest. Hence, in 1990 John Paul II approved a new Rite, which restored language about Mass and Penance. That’s the version in use now. I could go on about this at length, but suffice to say that…
THAT’S NO EXCUSE for priests not to hear confessions! And no priests can ever claim ignorance without culpability. If he doesn’t know what his duties are, then he is culpabably ignorant, just as much as a doctor is who doesn’t keep up with his professions developments.
What do you suppose will happen to a priest, a bishop, at his Judgement, if he has been lackadaisical or obstinately obtuse in teaching about the Sacrament of Penance and hearing confessions.
I think I know. I think you know. I think they know. But they get distracted by their own odd notions, their busy work, their convenience. That’s not going to help them at their Judgment.
BTW… I think that, by making your good confession, you help priests. You help them to be priests.