Some folks complain that priests distribute communion to “packed churches” after tiny lines at confession, and how it undermines belief that one must be in a state of grace to receive communion. What do they expect the priests to do? Deny communion to everyone? Stop distributing communion to the people entirely? I’m at a loss.
Some food for discussion. Please don’t take this as a slight against anyone.
These busybodies should mind their own business; we are not called to compare the number of people in the confession line with the number in the communion line. BTW I do not go to confession at the same church where I attend Mass and I am sure many others do the same.
First, I don’t think this is a comment on any particular group in any particular church, but a shorthand for the fact that many Catholics do not know their Faith. If they knew their Faith, they would confess more often.
And secondly, the option is not for priests to refuse to distribute Communion but to preach about the benefits of Confession! And in some cases, to offer Confession at a regular time, or to offer Confession more (longer on Saturdays or on a weekday, that sort of thing).
Frankly, I believe that many many cradle Catholics are poorly catechised and really do not know they are committing sins of grave matter that would mean they should not be receiving Communion.
I am a convert from Methodism to Catholicism and I was amazed how little many cradle Catholics knew about the faith when I discussed teachings with them.
We have Confession 6 days a week (Mon - Saturday) for a minimum 1 hour each session.
No Confession on Sundays because no time. We have 10 Masses every Sunday to accommodate the 80% attendence in our Parish.
If you make time for confession as a priest and preach about it, they will come! Our parish offers confession before every Mass and an hour on Saturdays. Also, the priests will make appointments if, like my husband, there is no time tongetvtobthe regularly scheduled sessions. Some days there aren’t so many people, other days the lines are very long. I left a parish that had virtually no confession time- if someone didn’t show up in the one day a week in the first 10 minutes, the priest would find other things to do. It obviously wasnt a priority for him. After being stuck in mortal sin for many Sundays in a row, I went to my new parish.
A lot is not just busybodies- it hurts to see so many people acting like the Eucharist is a prize for showing up to Mass. I used to be one of those people, si i try not to judge.
I don’t think that most people are judging the state of other people’s souls. However, we are acknowledging that many I the people who come to Communion haven’t been catechized hardly at all. That means the chances of someone mistreating the Eucharist are very high.
I used to be one of the people who took the Eucharist as my prize for going to Mass- like a religious gold star. Then a scary as heck priest came and preached about Hell, the Eucharist, and receiving in a state of sin. I freaked out when unrealized I didn’t even know what a mortal sin was. I’m glad he had the courage to literally yell and wake at least some of us up.
If he had sat there and said “oh, I can’t judge” and used that as an excuse not to point out that its highly unlikely so many people didn’t need confession, I would be in a worse state spiritually than I am today. Sometimes people need a slap in the face to wake up. Whining about judging while missing the point of judging actions is a greatvway to let people continue on their merry way to Hell.
A priest preaching about sin and sacrilege is not judging. He is not singling anyone out. It is his job to instruct the congregation and wake them up. A person complaining about too many people going to communion because they probably haven’t confessed and might be in mortal sin is another story. Their job is to be sure they themselves are not committing mortal sin, not attempting to ascertain if others have, and if others are fit to receive Communion.
It is the responsibility of the Church leaders to properly catechize people about this. That is the answer. Then the responsibility lies on the individual. It is not the job of the priest to attempt to determine if every person who come up for Communion is fit to receive, nor is it ours. If the priest becomes concerned about this, he should catechize his congregation. That is his job.
I know a priest who purposely set out to catechize his congregation. He was concerned about the state of catechesis of many of his parishoners, so he polled them to see what they needed to learn about. Then he began to teach them. One Lent he taught the entire parish the Rosary and the Mysteries. This year he is teaching about the Eucharist and the parish is ready to start perpetual Adoration in a few weeks in a new Adoration Chapel the parish had built. One year he taught about the Mass. He usually does this during the 6 weeks of Lent, and the people are actually willing to stay a little longer for Mass for this. He records all this and puts it on the website. He does this at every Mass during Lent. Anyway, that is one way a congregation can be catechized, and since it is my daughter’s parish, I attend there every time I visit her and have seen the remarkable results.
This, I believe, is the answer. I love how much Pope Francis talks about confession, in such a straightforward manner, as it is simply a part of the everyday life of a Christian. This is how it should be.
My pastor preaches about confession frequently. He doesn’t just make it the focus of homilies (although he does that), but he weaves it into a majority of his preaching. We’re a small parish, but he schedules confession before Divine Liturgy on Sunday and before every service. He makes confession a priority. If there’s a line on Sunday morning, he’ll stay afterwards to hear your confession. He clearly loves confession and his preaching on the sacrament makes one long to receive those graces. He is also a very good confessor, and my theory on that is that he cares enough to have learned how to be a good confessor. I know he must have; I’ve seen some of the books in his office. The results have been astounding. We are a tiny parish, but there are always 4 or 5 people in line on Sunday morning. That might not sound like much, but we are parish of about 40 people over the age of reason. They aren’t always the same people, so that means approximately 10 percent of our parish goes to confession each week at our parish. That doesn’t count me, as I usually make an appointment with him. I assume that others do, as well, or go to a parish closer to their home on Saturday afternoon.
People who aren’t members of our parish sometimes come to confession there as well.