Thursday, January 8, 2009

While the crickets chirp away...

The Curt Jester had a post on New Year's Day about which Holy Day of Obligation is the most neglected, which led to some interesting discussions in the ComBox.

This cartoon was sparked recently when I heard a priest lament that only 37 people showed up for the Advent Penance Service. On a regular Sunday, I think we get upwards of 1000-1500 people for our 2 masses. I may be overshooting it a bit. So the 37 number was pretty sorry.

But in my 10 years back, I can count on one hand when I've heard a priest specifically mention something being a sin. And I think I can further count on this one hand while one finger is stuck in my ear. Abortion? Once. Birth Control? Once. Homosexuality? Once. The Big Three in our culture today, and I've heard them specifically mentioned probably just once each. And that's misleading, because the abortion and birth control issues were raised in one homily - by a transitional deacon, no less. (As a side note, I ran into this deacon the following week and told him that he hit a home run with his homily - he actually had tears in his eyes. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that he was probably upbraided for being so bold.)

If, in today's Church, practically NOTHING is a sin, then what exactly would need to be confessed? God loves everyone, He's never mad about what we do, and everything "bad" we do can be reasoned away with buckets full of Oprah & Dr. Phil psychological babble.


Jeremy said...


Anonymous said...

Confession, er, Reconcilliation is the sacrament that nobody wants - yet everyone needs!

Anonymous said...


99% of the time when I confess in my parish, I'm the youngest person there by 20 years or more. (I'm 24, for what that's worth.) I don't think I've *ever* heard sin mentioned in a homily there, and I've lived in that parish my entire life.

Anonymous said...

Well, I honestly didn't think you could top the Obama on the Mountain comic, but I'd have to say this one is right up there.


I totally hear you.

Where I usually go the Sacrament of Confession is hardly ever mentioned by name (ie in a clear and unequivocal manner), as in under 5 times a year (if that).
When it comes to sin, the same thing, except naming specific sins is even more rare than mentioning "Confession" by name.

It is a wonder the average 'young' Catholic even knows it exists!

I go to a parish with a few thousand members, and yet Confession is regularly scheduled for only 1 hour on Saturday...a TOTALLY unrealistic amount of time SET ASIDE from a pastoral perspective. But even then, I have never seen more than about 8 people max in line, usually there are only about 5. When it comes to age ranges, I'm the youngest about 99% of the time, with an age gap of easily 30 years.

There is a much smaller but overtly conservative parish not too far away with DAILY Confession and there are usually about 10 people in line per day, which is way more realistic (given most people cant get off work) but still is pretty small.

Paul Nichols said...

Unfortunately, your guys' experience is not much different from mine, either, or so many others, I'm afraid.

When I go to confession, I'm usually on the younger side also - and I'm 44 !

It's kind of like that old line "What if they threw a party and nobody came?" In our case it's "What if they had a Sacrament but nobody received it?"

This problem is yet another result of the triumph of the 1960's over the Church.

beez said...

I know a priest who regularly talks about the need for frequent reception of the Eucharist, weekly Mass and receipt of the Sacrament of Penance at least when one is aware of grave sin.

This same priest hears confessions every day. When he first arrived that the parish, he rarely had any penitents. Now, he has a few each day and spends more than 40 hours in the confessional during Holy Week.

People understand that sin is real, but it helps to have the priest not only tell them that, but that THROUGH the sacrament, forgiveness is equally real and offered to ALL!

the Egyptian said...

With all due respect
may I add Face to Face confession, most times I just don't wish to be in a counseling session, I want CONFESSION. I just cannot sit and talk to my parish priest, I want some privacy

the Egyptian said...

P.S. Copied your entire post to my blog

thank you
I couldn't have said it better my self

sevensorrows said...

Amen, Amen.

Yes, I don't even hear talk of confession in homilies, well except during lent, and then it is mostly "come to the penance service with general absolution."

There is a small conservative church though that does daily mass at 6:30am, and EVERY mass EVERYDAY has confession before it, and there is always a line.

And who made this most inconvenient time? Saturday late afternoon? True, people should have their priorties straight and put God first, but they also need to help the people as well.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...


Anonymous said...

May GOD Be Praised By All, At All Times, Everywhere!

Amazing cartoon!

Very true, but in Dubai, we generally have huge queues for confession, bcoz we have about 200,000 parishioners. But I think the confession lines are still not proportionate to the parishioners.

We have confessions even during the Holy Mass, as there are more priests.

I thank GOD for this great blessing. We had 11 Holy Masses (that I know of) yesterday, for Ash Wednesday and all of them were very crowded - the Church has a seating capacity of about 2,000 people and some ground space also (outside the Church, where we have projectors and speakers).

Even for a normal Sunday Holy Mass (which is not normal under any circumstance), the Churches are overflowing.

But Good Friday and Easter and Christmas, its a sight to behold. Even if you turn up an hour prior to service, you'll hardly be able to get into the Church compound!

We need more priests, who are willing to be 'in persona Christi', i.e. become Christs themselves, this includes talking about sin and helping people have genuine repentance.

GOD Bless!

Binoy A. Mathew