Skip to comments.Catholics called from the idiot box to confession
Posted on 02/22/2007 11:22:21 AM PST by Alex Murphy
BETWEEN Oprah and the therapist's couch, is there any role left for the church confession?
Noting that the number of Catholics taking part in the key rite has plunged, the archdiocese of Washington is launching its biggest marketing blitz this week, using ads on buses, subway trains, a billboard, 100,000 brochures and radio spots in an effort to get people back to the confessional.
The unusual campaign whose slogan, "The Light is On for You," highlights the church's alarm that Catholics are ignoring a fundamental ritual meant to keep them holy and close to God.
"People go online and confess all sorts of things, but they don't do it in a way of apology. And it's very hard to verbalise what you did wrong," said archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs, letting loose an admission of her own: "That's why I like to go when I'm in Rome, because I won't know anyone."
The campaign, the first big public endeavour by the new archbishop, Donald Wuerl, is timed to start with Lent, the 40-day period of reflection and penitence.
The brochures that parishes are distributing lay out rules for the rusty, complete with a wallet-size card ("Step 3: Confess all of your sins to the priest. If you are unsure or uneasy, tell him and ask for help.").
Parishes have been cutting back the time they set aside for confessions for years; many now allot only 30 or 45-minute blocks or ask for appointments. Years ago, lines at confessionals were long and priests listened for hours.
Also known as the sacrament of reconciliation, confession involves several mandatory steps: being sincerely contrite, articulating to a priest (who stands in the place of Jesus) what was done wrong, apologising, receiving an assigned penance and being forgiven.
Clergy say the rise in therapy and self-help may be a contributing factor in the decline in Catholics' going to confession.
According to Ms Gibbs, watching internet pornography is the most common baggage unloaded to priests, who have been protected under civil law from having to reveal confessions.
Confessing another's faults is the highest duty we owe to the truth, as Ambrose Bierce once said [quoted from memory].
"Clergy say the rise in therapy and self-help may be a contributing factor in the decline in Catholics' going to confession."
I think it's more the denial of sin.
Always a line at our church, which has confession seven days a week, unlike the Novus Ordo parishes where you can't find a confessor except by appointment.
Always a line on Saturdays at my church.
Two mark of a vital church is how long the confessional lines are and how many seminarians religious from the parish.
Last year at the Christmas communal service there were over 100 in the confession line with 4 pastors from our area to hear confessions.
And that's at a Novus Ordo church. Things are changing.
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How would she know?
My great-aunt used to live on Galveston Island in Texas, and at St. Mary's Cathedral the Divine Word Fathers heard confessions seven days a week back then. But I have never seen that in America or Canada, only in India.
It is my understanding that St. Bonaventure in Detroit offers Confession 7 days a week.
That's a joke. Therapists and self-help nonsense have no concept of sin. They live in a morally relativistic world with a "situation ethic" or an ethic of the "fitting." God forbid that anyone should have a genuine sense of shame or guilt.
Totally agree. Psychiatric care is basically a rationalizaton for sin. I believe most of the committed are sex related issues.
Several Psychiatrists over the years said that their practises were half its size do to Roman Catholic Confession