Chinese inspired “flying confessors”

Great missionaries once went to mission countries such as China.

These U.S.A. are now mission territories.

I was inspired by something I read at NEWS.VA.  Is this an idea for the weathly, formerly Christian lands in which most of you readers live?

Wen Zhou (Agenzia Fides) – Witnesses of faith, a spiritual retreat, visiting confessors are just some of many initiatives undertaken by the Catholic Wen Zhou diocese, in the Zhe Jiang province of mainland China, to help the faithful live a fruitful Lenten season in the present Year of the Faith. According to the diocesan Web Site, on 13 and 14 February the Cathedral hosted a two-day Lenten retreat, on the theme “Consolidating the faith and proclaiming the Gospel”. During the days of retreat, besides reflecting together on the faith, local Catholic laity, priests and religious, recited the Rosary, made the Stations of the Cross and celebrated Holy Mass, as well as sharing testimonies of faith in this Year of the Faith. In response to indications given by Pope Benedict XVI, the diocese launched an unusual initiative: Visiting Confessors. On February 15, a team of 11 priests visited Le Qing and heard about 2,000 confession. This initiative led many lapsed Catholics return to a life of faith. The diocese is organising another Visiting Confessors mission towards the end of the month of February to be held in a parish, still to be identified.

Perhaps we need this in the affluent, spiritually dying West, in the Northern Hemisphere.

I can imagine a team of “flying” confessors.  Remember the “flying bishops” amongst Anglicans before Anglicanorum coetibus?

These “flying confessors”, a team, would come at the invitation of a bishop.  They would swoop in and hear confessions of the priests (and the bishops), give workshops on matters such as how to have recourse to the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica for internal forum issues, refreshers on moral theology and changes to canon law pertinent for the confessional, and then hear confessions for all comers for a few days during a diocesan wide campaign.

Just thinking out loud.

Maybe without the ominous larynx crushing Force grip part… for the lay penitents, at least.  For the priests… well…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Therese says:

    This is the sort of thing that might get more people into the confessional. (The big fear being, “Father knows the sound of my voice!”) There always seem to be longer lines during a parish mission.

  2. fvhale says:

    They need a bus…filled with confessionals!
    A “Penitentiary on Wheels” rolling into a parish parking lot near you soon!
    Enter with sins red as scarlet, leave white as snow.

  3. Bob B. says:

    The bad thing is that in China you don’t want to go to the Patriotic catholic priests – they are paid and sponsored by the government. As such in this communist government, one wonders what is repeated to state officials and how many end up in re-education camps?

  4. Shamrock says:

    Great point Bob B….”big brother” is listening perhaps! Theresa makes valid point for this
    happening in our local parishes…travelling/flying confessors makes confession seem perhaps
    more “annonymous” and thereby easier although I am not sure that confession should an encourage easier element. It is after all, an act of humility and penitence.
    Still worth a try…the lines at confession currently are not growing in leaps and bounds…and certainly not comensurate with Communion lines numberwise. Perhaps a little “creativity”
    is called for….many people need help getting there and this might provide the impetus.

  5. Bea says:

    This sounds like our old fashioned Lenten Retreats, when the Redemptorist priests (They were good back then) would visit, upon request, our many Diocesan parishes to prompt us to conversion.

  6. Stumbler but trying says:

    “They would swoop in and hear confessions of the priests (and the bishops),”

    Love the choice of words here, Fr. Z. I hope the “flying confessors” swoop in on the wings of a dove. Ah….holy humor is the best. ^^

  7. VexillaRegis says:

    This is a wonderful idea! Priests are often over worked and people hesitate to ask for confession other when dire need. (The priests are nearly always very willing to hear confessions, but we see how much they work and think (he looks so tired, I’ll wait til next week or so.)

  8. VexillaRegis says:

    …other when in dire need. (Our priests…
    I thought I pressed the preview button, too early here.

  9. UncleBlobb says:

    “refreshers on moral theology”
    Does this mean they would be Unreconstructed Ossified Manualists I hope? Maybe there could seminars for us on how to examine consciences too.

  10. inexcels says:

    Someone should have told me a long time ago that seminary teaches you how to do the larynx-crushing force grip. Where do I sign up?? [As with learning the Extraordinary Form of Mass, in most places you are on your own. I conduct workshops, however.]

  11. charismatictrad says:

    We had one of the Fathers from the Fathers of Mercy come to our parish. The order started to reevangelize France after the Revolution, now I think they only exist in America…interesting, huh?

    Anyway, the priest who came here packed the parish every night he was here. It’s basically Confession and Adoration with a talk. The topics included:

    The 10 Commandments
    The Eucharist

    Super orthodox teachings!

  12. When I read the title I thought it was going to be about something like the “flying doctors” in Australia. Apart from the situation of living in a very rural area and not trusting the only priest within 100 miles I don’t much see the benefit of going to confession to a visiting priest. Yueqing has 1.2 million people so I would have thought Catholics there would find a confessor whom they can trust..? I agree with Shamrock that confession should not encourage people towards easier options, although if complete anonymity is the only way someone feels able to confess then they need to be able to have this option.

  13. JMody says:

    Fr. Z., stop trying to frighten Richard McBrien with your sorcerer’s ways …

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