From a reader…
Today I went to confession at a nearby bilingual Novus Ordo parish. The priest was visiting, and informed us that he didn’t speak Spanish and could only hear confessions in English.
I know that in the danger of death this wouldn’t matter, but under ordinary circumstances, do priests have the faculties to hear confession in a language they don’t know, even if this is undesirable pastorally?
Pastorally? You were able to confess your sins and receive absolution by a validly ordained – visiting – priest with faculties… when you wanted. That sounds “pastoral” to me.
Faculties to hear confessions do not pertain to language. If a priest has faculties to receive sacramental confessions, the language is indifferent. At the same time, in ideal situations, according to Canon Law, priests should be trained in languages that are useful for their ministry. So, it is probably not ideal to assign a priest to work with Koreans who won’t or cannot learn some Korean.
That apart, so long as a penitent can communicate her sins in kind and number and the priest can discern that the penitent is truly penitent, then there is not obstacle to the priest granting absolution.
Furthermore… if this took place in the United States of America… it could be a good idea to learn English. No? No?
Finally, everyone, regardless of your language abilities – GO TO CONFESSION!