Monday, August 14, 2006

Confession, Adoration, and Vocations

A reader writes:

One thing I wonder about when it comes to our Roman Catholic heritage is why Confessions (oops am I dating myself with that word vs. reconciliation) have gone the way of the dinosaur and how we can bring them back into a fruitful existence.

Most people I know are of the belief that it is because of a shortage of priests and yet I cannot help but believe that reinstating the two elements of Confession and Perpetual Adoration in parishes we would see the impetus that would bring about more vocations. Can you talk about this on your blog?

I'm not sure I buy the "shortage of priests" rationale. What I think is, quite simply, there's a shortage of confessions!

If the Sacrament is available, people take advantage of it.

At least, that's been my experience. There are, for example, no confessionals in the upper church of my parish. Confessions generally are heard "by appointment." At one time, we had a priest who would, about 45 minutes before Sunday Mass began, plunk down two chairs just outside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, don his stole, sit, and wait. He didn't have to wait long. Once people realized he was waiting to hear their confessions, he was kept busy until Mass time. He left, and the practice stopped.

During the week, I attend Mass at a nearby chapel. Exposition begins daily after the 12:45 PM Mass and extends until Benediction at 4:30 PM. During this time confessions are heard. The priests are kept busy.

Maybe the shortage is the emphasis on Confession.

I'm asking you. Do you hear anything in your parishes about the need to confess on a regular basis? I don't. Yesterday's readings leant themselves beautifully to sermons on the gift of the Blessed Sacrament, and I heard a great one...but I didn't hear much about the state of my soul required to receive this most sublime gift.

That's my two cents. What do you folks think?