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Letters

Confession

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 Contents - Apr 2005AD2000 April 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pope's suffering a potent Easter witness - Michael Gilchrist
Australia prepares for World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne - AD2000 Report
News: The Church Around the World
'Flying bishops' consecrated for orthodox Anglicans - Fr Nigel Zimmerman
Exploding myths about the 'pre-Vatican II' Church - John Young
Vocations: Why some new religious orders are attracting recruits - Fr John Hogan
Events: Carnivale Christi returning to Sydney with an Easter theme - Liz Arblaster and Anthony McCarthy
Cardinal Ratzinger: Liturgy should be God-centred - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Letters: Dissent - Fr John Speekman
Scripture: So, what else did Jesus say? - Gavan O'Farrell
Adore 05: Sydney's successful Eucharistic Youth Congress - Nicole Osmak
Letters: ACU - Sabina Sannen
Letters: Chavagnes International College - Raymond De Souza
Letters: Teaching the faith - Rosanna Sherman
Letters: Stations of the Cross - D.T.S. Moorhouse
Letters: Religious habit - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Practice of faith - Br Con Moloney CFC
Letters: Confession - J.G. Wilson
Letters: Talking in Church - Judith McRae
Letters: Christ the Creator - Gerard J. Keane
Letters: Good news - Geoff Storey
Letters: Pregnancy Assistance - Brian A. Peachey
Books: The Path to Rome: Modern Journeys to the Catholic Church - Michael Casanova (reviewer)
Books: Love Alone Is Credible, by Hans urs von Balthasar - Kerrie Allen (reviewer)
Books: Mass Without a Congregation: A Sign of Unity or Division? - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Poetry: A Centurion Reflects - Bruce Dawe
Books: Religious resources for 2005
Reflection: Pope John Paul II: 'In the risen Christ all creation rises to new life' - Pope John Paul II
Marian Valley Shrine of Our Lady Help of Christians, Canungra

It was encouraging to read the highly relevant suggestion made by Michael Gilchrist in the February AD2000 (page 6) that individual confession be made more available, especially now when the majority of those Catholics who still go to confession do so without the option of anonymity, an option which would also be more likely to attract long-lapsed Catholics.

Michael Gilchrist's suggestion reminded me of a story by Fr Richard John Neuhaus, Editor of the American monthly, First Things (November 2001).

After referring to an episcopal letter on the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he quoted the bishop's statement: "If you have had a bad experience going to confession, don't let that hold you back! Our priests have grown in pastoral sensitivity and kindness ..., etc."

Whatever happened to ex opere operato?

Fr Neuhaus then told the following story: "A friend of mine after many years away from the sacrament decided it was time to get right with Christ and his Church. He called the local parish to find out when confession was available and was told it was not regularly scheduled and that it was no longer called confession but 'the Sacrament of Reconciliation' which was 'celebrated by appointment.'

"Not a good sign. He showed up at the appointed hour and the priest invited him to take an easy chair in the living room and began with 'how do you feel about yourself, Bob?' Bob (not his name) fled the scene as gracefully as he could and for some months forgot about being reconciled. But he later popped into a downtown church that posted the hours for confessions, went into the confessional, knelt and began: 'Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,' said what needed to be said, received some sensible words of advice, was absolved, did his penance, and walked out a free man. He didn't say whether the priest was sensitive or kind."

J.G. WILSON
Strathfield, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 3 (April 2005), p. 15

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