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  #1  
Old Jun 24, '04, 10:51 pm
tgliang tgliang is offline
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Question Communal Confession

As we know communal confession is valid only for emergency or unusual circumstances such as remote areas. Under ordinary circumstances it cannot replace individual confession (CCC 1483 and Canons 961 and 962). Communal confession is regularly offered 4 times a year in my former parish without being told that individual MUST be followed before the next communal confession for the communal confession to be valid. I had been educated in the catholic religion in pre-Vatican II and I did not know it. The reason I was not taught this was probably because there was no communal confession being practiced as individual confessions abound at the time. By not telling the faithful the extra requirement in the same way the priest reminds of holy days of obligation., the penitent could easily be taught that communal confession is sufficient for sin removal. Won't those with embarassing sins be relieved! We could walk through life thinking that we are forgiven. The question is: what really happens to our soul if people are mislead about the validity of confession?
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  #2  
Old Jun 25, '04, 3:26 am
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juno24 juno24 is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

I was just wandering through this forum and noticed your post. I think it would get more replies if you re-posted it in the "Sacraments" forum, if you haven't already. I'm curious to see what some of the responses will be.

Have a great day,
Judy
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  #3  
Old Jun 25, '04, 3:09 pm
tgliang tgliang is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Thanks. I am new at Catholic Answers forums, and I am just bungling around the software. I'll see if I can transfer to another forum, as I don't the thread to straddle two forums.
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Old Jun 26, '04, 4:40 am
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgliang
Thanks. I am new at Catholic Answers forums, and I am just bungling around the software. I'll see if I can transfer to another forum, as I don't the thread to straddle two forums.
I understand. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you'll see a box called "forum jump". It is a drop down box; just click on it and scroll to the forum you want to jump to.
Have a great day,
Judy
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  #5  
Old Jun 26, '04, 6:51 am
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baltobetsy baltobetsy is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Well, congratulations - you made it to the Sacraments forum!

My answer to your question is purely opinion, and has no authority at all! I think, if a person is really, sincerely convinced that he has done what is necessary in regard to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then God will not hold against him the fact that he has not. It's like committing a sin - you can't sin if you don't know that what you are doing is wrong and fully consent to it. That said, I don't think there are many people who really, sincerely, don't know (at some level) that mortal sins must be confessed individually. Sadly, there are plenty of priests who, for whatever reason, don't want to hear confessions and put aside the teaching of the Church on this sacrament. They mislead people, telling them that things have changed and the communal penance service is enough, etc. Where the rubber hits the road is in the individual conscience. God knows exactly to what degree you understand your obligation to confess your mortal sins and will judge you accordingly. If you have a sneaking suspicion that the communal penance service is not quite right, then you do have to obligation to celebrate the sacrament properly, that is, individually, and the forgiveness of your sins would (in my opinion, again!) be contingent upon that. If you have been completely bamboozled by the priest or your parish or your diocese, then I don't think God will blame you, and your sins will be forgiven. But I wouldn't want to be the "bamboozler!" That phrase about a millstone around the neck comes to mind!

Betsy
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  #6  
Old Jun 29, '04, 6:18 am
ATexasCatholic ATexasCatholic is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

I have come across this here where I live at the holidays. I think the only time it could be valid aside from the norm is if the penitent was 100% unknowing that he still had to follow that up individual confession. On the flip side if the penitent has any inkling (1% or more) that he must go to individual I feel that the priest that tries this is guilty of the greater sin for misleading the parish
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  #7  
Old Jul 2, '04, 4:15 pm
tgliang tgliang is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

I agree with the thoughts of "baltobetsy" and "atexascatholic." My former parish was the cathedral, the archbishop's seat in the diocese. I was thinking that liturgical abuses would be minor, certainly not in the important sacrament of confession. Knowing what I know now about its validity, there is no reason do make an extra trip to the church on a weekday night, aside from visiting the blessed sacrament, if one regularly goes to individual confession. Someone is going to have a huge temporal punishment!

Tom
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  #8  
Old Jul 5, '04, 9:12 am
Fortiterinre Fortiterinre is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Is communal confession still the trend it once was? In my diocese we never had the communal absolution, so you would sit through a fairly long service and still confess individually to priests scattered around the church. Face-to-face, danger of being overheard, and a big chunk of time--I never understood it.
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  #9  
Old Jul 5, '04, 4:11 pm
DrCat DrCat is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortiterinre
Is communal confession still the trend it once was? In my diocese we never had the communal absolution, so you would sit through a fairly long service and still confess individually to priests scattered around the church. Face-to-face, danger of being overheard, and a big chunk of time--I never understood it.
We still have it here (although we call it a Reconciliation Act). In my parish, it is usually on Wednesday of Holy Week. It's mainly for those who just keep putting things off for the last minute. Even then our pastor has to point out in Mass that there are still people who haven't gone to confession - and that they need to, and "I will be in the back of the church for confessions after Mass this morning."

The thing about these services is that there are usually 7 or 8 priests in attendance, so if you don't like the pastor, you can select another one. Oh, and the Wednesday is in our parish. It's Monday in another, and Tuesday in another. That way all three parishes are covered and everybody has a chance to go to confession.

What we do NOT have (and which I have only seen once or twice) is the communal confession without individual confession.

It does take a lot of time - but there are something in the area of 33,000 Catholics in this parish.

John
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Last edited by DrCat; Jul 5, '04 at 4:24 pm.
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  #10  
Old Jul 6, '04, 5:38 pm
Mary3 Mary3 is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fortiterinre
Is communal confession still the trend it once was? In my diocese we never had the communal absolution, so you would sit through a fairly long service and still confess individually to priests scattered around the church. Face-to-face, danger of being overheard, and a big chunk of time--I never understood it.
It's fairly popular in our diocese during Advent and Lent. 7-10 priests will be available, and I think the same group travels around to all their parishes doing the same thing. It's called a communal reconciliation service. There is always indivdual confession...never seen one with a 'group absolution'.

There are some nice things about these group reconciliation services. The ambiance is always very soothing: dim lights, meditative music in the background, choice of priests (some of whom you won't know). There are two things I don't like. There is no option for behind-the-screen confession...only face to face. Also, in the last two years, our pastor advised us to just pick one thing to confess; one big sin that bothers us the most. I'm not sure that's really valid, and it gave the ceremony a kind of 'converyor-belt' feeling. I felt pressure to keep it brief and move along.

Altogether, I prefer to confess the old-fashioned way.
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  #11  
Old Jul 30, '04, 3:36 pm
asquared asquared is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

I didn't realize this post was about the third option of the revised rite for penance and reconciliation. I thought you meant those prayer groups and retreats where some speaker gives a testimony in lurid detail about the gory details of their past life and how they were saved by whatever, then we have to sit in a circle holding hands and practice one-upmanship trying to come up with a better sin. In women of my age group there is a lot of confessing your husband's sins, which is even more boring.
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  #12  
Old Aug 1, '04, 9:39 pm
tgliang tgliang is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

In my original post I was referring to communal confession as being implicitly used to replace individual confessions. It is when the priest extends his hand to give absolution to all the attendees. That form of "communal confession" is the only one I am familiar with.

But since then I have heard of informal individual confession groups, presumably in a chapel. For example, someone might read out loud a list of possible sins for an examination of conscience. If it is not announced that a subsequent individual confession is necessary for validity of the communal confession (CCC 1483), then people are misled into thinking that confession ends here. Alter all, upcoming holy days of obligation announced.

Peace, Tom
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  #13  
Old Aug 1, '04, 10:23 pm
cmom cmom is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

We had a priest "retired" for having Penance services without individual confessions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tgliang
As we know communal confession is valid only for emergency or unusual circumstances such as remote areas. Under ordinary circumstances it cannot replace individual confession (CCC 1483 and Canons 961 and 962). Communal confession is regularly offered 4 times a year in my former parish without being told that individual MUST be followed before the next communal confession for the communal confession to be valid.
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  #14  
Old Aug 9, '04, 7:32 pm
tgliang tgliang is offline
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Default Re: Communal Confession

I feel that priests offering communal confessions under normal conditions without telling the penitents that individual confession is mandatory for validity are playing metaphysical games. They know from the bottom of their heart that its validity is contingent upon individual confession, and yet they remain purposely vague as to its efficacy. As I said elsewhere they can easily make announcements, as in announcing reminders for holy days of obligation. Their motivation must be that a lack of priests or its perception make hearing confessions too time consuming. I am sure priests have to work harder nowadays with the shortage of priests, but offering communal confessions without communal confession is outright deception, any they know it.

Tom
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