Hearing confessions during Mass in Novus Ordo: yes… licit and recommended by the CDW

In another entry someone asked about my statement that the Congregation for Divine Worship stated that confessions can be heard during Mass and, indeed, it is a good idea in some cases.

Here is the documentation translated from Latin found in Notitiae 37 (2001 – no. 419-420) pp. 259-260 with my emphases and comments:

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (October 2001)

What are the dispositions governing the time for the celebration of the sacrament of Penance? For example, can the faithful have recourse to the sacrament of Penance during Mass?

The principal norms governing the time for the celebration of the sacrament of Penance are to be found in the Instruction Eucharisticum mysterium (25 May 1967), which states: The faithful are to be constantly encouraged to accustom themselves to going to confession outside [And this is very good.  People should ideally be focused on the sacred action of Holy Mass when they are at Holy Mass.  Also, special effort must be made to see to one’s own spiritual welface.  Moreover, depending on the way it is handled, hearing confessions during Mass might be distracting to some other people.] the celebration of Mass, and especially at the prescribed times.  [This is close to one of my 20 Tips! #3] In this way, the sacrament of Penance will be administered calmly and with genuine profit, and will not interfere with active participation inthe Mass (no. 35). The same is reiterated in the Praenotanda of the Ordo Paenitentiae (no. 13), which states that: the reconciliation of penitents can be celebrated at any time and day.  [Remember those people who claimed confessions couldn’t be heard during the Sacred Triduum?]

Nevertheless this ought to be understood as a counsel [Not an imperative, that is, that confessions should be heard at scheduled times rather than during Mass.] directed to the pastoral care of the faithful, who ought to be encouraged and helped to seek health of soul in the sacrament of Penance, and have recourse to it, as far as possible outside the place and time of the celebration of Mass. On the other hand, [Here we go…] this does not in any way prohibit priests, except the one who is celebrating Mass, from hearing confessions of the faithful who so desire, including during the celebration of Mass. [There it is, ladies and gentlemen.] Above all nowadays, when the ecclesial significance of sin and the sacrament of Penance is obscured in many people, and the desire to receive the sacrament of Penance has diminished markedly, pastors ought to do all in their power to foster frequent participation by the faithful in this sacrament. [In other words… this sacrament, and the awareness among the faithful of its importance, is really in danger.] Hence canon 986.1 of the Code of Canon law states: All to whom by virtue of office the care of souls is committed,are bound to provide for the hearing of the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who reasonably request confession, and they are to provide these faithful with an opportunity to make individual confession on days and at times arranged to suit them.

The celebration of the sacrament of Penance is indeed one of the ministries proper to priests. The Christian faithful, on the one hand, are not only obliged to confess their sins (cf. can. 989), but on the other hand are fully entitled to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments (can. 213).

Consequently, it is clearly lawful, even during the celebration of Mass, to hear confessions when one foresees that the faithful are going to ask for this ministry. In the case of concelebrations, it is earnestly to be desired that some priests would abstain from concelebrating [One a side note about concelebration, which ought to be safe, legal and rare… there are some priests who are nearly obsessed with concelebration.  They nearly impose it on other priests, in violation of their rights or judge priests badly if they choose (as is their right) not to concelebrate.  This happens quite often, as a matter of fact, and in surprising quaters.  Still, I like this advice from the CDW: confession is very important – perhaps some men could hear confessions instead of concelebrating!] so as to be available to attend to the faithful who wish to receive the sacrament of Penance. It should be borne in mind, nevertheless, that it is not permitted to unite the sacrament of Penance with the Mass, making of them both a single liturgical celebration [This is done in the Novus Ordo sometimes with baptisms, for example, or even celebrations of liturgical hours such as vespers.].


There we are, folks.

I encourage priests, especially in those places where more than one priest is available in a parish or chapel, to give this consideration. 

This is not merely applicable to the older form of Mass, but also to the Novus Ordo!


In Redemptionis Sacramentum 76 we read:

Furthermore, according to a most ancient tradition of the Roman Church, it is not permissible to unite the Sacrament of Penance to the Mass in such a way that they become a single liturgical celebration. This does not exclude, however, that Priests other than those celebrating or concelebrating the Mass might hear the confessions of the faithful who so desire, even in the same place where Mass is being celebrated, in order to meet the needs of those faithful. This should nevertheless be done in an appropriate manner.

Cf. Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio), Misericordia Dei, 7 April 2002, n. 2: AAS 94 (2002) p. 455; Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Response to Dubium: Notitiae 37 (2001) pp. 259-260.

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  1. Ed Peters says:

    Father, I see the liciety of the Confession itself during Mass. I wonder, what are your thoughts on the impact that spending one’s time in Confession (let’s assume more than a few minutes) might have the satisfication of the Sunday obligation.

  2. Derik Castillo says:

    My preference is to receive confession just before Mass,
    because I like to concentrate on the Celebrant and the
    prayers. Other people going to confession during the Mass
    do not distract me.

    I have noticed in some parishes, that the confessor stops
    before the Cannon, and either walks to concelebrate, or
    walks to the sacristy.

  3. Boko says:

    Hear confessions until the Canon, then get ready to help with the distribution of Communion, thus getting rid of the EMHCs. Twofer!

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Ed: I wonder, what are your thoughts on the impact that spending one’s time in Confession (let’s assume more than a few minutes) might have the satisfication of the Sunday obligation.

    Way back when, I think most laymen assumed there was come connection between (1) confessions ending when the Gospel began, and (2) the assumption that participation beginning with the Gospel satisfied the Sunday Mass obligation.

  5. Geoffrey says:

    I find this whole concept VERY interesting, but can’t imagine getting up in the middle of Mass, in either the ordinary or extraordinary form. Hmmm…

  6. When I went Rome, in 1996, I heard mass at St. Peter’s Basilica (Latin Novus Ordo), and I looked for confession during mass. A priest promptly received me and heard my confession. So, this has been a practice for at least 12 years in Vatican.

  7. Elise B. says:

    I have read somewhere (although I can’t remember where) that a priest attending Sunday Mass should be asked – or offer – to concelebrate rather than remain in the nave. That could happen when a priest is not in his own parish on a Sunday.

  8. MikeL says:

    This is commonly done in our parish – confessions begin 30-45 minutes before Mass on Sundays and continue (officially) until the Gospel. Some of our priests go a bit longer, but certainly not as far as to intrude upon the Canon. Fortunately we usually have 2 or even 3 priests who can hear confessions before going to help with distribution of Holy Communion (no EMHCs here).

    One good reason for this is that ours is a geographically far-flung parish and people often drive for an hour to get here; it was once about the closest you could get to a TLM (Latin N.O. with decent music) in an indult-free archdiocese, without recourse to SSPX, etc. It makes sense that requiring folk to come that distance for Saturday confessions (and the hours there are liberal as well), is a bit much to ask. And, of course, we have a lot of families with young children – anyone who has ever tried to get 4 or more minor children ready for Mass on a Sunday morning can understand the need for some allowance here.

  9. Hear confessions until the Canon, then get ready to help with the distribution of Communion, thus getting rid of the EMHCs. Twofer!

    That is exactly what happens in my parish the Birmingham Oratory, both on weekdays and Sundays. It is almost the only church in the diocese without extra-ordinary ministers of the eucharist.

  10. Gregor says:

    Confession during Mass has only fallen out of practice in some parts of the world. When I lived in Madrid for a year, it was absolutely standard (since most parishes had more than one priest, often three to five) that Confession was heard during Mass, and there was a constant stream of penitents. I don’t remember prescisely anymore, but I think they stopped hearing Confession after the homily.

    Dr Peters and Henry: The moral theologians used to say that you could still fulfill your Sunday obligation if you arrived with the offertory and left after Communion. Of course, to miss any part was and is still venial sin. OTOH, there was no doubt that you could fulfil your Sunday obligation AND make confession during Mass. It must also have been standard to hear Confession throughout the entire Mass, since confessors were directed to pause during the consecration.

  11. Christopher Mandzok says:

    “…Hear confessions until the Canon, then get ready to help with the distribution of Communion, thus getting rid of the EMHCs. Twofer!…”

    Exactly as it is done at my wonder parish, which is one of the top three reasons that I switched parishes. Confession is available from before Mass through Communion. At which time, the confessionalist helps distribute the Holy Eucharist then returns to the confessional.

  12. One of the great blessings of having my parish turned over to the care of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius was that they provide an extra priest most Sundays to hear confessions during two of the masses. This was one of the first changes instituted by our new pastor.

    Until a visit to St. John Cantius last fall, I had never heard of the practice; now I am the beneficiary of it.

    I love it.

  13. Ken says:

    In case one hasn’t bought his pastor an Easter gift yet…


  14. Stu says:

    At times when we have had two priests, this practice has been a blessing with many parishoners taking advantage of the opportunity to confess right before receiving our Lord.

  15. mbd says:

    Most of the comments assume confessions during Sunday Mass. It is not uncommon (though not as common as in the 60’s or even the 70’s), however, in downtown urban parishes for confessions to be scheduled during the same time on weekdays that Masses are scheduled. Some – perhaps many – of those coming into Church are there to go to confession rather than to attend Mass. Under those circumstances, the concerns that some have voiced that the penitant might miss participation in a part of the Mass would not apply.

  16. Raymond says:

    In Chicago, this is in fact a practice in 2 parishes, AFAIK, St. John Cantius and St. Mary of the Angels (run by Opus Dei). At St. Mary’s, there are usually 2 priests that hear confessions until just before Communion, as the two help the celebrant distribute Communion–the parish having no EM’s! I’m less familiar with the practice at Cantius.

  17. Matt says:

    I think we have too much Calvinism today. The Mass takes place regardless of attention spans.
    Most people, including myself, often “zone out” in the pew in the new rite
    due to the constant, flat, monotonous talking for 30 straight minutes by ill-prepared laypeople and sometimes priests.

    Too much information quite frankly. People want to be at Mass, not a college
    “poetry reading” or lecture session. Perhaps this is why so many people
    stopped going.

    85% of communication is non-verbal afterall, the symbolism and rubrics are
    much more important for Catechesis than words.

    The biggest mistake we made was turning the Mass into
    a protestant-style “head trip” dependent on mental
    rather than truly spiritual activity. Many people
    never go to Church outside Mass, so why not accommodate them with

    If the Church were healthy, we would have the vocations
    and the imperative to accomodate huge lines for confession.
    But since the New Mass eradicated any concept of sin, we
    find this situation alien and preposterous!

    At Saint Agnes in Manhatten, I literally waited through
    more than two complete weekly Masses while in the line for Confession.
    I found the whole experience wonderful, and was actually
    able to reflect a bit more in line than in a pew. I got
    to particpate in two and a half Masses and eventually communion
    because I waited over an hour in the confession line.

    I’ve also waited in line for Confession during an FSSP
    Mass, yet the TLM is more mystical and reverent anyhow,
    so I could totally participate while enjoying the chant music.

  18. Papabile says:

    In a 2002 Apostolic Letter in the Form of Motu Proprio, Misericordia Dei, John Paul II wrote the following:

    2. Local Ordinaries, and parish priests and rectors of churches and shrines, should periodically verify that the greatest possible provision is in fact being made for the faithful to confess their sins. It is particularly recommended that in places of worship confessors be visibly present at the advertized times, that these times be adapted to the real circumstances of penitents, and that confessions be especially available before Masses, and even during Mass if there are other priests available, in order to meet the needs of the faithful. (15)

    The footnote was to the Dubia that you mentioned.

    (15)Cf. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Responsa ad dubia proposita: Notitiae, 37 (2001) 259-260

    However, I would say what JPII wrote is now much more authoritative than the Notitiae Dubia.

  19. Sam says:

    Montgomery Clift as the priest in Hitchcock’s I Confess! Thanks for the memories of a very intense movie, Fr. Z!

  20. Fr. Z,

    Now that you’ve cleared up that one, could you tackle this:

    May a priest act in the capacity of a deacon in the Novus Ordo?


  21. Dave Deavel says:

    Fr. Z: Your red comments about baptism during Mass in the Novus Ordo are not clear to me. Are you saying that this is illegal in the same way as penance during Mass as one unified liturgical service is illegal? I thought baptisms after the homily, as during the Easter vigil wer permitted.

  22. ” . . .concelebration, which ought to be safe, legal and rare…”

    Ha! How many conventual masses have I attended in religious houses full of priests where all of them say the one concelebrated mass each day, wearing stoles and standing the in the choir stalls while the principal stands at the altar. I once asked at one of these religious houses why there should be one mass a day between the 15 priests. The brother I asked told me that it “simplified” things. I always thought the idea with concelebration was to solemnize rather than simplify. The overuse of concelebration, especially in order to “simplify” our liturgical life, turns it into a mundanity.


  23. Ed Peters: what are your thoughts on the impact that spending one’s time in Confession (let’s assume more than a few minutes) might have the satisfication of the Sunday obligation.

    Good question.

    This gets into issues of “moral presence”, I think. I don’t know how to untangle that.

    However, if a person were to spend so long in the confessional as to call his fulfillment into question, then I would respond… well… in this case… let’s let this one slide. I don’t think his being away from Mass was because of sloth or wickedness. After all, he went to Mass, even if it was to find a confessor.

    Apparently the confession was pretty important, perhaps more important at that very moment than his obligation.

    Also, when people are morally impeded from fulfilling their obligation, they are not bound to the obligation. If the person was so distressed by his state of sin and he needed that much time to make a good confession, well… okay. And if there is no additional Mass he can attend, well… okay. As a confessor, I would be pretty easy on a fellow who thought he didn’t fulfill his obligation the week before because he was literally making so long a confession that he wasn’t really participating at Mass as it was going on. I would remind him that he obviously had no sinful intention to be away from Mass etc. etc. etc.

  24. I’m not quite sure how you get that the CDW encourages confessions during Mass. It may allow it, but when I read this the CDW appears to actuall encourage confessions outside of Mass, especially during regularly scheduled times.

    It does make you wonder though, if someone is in the confessional for the entirety of the Offertory and Consecration of a Sunday Mass, have they really fulfilled their obligation to attend Mass? I only ask this because I have seen people go into a confessional for up to 30 minutes on occasions, and that could be a majority of a Sunday Mass.

    I personally think that stopping confessions at least before the Offertory (if not at the Gospel) is a good idea.

    I certainly don’t want to make it difficult to go to confession, but it seems like the importance of the Mass is diminishing with statements like this (and the rise of Communion services even when Mass is offered the same day).

  25. Derick: My preference is to receive confession just before Mass,

    Actually you, a layman, do not really “receive” confession(s). Priests receive confessions. Penitents receive absolution.

  26. Dave Deavel: Are you saying that this is illegal in the same way as penance during Mass as one unified liturgical service is illegal? I thought baptisms after the homily, as during the Easter vigil wer permitted.

    As long as there is no liturgical connection between the celebration of Mass and the celebration of the sacrament of Penance going on during Mass, then confession can be heard during Mass. However, the celebration of the sacrament of Penance cannot be integrated (in any form) into the liturgical celebration of Mass, as can be done with baptism and marriage.

  27. Manuel says:

    I have gone to confession during a novus ordo a couple times. As I remember the priests do try to finish before the Canon or around the Gospel. This was a very devout novus Ordo parish with communion on tongue and kneeling. I also remember there being three priests, but only one celebrant as the others were hearing confessions and then they came out to help distribute Communion. I think it is very important that a priest distribute all communion to the faithful rather than Extraordinary ministers.

  28. Confessions during Mass are sometimes a good thing (especially on the days I can’t make it to the normal times for Confession)

  29. AJdiocese says:

    I was at a parish once during Holy Week, it was the last scheduled confessions before Easter. Two priests were hearing confessions and Mass was about to start. The pastor of the parish ordered the two assistants out of the confessionals before Mass started saying they were not allowwed to hear during Mass. They had to turn away 30+ people who were in line.

  30. Roman Sacristan: I think that CDW response encourages ALL opportunities to make a confession.

    Can we perhaps call the hearing of confessions on a schedule the Ordinary time and during Mass the Extraordinary time?

    Yes, that CDW document encourages … yes… encourages … confessions also during Mass.

  31. AJdiocese says:

    Can a bishop override this? I’m almost certain our bishop has put it in writing that confessions in the are not allowed in the diocese during the Sacred Triduum.

  32. Tomi says:

    “It must also have been standard to hear Confession throughout the entire Mass, since confessors were directed to pause during the consecration.”

    That is how they do it in a Jesuit church I sometimes go to. The confessions last as long as there are people waiting in lines (of course, if the lines are too long, additional priests come to hear confessions).

  33. Gregor says:

    Father, I think in your reply to Dr Peters you are throwing together several things. The question was whether making a Confession during Mass is in some way interfering with the satisfaction of the Sunday obligation. Whether there might be special circumstances where one is excused from the Sunday obligation, or whether the objective failure to fulfil the obligation might in particular circumstances not constitute grave sin because there was no subjective intention are really two different questions from the one asked. And when we correctly answer this original question there is no need to recur to such highly unlikely scenarios or concepts of “moral presence”. Because the answer, as unequivocally stated by my manual of moral theology from the 1950s, is that one fulfils the commandment to hear Mass if one makes a Confession during that Mass. Case closed.

  34. NC says:

    I like your take on concelebration, Father.
    I endured four years of it as an assistant priest because the pastor refused to put on an extra Mass for me to say “because the people might get used to it…and then when you are gone….” (I wasn’t, in fact, replaced.) I have spent the past 15 years avoiding it like the plague and wish a few brave souls would make a stand at Ordinations, Clergy Funerals etc and attend in choir!
    The Chrism Mass in our diocese is usually enough to depress me throughout the Triduum (the liturgy, the music, the preaching, the complete lack of understanding of what it is about..)so I often find I have a convenient funeral on that morning, which is no longer Maundy Thursday here.
    I think that priests in neighbouring parishes, if Mass times don’t clash, ought to offer to pop up the road and hear Confessions (and assist with Holy Communion)during MAss on Sundays. It might just help to reinforce to the Faithful the importance and neccessity of the Sacrament if “Fr X is prepared to come all this way on his busy day just to hear our Confessions”.

  35. Patronus says:

    While I appreciate this post and Father’s comments, I think it is clear that the CDW does not mean to uphold confession outside and during Mass as equally desirable. I’m a big fan of having recourse to the sacrament even during Mass (which, by the way, isn’t possible in the vast majority of parishes due to the number of priests); but people should clearly be encouraged to try to confess prior, rather tahn during.

  36. Of course in reality, this question almost seems moot (I said almost). Parishes either don’t have enough priests, or even if they do, many places don’t even bother to offer confessions outside of Mass time aside from the 45 minutes on Saturday afternoon right before the Vigil Mass and the infamous “by appointment” (so much for anonymous confession).

    Still, thank you, Father, for informing us. I have seen instances of this and wondered about it (regarding the fulfilling the Mass obligation).

    And thanks, Gregor, for providing a good insight.

  37. michigancatholic says:

    I’ve never seen confessions going on in mass here. I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. I expect that quite a few people here would have a hissy fit about it, though. This diocese is very nearly homogenous in its Vatican II vanilla blandness. Close your eyes and imagine the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in an airplane hangar with PTA ladies for ushers and there you have it.

    We have a problem here finding a priest actually in the confessional. It appears they set up a time and then use the 15 minute rule–no one in 15 min–oops that’s it for the week!

  38. Ed, J.U.D.,

    My reading of the moralists suggests that one is “morally present” at Mass whenever one is within a reasonable vicinity of the Mass with the intention of hearing it. So, a person could be at confession, outside (esp. in the case of an overflow crowd,) in the bathroom, changing a baby, performing some other duty at church, asleep, or seated behind a pillar or at so great a distance from the altar as to be unable to hear or see anything, and still can consider himself afterward as having “been to Mass.”


  39. Transitional Deacon says:

    It is very common in Mexico for confessions to be heard all the way through Mass. I didn’t have the impression that the priest paused for the consecration either. In Mexico things to tend to be fairly chaotic and people are always up and walking around; it doesn’t seem to matter what the priest is doing in the sanctuary. In any event, I have seen confessions being heard during Mass in Europe also. But I don’t recall seeing it in the United States. I think in parishes that have a parochial vicar, it would be laudable for one priest to be hearing confessions while the other is saying Mass, and then for both of the priests to greet the people after every Mass on Sunday, whenever they can, rather than just the Mass they celebrate. And I very much like the idea of the confessional priest assisting with Holy Communion. In the Diocese of Arlington, for example, it is very common for the extra priests of the parish to come over at communion time (they have a PA system in the rectory so they can hear when the time is right) and assist with communion. Whether there are parishes in Arlington where confessions are heard during Mass, I don’t know.

    The only time that you are going to get some people to go to confession nowadays is if it is available at Sunday Mass. They won’t come to church any other time.

    Of course, it is important to have confession also offered at more convenient times than just Saturday afternoon at 3:30. I have the impression that that time is not convenient for very many people anymore. Not that the Church should cater to our convenience-based-culture, but there can be some give-and-take.

  40. Liam says:

    Pace Gregor’s insight, not only I but my octagenarian parents and many priests I know have only had one answer about the confession during Mass issue: you have not satisfied the precept if you can reasonably assist at the next Mass that follows, if there be any (and, if there isn’t, you might be excused for the reasons previously noted). This, btw, concords with the clear preference for confession outside of Mass expressed in the authoritative statements quoted.

  41. Tim Ferguson says:

    Looking at canon 1247, we read that the faithful “are bound to participate in the Mass” (fideles obligatione tenentur Missam participandi) on Sundays and Holy Days of Precept.

    The law does not seem to define it further – no norms on what exactly is considered “participating” in the Mass, or precisely how much of the Mass one must participate in. Canon 1248 uses both terms: participanda and assistit to define the prescription of the faithful with regards to the Mass. It would seem that the Legislator intends a certain similitude between these two terms. Assistit is usually rightly translated as “assists” but has the rooted meaning of “stands by” or simply “attends.” Hence it would not seem in the mind of the Legislator to impose an excessive obligation of completely undistracted attention, much less “active” participation on the faithful.

    If someone’s confession took the majority of the Mass, it would seem that he did not actually “participate” in the Mass. Yet, as Fr. Zuhlsdorf rightly points out, someone who is morally or physically impeded from attending Mass is not obligated to do so. Someone in grave sin, with little other opportunity to confess other than during Mass, even if his confession takes up the majority of the Mass would seem to be morally impeded and hence not obliged.

    In reality, few confessions take that long (and few Sunday Masses are that brief!). Hence it would seem, in the normal course of things, if a person were in the confessional for five or ten minutes during a Mass in which he otherwise participates (properly understanding participatio actuosa of course) he would fulfill this mandate of the law.

    Favorabilia amplianda, odiosa restringenda after all. It would seem too restrictive an interpretation of participatio to maintain that someone who confessed during Mass and thereby was inattentive to a portion of the Mass he attended thereby failed to fulfill his canonical obligation.

  42. Patronus: While I appreciate this post and Father’s comments, I think it is clear that the CDW does not mean to uphold confession outside and during Mass as equally desirable.

    I never said they were “equally” desirable.

  43. ekafant says:

    I lived in St. Marys, Kansas for 3 years and attended the SSPX church. It was very common for the priests to hear confessions during the weekday Mass and during Sunday Masses. I never knew that it was an issue.

  44. Fr. Allen says:

    Father, thank you for your commentary.

    I appreciate it, and I agree with you. I am a bit saddened by your low opinion of the Presbyterate; however, Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life; so keeping our focus on Him and on His Church is what we are all meant to do in this pilgrimage to Heaven.

    How often do you go to Confession? I try to go once per month, though am not always able to get in touch with my spiritual director.

    in Christ,
    Fr. Allen

  45. Greg Smisek says:

    AJdiocese: Fr. Z explained the Missal misreading regarding the hearing of confessions during the Sacred Triduum in his Palm Sunday 2006 posted article.

    The Holy See clarified this way back in 1977, and some folks still haven’t caught on:

    Congregation for Divine Worship, Paschalis sollemnitatis, circular letter on the preparation and celebration of the paschal feasts (1988).

    61. All celebration of the sacraments on this day is strictly prohibited, except for the Sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.(66)

    66) Cf. Roman Missal, Good Friday, Celebration of the Lord’s Passion, n. 1. CCD [CDW], Declaratio ad “Missale Romanum”, in Notitiae 13 (1977), 602.

  46. Maureen says:

    It’s important not to get too scrupulous here, especially since this blog is probably read by people with scruples. Although it would clearly be desirable that everybody should be assisting in every moment of the Mass with every scrap of attention, we are human beings with souls and bodies and all kinds of odd circumstances. We are not bodiless spirits.

    And that’s the way God designed the Mass to be a grace to us — if we show up, it counts as good worship. If we show up, we receive the benefit of it. In today’s world, we badly need to show up.

    Btw, although I can understand the joys of a good confessor, the grace of Confession is also received by showing up. Let me be blunt here. What’s worse — no confessional box and a weird lame penance, or dying in your sins? Go to your local parish’s Confession times, too.

  47. Fr. Allen: I am a bit saddened by your low opinion of the Presbyterate

    What on earth are you talking about?

  48. NC wrote: I think that priests in neighbouring parishes, if Mass times don’t clash, ought to offer to pop up the road and hear Confessions (and assist with Holy Communion)during MAss on Sundays. It might just help to reinforce to the Faithful the importance and neccessity of the Sacrament if “Fr X is prepared to come all this way on his busy day just to hear our Confessions”.

    You are so right! When I attend mass, the priest in the confessional before and during mass is either my own pastor, and mass is celebrated by the visiting priest (thus enabling my pastor to hear confessions), or else the priest in the confessional is visiting. These visiting priests are coming from St. John Cantius in Chicago, perhaps 90 minutes away in Sunday traffic, at best. The realization that they are coming from so far to help take care of us underscores the importance of what they’re doing. They’re taking these sacraments seriously, and really making a sacrifice to make them available. They must be important.

  49. Papabile says:

    Maureen: Go to your local parish’s Confession times, too.

    It would be helpful if the local parish actually had regular times for Confession. Luckily I am now in the Arlington Diocese. We have Confessions for three hours on Saturday, 1.5 hours on Weds night, and 15 minutes before every daily Mass, and 15 minutes before and after every Sunday Mass. It’s extremely easy to go now.

    However, when I lived in DC, in my Parish it was 15 minutes on Saturday, and by appointment only. Suffice it to say, one had to travel to find Confession. When I asked my Pastor why it was so limited, he said there was little interest.

    The funny thing is, when it is freely available, there is MUCH MORE interest. There is a line for Confession at every daily Mass I attend in my current parish, and we’re full up on Saturdays and Wednesday nights.

  50. Luca says:

    Father, on St Louis Gonzaga’s day last year in the church of Sant’Ignazio in Rome there were a numer of priests concelebrating Mass and no one hearing confession (which I needed), while the church was filled with people. I wrote about that to the Parroco and he replied that I should have made Confession before, like San Luigi. I agree with the statement that it is better not to confess during Mass, but I find also quite strange that a number of priests goes to concelebrate and no one of them goes to hear Confession. I find absurd putting Mass versus Confession in such a way.

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