I saw this nightmare on Twitter:
Think you’ve seen it all in the confession availability discourse?
Well then you haven’t seen the email my friend’s sister received, essentially telling her that she hasn’t donated enough money to “register” for confession at her parish pic.twitter.com/qrwDQBZpWS
— F?. A. K??????s???s-S?????? (@frajds) August 1, 2020
I was frankly horrified and more than a little frightened for the priests who did this. I was not alone. I shared this with a good canonist, priest friend. His reaction was:
That priest is on the way to hell. We should pray for his conversion. How awful.
On. His. Way. To Hell.
Ed Condon wrote, rightly:
This is, to be clear, so canonically illegal as to beggar belief. https://t.co/eAZxBpJdQ6
— Ed. Condon (@canonlawyered) August 1, 2020
Friends, make an act of reparation for this horrible abuse.
One of the things the bishop asks – during the ordination rite – men who are to be ordained is if they have the intention to hear confessions of sins and give absolution.
Also, another thing that this underscores is how malleable the concept of “parish” has become. I think that last document from the Holy See really didn’t address it adequately.
Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something comes along to shock me even more. I am blessed to live near a group of priests who have been hearing confessions all through the covid craziness. They don’t ask how much money you have given, and they’d get up at 1:00 am if someone came by needing to go to confession.
When I see something like this (or innovation hinted at from Germany or obfuscation from Rome or, for that matter, any marxist metastasis in our culture), it’s easy to go from indignation to anger to a desire to confront and blow up the source. It’s harder to remind myself to fall in line with my patron St. Martha, not get upset and anxious about it, and remember to choose the better part—in this case living in hard-identity Catholicism, reminding myself that I’m one little chip in the mosaic, and offering prayers and reparations. Just that. God save us all.
Cash for confession?! Pay to play penitent?!
This attitude is indignant and malevolent.
What about the Church being a “field hospital”?
I have always thought a priest should be prepared to hear confession any time any place?
The name of this cathedral, whose pastor is technically the bishop, should be published on every Catholic web site with the hope that all members of his diocese immediately cease their contributions until this scandal is addressed. We have come to understand that many bishops care less about the salvation or souls than they do about keeping the purse full. This may be the only way to get his attention so that he corrects this horror and disciplines those at fault.
This was an email received by the person. How did the parish get the person’s email address if not a registered parishioner? My guess is that because of covid they are requiring people schedule confession time via email first. Then once they get the email request they check their records first to see if the person belongs to the parish. If this is the case, in addition to all the horrible stuff the original letter implies, there is the added problem that the person’s anonymity is no longer insured either. At that point they would have name, adress, and time when the person confesses thus being able to connection things in confession back to a specific person.
If this is from Germany, it follows from the Bishops’ decision to excommunicate anyone who does not designate their church taxes to the Catholic church.
Does God in his Infinite Wisdom not grant special protections/indulgences to priests that would be struck down by Covid in the course of their ministry, ie, especially confession? Maybe another reason why face to face confession is an abomination, and a good MERV filter barrier in confessional is the way to go?
This is bad and wrong in so many ways. Not least it discriminates against those on low or irregular incomes, who may give in cash (undocumented) because they are not in a position to sign up for a regular financial commitment; they give what they can, when they can. See the “widow’s mite”…
Or those who prefer to give quietly and anonymously: “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”.
Or those who can’t volunteer because of ill health or disability; our Lord healed the sick and infirm without demanding to know what they had done to “earn” his mercy.
Or those who want to come back to the Faith after having gone astray for many years; see the prodigal son, the vineyard workers at the eleventh hour, and many more examples from the Gospels. I am appalled to think what kind of “welcome” such people would receive at the moment; at some churches now you encounter only masked faces and harsh words, and the door closed in your face if you arrive a few minutes or didn’t know you had to book in advance. I thank God every day that when I was in that situation a few years back, there was an open door and a good priest willing to hear my confession and help me amend my life.
At our parish, you have to sign a form before you enter the church for confession, and then you have to do face to face confession, even though we have a spacious confession room with a large fabric screen between you and the priest.
I have never been comfortable with face to face confession. I am very active in the parish and it feels like a violation of my privacy not have access to anonymous confession.
To say nothing of the issue of taking down the names of those who have attended confession (and Mass)! This is done so that you can be reported to the State if someone gets Covid. This is silly beyond belief, because there is no way to know if someone actually contracted the virus while at a one hour Mass (or confession).
The Church has willingly become an agent of the State, and I don’t think the Bishops realize what damage they have done. Why should I attend a State-run church?
I reckon the big question for me would be, How will God respond to the erstwhile penitent who may not get to a different confessional…in time.
So, in other words, if you have been away from the Church for 25 years and wanted to come back, too bad, so sad, you’re not registered. You can come back to the Church after COVID is over. Hope you don’t get COVID in the meantime!
And oh, you are too poor to give to offertory or too sick to volunteer? Too bad, you should’ve thought about that before committing a mortal sin!
The logic behind this is astoundingly bad.
This reminds me of stories I have heard regarding sick people in the hospital. A nurse friend years ago called a few parishes in order to find a priest. The patient was requesting to talk to a priest, and some parishes replied “she’s not one of my parishioners. ” My nurse friend did find a priest, but it took more effort than just one phone call. Actually, this nurse told me that the priest who showed up was very helpful in her “reversion story. ”
Another example: my mother told me a story about her parish priest who got up in the middle of the night and drove to visit an elderly sick woman in the hospital (he practically stayed up all night too – my mother called him a “real priest “) who requested to talk to a priest. The night nurse called two other parishes that were closer to the hospital and according to my mother, both of those priests took the attitude “she’s not in my parish, sorry” and went back to sleep. These two other priests missed an opportunity – particularly for someone who may have not darkened the walls of a Catholic Church in years or a “one hour Catholic. “
This is perilously close to simony, if not actually simony itself.
I am very fortunate. My parish continued to hear confessions even when the churches were shut (no public Masses). We always had lines for confessions ( two priests-most days, 30 minutes Mon-Friday, and roughly 2 1/2 hours on Saturdays. Lately, if the penitents are many, the priest not celebrating Mass will continue to hear confession during Mass until the line is gone.
And lines have been longer lately. We are getting “refugees” from other parishes. Some of them require sign-ups for a confession time. (One of these parishes is a traditional minded parish whose confession lines are also long. I am fairly this is practical measure for this so not many peopleare there at any given time…(anti) social distancing measures.)
One more step and we have the “indulgences” of the reformation, pay to go to heaven, how disgusting
My parish for a long time (except for lent) you had to schedule an appointment to go to confession by calling the cluster office. Our parish secretary had an annoying habit of asking “WHY” she is a busy body if there ever was one. I go to a farther out parish where the priest has a proper confessional box with screen.
In a conversation our priest brought up that he never saw me at confession and i told him there was a reason and i go elsewhere. She is still there but he now has some regular hours, I still go elsewhere.
Is that wrong?
Every day, in every way, the bankruptcy of the sing-a-new-church-into-being paradigm becomes more and more obvious. A church based on modernism has got nothing for us.
What’s really troubling is that, the more the failure of the modernist experiment is exposed, the more the modernists double down. I fear what it will take for us to give it up and repent.
I love the life story of St John Vianney. He spent many hours in the confessional winter and summer. He converted numerous souls during this time and is revered as the patron saint of priests. His example should move other priests to help souls get to heaven by this beautiful sacrament. Let us all ask The Cure of Ars to intercede and convert the soul of this priest and others like him to have a thirst for souls to save them and guide them to virtue and peace and salvation, Amen, Anen!!
This certainly would be horrifying were it to be true. Is there any evidence that this actually occurred at some particular cathedral parish – or is it merely a story designed by Satan to upset people? If it is true, it should be fairly easy to verify.
Hmmmmm….. From http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P3F.HTM, Can. 964 §2. The conference of bishops is to establish norms regarding the confessional; it is to take care, however, that there are always confessionals with a fixed grate between the penitent and the confessor in an open place so that the faithful who wish to can use them freely.
Thus, the screen for anonymity must always be available.
So how can a confessor tell if a complete stranger (a Catholic one, or course) comes into the confessional?
Would a loving God wag his finger at a soul who tried to go to confession but was turned away by a disgusting charlatan like this one. That would make no sense.
You know, most of us don’t have blinders on when it comes to the Church in China, and how the government-controlled “Church” may appear to the world to be the mainstream church, but in reality the true believers have to go underground.
I think it may be time for us to take our blinders off about the Church elsewhere. Just because there is not a totalitarian government imposing communist bishops on us doesn’t mean that our bishops aren’t just as infected with Marxism or worse, and teaching heresy from the pulpit or cooperating in scandalous things like this.
Please do not mistake me, I am not advocating a sedevacantist viewpoint. But this manufactured crisis has shone a bright light on the dark underbelly of our Church and has exposed much that was hidden. You can’t starve these folks, they will always get money. We have to develop the mentality of the catacombs Church in China.
There have been many occasions in my long life where I have had to get priests for very sick, and even dying friends, relatives, and acquaintances. Never have I even remotely come across a priest like this. His superiors should come down hard on this arrogant b——-. My prayer is that this is an anomaly.
“You know, most of us don’t have blinders on when it comes to the Church in China, and how the government-controlled “Church” may appear to the world to be the mainstream church, but in reality the true believers have to go underground.”
“We have to develop the mentality of the catacombs Church in China.”
That “mentality of the catacombs” is very very problematic, and it is not as simple some might think, full of romanticism and heroism. There are a lot of problems involved. People without pastors, priests (and religious) that do not follow anyone’s authority, in many cases very undignified liturgy, and not because of lack of means (in fact some “non official” groups in China have a lot of money), priest without proper formation, in many cases strong clique mentality (even related to regionalisms or languages), other things nec nominetur, etc.
Reality there is not black and white, it is not the “good heroic underground” versus the “evil ones cooperating with the government”. There are groups and divisions in both sides, and the border between the “official priests” and the “non official priests” is quite blurred, .
The term “underground” is not even useful. Some “non official” priests and groups act openly, while some “official” priests or groups resist the government even if there are registered in the government (but not necessarily in the patriotic association).
In addition to that, China, being so big, has so many different situations in various places. Often the decision to persecute more or less the Church depends more on the local authority than on the central government. In the news you only see the churches and crosses that the government destroys, but never see the thousands of churches that the government of China has built, and in which there is a relative freedom. I am not defending -God forbids- the CCP, but I just want to say that, in my humble opinion, this “mentality of the catacombs” is very damaging, and has to be avoided as much as possible.
“Creative minorities” or “Benedict options” or other ideas, are not “catacomb mentality.”
Sorry for writing so much.
But, some ask, how can you cooperate with that structure of sin that is the Chinese Communist Party? (that is totalitarian, but not really communist.)
The same thing I ask about so many governments and institutions in the West.
Someone above mentioned Germany. What if I ask: How can you cooperate with the Government and the Church in Germany since they do so much evil? And you see that it is a very simplistic question lacking common sense, and probably much information. To suggest that Catholics in Germany should go underground and stop paying taxes to the government or declaring themselves as not Catholics so as not to pay the tax that will go to the Church is not that simple, and probably does not solve anything.
There have been so many abuses of the faithful and profanations of the Eucharist that have been committed by priests in this covid situation. This is admittedly one of the worst, as well as Jesus in plastic bags and communicants being denied Communion on the tongue or being thrown out of the church by the priest for refusing to wear a mask or asking for Communion on the tongue. These are not small errors, and, frankly, I fear for the fate of these errant priests. What will it take for Jesus to enlighten them, lest they be lost?
@Fr. Reader, there is no need to apologize for “writing so much.” :) Being in the place where we are with the Church is so, so painful, and I truly appreciate your response to my comment.
My comment of course was grossly oversimplified, and I assure you that I do not have a romanticized version of an underground Church. The very idea terrifies me, because there are certain assumptions that you have to make, and many, many safeguards that have to be thrown out the window. Even just a look at the Trad movement here in the US will show you how hard it is to get people who largely agree to pull together in the same direction. I don’t want that. Period.
My only point is that, tragically, this may at some point become a necessary evil. And we need to be really looking hard at that, and praying like there’s no tomorrow.
Thanks for your answer. Yes, these are complex times.
And this, at Saint Thomas More in Arizona: “We have suspended Confessions until further notice due to Covid-19.“
… and the Gospel for last Sunday, Pentecost IX: “…’My house is the house of prayer’, but you have made it a den of thieves …”. Fathers, Bishops, *please*, for your sake and ours, get up from your tables of business, turn towards the Temple, walk in and worship the Living God.
I’m trying to come up with an interpretation of, “our capacity is limited,” that could be honest.
So far, I have:
1) This is in a diocese under a current stay-at-home order strict enough that even outdoor queues with large distances between penitents are not allowed.
2) Fr. John Vianney is their confessor, and the crowds are simply getting out of control.
IF this is true, it is horrid
The information is at least 3rd hand, maybe 4th. It would be all too easy to fake the email. Without anything indicating what cathedral this is, we would be wise to be skeptical. Charity toward our clergy requires that we not jump to the conclusion that every possible accusation is true. It is just as easy to believe that this is an anti-Catholic troll. Until someone identifies the parish we are well advised to treat this as gossip.
There is sin here, but whether it is a priest in need of replacement or a church hater trying to lead us astray is still to be determined. Let’s not add to it by assuming the worst.
I hope I am right because if I am wrong, this is very scary stuff indeed.
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Senor Quixana wrote: “Until someone identifies the parish we are well advised to treat this as gossip.” Good point.
It is also amusing for Ed Condon to write: “to be clear” given his penchant for gossip by anonymous “Catholic” sources.
I don’t believe it. I don’t believe emails passed along by someone’s sister’s friend.
Either share the entire email including the name of the Church or stop spreading this sort of thing.
This is fake news.
You should be ashamed.
I hope this story of refused confession isn’t true; if it is, it would be easy to bring to the attention of the ordinary, and if that fails, to Rome. It’s very hard to believe this would not receive a rebuke from higher ups, both because it’s so very wrong, and it’s a very bad look.
All the complications that have been created regarding the sacrament of penance are SO very frustrating because they are SOOOOO unnecessary. Like a lot of priests, I spent a lot of energy this year rethinking everything we do, in order to comply with the directives received and to assure safety. It occurred to me early on that the sacrament that would be most challenging was giving the Holy Eucharist, as this requires near proximity and near-physical contact, and it would involve lots of people (where baptism can involve very few). The anointing requires near-physical contact, however a Q-tip can be used to administer the anointing itself, and everything else can be performed from several feet away. Long before the Covid crisis, many priests discovered this when they’ve had to give the anointing in or near surgery, or at a crime scene. I could witness a marriage from the other side of the church, or a football field, so long as I can hear the vows. In all this, by the way, I do not mean to downplay other complications; only that my line of thinking was, CAN I provide the sacraments, and HOW? Secondary was whether I could do so with lots of family around. So if necessary, baptism and marriage and anointing with the fewest present, but sacraments still happen.
Back to confession: there is no problem! It is no trick to find a place, inside or out, where the penitent can be six or more feet away, and also private. Everyone can wear masks, shields, gloves, whatever is needed. The priest sits with his back to the penitent: ergo, anonymous. If you want face-to-face, ask the priest to turn. I want to shout this next part: there was and is NO reason for priests to refuse to hear confessions! For priests who were understandably concerned for their own health, ample precautions could be taken without violating sacramental norms.
Here’s a little postscript, for what it’s worth: in my own parish, keeping all my regular hours for confession (as I did 100% of the time, throughout), I’ve noticed higher traffic in recent weeks. As you might imagine, it isn’t unusual for the priest to keep his hours and have not so many visitors at any given point, and to have inexplicable spikes in traffic, as if a bus just arrived outside. You roll with it, and if you have extra quiet, it’s a nice time to pray and reflect. I don’t know why, but lately, I have been hopping; lots of buses showing up, I guess? I don’t know what to make of it, except to be grateful for graces.
I agree with Senor Quixana comments. Until I see the link to the source. and/or answers to the “5 Ws”, I am not taking it seriously. Especially as I seen similar posts on FB and other social media, all copied and paste with alert flags on them.
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