First You Get Rid Of The Sacramantals…

I suspect that in most places where sand replaces holy water in the stoups, the priests probably don’t hear confessions during Holy Week or the Triduum.

It happens every year despite the fact the the Holy See has made it clear that it is possible to hear confessions during the Triduum.

This comes from The Lair of the Catholic Caveman:

First You Get Rid Of The Sacramantals…
Then you get rid of the Sacraments

More lunacy out of the Cape Fear Deanery.

A week or so back, I posted of certain parish in this Deanery that went directly against the direction given by The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in regards of replacing Holy Water with sand during Lent.

Now I find out that another parish within this Deanery has cancelled ALL Confessions during Holy Week.

I found the following signs posted next to the supply room turned Confessional.


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  1. What’s the (mistaken) rationale?

  2. TC says:

    Hey! they have Confession THREE times a week! Be thankful for that.
    Around here many (most?) parishes it’s Saturday 3-3.30 or whatever with Father itching to finish up so he can prepare for the vigil Mass. Worse yet are the “by appointment” only parishes. One hopes the parishioners are taking advantage of this sacrament being available 2&1/2 hrs/wk.

    I can’t imagine the mistaken rationale for no Confession during Holy Week except that it seems quite common, esp. during the Triduum.

  3. Central Valley says:

    It gets worse. I know of a women, who after giving birth to her sixth child, was told by a priest in the diocese of Fresno, Ca., that he was too busy to perform baptisms during Lent. She went to a neighboring parish and had her child baptized.

  4. bookworm says:

    “What’s the (mistaken) rationale?”

    One rationale I have heard or read is that the first five weeks of Lent are the time for doing penance and seeking reconciliation, but Holy Week is to be devoted strictly to contemplating the Paschal Mystery and nothing else.

  5. bookworm says:

    Although the fact that Pope John Paul II for many years heard confessions on Good Friday should disabuse anyone of that notion. If anyone had the “excuse” of being “too busy” during Holy Week to hear confessions it would be the pope himself, wouldn’t ya think?

  6. capchoirgirl says:

    Geez. This is sad. My parish is offering it every day but Holy Saturday, and it’s until ALL are heard. I’m sure the confessionals will be busy.

  7. jmvbxx says:

    I feel very grateful to be living in Colombia, a strong Catholic country.

    Our parish (Parroquia Espiritu Santo in Barranquilla) has official confession times four days a week and most active church members have one of the many priests’ numbers in their cellphone and can arrange an impromptu confession without difficulty.

  8. Tom A. says:

    Notice that when the Sacrament is available its called RECONCILLIATION, but when it is unavailable its called CONFESSION. Right out of Animal Farm, Reconcilliation Good, Confession Bad.

  9. Andrew says:

    You cannot give what you yourself don’t have: if the priest has no devotion he cannot impart it to others. If the priest does not go to confession, he will not appreciate it enough to make it available to others. If the priest thinks of his ministry as an office job, the ministry will be sterile and dead, and the result will be: no sacraments, mushy sermons, sloppy liturgy, and a decline of morals in society. Pray for priests.

  10. AnnaTrad51 says:

    At least they offer it during the year. In two cities that I know of there are parishes that do not offer confession at all. Not because they have a lack of priests, just because they believe that it is not necessary any longer. Those that still offer confession are worked off their feet.

  11. Brian Day says:

    @ Tom A.
    Good catch on the reconciliation/confession difference on the signs.

  12. beez says:

    Meanwhile, my Pastor in Fredericksburg, VA will spend 35-45 hours in the confessional during Holy Week.

  13. Father S. says:

    In our parish in rural Nebraska, we have 32 hours of scheduled Confession in the two weeks before the Triduum. That does not include the hours that we will go over. Last year, I think that my longest time was eight hours in one day. It is a pretty awesome thing. Last night alone in a small country parish, four of us heard Confession for over an hour and it was only that short because people were away on account of the state high school basketball tournament. If priests preach about Confession, then are on time for Confession and then hear Confession seriously, the numbers will grow. For example, this week alone I am scheduled for five hours in the Confessional and that is only half our scheduled time in the parish. The great part is that all of that time will be full!

  14. mwa says:

    My geographical parish has confessions for the usual 45 minutes on Saturdays, except Holy Saturday when they post a sign on the locked chapel door that states: “Jesus is in the tomb. There are no confessions today.” Two parishes away (where we regularly attend)is the only place I know that adds extra confession times during the Triduum.

  15. Fr Martin Fox says:

    We will have confessions on “Spy Wednesday,” Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

    FYI, a parishioner asked me Sunday, “gee, no sand in the fonts anymore?” I said, no, not anymore (before my time).

  16. ipadre says:

    So many people asked me why I did not put sand in the holy water fonts, I had to put something in my bulletin a few weeks ago to explain it. Isn’t it funny how we who do what is right have to explain ourselves and those who don’t have a walk in the park!

  17. ipadre: For pity’s sake. What a waste of time and energy to have to do that.

  18. GScheid says:

    Goes along with the pastor on altar during penance service for the ccd class chewing gum??? Or yesterday when i was awaiting a good sermon on the Prodigal Son–buy he waived instead for showing a video clip on the wall–which wasnt half bad but when did we start getting virtual homilies??

  19. chloesmom says:

    Confessions in my parish are 15 minutes before each Mass, or by appointment. Sin is seldom mentioned in homilies, and the pastor ends each Mass by saying “remember, God loves you”. There are, however, confessions during Holy Week — I’ve never heard of there being none. What a time to NOT provide the Sacrament, as so many people feel the need to go before Easter. (A personal request: please pray for my husband, who has not been to Confession since I’ve known him: 32 years. Thank you). Sorry for the somewhat incoherent post!

  20. apagano says:

    Question?? Why and when did parishes start putting sand in the fonts, or leaving them empty? Growing up our Parish use to cover the crucifix and all statues why and when did it start and end? Also, I’ve heard different things about baptisms and weddings during Lent. What is the actual teaching on these and why? Thank you

  21. Discipula says:

    When I lived in California (early 1980’s) the parish we attended in Coronado frequently had dry holy water fonts. A retired priest in residence noticed I often sought refuge from the heat in the church and put me in charge of keeping the holy water fonts filled. I was about 8 at the time. When ever someone protested he would point out that it gave me a sense of accomplishment, I was doing something for the church, would they deprive a child of that? But truthfully I got more compliments than complaints as I think most people found it amusing to see a child filling fonts that were above her head. It was very amusing, especially when I misjudged and received an abundant blessing for my troubles.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Saint Irenaeus asked: What’s the (mistaken) rationale?

  23. peregrinPF says:

    I know my parish will have confessions on Good Friday with at least 4 of the 5 confessionals being used. And, like it is EVERY WEEK here on Saturdays and Sundays, there will be long lines.

    BTW: I go weekly even if I do not have Mortal Sins to confess.

  24. John 6:54 says:

    It must be that no one at that parish sins during Holy Week. Yeah right….

    I thought it was grave error for any priest to deny confession when it is requested. Basically we the people need to request it and show up.

  25. Fr Martin Fox says:


    Holy Water is legitimately removed during Triduum–Holy Thursday till Easter Vigil. I don’t think it has to be, but can be.

    No directive ever calls for doing more than that; and the Church has written letters about not doing it.

    Covering statues and crucifixes is still a legit practice, but has fallen into disuse in many places. I suggest you browse these pages for more info, as our genial host has written about all this a fair amount.

  26. K. Marie says:

    Weird, I had never heard of not doing confession during Holy Week. Our parish priest added an extra hour to the normal confession times, plus doing them before and after Stations of the Cross on Fridays. He has even started during all his homilies that if you missed both the times and needed to go to confession to just come to the rectory. And he said that he would be keeping all those times open right through holy week(and it’s not like we’re a tiny parish and he nothing else to do)so you would think they could at least devote an hour or two to it.

  27. Mike says:

    Our pastor–who died suddenly last year right after Holy Thursday Mass, beneath a statue of St. Joseph, after being annointed–(!)–did say, I remember, “they’re probably will be no confessions once Holy Week starts”, however, and this is a big however, the last Tuesday night of Lent, he had 23 priests at our parish for a marathon reconciliation service.

    Perhaps that’s a wash.

  28. I’m sure part of the rationale behind no confessions during Holy Week is the liberal notion that we need to “fast” from the Sacraments. I have heard this in my diocese in the context of the priest shortage, where the liberals have solemnly informed us that maybe it’s about time we had a “fast” from the Eucharist.

  29. TKS says:

    Northwest diocese. Usual 45 minutes on Saturday afternoon before Mass for Reconciliation. We have gone an hour early to vigil Mass every week for many years. Parish of 1800+ families. Maybe a dozen people go to Confession. No uptick during Lent. Goes right along with our stark newer Church that looks like a concert hall. And we couldn’t just have no flowers for Lent but expensive beautiful weeds in perfect vases everywhere.

  30. peregrinPF said, “BTW: I go weekly even if I do not have Mortal Sins to confess.” This is great; as my dearly departed SD used to say, “Jesus died for our venial sins too.”

    In 2002 when the ring of priests were exposed on the St Sebastian website, one of them was a priest at the parish I attended. It didn’t take him long to leave the priesthood once his participation was exposed. I had never gone to Confession to the “priest” who was exposed so when I walked into his old confessional after he left I almost went through the floor when I read the note he’d placed there for penitents. It said, “Only tell your top two sins, others are waiting in line. signed by Father …..” I guess one had to either go to Confession to one of the other priests if they understood that this was garbage or if they hadn’t a clue, pick out what one would think to be the “top two sins” and just confess them. I am still rolling my eyes.

  31. MargaretMN says:

    I have often found it hard to go to confession during Holy week. A lot of churches don’t have them, opting for a penance service with or without private confession earlier in the month. The problem is, most people (and me, when I was younger) wait until the last minute to do their “Easter duty” and then find the confessional locked on Holy week. So an opportunity missed and souls in peril.

    I once went to a penance service with private confession where we got the same message as semperficatholic–only it was top 3 sins!

    I can see discouraging weddings during Lent. When you get married is a choice, unless there is some really extenuating circumstance like somebody is getting deployed to Iraq or something. But baptism? Unbelievable. I know priests are busy but somebody has lost sight of the essentials if the priest has no time for that.

  32. Well, discouraging marriage during Lent made a lot of sense, given that the Church has often, in her history, asked married couples to fast from sex during Lent. (I guess they do this in the eastern Rites still.) But mostly, it’s fitting that marriages be celebrated with joy, dancing, jollity, and lots of food and drink, and that’s really not a Lenten thing. (And in northern Europe, the food was running low anyway, until the spring food started coming in.)

    In Ireland and many Catholic countries before Vatican II, Shrove Tuesday was the busiest day of the year for getting married! (So one could really say, “Marry in haste, repent in leisure”.) The next week was occupied not just with Lent, but also with putting social pressure on people who should be getting married to go get it done, right after Easter.

  33. adeodatus49 says:

    I can never imagine a day in the Church calendar when confession is inappropriate. The sacrament restores Sanctifying Grace to a dead soul. Fasting from the sacraments . . . especially confession? What a fatuous idea!

  34. Fr Martin Fox says:


    ‘The problem is, most people (and me, when I was younger) wait until the last minute to do their “Easter duty” and then find the confessional locked on Holy week. So an opportunity missed and souls in peril.’

    While I offer confessions during Holy Week, right up to Holy Saturday afternoon, I also think it’s a bit discourteous to the priest to “wait till the last minute” as if he isn’t terribly busy during holy week. Reminds me of the times I’ve not started Mass on time because someone came into the confessional “at the last minute.”

    The priest should go the extra mile to offer the ministry of reconciliation; the faithful should likewise go to a little trouble, no?

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