Reconciliation: Going (back) to confession

In today's Boston Globe, columnist Alex Beam writes about confession and a program the Archdiocese of Boston is planning for Advent 2009:
In Colm Toibin’s latest novel, “Brooklyn,’’ the two lovers Eilis and Tony make love out of wedlock. They are Roman Catholic, it is the 1950s. They are in love and intend to marry - in fact, they do marry - but Eilis immediately insists they both go to confession and tell a priest they have sinned.

That was then. For a variety of reasons, including the reforms of Vatican II, the institution of Saturday evening Mass, and modern Catholics’ more catholic understanding of what sin is, the ritual of individual confession is disappearing in the modern church. Most Catholics over 60 remember lines of parishioners snaking out the church door, waiting to confess. “Practically overnight, the lines on Saturday afternoons vanished and the hours appointed for confession dwindled,’’ Boston College historian James O’Toole wrote in 2000, “as even the most ardent Catholics stayed away.’’

It may be coming back. Three years ago, Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., launched a Lenten program called The Light Is on for You, backstopped by a radio and subway ad campaign that the Washington Post called an “advertising blitz.’’ The idea was to have every church in the D.C. area open for confession on Wednesday evening, instead of competing with the soccer games and cello lessons that clutter up Saturdays...

The Washington program succeeded, and several cities, including Baltimore, Toledo, Ohio, and Bridgeport, Conn., launched similar efforts. In late fall, during the four weeks before Christmas, the Boston Archdiocese will launch its own Wednesday evening effort to revive confession. As in D.C., it hopes to use lay media to broaden the message beyond churchgoers...

(Read the complete article)

1 comment:

  1. I think that probably many people had bad experiences with confession in decades gone by. I know I was always a wreck. From my very first experience with the sacrament of penance through those early adult years and well beyond, I always felt intimidated. For years, I didn't avail myself of the sacrament at all. I personally like today's sacrament of reconciliation with its face-to-face meeting with an understanding priest who can give good counsel.

    It will be interesting to see how the RCAB's Advent Reconciliation Campaign will be handled and with what results. I wonder if the sacrament will be offered at Theology on Tap!

    I do hope that it will encourage people who have been away to return. As they say, "Confession is good for the soul." Sometimes it just takes working up the courage to return. In my case, it has been worth it!



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