Maltese bishop rues ‘privatization’ of Confession

Maltese bishop rues ‘privatization’ of Confession

Catholic World News – February 09, 2016

Writing in L’Osservatore Romano, a Maltese bishop called upon confessors to be merciful and to see themselves more as doctors than as judges.

Noting that the Second Vatican Council called for a revision of the rite and formulas of the Sacrament of Penance “so that they more clearly express both the nature and effect of the sacrament,” Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo asserted that in doing so the council fathers “recognized that the praxis” of the sacrament “no longer responded to the needs of the people of God.”

Bishop Grech lamented that the first rite of penance—individual confession—overshadows the second rite (a penitential celebration followed by individual confession) and the third rite (general absolution). The prelate recommended a more widespread use of the second rite.

“With the privatization of auricular confession,” he said, “we have lost the social and ecclesial dimension of sin and the communitarian dimension of the Sacrament of Penance.”

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4 comments on “Maltese bishop rues ‘privatization’ of Confession

  1. [His Excellency’s views on Confession and confessors do not mesh well with those of St. Pio of Pietrelcina]

    Padre Pio is no Winnie the Pooh


    TTC (The Tenth Crusade)

    “We can say that Padre Pio was a servant of mercy. He did so full-time, practicing, at times in exhaustion, the apostolate of listening,” the Pope said Feb. 6.

    Makes him sound like Winnie the Pooh!

    Do the Jesuits make up their own history books?

    Padre Pio, the gruff, brisk, prickly priest with zero tolerance for sin, who could read souls and was known to deny improper use of the Sacrament of Confession?

    True enough he was “listening”, in the SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION. Absolving sin. Up to 19 hours a day!

    “By Padre Pio’s explicit wish, women must enter his confessional wearing skirts at least eight inches below the knees. It is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in church and to wear them for the confessional.” Shorts, and short sleeves, even on children, were anathema.

    What do you think his thoughts would be about telling priests to wash women’s feet on Holy Thursday?

    “The sight of so many souls who wish to justify their evil ways pains me, exhausts my brain, and tears at my heart.”

    “Before reproaching a soul, I suffer it first. But it is not I who act, but He who is in me and above me.”

    “Sin to confession to sin without repentance is a deception of conscience; in essence a sacrilege.”

    Among you I am your brother, on the Altar I am your victim, in the confessional I am your judge.”

    What do you think his thoughts would be on who am I to judge?

    Let’s pause to contemplate a few accounts of Padre Pio’s idea of mercy:

    A spiritual son of Padre Pio who lived in Rome omitted out of shame to make his customary small reverence when he passed near to a church in the company of some friends. Suddenly he heard Padre Pio’s voice saying: “Coward!” After a few days he went to San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was reproached by Padre Pio: “Be careful! This time I have only scolded you; next time I will give you a slap.”

    A certain man had the reputation of being a good Catholic, admired and esteemed by all who knew him. Actually he was living in sin. He had neglected his wife, and was now compensating for his loneliness by a relationship with another woman. On one occasion he went to confession to Padre Pio. In order to justify himself, he started talking about a “spiritual crisis.” But he had not counted on facing an “extraordinary” confessor. Padre Pio stood up at once and shouted, “What spiritual crisis? You are a litterbug! And God is angry with you. Go away!

    A lady came from England to have her confession heard by Padre Pio. She went to his confessional but Padre Pio closed the window saying: “I am not available to you.” The woman stayed for several weeks and during this time, daily returned to his confessional and daily was turned away. Finally, Padre Pio consented to hear her confession. She asked the Padre why he made her wait so long to be heard. Padre Pio answered: “And You?” “How long have you made Our Lord wait?” You should wonder how Jesus could welcome you after you committed so many sacrileges. You have delayed your judgment for years, besides sinning against your husband and your mother you have received Holy Communion in mortal sin. The woman was stunned and reformed. She cried when she received absolution. She returned to England a few days later, very happy.

    What do you think his thoughts are on ‘a god of surprises who wants people to receive communion in a perpetual state of mortal sin’?

    Before the mercy comes the kick in the backside. The eviction. The judgment. Leading the soul to repentance and the ABSOLUTION OF SIN in the Sacrament of Confession.

    It isn’t sappy feelings.


    Of all the happy
    Of all my happy

    Confessions in the
    Were best for
    Cutting strife.

    Upon my head
    A beanie
    Or sometimes
    Chapel veil

    In summer’s heat
    Tar-bubbled street
    I’d run
    Like wind in gale.

    Holy water font
    Into, my fingers dip
    Made the sign of the Cross
    So careful not to drip

    Dark and cool and quiet
    One red rose candle lit
    And in the corners’ cornices
    My soul saw Angels sit.

    For they were there to help me
    Come face to face with self
    With poor man’s free psychologist
    The Priest, behind dark shelf.

    It wasn’t always easy
    But always was absolved
    And light with grace, back to the race
    To live His Word, resolved.

    And at this very moment
    Still doors are there, no locks –
    A place of virtue reality
    Sacramental Confessional box!

  3. I’ve just crossed Malta off my “refuge of last resort” list.

    Note the “message” implicit in the opening, as if, for nineteen and one half centuries, the Church was “in the dark” and too “ignorant” to “… more clearly express both the nature and effect of the sacrament.”

    The un-council is Leninist to the core: EVERYTHING of the past must be erased.

  4. “…Note the “message” implicit in the opening, as if, for nineteen and one half centuries, the Church was “in the dark” and too “ignorant” to “… more clearly express both the nature and effect of the sacrament.”

    The un-council is Leninist to the core: EVERYTHING of the past must be erased.”

    This is very much the main message of Vac 2.
    I remember a trendy young teacher in the first school I taught in, a Catholic school, who happened to be the Religious Education Coordinator, dismissing some traditional type practice with the simple phrase “That’s pre Vatican.” She had to say no more. Everybody in the room straightaway understood that if it was “pre Vatican” it was no longer applicable to our faith and practice.
    By the way, the term “pre Vatican” became almost a mantra for the trendy liberal left of the Church, who were blissfully unaware that there was a Vatican I, and even more unaware of any of the other Councils of the Church.

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