[quote="spec4tom, post:16, topic:179393"]
Frankly, the communal penance service is becoming very popular at our church during Advent and Lent. I wonder which sin is less attractive to the church, a Catholic member not going to the one-on-one for forty years or the person who had the Priest lay his hands on a member twice a year and saying: "By the authority of the Holy Catholic Church I absolve you of all sins."?
Hardliners might not like this but, then again, if hardliners controlled everything we would still be in the pre-vat II era.
The church evolves slowly, but it still does evolve. I admire people who do the "one-on-one" but if people can get absolution twice a year, communal style, and it is completely valid. Which it is. Then it is a good thing.
With all due respect, I do not think that you fully understand the concept of the Communal Reconciliation service. First of all, these services should not be featuring General Absolution.
In 2000, Pope John Paul II took the Australian Bishops Conference to the sacramental woodshed because of the conference's liberal and ilicit use of General Absolution. General Absolution should only be used in times of life-threatening situations (war, natural disaster, emergency situations and religious persecutions) where individual confession would be next to impossible and death is eminent.
Please read this reference from the Circular Letter on the Sacrament of Penance:
- The divine constitution of the Sacrament of Penance requires each penitent to confess to a priest all mortal sins, as well as specifying moral circumstances that he remembers after a diligent examination of conscience.4 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".5 In specifiying 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".6 "Energetic efforts are to be made to avoid any risk that this traditional practice of the Sacrament of Penance fall into disuse."7 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".8 In accord with the law and practice of the Church, the faithful must orally confess their sins (auricular confession)9, 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.
Furthermore, the document goes on to say that:
. . . communal celebrations have not infrequently occasioned an illegitimate use of general absolution. This illegitimate use, like other abuses in the administration of the Sacrament of Penance, is to be eliminated.
The teaching of the Church is reflected in precise terms in the requirements of the Code of Canon Law (cf. esp. canons 959-964). In particular it is clear that "A sufficient necessity is not ... considered to exist when confessors cannot be available merely because of a great gathering of penitents, such as can occur on some major feastday or pilgrimage" (canon 961, § 1, 2°).
You can find the whole document at:
Before you accuse people of being "hardliners", I would invite you to rethink that statement. The Church remains the Church. The Second Vatican Council should not be taken as a rupture from the past, but, a continuation. Those who would use the term "hardliner", as I see it, succumb to the alleged "Spirit of Vatican II" without bothering to read what the Council actually said and did.