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  #1  
Old Mar 28, '06, 10:00 pm
danalves1 danalves1 is offline
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Default writing sins on paper and then burning it

For communal penance service at my parish, it is the custom to right our sins down, give them to the priest, and then burn the paper. I realize that this is wrong and I have brought it up with my pastor. His response was that he does not have anything in writing that says it is plus the fact that other parishes are doing.
Where can I go to get Church document that does say it is wrong?

Thank you and God Bless,
Dan
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  #2  
Old Mar 28, '06, 10:36 pm
wjp984 wjp984 is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

we did this on one of our retreats but everyone had the opportunity to go to confession individually afterwards.
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  #3  
Old Mar 28, '06, 11:37 pm
Digitonomy Digitonomy is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

There is nothing wrong with writing your sins on a piece of paper and then burning it. It could possibly constitute a sacramental - not sure if there are very strict rules for these things.

However, there should be consideration that such an action can be misleading or inappropriate as part of a religious service, especially one focussed on a real sacrament.
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  #4  
Old Mar 29, '06, 12:10 am
tilis tilis is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by danalves1
For communal penance service at my parish, it is the custom to right our sins down, give them to the priest, and then burn the paper. I realize that this is wrong and I have brought it up with my pastor. His response was that he does not have anything in writing that says it is plus the fact that other parishes are doing.
Where can I go to get Church document that does say it is wrong?

Thank you and God Bless,
Dan
This is fine. But it must not be used as a substitution for sacramental confession, which is the only way to have mortal sins absolved.
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  #5  
Old Mar 29, '06, 12:14 am
chicago chicago is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitonomy
There is nothing wrong with writing your sins on a piece of paper and then burning it. It could possibly constitute a sacramental - not sure if there are very strict rules for these things.

However, there should be consideration that such an action can be misleading or inappropriate as part of a religious service, especially one focussed on a real sacrament.
I think that the idea (as I recall it being practiced) is that you don't actually confess much if anything off that list. You just get it burned up. Now, that said, if one does scribble down their sins on a piece of paper for confession as a memory device, it would be wise to burn them after you're absolved.

To the question at hand....

The priest surely knows very well that sins need to be confessed orally. Who's he foolin? The burden is upon HIM to answer where he got permission to do things this way. (He can't, which is why he childishly appeals to "everybody else is doin' it!" Sheesh, if I wanted to be crass with him, I would note that "lots of other priests have sexually abused kids, why don't you just follow their lead on that too?")

Here are a couple of things which might help:

Quote:
3. Since “the faithful are obliged to confess, according to kind and number, all grave sins committed after Baptism of which they are conscious after careful examination and which have not yet been directly remitted by the Church's power of the keys, nor acknowledged in individual confession”,(16) any practice which restricts confession to a generic accusation of sin or of only one or two sins judged to be more important is to be reproved. Indeed, in view of the fact that all the faithful are called to holiness, it is recommended that they confess venial sins also.(17)
from:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2MISER.HTM


I also consider one of the best Church documents addressing these matters to be the following:


http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/co...nza%20_en.html

In any case, the Church can't, and unfortunately shouldn't have to, slap down on every little abuse that crops up. Just because a few people think it would be cute and fall in line doesn't make it right. But then if Father doesn't grasp that, perhaps he ought to have the papers giving him his faculties to hear confessions and absolve handed over to the bishop and burned up, also.
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  #6  
Old Mar 29, '06, 12:17 am
chicago chicago is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

From that latter link, here it is:


Quote:
2. The divine constitution of the Sacrament of Penance requires each penitent to confess to a priest all mortal sins, as well as any specifying moral circumstances that he remembers after a diligent examination of conscience. For this reason the Code of Canon Law states clearly that "individual and integral confession and absolution is the sole ordinary means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of mortal sin is reconciled with God and with the Church. Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such confession". In specifying this obligation, the Church has insistently reiterated that "all the faithful who have reached the age of discretion are bound faithfully to confess their mortal sins at least once a year". "Energetic efforts are to be made to avoid any risk that this traditional practice of the Sacrament of Penance fall into disuse." Indeed, in this Jubilee Year Catholics are called in a particular way "to encounter anew the uniquely transforming experience that is individual, integral confession and absolution". In accord with the law and practice of the Church, the faithful must orally confess their sins (auricular confession) , except in cases of true physical or moral impossibility (e.g., extreme illness or physical condition inhibiting speech, speech impediment, etc.). This disposition would exclude communal celebrations of the sacrament in which penitents are invited to present a written list of sins to the priest confessor. It should be noted that such innovations also risk compromising the inviolable seal of sacramental confession.
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  #7  
Old Mar 29, '06, 5:05 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by danalves1
For communal penance service at my parish, it is the custom to right our sins down, give them to the priest, and then burn the paper. I realize that this is wrong and I have brought it up with my pastor. His response was that he does not have anything in writing that says it is plus the fact that other parishes are doing.
Where can I go to get Church document that does say it is wrong?

Thank you and God Bless,
Dan
You won't find anything prohibiting this specifically. Individual Confession is still required of those attending.
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  #8  
Old Mar 29, '06, 6:28 am
frommi frommi is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

It's got a nice symbolism to it...one year we tried this at a local parish...and the flames got a little hot...and the entire church was filled with smoke...oops.

Another thing I've seen done is people bringing their Lenten 'penance' on a piece of paper and a parish bound those up and used them for the base of the Easter fire...they didn't make a big deal of it, but they told people they were welcome to bring those on the night of the Vigil.
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  #9  
Old Mar 29, '06, 7:25 am
JMJ Theresa JMJ Theresa is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

At my former parish, you would write your sins down, show them to the priest, he would nod his head at you, then you would toss them into the pot to be burned. I'm not sure if he gave absolution individually because I did not participate. I was too angry

It made me angry because this was how they did their religious ed and school confessions. Some of those kids never went to individual confession and may never go. The parish itself offered only 15 minutes for a confession a week.

One time I was racing down to confession for my 15 minute window and got stopped for speeding. I was so upset that I was missing a much needed confession that I burst into tears. I didn't get a ticket, but I did miss confession.

my new parish is much more orthodox. We have confession daily.
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  #10  
Old Mar 29, '06, 9:59 am
rwoehmke rwoehmke is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Verbally recounting your sins to the priest is part of the required rite of reconciliation. Communal Confession without such verbal participation would not give one the many graces available from the Sacrament. What a terrible waste. You feel good, but miss out on the goodies.
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  #11  
Old Mar 29, '06, 12:13 pm
Paed Paed is offline
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Default It is bad practice

And an invention of Satan to gain souls. It was invented to replace the REAL form of confession.

To be quite honest with you I think communal penance servicesare a bad thing too(even if it involves personal confession it doesn't involve personal pennance). Particular judgement will be a very invididual moment for each human being that ever existed. Its gonna be just the individual and the Judge. That is the way confession should be too!
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  #12  
Old Mar 29, '06, 3:18 pm
chicago chicago is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by frommi
It's got a nice symbolism to it...one year we tried this at a local parish...and the flames got a little hot...and the entire church was filled with smoke...oops.
Was that a statement on what kind of sinners you were?
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  #13  
Old Mar 29, '06, 3:22 pm
chicago chicago is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO
You won't find anything prohibiting this specifically. Individual Confession is still required of those attending.
Reread the except I provided in post #6, part of which states:

"....This disposition would exclude communal celebrations of the sacrament in which penitents are invited to present a written list of sins to the priest confessor. It should be noted that such innovations also risk compromising the inviolable seal of sacramental confession."


That document really does best spell out most of the problems with the administration of the Sacrament. It's an excellent reference point which I think few people even know about.
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  #14  
Old Mar 29, '06, 4:53 pm
LeahInancsi LeahInancsi is offline
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Default Re: writing sins on paper and then burning it

Quote:
Originally Posted by danalves1
His response was that he does not have anything in writing that says it is (wrong) plus the fact that other parishes are doing.
That sounds like a response I might see here.
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