Why Do Catholics Have Priests?

That Catholic Show – You Are A Priest Forever


15 Responses to Why Do Catholics Have Priests?

  1. Michael says:

    This kind of confession is deplorable for obvious reasons. A confession should take place in a confessional, with a barrier between the two; or in the open as it the practice of the Orthodox Church.

  2. Fr. J. says:

    Michael, could you explain why you think face to face confession is deplorable? What are your “obvious reasons?”

  3. Joel says:

    Having experienced both face to face confessions and confession with a barrier, I am definately in favor of the face to face variety but I would not be cought dead making a confession in the open. Confession is too intimate an experience to do with a bunch of people standing around. It may be good for church ladies who’s biggest sin is accidentally letting a four letter word slip out after burning herself with an iron, but for sinners like me – no way.

  4. bfhu says:

    I love our Church. I, a convert, prefer private confession. As a prominent volunteer in our parish,
    I got the impression that my confession was pooh poohed by the priest who knew me. He seemed worried that I was being scrupulous after I had done an in-depth examination of conscience.

    I now go to an Opus Dei priest (private) or a Miles Christi priest (private when possible on retreat)

    I love that we now have both options. Although that has not always been the case.

    Michael, the scene in the above post is not even about confession. She is asking the priest for a blessing.

  5. happy says:

    That was the comment I was going to make. It didn’t even look like a confession from what I saw, but, I don’t know anything about it!
    In the movies they start out with “forgive me father for I have sinned”! Not being Catholic, I don’t know much about it.
    I am anxious to know Michaels “for obvious reasons” though.

  6. Michael says:


    I can’t put the clock back and tell you for sure how I would have responded had I known that the illustration was not referring to the subject, but I think I wouldn’t have made a comment.

    To your question, I think it would not be appropriate to go into a detailed elaboration of what I said: you have to work it out yourself.

    Historically, the original practice was an open confession before the community because a sin is an offence against the Church, a wound to the Church, not only a self-mutilation and thus an estrangement from the Love that is given to us freely, an offence against Creator. That is my comment to JOEL.

    A Russian penitent, when his turn comes to approach the priest, turns toward others in the queue, puts his hand on the chest and bows down – thus asking all to pardon him.

    On the other hand, confidentiality is also an important matter to many – thus confessionals. The barrier came naturally, for many reasons. In the place where I lived as a child the confessionals were usually for women, the open confession – kneeler, priest sitting next, Crucifix on the wall – for men. But it was not adhered to strictly: the cofessionals, with the barrier of course, were used for men too.

  7. Nan says:

    So you’re saying you’re not a fan of general, group confessions that take place around Easter, only?

  8. Michael says:

    I have just replied to Joel, and then found that nobody replied to your question, so I will venture.

    I am not sure what you mean by the “general, group confession”.

    AFAIK, a general absolution can be given only in extreme circumstances, say: sinking ship, front line in a war, excessive number of penitents who can’t possibly come another day… and even that is conditional to a sincere sorrow for the sins committed, determination to stop sinning, and an intention to confess sins thus forgiven conditionally, to a priest as soon as possible.

    That this is frequently ignored by some priests and even bishops, who in addition fail to inform people about conditions under which the absolution is given is a sad, and well know fact – as many other things that are happening, but that is another matter.

  9. Nan says:

    I’m not sure what I mean either, not having in participated in one; my Episcopalian friend tells me that they do a group confession before Easter. That’s it. That’s the sort of thing I mean. I know there are Catholic churches that do similar; one church here does communal confession at Lent and Advent, with quarterly baptisms.

  10. Michael says:


    I looked into my files, and this is how the Sacrament of Reconciliation (“Confession”) can be administered:

    Normal way is an individual confession.

    Similar to the normal way is a general set of penitential prayers for all, followed by individual confession. For this, several priests are available at the same time, and when this is all over, there is a general prayer of thanksgiving or like. This is probably what you were enquiring about. Practically, it is the same thing as normal confession, but some may benefit from the preparation in common that precedes it. And it obviously takes time.

    The third is general absolution, which is lawful only in exceptional circumstances as I said last time. See details there. Opportunists mistakenly believe that they can do away with confession of sin to the priest. They can’t, because the absolution is conditional as I said before.

    If you know of a priest doing this, report him to the bishop, and if bishop doesn’t give you a satisfactory explanation or doesn’t reply, send a copy of your letter and of the bishop’s reply, if any, to the Congregation for Doctrine in Rome, enclosing if you have any other evidence (parish bulletin or like), and cover all with your own letter addressed to the Congregation explaining what has to be explained. Be brief, and don’t teach them. They might or might not acknowledge, but they will certainly do something about it, because it is a serious violation of the Law. If you want to be sure that the letter has been received, send it by a registered post that can be traced on the Internet.

    The Sacrament must not be confused with the so-called Penitential Service, which is a sort of liturgical retreat, without absolution.

  11. Nan says:

    I live in a very liberal area, one in which there are churches up in arms about the changes they’re being forced to make; the previous archbishop laid down the law but the new archbishop has been blamed for the changes.

    The webpage of the church I mentioned, clearly states communal confession, or individual confession by appointment but presumably the archbishop is aware of it. The cathedral seems to be the only place that takes confession seriously around here.

  12. Michael says:

    If I were not far away I would go to see what that communal confession is all about.

  13. Nan says:

    Me, I stay away from crazychurch. They have liturgical dancers, drama and mime in their liturgy. I have not personally experienced drama or mime in liturgy; however, I have a strong preference for a more traditional mass.

    BTW, the Archbishop is on the case.

  14. Michael says:

    Thanks. Although His Grace makes clear that the general confession is forbidden, he in “pastoral” explantion fails to say that it is not the way out for the opportunists.

    Can. 962: “For the …faifhful to validly to enjoy sacramental absolution… it is required that this person…intend to confess individually the serious sins which at present cannot be confessed”

  15. Michael says:

    Have a look at yesterday’s post about the Abp. in Fr. Z’ Blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: