26 November 2008
It must be something they are teaching seminarians these days. A new graduation requirement -- a course on how to keep parishioners coming back to confession.
I try to make it to confession at least once a month. I think that's good for me right now since many times I have to plan in advance to have someone watch the kids. However, in the back of my head, I still hear my father's voice prodding me to go every two weeks. I've never been able to make it to confession with that regularity.
What is a little off-putting is to tell the priest my confession and have him tell me it was "a good confession."
I never used to hear this from the priests at my parish. Like many folks, I tend to, sadly, confess the same habitual sins each month with little variation. I do try to do a good examination of my conscience, but by and large, my sins don't change much.
I've been told "that was a good confession" quite often in the past few years from very fine priests that are not long out of the seminary. This is the same ol' confession I have been confessing year-in and year-out, the same confession that never made the priest skip a beat or pause to give me encouragement. Friends have told me they have been told the same thing. While I understand that the priest wants to put me at ease or indicate that they believe I have done a good examination of my conscience, the business of confession is exactly that -- confession of the sins we have committed -- how we have offended God. Nothing "good" about that.
For me, the last place I want to be patronized is in the confessional. I don't need to have the priest give me a verbal "atta girl" when I'm doing what I should be. Nothing tops the feeling of absolution (or the imperfect, but serious, fear of hell) to bring me back to confession. I need spiritual direction while I'm contrite and in the confessional, not a cheerleader.
I must be old school in that I want confession to feel like purgation. I don't want it to be foo-foo, frilly or touchy-feely, I want it to be a serious reflection of my sins with a heart-felt resolution to amend my life.
If the priest is holy and if he tells his flock the Truth they need to hear, then I would think that the rest, like frequent confession, would follow naturally, no marketing required.
Posted by swissmiss at 10:54 AM