Monday, April 23, 2007

Reconciliation & General Absolution

I thought a good first topic to tackle would be General Absolution. Another blogger seemed excited about the issue of a Catholic church in the Archdiocese that was rumored to be having a general absolution service in December. I have nothing against individual reconciliation. I have benefited many times from it. But the Vatican itself has stated that in "exceptional situations" general absolution may be used.

I know that they probably mean a situation where there's one priest in a mission area for a short time and a billion people there want reconciliation, but there is another take on it. I was talking to a priest recently about his rather large parish and he told me that there were only four sinners at his parish. Meaning that of the thousands of parishioners, only four people ever went to confession. Parishes that have communal reconciliation and/or general absolution, have the ability to reach hundreds more that otherwise will not go to confession. Timothy and bishops around the U.S. have been trying to push individual reconciliation for a couple decades with no success. I say let's reach the people. Get your parish to have a general absolution service if possible, or at least a communal penance service. The other upside is that such a move may help Catholics come back to the graces and blesses afforded in an individual reconciliation experience.

A Faithful Catholic

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