Be courageous, go to Confession!So urges Pope Francis.
God bless him, he has made commendation of this sacrament a centerpiece of his pontificate, God prosper his work.
In preparing a class on the "Sacraments of Healing" it suddenly hit me - not only has the Church of most of my lifetime, at least in this country, taken rather different tacks with the two sacraments that are most available and one would think would be those by which each of us is blessed most frequently with an outpouring of God's grace...
It has likewise turned the practice of the 2 sacraments of healing on its ear!
I have long laughed at the inconsistency of the .... what, "progressive"? not really, but whatever... of the Catholic establishment in its demands, (that amount to bullying,) regarding frequent reception of the Eucharist, (especially under both species,) and its simultaneous denigration of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Yes, I said "denigration," and I meant it.
The "box" is disparaged, priests chase penitents away for wasting the priest's time with petty sins, catechists have discouraged inculcating reception of the sacrament by making much of the fact that canon law does not absolutely "require" it prior to a child's first Communion, the condtion of Confession for gaining Indulgences elicits the same kind of contempt indulgenced practices themselves do, the specification of "mortal" is always now highlighted in the precept of the Church dealing with the sacrament of penance, (if, indeed, anyone is so backward or ill-bred as to mention the Precepts of the Church).....
It seems never to have occurred to them that what makes confession of mortal sin terrifying is that by deprecating and making difficult if not downright unavailable the confession of venial sin, (who is going to make the effort to receive "by appointment" for "hitting my brother"?) confession itself has been turned into a daunting "emergency procedure."
The prospect is as horrifying as a root canal - how can someone who has never brushed his teeth be less than sick at the thought?
Or perhaps that was the intention? to eliminate confession entirely?
Guilt and shame are baaaaaad.
Do away with them by neutering the concept of sin, of there being anything for which one should feel guilty.
But as our beloved Holy Father has said, "“It’s healthy to have a bit of shame… It does us good because it makes us more humble.”
But strangely, at the same time as the practice of confession has been frittered away to nothingness, reception of the sacrament of the Sick is growing by leaps and bounds!
Some parishes offer it at every single Mass on a weekend, two or even three times a year, and everyone is encouraged to partake, Getting a scratchy feeling, might be a cold coming on, sign me up!
I literally know a normally healthy, walking around, living-her-life adult who has received the Sacrament of the Sick far more times than she has been to Confession.
How did this happen?
Do you think Francis can change how things are?