Thursday 24 November 2011

More on Confession before Communion

Following on from my last post, I've found some friends in the Archdiocese whose child has made First Holy Communion and who will shortly receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in one of the "catch up" services going on throughout the diocese. (This is because those who have made first Communion will not be confirmed at what would have been the usual time several years later -aged somewhere around 12/13/14.) However, he has not made his first Confession - so he will have made first Communion and been Confirmed but not have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This is obviously in contradiction to what is clearly expected - that Confession should precede Communion:

"The need for safeguarding and protecting worthy participation in the Eucharist has compelled the church to introduce a norm in her discipline and pastoral practice that confession should precede communion and in this way the right of the faithful - both of adults and children -to receive the sacrament of reconciliation is recognized."

"It would be an absurd and unjust discrimination and a violation of his conscience if he were prepared for and admitted only to holy communion. It is not enough to say that children have the right to go to confession if this right remains practically ignored."

It is described as "An abuse which we censure" - one which I suspect is still fairly prevalent. Certainly in one of my previous parishes it was something I corrected in my first year there. This latest document from the Congregation for Clergy makes it clear that there has been much confusion, despite the fact that it is a confusion which should have been cleared up in 1977 (see previous post). I think that there are still those who have a desire - for what reason I cannot fathom - to postpone Confession. I noticed in the re-organising of first sacraments in my own diocese that the matter has not been clearly dealt with, even when questions have been asked in the meetings held about it. Indeed the accompanying DVD skips over any detail as to when first Confession is to take place but when Confession is mentioned it is teenagers that we see engaging in the process - implying that Communion and Confirmation will already have taken place. Looking back I posted about this before here.

This new document seems to be re-emphasising that children have the right to have their sins forgiven and thus be able to approach the other sacraments in a state of grace and that pastors have the duty to teach them about this: ie that no-one should approach Holy Communion - or indeed any of the other sacraments - without being in a state of grace.


Dominic MacCarthy said...

Of course the instructions of Liverpool's Christian Education Centre have been duplicitous for decades. While not actually saying openly that First Confession should be delayed until after First Communion (because someone would immediately send this off to Rome), that is the impression that the "guidelines" give. Priests should make their own mind up according to their pastoral situation, and children need to be more mature to understand the need for reconciliation etc etc.

When a diocese sits light of Rome's clear instructions on an important question for over 30 years, one begins to wonder if it is truly in communion with the Holy See, or is its "Catholicism" just a hypocritical facade.

General Absolution? - come and get it. Mortal Sin? - impossible to commit. All the dead? - already in heaven. Shacked up with your girlfriend? - don't worry, come to Communion. Gay blessings? - hmmm, we're working on it.

Parate Viam Domini said...

"General Absolution? - come and get it. Mortal Sin? - impossible to commit. All the dead? - already in heaven. Shacked up with your girlfriend? - don't worry, come to Communion. Gay blessings? - hmmm, we're working on it."

But whatever you do - please don't write a FACTUALLY correct report (maybe tinged with a little ironic humour perhaps) if you do all hell will break lose. The madmen are running the assylum - mad or bad? - you decide.

Whichever is the last boat to leave these 'safe' harbours - please would they mind pulling out the plug?

Oh! sorry my mistake - it's already been pulled out. Glug! glug! glug!

+SD said...


I suggest that any diocese who is supporting gay blessings should be investigated with immidiate effect.
We are hearing so much of this nonscense that it is becomming alarmingly ridiculous.
As for general absolution situations - I suggest that these should only apply when there is a death threatening situation.
Rome is not that far away. Don't make a mistake that it is.