Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Too busy to offer confession?

In the 2002 edition of the Missale Romanum for Good Friday it says: "On this and the following day, the Church, from a most ancient tradition, does not at all celebrate the sacraments, except for Penance and Anointing of the Sick.

I have often noticed for some reason that the Churches around here do not offer confession during the Triduum so I called several local Churches to find out why. When I asked the woman who answered the phone at St. Nick's in Wilkes-Barre why there was no confession Saturday at their regular time she said "It's Holy Week. They had a penance service Monday."

The woman who answered the phone over at Saint Mary Church of the Maternity tried to put the blame on me as to why I did not attend confession. There were ample opportunities to do so I was told. When I pressed her as to why the Church canceled it's regularly scheduled confessions during the Triduum she said "It's the rule. It's the rule of the Church." I asked her "What rule? Where is it written down?". She became quiet. "I don't know." she replied.

Finally, the woman who answered the phone over at St Mary's on Washington St in Wilkes-Barre told me when asked why there was no confession on Saturday that the priests "...are busy doing other things."


Too busy?

Too busy to see to the needs of their flock? To busy to see to the salvation of souls?


You priests in this Diocese should be ashamed.

Not all priests though it would seem.

In stark contrast to these other Churches, I contacted Saint Joseph's Church in Nanticoke. It would seem Father Langan is offering confession several times over the Easter Triduum. He has read the Missale Romanum and obviously understands what it says. He understands his mission as a priest. Good for him. I hope the Bishop does not take him too far away when they close Saint Joseph's.


Anonymous said...'re such a trouble maker, harassing different churches and whatnot. But I do agree, it seems contradictory to be too "busy" for penance when Easter was all about saving our souls and cleansing sins.

- L

Anonymous said...

I think your being a tad unreasonable Rockin One.

I will hear a Confession anytime anywhere-but that does not imply I always have to be offering formal Confession times. All someone has to do is pull me aside in the Church, or call the parish. Confessions and emergencies I am always avaliable for, even on a day off if I am around and I am the only priest avaliable.

I think the secretary was referring to formal times for Confession. I am sure any priest would hear your Confession if you simply asked them to.

God Bless,

Father Dave Bechtel

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Hi Father, thanks for stopping by!

You are a priest in our Diocese? I am glad to have a priest comment on this post. I will be back to respond to your comment, I am getting ready to attend Holy Thursday Mass where I hope to not see woman having their feet cleaned.

I'll be back!

The Rockin' Traddy said...

Here I am with some happy news, there were no naked female feet in the sanctuary this evening!

Now back to this.

What I was getting at here Father, is not just the availability of Confession during the Triduum, but something deeper. The fact that pastoral or liturgical legends seem to rule in the Church today.

Case in point: woman #2 in my post who, as a representative of the Church, tried to tell me there are no confessions because it is a "Rule of the Church".


You know it and I know it.

And here's a little tidbit I left out of my original post. Woman #3 from Saint Mary's actually gave me HER INTERPRETATION of what was written in the Missale! She tried to tell me and I am paraphrasing: "that Penance and Anointing of the Sick are together. When someone is dying they do them together. That's what that means."


Why is it so hard to do what is written? Why is it so hard to educate the lay people? And why do lay people feel the need to pass on their personal interpretation as "what the Church says"?

Come on.

You priests know better, I know you do. After the holiday winds down, sit back, eat some leftover kielbassi, look over the Missale Romanum and other liturgical texts. Look at some Papal documents concerning the Mass, faith and morals. And not just JPII. There WERE Popes before him, you know? And definitely nothing by the ambiguous USCCB.

Take the Easter season to get to know your Church again.

You might be surprised what you find.

Then pass it on.

Have a great Triduum, Father! And the rest of you too!