[quote=LeslieE]My RCIA director told me that our First Confession would be a Communal Reconcilliation service with all of the RCIA members (and anyone they wanted to bring with them). She explained how this would work with each of us speaking privatly to the priest, in front of everyone else.
I am 41 years old, and have not lived a saintly life, to say the least. There are many things that I feel a need to confess that I will not say to a priest in front of a bunch of strangers, even if they can’t hear me.
I expressed this concern to my RCIA director and she said that it is not necessary to bring a “grocery list” to the Communal Reconcilliation (or any confession) but should confess two or three things about myself that I need Gods grace to help me change.
This goes against everything that I have learned since I started this journey. Is this a normal way for people to go to their first confession? Is it a valid confession?
Would this be a valid Confession of course it would since it has the private and personal element. However it would violate Canon Law to REQUIRE anyone to participate in a communal service. Confession is a private and personal Sacrament. It does have a community dimension and therefore the community examination of conscience and Liturgy of the word is appropriate. Only God and the individual person should know for certain that an individual went to Confession. Adults in RCIA should be strongly encouraged to go but, no one should know if they do or don’t. It’s NOT a group project!
Two Canons are violated here.
Can. 964#3 Confessions are not to be heard outside the confessional without just cause.
I see no reason why for the small RCIA group that the Reconciliation Room or Confessional cannot be used.
Can. 964 #2 … seeing to it that confessionals with a fixed grill between the penitent and confessor are always located in an open area so that the faithful who wish to use them may do so.
This canon basically says that if a penitent wishes to remain anonymous, to the priest, provision must be made so that they can do so.