Sunday, April 2, 2006

7:00 PM Communal Reconciliation--Rite II

In his inaugural post, Mike commented on the state of our Archdiocese of Milwaukee, noting
There is still use of General Absolution at large parishes.

Since it's not supposed to be used, you might wonder how that can be. Here's how it's happening at St. Al's.

As a catechist, I received the class schedule which says student attendance is mandatory at tonight's Reconciliation service. A few weeks ago I heard that because some kids became unruly at an earlier reconciliation service for younger children, tonight's would be Rite III, general absolution. I discussed this with our pastor in person, and followed up by email. While the parish bulletins for last week [p. 2, pdf] and this week [p. 2, pdf] say Rite II, which includes individual confession, it was announced at Mass today that the service would be General Absolution.

I've been hearing that this is how it's done at other large parishes, as well. The parish bulletins are worded to conceal that General Absolution is being used. Maybe it's part of the local priests' union's General Absolution Action Plan.

Here's the pertinent Catholic faith and theology FAQ from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Q. Is attending a Reconciliation Service with general absolution the same as attending a Reconciliation Service with individual confession and absolution?

A. A general absolution cannot be imparted unless:
the danger of death is imminent and there is not time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the individuals or
a serious necessity exists when the confessions of the individual penitents cannot be heard within a suitable time and the penitents are deprived of the sacrament.

The above is based on Canon 961, section 1. Section 2 goes on to say,
It belongs to the diocesan bishop to judge whether the conditions required according to the norm of [section] 1, n. 2 are present.

That is, whether general absolution is permitted absent the danger of death. Archbishop Dolan has given his answer.
The Second Vatican Council, far from discouraging the Sacrament of Penance, encourages it. Regrettably, it began to decline after the Council. Some priests began to offer “general absolution,” where, at the conclusion of a communal service of reconciliation, sacrament absolution, without personal, individual confession, was given.

While communal services to prepare for the sacrament are most effective and most laudable, individual, personal confession must always follow for a genuine celebration of the sacrament. Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, countless documents of the Holy See, Archbishop Cousins, Archbishop Weakland, and now yours truly offer a strong reminder that "general absolution" is not allowed.

The parish asks people like me to donate our time to teach kids material that includes the importance of individual confession, and charges parents tuition to have their kids learn this, and then our pastor goes out of his way to contradict it. It's part of a pattern at my parish.



Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

I rhink there is a staute at Gettysburg marking the spot where a Priest gave one of the Irish Regiments General Absolution before charging into battle (and taking heavy casualties) I fail to see how this is just as neccesary at a suburban Parish.

Great Post!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Be still, my heart!

Are you telling me that your pastor is LYING, obfuscating, or dissembling because he is concerned about the authority of the Archbishop?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

Sorry, Dad29, but to answer your specific questions, I'd have to clean the motes out of my Soul-O-Scope.

From what my pastor says, it appears he thinks General Absolution has great benefits, and the issues I raise aren't his problem.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Mike, the Faithful Catholic?

7:24 AM  

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