My father serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (just for clarification, only the priest and the bishop are Eucharistic Ministers because only they can confect, that is to say, cause to happen, the Eucharist) to the elderly confined to a senior citizens home and residential building. Every Sunday, he visits roughly 30 senior citizens. He has repeatedly tried to get the priest to go and hear confessions, but, the priest has not wanted to go. The elderly have repeatedly asked for this sacrament.
The priest’s response was that he did not have time to go and hold their hands. My father wrote a letter to the pastor, citing the Circular Letter on the Integrity of the Sacrament of Penance and Redemptionis Sacramentum. The letter was ignored. He then wrote to the bishop, certified return receipt requested. The letter was also ignored and the green card was not even returned.
The matter has reached the level of the Congregation for Divine Worship. They are working with us to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, it has come at some cost as someone from the diocese ridiculed me for helping my father write the letter.
I can certainly understand Deacon Ed’s point of view, but, if the elderly request the Sacrament of Penance, every effort should be made to accommodate their sacramental needs.