Thursday, 28 March 2013

Sacrament Restricted

Holy Week - Sacrament of Confession

A person, who wishes to remain nameless, showed me an email yesterday that a parish priest had sent to them in response to an enquiry about Confession times.  The response was that there were no Confessions being heard in his parish until after Easter Sunday. 

Apparently Confessions were last heard on Monday of Holy Week and that that was the last occasion for Confessions in his parish for the rest of Holy Week.

I am an Anglican convert to Catholicism.  I converted about 26 years ago when I was young (20 years old) and handsome.  Now I am, sadly, just handsome.  I drive my parish priest absolutely nuts, I think, because I often lightheartedly use the words, “when I was in the Anglican Church . . .”, in conversations with him. 

One of the comments I have made to him on occasion, though definitely always tongue in cheek of course, is that it may be far easier to find a Confessor in the ‘Anglo-Catholic’ Anglican Church than it is in the Roman Catholic Church.

After hearing and reading this priests written response to Nameless, maybe I shouldn’t be making this comment quite so tongue in cheek anymore?  Maybe it really is easier to find a Confessor in the ‘Anglo-Catholic’ Anglican Church, than it is in the Roman Catholic Church!

Of course I may in fact be being totally unreasonable.  Help me please. 

Am I being unreasonable in my expectation that this priest should give his parishioners and others who may need to go to Confession at his parish during Holy Week, more opportunities to make their Confession?  (I know for a fact that this is not a question of a priest to thinly spread.)

Am I being ridiculous because I consider it absurd that the next time the Sacrament of Confession will be made available in that parish is after Easter?

Finally, since Nameless was clearly interested in going to Confession, should this priest not at the very least have offered to hear Nameless' confession, since the enquiry had obviously been made for this reason? 

PS:  The lighthearted remark I made, about finding a Confessor in the Anglo-Catholic Anglican Church, is most certainly lighthearted.  There is no way that you would find it easier to locate a Confessor in the Anglican Church.  I suspect there are some Anglican 'priests' who have never made their confession, let alone heard one. (I digress, as always; different subject for a different day.)

PPS:  One last point to end off this post.  It is a preemptive statement for just in case anyone tries to hijack this subject with that old argument that the Sacrament of Confession is not permitted during Easter Triduum or more specifically on Good Friday.  Here are the words from the Missale Romanum, which, under the instructions for Good Friday, states:  Hac et sequenti die, Ecclesia, ex antiquissima traditione, sacramenta, praeter Paenitentiae et Infirmorum Unctionis penitus non celebrat.

In English it reads: Today and tomorrow, the Church, according to very ancient tradition, except for Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, does not celebrate at all the sacraments.


  1. I never understood that either. I think some priests just assume that's the way it is since it was done that way in the parishes they were raised. I actually just went to Confession a few moments ago at one of my nearby parishes (not my parish - it doesn't offer Confession again until after Easter). That Church that I went to has Confession twice today, twice on Good Friday, and once on Holy Saturday. It really is a blessing to have a Church nearby that offers Confession basically right up until the vigil Mass. The sacraments of Confession and Anointing of the Sick are for the healing of one's soul so as to reconcile oneself to God...forgiveness of sins should not be denied to those who want to receive those sacraments.

  2. Is this not exactly what Holy Week comes down to? The prodigal son returning home, falling on the mercy of God, accepting the sacrifice that Jesus made by dying for our sins so that we don't have to. And then a priest decides this is an inopportune time in the Church's Liturgical calendar for him to make readily available the Sacrament of Reconciliation to those who want it!

  3. Some shepherds are wolves in sheep's clothing. If this was the attitude of my "priest", I would suggest that he would have lost his status with me.

    Confession is a sacrament with no time limits. It is a Sacrament which functions on opportunity which means the sooner, the better.

    The priest who discourages this sacrament during Holy week, should be reported to the bishop(Archbishop) and if there is no satisfaction here, the Bishop (Archbishop) must be reported to the Congregation for Divine Worship as more than likely we could be dealing with abuse of both the sacrament of Confession and also of the Eucharist; the latter possibly being received in sacrilege.

    The priest here is making the greatest season of the Church, not for repentance, but for games and pagan theatrical ritual and mockery.

    Such a priest has got to be a Liberal. Sies!

  4. If priests are doing things simply because that is the way they were raised and did it in their parishes historically, then the formation of priests in our South African Seminaries must be severely lacking!

    Maybe its time that we seriously consider that at some point during the training and education, our South African seminarians need to be handed over to Rome so that they can be properly trained and educated in the teachings of the Catholic Church there!

    In would be more beneficial to raise the bar significantly and educate fewer priests but at greater expense, than continue to churn out the higher numbers of mediocrely trained and educated priests.

    I would suggest this approach will in turn also naturally lead to an increase in the number vocations from really highly calibre men, which will in turn exponentially benefit the South African Catholic Church.

  5. I couldn't emphasize enough how important the sacrament of confession is. In my opinion, here in England, far too many people will have communion without reflecting on their sins and looking to go to confession. I also believe people need to receive constant and better education about the sacraments. Finally, over the years people have been too fearful of going to confession, particularly during times in which priests have showed little compassion and little effort in supporting and guiding people, and also some of the horrible abusive experiences of people. Confession needs to be strongly encouraged without frightening people and priests need to offer their time. "Nameless" may not have been offered time slots due to the set schedule and possible time constraint of the priest, but I'd urge the priest to make strong efforts for "Nameless" to have a confession!