Catholic FAQ


Latest Threads
newest posts



Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments
 

Welcome to Catholic Answers Forums, the largest Catholic Community on the Web.

Here you can join over 400,000 members from around the world discussing all things Catholic. Membership is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, who seek the Truth with Charity.

To gain full access, you must register for a FREE account. Registered members are able to:
  • Submit questions about the faith to experts from Catholic Answers
  • Participate in all forum discussions
  • Communicate privately with Catholics from around the world
  • Plus join a prayer group, read with the Book Club, and much more.
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free. So join our community today!

Have a question about registration or your account log-in? Just contact our Support Hotline.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search Thread Display
  #1  
Old Dec 13, '04, 8:43 pm
Truth_Is_Good Truth_Is_Good is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2004
Posts: 32
Religion: Catholic
Exclamation Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

My parish has celebrated communal penance services, inclusive of all age groups, twice a year, during Lent and Advent, for the past several years.

Although many have noted "pros" and "cons" with the effects this has on how people think about the "place" and frequency of confession, the rite has always been conducted rather well: there are over a dozen priests from the diocese who process into the parish church; there are readings and a short homily, and a communal examination of conscience; after the closing prayer, private, individual confessions are heard. The attendance has been very high, 1,000+ each time.

Beginning this summer, we have a new pastor and a new associate pastor. It was announced two weeks ago that this year we would be having a separate communal penance service for children in grades 2 through 8; the larger more general service is to take place the following week. It was explained that only the pastor and associate pastor would hear the children's confessions, as other clergy from the diocese could not be in attendance -- the communal penance services are conducted throughout the diocese throughout Advent, and it isn't feasible to shedule the mass-gathering of the priests more than once per season in any one parish.

To everyone's surprise, the pastor announced at the beginning of this service, which took place last week, that the children would not be making individual confessions. Rather, each child "should approach him or the associate pastor and whisper in their ears the one or two big things that they had done wrong since their last confession." He also announced that the children would not be granted absolution individually. After the last child was finished, he granted all in attendance general absolution.

Many parents and most of the CCD teachers were very, very pleased with this service. Many of our stongest and most orthodox lay parish leaders, who have children in those grades, were also very, very pleased. Few are aware or concerned that a grave abuse of the Sacrament had taken place.

There was one parish staff person who was aware of the pastor's plan and beforehand questioned him (quite charitably) about the legitimacy of this "approach" to celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation (by the way, this brave soul was not me). Father indicated that such "criticisms" of his competence and authority were/are not welcome, and that lay persons shouldn't concern themselves about a decision that can only be made by a priest or bishop.

First of all, can anyone here help me to put together the relevant materials that make the case against such an abuse of the Sacrament of Penance?

And, I desperately need recommendations for how to proceed with a complaint. I have a sensitive situation wherein I work weekly with the pastor in a volunteer capacity as a leader in several ministries and apostolates. This pastor has been quick to squash the participation in parish leadership of those he thinks are "reactionary" or "too conservative" or "pre-Vatican II."

Do you think those parishioners who are concerned can go straight to the bishop with this? Can we request some sort of anyonymity?

Also, I have been forewarned by some persons "in the know" that the bishop fully backs these abuses. If his response to the complaint indicates such support, even if passive, who do we write next?

Thank you for your prayers and advice.
__________________
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life . . ." (John 14:6)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Dec 13, '04, 9:02 pm
milimac milimac is offline
Regular Member
Radio Club Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Posts: 715
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

They did something similar in our parish, although there were a large group of priests, not just the pastor and associate pastor.

I'm guessing the changes may have to do with the sexual abuse scandal. I saw parents go with their children to confession. I'm not sure if they just stood nearby in visual but not auditory distance though. They too (the children) were to tell the priest the one or two big mistakes they have made, but I believe they did receive personal absolution.

I think many of the parents in the parish would've appreciated their own seperate service for their children (and hopefully for themselves as well). What I found most disturbing though was that many of the parents were there to take their children to this sacrament without partaking in it themselves. What message does that say to their kids? "It's important for you, but not for me"?

I probably also would've enjoyed a seperate service apart from those who were just shuffling the kids through their first rites as Catholics, but after overhearing one lady complain in line that it's not "special" because she had to wait in a long line and then giving up and taking her kids home without receiving this sacrament for the first time, something tells me the ambiance and enjoyment of the experience shouldn't be the main point of going to confession.
__________________
"That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may know that you have sent me." John 17:21
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Dec 13, '04, 9:11 pm
milimac milimac is offline
Regular Member
Radio Club Member
 
Join Date: May 18, 2004
Posts: 715
Religion: Roman Catholic
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

Sorry for not really answering your question. I'm not sure what the valid ways of receiving the sacrament of reconciliation are. If you have questions about its validity and since your pastor sounds a little defensive, I don't think it's out of line to send your bishop or archbishop an email or letter charitably asking for clarification. You may want to consult your Catechism first if you haven't already and see what it says about ways the sacrament may be administered.
__________________
"That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may know that you have sent me." John 17:21
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Dec 13, '04, 9:55 pm
Truth_Is_Good Truth_Is_Good is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: December 7, 2004
Posts: 32
Religion: Catholic
Lightbulb Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by milimac
. . . You may want to consult your Catechism first if you haven't already and see what it says about ways the sacrament may be administered.
Check it out! From the Catechism:


Quote:
1483 In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity.
(emphasis mine)
__________________
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life . . ." (John 14:6)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Dec 14, '04, 6:23 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
Forum Elder
 
Join Date: September 7, 2004
Posts: 37,470
Religion: Catholic no adjectives
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

It is nearly impossible to schedule more than one extra priest for a communal penance service, or for first confessions. We were very privileged to have our visiting priest help with first confessions on the first two Saturdays of Advent. In our 3 parent/child sessions preparing for first confession we urge parents to go to confession before their child does for the teaching value, and to go to confession frequently at the regular Saturday pm time and bring the child with them, as a far more effective way of teaching the necessity and value of the sacrament.

We have several options for first confession. Once the catechist, parent and child agree he is ready, they can come with their class on the scheduled Saturday mornings in this parish, go to a neighboring parish, or to the national shrine, which has confessions throughout the day in several languages, and is a popular pilgrimage site. To go outside the parish, they take a card, have it signed by the priest so we know they have had the opportunity for confession before 1st communion. If the child is deemed not ready in Advent, we have another preparation session in Lent.

We have scheduled penitiential Advent and lenten services for older kids and youth each year, but at the last minute we can't get priests, so it is just a prayer service with examination of conscience, and we urge them to confess here or a neighboring parish on Saturday, or go to the shrine.

I have very few complaints about the priests down here, but the inability to get 3-4 together, just among our 3 parishes for a regular, rotating communal penance (with individual confession and absolution) really puzzles me. Have not had this difficulty even in other parts of the country, although our ratio of priests to catholics is among the worst of any diocese. God bless our priests coming to us from Mexico, Vietnam, India, Africa, Philippines and elsewhere.
__________________
Whatever the Lord pleases He does, on heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. Ps. 135
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Dec 14, '04, 6:41 am
mercygate mercygate is offline
Forum Elder
Forum Supporter
 
Join Date: June 21, 2004
Posts: 15,423
Religion: Catholic via Canterbury
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

This is, catechetically, the STUPIDEST thing imaginable! This is the most important confession of your child's life. Teach your child to make a good, thorough confession. Go to confession at the regularly scheduled time. Go in first yourself and as you leave, tell the priest that your child is coming in for his first confession (explain the circumstances briefly).

Then let your child have the benefit of making a proper confession and receiving not only the absolution of his sins but the psychological benefit of knowing he has participated in this Sacrament to the best of his ability and has not been shuffled off because Father is too busy. Set the pattern for later life. Take him back with you every month -- if not more often.
__________________
There are countless millions of Christians who will not accept anything, even Christ, from the Catholic Church. (Frank Sheed)
Tiber Swim Team - Class of 01
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Dec 14, '04, 6:43 am
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2004
Posts: 11,454
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

The best way to respond is to take your child to either the other service where individual Confessions are going to be heard or take them to individual Confesion. At another parish if necessary. When all these children show up for individual Confession he will get the message.

Copy the catechism passages and have the teachers send home a note informing parents that General absolution requires individual confession as soon as the opportunity is available.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Dec 14, '04, 3:51 pm
Chris Jacobsen Chris Jacobsen is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: June 8, 2004
Posts: 606
Default Re: Children's penance service and general absolution - how to complain?

General Absolution is forbidden by the Catholic Church unless it is a dire emergency, such as everyone being in immediate danger of death.

Therefore, a church that gives General Absolution, when it is not a dire emergency is not a Catholic Church. There is no need to complain. Just start going to a church that is Catholic.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Go Back   Catholic Answers Forums > Forums > Liturgy and Sacraments

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search Thread
Search Thread:

Advanced Search
Display

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Prayer Intentions

Most Active Groups
8459Meet and talk,talk talk
Last by: Kellyreneeomara
5147CAF Prayer Warriors Support Group
Last by: 77stanthony77
4424Devotion to the Sorrowful Mother
Last by: DesertSister62
4037OCD/Scrupulosity Group
Last by: eschator83
3863SOLITUDE
Last by: beth40n2
3742Let's empty Purgatory
Last by: daughterstm
3322Petitions Before the Blessed Sacrament
Last by: Amiciel
3285Poems and Reflections
Last by: tonyg
3224Catholic Vegetarians & Vegans
Last by: 4elise
3112For seniors and shut- ins
Last by: Kellyreneeomara



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 7:58 pm.

Home RSS Feeds - Home - Archive - Top

Copyright © 2004-2014, Catholic Answers.