From a reader:
Is it appropriate for a priest to be hearing confessions while Extraordinary Form Mass has started? My priest seemed to think it was never done in the “old” days as he called it.
Yes, confessions were often heard during Mass in the “old” days. It was fairly widespread where there were more than one priest available in a parish or at a chapel.
As a matter of fact, this last Sunday we had confessions during my Sunday Mass. A priest was available and generously gave of his time and heard quite a few confessions for about 45 minutes. Of course the people who attend the EF are generally pretty good at making their confessions. They confess sins in both kind and number and they don’t ramble.
But I digress.
It is entirely appropriate that confessions be heard during Mass.
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.