LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I’m not going to . . .

. . . go on about all the things in the press, and on all the other UK Catholic blogs just at present – the unCatholic Pope, the juvenile delinquent at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the apparent reluctant to let Catholic Voices say anything remotely Catholic – precisely because so many other people already have; and in most cases have done it far better than I could.

So, I just want to offer a very small thought, which was put into my mind by Fr Ray’s post last Friday ‘The Amorality of the Church’ : when he mentions that ‘no-one bothers with confessing anymore’.

I obviously don’t know; but I have to say that my own impression is that frequent confession seems to be fairly uncommon nowadays, so that Fr Ray’s comment – however depressing it may appear – may well have some substance in it. The Oratory, for instance, has at least one priest hearing confessions for a total of something like six hours on a Saturday; and yet in my experience although there is a fairly steady stream of penitents, it very rarely gets to be more than one priest can handle . . .

What’s that : perhaps 12-15 an hour ? Less than 100 in the whole day ? Even taking into account those who go directly to the House to ask for a particular priest; and those who make their confession on Sunday between Masses, I think it unlikely that the total number of confessions heard over the weekend exceeds 200 – which isn’t all that many when you look at the number of communicants.

It’s not, of course, my place to tell anyone how often they ought to go to confession : but I know how often I sin, and how much help confession is to me, and I find it hard to believe that most of us wouldn’t benefit from going to confession more often than we do.

Perhaps, as we turn our minds to the penance which our Bishops have suggested for the Fridays of May in reparation for the sins of sexual abuse which have been perpetrated in the Church, we might also turn out minds to putting right some of our own sins as well.

May is Mary’s Month; and I am certain that nothing would give our Blessed Mother more joy than to see each and every one of us make our confession at least once during her Month.

Will you do that for her . . ?

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, not our place to tell people how often they ought to go to confession, but you rightly contrast the queues for Confession and Holy Communion. In the parish I attend there seem to be no more than 1-2 penitents a week during a single weekly half-hour slot for Confessions.

    Why is that we rarely if ever hear the necessity of this sacrament for living the life of grace preached and insisted upon by our pastors? It seems almost a taboo subject. Bishops and priests surely ARE responsible for taking all reasonable steps to ensure that the Holy Eucharist is not received sacrilegously, and while they may not want to challenge individual communicants unless they have strong grounds for believing that a person is not in a state of grace, they should draw some conclusions from the numbers. My wife is Russian Orthodox, and there the practice is to admit to Communion only those who have been to Confession immediately or the evening before the Mass - and these are all recognised personally by the priest administering Holy Communion. While the Catholic Church makes available to us the fruits of frequent Communion, it surely remains the case that bishops and priests in our Church need to take similar responsibility for the sacraments!