ASK FATHER: Confessions during Mass – followup

12_03_31_confessionNot long ago I answered a question about why priests might not offer opportunities for confession on feast days.  HERE  As part of that entry we moved into the issue of priests hearing confessions during Mass (not the celebrant, obviously).  In support of this I linked to the Holy See’s document Redemptionis Sacramentum 76, which clearly states that confessions can be heard during Mass.

One comment left for my consideration (it went into the queue), said:

From the policy books of the Archdiocese of Chicago:
BOOK FOUR- THE SANCTIFYING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH (SACRAMENTAL AND LITURGICAL LIFE)
202.12.1. Policy The Sacrament of Penance or any other service shall not be celebrated while Mass is being celebrated in the same space. Regularly scheduled confessions between Sunday Masses are not permitted.
301.1.2. Policy The Sacrament of Penance shall not be celebrated while a Mass is being celebrated in the same place. (See also Policy 202.12.1., herein.)

This is apparently directed to “regularly scheduled confessions” and I note the most priests I know will gladly hear the confession of those who approach them whenever they can.

This stuck in my craw.

In 2001 a dubium was submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.  That dicastery has pretty much ultimate authority when it comes to the matter at hand.  A response was give in the official publication of the aforementioned Congregation, Notitiae 37 (2001), 259–260.

[QUAERITUR:] Quaenam sunt dispositiones quae ad momentum celebrationis sacramenti Paenitentiae spectant: utrum, exempli gratia, christifideles perdurante Missae celebratione ad sacramentum Paenitentiae accedere possunt?

De tempore celebrationis sacramenti Paenitentiae praecipuae normae inveniuntur in Instructione Eucharisticum mysterium, 25 maii 1967, ubi commendatur, ut « Fideles ad eum adducantur extra Missae celebrationem, praesertim horis statutis, ad sacramentum Paenitentiae accedant, ita ut eius administratio cum tranquillitate et ipsorum vera utilitate fiat, neve ipsi ab actuosa Missae partecipatione impediantur » (n. 35). Quae etiam in Praenotandis Ordinis Paenitentiae denuo proponuntur (n. 13), ubi tamen declaratur, ut « reconciliatio paenitentium omni tempore ac die celebrari potest » (ibidem).

Quod tamen quamquam consilium a pastoribus intellegi debet ad pastoralem curam christifidelium, quos hortari et adiuvare ne omittant, ut in sacramento Paenientiae bonum animae quaerant et ad eum pro posse accedant extra tempus et locum celebrationis Missae. Altera ex parte haec norma nullo modo prohibet sacerdotibus, praeter illum Sanctam Missam celebrantem, confessiones fidelium audire, qui id desiderent etiam tempore celebrationis Missae.

[NB] Hac praesertim aetate, qua ab multis ecclesialis significatio peccati et sacramenti Paenitentiae obscuratur et desiderium accedendi ad sacramentum Paenitentiae valde minuitur, pastores omnibus viribus suis favere debent frequens usus huius Sacramenti inter fideles. Ideo in can. 986 § 1 Codicis Iuris Canonici leguntur: Omnis cui animarum cura vi muneris est demandata, obligatione tenetur providendi ut audiantur confessiones fidelium sibi commissorum, qui rationabiliter audiri petant, utque iisdem opportunitas praebeatur ad confessionem individualem, diebus ac horis in eorum commodum statutis, accedendi.

Celebratio re vera sacramenti Paenitentiae unum e ministeriis propriis sacerdotis est. Christifideles autem non solum obligatione tenentur peccata confitendi (cf. can. 989), verum etiam ius est eis ut ex spiritualibus Ecclesiae bonis, praesertim ex verbo Dei et sacramentis, adiumenta a sacris Pastoribus accipiant (can. 213).

Licere quidem patet etiam perdurantibus Missarum sollemnibus confessionem suscipere quotiescumque praevidetur fideles illud petere ministerium. Si concelebratio fit, enixe rogatur ut aliqui sacerdotes abstineat a concelebratione ita ut praesto esse possint fidelibus qui ad sacramentum Paenitentiae accedere velint.

In mentem autem revocandum est, non licere sacramentum Paenitentiae cum sancta Missa unire, ita ut fiat unica celebratione liturgica.

By now you are probably wishing you had strong coffee to keep you awake during this post. So…. CLICK already!

Translation from Adoremus:

Reply to a question about hearing confessions during Mass
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 the celebration of Mass, and especially at the prescribed times. In this way, the sacrament of Penance will be administered calmly and with genuine profit, and will not interfere with active participation in the 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.

Nevertheless this ought to be understood as a counsel 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, 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.

[NB] 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. 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 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.

So, it is not only licet to hear confessions during Mass, it is recommended.  The Congregation states that the times for confessions should suit the faithful and be convenient for them.  When else are so many of the faithful at church than for Masses?  If there are more than one priests the Congregation urges some of them not to concelebrate, but rather hear confessions during Mass.  The Congregation recommends confessions during Mass, it doesn’t just say that it’s permitted.

Given the CDW document Redemptionis Sacramentum and given this response from the CDW and their strongly favorable official response, I am inclined to say that a bishop who would try to forbid confessions during Mass would act ultra vires.

Why be so stingy?

It may be that those guidelines were published a long time ago.  It might be opportune to update them in light what what Rome says about the matter.

On a personal note, at the church where I usually am on Sundays, we often have confessions during Mass.  Lots of people go, they are happy to have the chance, and the priests are happy to hear the confessions.

 

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44 Responses to ASK FATHER: Confessions during Mass – followup

  1. APX says:

    One modern day objection could be that with the disappearance of confessionals for reconciliation rooms, which tend to be completely separated from Mass, thus meaning those who are waiting in line during Mass, are waiting in a separate area away from Mass. All the more reason to get rid of reconciliation rooms.

  2. bbmoe says:

    I happened to go to a church while visiting some relatives in California. It had been recommended to me by Catholics who I trust in these matters. It happened that I was there during the month of August and for that month, the pastor had arranged to have visiting priests available to hear confessions during Sunday Mass for the entire month. During the Mass, there were *lines* for Confession. Look, it’s one thing to say (and it’s never said often enough in homilies) “You need to go to Confession” but if the celebrant/pastor really means that, it drives home the point to have that sacrament available then and there. I was impressed. Also, the EMHC’s were all men, all in suit and tie. I’m not a big one for EMHC’s, but if you have to have them, this is the way. Really set a reverent tone.

  3. eugenegiudice says:

    I’ve been to Saint Peter’s in the Loop in downtown Chicago and they have confessions available from about 6 or 7 AM to 6 or 7 PM, plus at least 5 or 6 masses during the day, so they are hearing confessions while mass is going on and does not detract one bit from mass. A great ministry they have there.

  4. CradleRevert says:

    I wonder how long that directive has been in effect in Chicago. I went to Mass at a parish in a suburb of Chicago when visiting about 5 years ago, and they were hearing confessions all through Mass.

  5. Sieber says:

    Old pastor: Confessions Saturday afternoons & Eves of Holydays & First Fridays.
    New Pastor: Confession Saturday afternoon…only. Never during Mass.
    Saturday Evenings had two priests…sometimes the wait was 1/2 hour in line. They would be there for at least two hours.
    New pastor said his policy is due to the priest shortage.
    In both instances there were three priests on staff…usually with at least one additional visiting priest in residence.

  6. Fr. W says:

    We frequently in our parish hear confessions that spill over after Mass has begun. We also have had confessions celebrated as Mass was being celebrated during parish missions. However we do not schedule confessions during Masses of obligation lest the person in the confession and freshly absolved has now in effect another sin to confess…missing Mass. That being said, we never, ever turn down any request to hear a confession between Masses unless it is simply impossible to do so…I and my parochial vicars have not yet mastered bilocation.

  7. Kensington says:

    Until our last pastor was forced to retire in 2015 (upon reaching his 70th birthday), St. Thomas More Church (the only church on the south side of Chicago offering the TLM) offered Confession during Mass. There were always lines.

    The new pastor dropped that, and also put an end to praying the Mass ad orientem. It’s had a negative impact, too.

    At least they’re still offering a TLM on Sundays.

  8. Agathon says:

    Oh, how I wish hearing confessions during Mass was the kind of thing people (especially in the media) had in mind when describing someone as a “pastoral” sort or commenting on a pope’s “pastoral” approach.

  9. bwfackler says:

    Ive actually been at greek liturgies in Ukraine where the celebrant was also hearing confessions in between singing his parts. It’s interesting to see to say the least.

  10. acardnal says:

    This is wonderful and should be brought to every priest’s and bishop’s attention!

  11. Bthompson says:

    Father, a clarifying but important quibble:

    Can one participate (as a recipient) in both sacraments at once? In my life I both have confessed my own sins and (years later) heard confessions while a brother priest said Mass.

    Did I unwittingly violate the 3rd commandment in my teens when I confessed during my Sunday Mass attendance and went from the confessional to Communion essentially immediately? [No, probably not.] Should I now caution my penitents who overlap a Saturday Vigil (but missed 2-5+ thereof due to a Confession) about whether or not their presence at the Church fulfilled the weekly obligation…? [No, don’t worry about that.]

    [The Church has APPROVED and RECOMMENDED hearing confessions during Mass. Moreover, this has been a constant use in the Roman Church for a very long time. Surely you haven’t suggested here that the Church, in providing for confessions even during Mass, is promoting violation of the Decalogue. Moreover, there is nothing to compel a person to receive Communion at that Mass even after being shriven. If you think that you shouldn’t go to Communion because you might have missed a few words… don’t go to Communion. Go next time.]

  12. Adaquano says:

    I usually get to confession during a men’s evening of reflection once a month. There is often a priests available to hear confession during Mass, and I have never had a problem with it. It feels good to have the Lord cleanse me of sin, and then present Himself to me in the Eucharist.

  13. Ann Malley says:

    ….at my old parish in CA, there were always confessions offered throughout mass if an additional priest was available. The result was mass punctuated with individuals rising and going to make their confession.

    The practice was not only charitable in providing a generous availability, but edifying in that the movement of grace was almost catchy. As if seeing other’s stand to cleanse themselves moved others to a deeper contrition regarding something they may otherwise leave off.

  14. SaintJude6 says:

    We usually have two priests hearing confessions during Mass while the third priest offers the Mass. One priest comes out to say the homily and then returns to the confessional. The other priest comes out to help with Communion and then returns. No one has to miss Mass. The line to the confessional is against the wall on the Joseph side of the Church. People are will to stand throughout the entire Mass. Going to Confession doesn’t take any more time than going to the bathroom, and I’m sure you wouldn’t say that someone who needs to use the facilities has committed a sin. Our priests consistently advise everyone to get to parish every two weeks. It would not be feasible if they did not offer confession during the Masses, because many people drive in from an hour away or more.

  15. Giuseppe says:

    I went to one church that heard confessions up until the end of the homily, but then stopped. As long as confessions are offered before and after mass, that seemed like a reasonable compromise. FYI, the priest in the confessional, I think, was the one who assisted at communion – no EMHC. I suspect the priests switched roles at the later mass.

  16. SaintJude6 says:

    Get to confession, not get to parish.

  17. Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Whatever is allowed or approved, I am amazed that a devout Catholic would leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to go to confession during that Holy Sacrifice and skip part of it, rather than go to confession when they we4re being heard at a some other time. Amazed, yes, amazed. But we live in an age when convenience rules all.

  18. Catharine in Aurora says:

    I was a member of St. John Cantius Parish in Chicago, IL for a number of years. At all times, from the early to mid 1990’s to present, they have confessions during Mass (among other times). They stop confessions, however, during the Consecration and resume after Communion. They almost always have multiple priests hearing confessions and there are almost always lines.
    Another parish in Chicago which hears confessions during Mass, at least on weekdays, is St. Peter’s-in-the-Loop. They have very long confession hours on weekdays and about 4-5 hours of confession on Saturday afternoons.

  19. Mike says:

    While there’s lots I don’t like about my parish, one thing I can say: the priests are there for Confession on Saturday afternoons and on Tuesday evenings–and when I have asked a priest if he would hear my confession after he celebrated Mass, the answer is always a gracious yes.

  20. iamlucky13 says:

    It looks like the policy books for the Archdiocese of Chicago are pretty extensive and have been around for a while with occasional updates. They list two updates to Book IV since 2003 (assuming the list of updates is exhaustive), and neither deal with the sections in question.
    http://policy.archchicago.org/

    So this policy apparently predates Redemptionis Sacramentum, and may also predate the 2001 question to the CDW.

    Hopefully this is a matter a politely worded inquiry to the archbishop from one or perhaps a few of those living there can start in the process of resolving. It probably won’t happen overnight, though. I get the impression there is a process in place for updating those policies.

  21. yatzer says:

    Augustine Thompson O.P. says, “Whatever is allowed or approved, I am amazed that a devout Catholic would leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to go to confession during that Holy Sacrifice and skip part of it, rather than go to confession when they we4re being heard at a some other time. Amazed, yes, amazed. But we live in an age when convenience rules all.

    In our church, the confessionals are IN the church. People are reverently attentive to Mass while they are in line for Confession. That could be the case somewhere else as well.

  22. iamlucky13 says:

    “Whatever is allowed or approved, I am amazed that a devout Catholic would leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to go to confession during that Holy Sacrifice and skip part of it, rather than go to confession when they we4re being heard at a some other time. Amazed, yes, amazed. But we live in an age when convenience rules all.”

    I agree with the sentiment that this should not be treated as a mere convenience, but I’ve arrived at the start of scheduled confession several times before, waited a full hour, and still not been through the line by the start of Mass, because of the length of line already formed before Father arrives. You may be interested to know the place I’ve experienced this the most was a parish run by Dominicans – half a dozen scheduled confession times a week, and it’s still not enough to meet the demands of a well-catechized congregation.

    I admit, usually if I don’t make it through the line, it’s because I arrived after the start of confessions. However, if I intend to receive confession, I do always make an effort to arrive well-before the start of Mass. It’s never my intention to miss part of Mass for confession.

  23. THREEHEARTS says:

    confessions cannot be heard throughout the mass. The Church has always taught you miss mass if you are absent from the beginning of the Gospel until the last blessing. The orthodox church has a similar rule and the priest leaves the confessional at the start of the Gospel.

  24. Bthompson says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I didn’t really doubt the points in my question, but I wanted to make sure, given that I had heard contrary opinions from some of my brethren.

  25. aliceinstpaul says:

    I don’t know what you mean by “leave mass”. In our church, the confessionals are on the left and right side of the pews. While in line we can be as fully attentive and listening or praying as if we were sitting in the pew.

    During the consecration, if there is still a line, we kneel on the floor and the priest confessor always stopped and comes out to do the same.

  26. Fr. Hamilton says:

    I arrived as Pastor of my current parish in 2012. At that time we already had a more generous confession schedule than most nearby parishes. I have since increased those offerings. We now have slightly more than 5 hours of confessions available each week, Tuesdays through Thursdays and again on Saturdays. We usually have a number of penitents at each of the regularly scheduled confession times. I communicated to the parish that offering generous regular weekly times was a pastoral decision because I feared the tendency of having the one-shot penance rites/services with multiple priests in Advent and Lent was having the unintended effect of telling folks that confessing only once or twice a year is sufficient.

    The question about hearing confessions during Masses has been an active question at my parish because for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy I have added to our already generous weekly confession schedule by offering confessions during all weekend Masses at least one weekend each month for the duration of the Jubilee Year. Since I have an assistant priest we can arrange to have the priest not offering the Holy Mass available for confessions. Since we don’t have a great set up for confessionals during Mass, we simply hear confessions in the sacristy just off the narthex. The advantage to that location is that our narthex has speakers so that people in line can hear Mass easily and they can also see Mass through the glass doors nearby. It’s not a perfect arrangement, but it is more important to offer confessions when most folks are present. Even if there are some drawbacks they aren’t compelling reasons to fail to offer confessions. Haven’t I read on here: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good?

  27. robtbrown says:

    Augustine Thompson O.P. says:

    Whatever is allowed or approved, I am amazed that a devout Catholic would leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to go to confession during that Holy Sacrifice and skip part of it, rather than go to confession when they we4re being heard at a some other time. Amazed, yes, amazed. But we live in an age when convenience rules all.

    I’ve never left–or even had the sense of having left–mass. Standing in line at the side of the church, then spending a few minutes in the Confessional, followed by a return to the pews, I don’t think I’ve ever missed much of anything in the mass–not even the 90 second Offertory.

  28. Absit invidia says:

    I’ve only seen this at Latin Mass parishes, and I’ll tell you what – there is nothing more edifying and humbling to a worshipper at mass than seeing a poor humble penitent standing in line waiting patiently to confess his sins. To witness these souls going to confession during mass puts the mass in perspective to the worshipper.

    “Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”
    – 1 Cor. 11:27

  29. Geoffrey says:

    I know it is allowed and all, but personally I do not see the point of hearing Confessions during Mass as a general rule. It seems that it should only occur when the line for the confessional is very long and Mass needs to begin as scheduled. I have seen this done; the associate pastor continues to hear Confessions while the pastor celebrates Mass. There is nothing worse then being in line for Confession and then being turned away because Mass is about to begin. I have seen this done as well.

  30. Persistant says:

    It’s pretty common to see lines for confession during the Mass around where I live. I’ve noticed that the Confessions pause during the Consecration (if there are still penitents at that point) which I find appropriate. Also, some of the bigger churches have confessionals outside of the church in a seperate building or a room which I sometimes find practical.

  31. acardnal says:

    Comments like Fr Thompson ‘ s above and others who say “use the scheduled hours for confession” make me think that those clerics just do not realize how easy and common mortal sins are commited in today’s media-filled world. Perhaps they live in a cave.

  32. JesusFreak84 says:

    It sounds like, in practice, the directive in Chicago is never enforced. I’ve utilized Confession at St. John Cantius before when I arrived early for the Mass I was GOING to attend and confessed while another Mass was still going on, usually winding down, (depending on traffic, etc.) It’s actually easier for me to confess while Mass is going on and it’s still quiet, vs. between Masses; I have Asperger’s Syndrome, so excessive noise can literally stick a crowbar into my brain, specifically the section that handles verbal communication, which is just a itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny bit important for Confession =-p

    The Ukrainian parish I attend has Confession during Divine Liturgy in part, I think, because some parishioners drive from so far that expecting them to come at another time really ISN’T reasonable. (I live close, but I’m an exception.) It’s also the only time some of the older folks can Confess in their native tongue. Outside of TLM parishes, it’s also the only place I can go to Confession where the priest will tell me what I need to hear, not just whatever I want to hear.

  33. Hidden One says:

    Fr. Augustine,

    I write this with deep and sincere respect for your person, your sacerdotal dignity, your years in religious life, and your wisdom and age.

    I think that there may be a gap somewhere in your understanding of the lives of lay Catholics who value the sacrament of Confession. Very often, even almost always, the principal or decisive limiting factor in whether and how often we go to Confession is its availability, and not anything for which we might be culpable. And even in those cases where we might be able to attend but do not out of some weakness on our part… that is, after all, why we need to go to Confession… sinful weakness, on our part.

  34. TWF says:

    The local Dominican parish has confessions before and after ALL 7 Sunday masses. Our cathedral does not have scheduled confessions on Sundays, but it does offer scheduled confessions 6 days a week (morning and early evening) so can’t complain too much.

  35. Athelstan says:

    Hello iamlucky13,

    So this policy apparently predates Redemptionis Sacramentum, and may also predate the 2001 question to the CDW.

    I was hoping some reader might dig into this, because I had the same question that CradleRevert did. It would impress me if the current ordinary had already changed the diocesan policy manual in this manner less (probably a lot less) than two years into his episcopate.

    It seems more likely now, thanks to what you uncovered, to be a legacy of the Bernardin era, one that Cardinal George and his staff may never have noticed. It looks like it’s been ignored enough in practice as it is, fortunately. One hopes there will be no effort now to start enforcing it, at the very least.

  36. Absit invidia says:

    To complain about confession lines at any time of our short life is really callous – so much for the “year of mercy.”

    Turning people away from the sacraments especially confession is really harmful to the church. When a priest comes out at exactly 5:15 (even when a different priest is saying the 5:30 mass) to tell the penitents in line that they are SOL is one of the most despairing things that a sinner can hear after he has finally mustered the courage to and humility to approach the confessional and wait in line for an hour. Then realizing they are going to have to wait another 7 days and hope the same isn’t repeated at the following Saturday’s 1 hour time slot. I know I’ve been there. It’s utterly disheartening and I find it completely callous to abandon sinners who make the effort to come to the sacrament.

  37. Athelstan says:

    Hidden One,

    Very often, even almost always, the principal or decisive limiting factor in whether and how often we go to Confession is its availability, and not anything for which we might be culpable.

    As Aquinas would advise us, I think some distinctions have to be made about who we’re talking about, because the Catholics in question are not all of one sort – and I have no idea exactly who it is that Fr. Thompson is speaking of:

    1) Congregants at traditional or semi-traditional parishes like St John Cantius, where confession lines may well be long during Mass, but where many are the sort who also avail themselves of confession at regularly scheduled times during the week as well, and who in the main seem quite attentive to Mass whilst standing in line. A few may well be just lazy, or even excessively scrupulous to the point of overvaluing one sacrament to the detriment of another; I can’t rule it out. But my sense is that most seem to take both sacraments, and their obligations thereof, seriously.

    2) Congregants at diocesan parishes, wherein confession during Mass on Sunday is rare to begin with (in most cases, a second priest is not available even if they *wanted* to offer it). Laziness might be a much more frequent factor here, but it’s so often the case that “regularly scheduled confession” amounts to a brief half hour on Saturday afternoon – which may not be so easy for everyone to make (and if they did, they couldn’t all possibly be shriven in a half hour).

    3) Eastern Rite parishes, where there are remarkable extenuating circumstances, which JesusFreak84 does a great job of outlining.

    Perhaps (many) Dominican run parishes have some more distinct difficulties in this regard. I couldn’t speak to that.

  38. robtbrown says:

    This question of Mass and Confession reminds me of one of my chiefs complaints: After Saturday morning mass there is almost never regularly scheduled Confession. I wonder whether the USCCB secretly published a document instructing pastors to set the Confession schedule at the least convenient time.

  39. acardnal says:

    Where I live one parish has scheduled confessions at 4 pm on Thursday. I find that odd since most people are working at that hour.

  40. aliceinstpaul says:

    Yes it is, 1000 times yes, it is disheartening. It is destroying of holiness.

    When I have dragged my kids away from friends and play and sports for the savings of their souls, and they see someone say the priest has to stop now, too bad –with no comment to how the priest will come for them later—it is heartbreaking.

    I can see in them a wilting. One son feels the weight and guilt. He feels so terrible that he is not forgiven!

    The other doubts the Church means what the say about the gravity of these sins–if not being in a state of Grace is so terrible, why doesn’t the priest care? Someone is lying to him. But he is too young to trust it’s the Enemy. He thinks it is the priest, the Church, the authority.

    I understand it is difficult to constantly give to us, to be so in demand, to have little time for other duties, but you are our fathers! Why are you giving us a snake when we beg for an egg?

    Obviously, this ‘you’ is not Fr. Z. But dear priests, please, don’t you want to bring the sheep back? If you don’t, how can we sheep know we are lost?

  41. lampada says:

    Of all the dozens of tiny little parish churches, bigger ones, and basilicas or cathedrals, I’ve gone to Mass at in Italy, there is only one I can think of that perhaps didn’t offer confession during Mass. A person is morally present at both the Mass and confession when there in the Church. That one exception (I am listing it as an exception because I can’t recall if they did or not since I was there only once for Sunday Mass), was Santa Susanna’s, the American parish in Rome. But elsewhere, yes, if there was more than one priest, there was confession during the weekend Mass(es).

  42. kimberley jean says:

    Fr.Augustine , if I am in line for confession I am still in church so how can I be leaving Mass? I hear and see just like the pew sitters. Also, my Sunday Mass may not be yours. I might be going later or to another parish altogether. Shouldn’t we be happy there are parishes that have such long lines for confession that in order for everyone to be absolved it goes on longer than an hour?

  43. capchoirgirl says:

    At my Dominican run parish, we have confession every single day, except holidays (no confession on Easter or Christmas, for example). Confession is after the 11:45 Mass until all are heard. There are confessions before every Mass, starting at 4:00 on Saturdays, and there are two priests available before the Sunday Masses. Before Christmas and Easter–especially before Easter–hours of confession are offered, and I do mean “hours”, plural. On Good Friday we have upwards of seven priests who can hear confession during the tre ore. My parish does a fantastic job offering confession.
    All that being said, they do NOT offer confession during Mass itself. This is clearly stated on the sign near the confessionals–when Mass starts, confession’s over. Now, part of that could be what Fr. Augustine is saying. And part of that could be that it may be hard to hear in the confessionals when Mass is going on–we have old school confessions that are right inside the church. Imagine trying to hear confessions during a gloria with choir and organ, for example, or during the entrance hymn.
    Conversely, in quiet moments, the privacy of the penitent and priest should be considered. When you have seats right by the confessionals (as it’s been in almost every church I’ve ever been in), you can have people an aisle’s width away, who may be able to hear, in the quiet moments of Mass, what’s being said.

  44. FXR2 says:

    Augustine Thompson O.P. said:
    29 August 2016 at 8:04 PM
    Whatever is allowed or approved, I am amazed that a devout Catholic would leave the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to go to confession during that Holy Sacrifice and skip part of it, rather than go to confession when they were being heard at a some other time. Amazed, yes, amazed. But we live in an age when convenience rules all.

    Fr. Thompson,
    Not everyone sleeps across the hall from a confessor, and many have other responsibilities ie work, children. Does one benefit from the abundant grace offered at Mass is they are not in a state of grace? Please refer to the below quote from the Baltimore Catechism.

    Q. 281. Why is this sin called mortal?

    A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.

    Is there ever a bad time to Confess and return to the living?