Confession Makes a Comeback
Magdalene Wrote:I have indeed seen older churches with once well used confessions that are now storage areas. Not much space is needed for the 45 minutes on Saturday line up for 6 people anyway.

At my NO Church we usualy get about 15 people and one of our confessionals is used as a storage shed if they used both things would go faster.
Magdalene Wrote:To bring souls to reconciliation will give any true priest GREAT joy!

You hit the nail on the head Magdalene. I dont think there are many TRUE Priests left. Just social workers who don't believe in the real presence.
didishroom Wrote:
  I go to confession at a Novus Ordo church, but I attend mass at a traditional Catholic church. At the Novus Ordo church, which has about 3000 families, you might see 3 or 4 people going to confession on a Sat. I understand that on Sunday, the whole congregation receives the Eucharist.  Many Catholics don't believe in confession, including a few of my Catholic friends.  I always quote what Jesus said to his apostles, " Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven.  Whose sins you shall retain they are retained."  Many say to me that the priest can give a public absolution, another words, a mass absolution, but what if there are people in that crowd who show no remorse for their sins, or a person who just killed someone.  Their sins should be retained, but how would the priest know that in that situation.

STAMFORD, Conn. — The day after Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni was installed in June 1998 as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church here, he walked through the quiet sanctuary, appreciating the English Gothic grandeur and tallying all the repairs it required.
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Enlarge This Image[Image: 21religion01_190.jpg] Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni reopened the confessional booths at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Stamford, Conn., in 1998. This week, 450 people will engage in the traditional rite.

One particular sight seized him. The confessional at the rear of the pews had been nailed shut. The confessional in the front, nearer the altar, was filled with air-conditioning equipment. And these conditions, Monsignor DiGiovanni realized, reflected theology as much as finance.
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church began offering confession in “reconciliation rooms,” rather than the traditional booths. Even before the setting changed, habits had. The norm for American Catholics was to make confession once a year, generally in the penitential period of Lent leading up to Easter.
Monsignor DiGiovanni, though, soon noticed that there were lines for the St. John’s reconciliation room the only time it was open each week, for two hours on Saturday afternoon. So within his first month as pastor, he pried open the door to the rear confessional, wiped off the dust of decades and arranged for replacing the lights, drapes and tiles.
Then, in the fall of 1998, Monsignor DiGiovanni rolled back the clock of Catholic practice, having St. John’s priests hear confession in the booths before virtually every Mass. By now, as another Lent commences next week with Ash Wednesday, upwards of 450 people engage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as confession is formally known, during 15 time slots spread over all seven days of the week. Confessions are heard in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.
“As humans, we’re always deciding that we are God and breaking his commandments,” said Monsignor DiGiovanni, 58, during an interview this week in his rectory. “But God is savvy enough to know that. And God wants us to come back to Him if there’s a contrite heart. Salvation is not just a one-time deal.”
His message has stirred scores of consciences at St. John’s. And while the frequency of confession, and the return to booths from the reconciliation room, puts the pastor and the parish on the conservative end of the Catholic spectrum, St. John’s is a standard diocesan church with a varied congregation — corporate executives, Haitian and Hispanic immigrants, Stamford’s longtime Irish and Italian middle class.
Rosa Marchetti, an events planner for a family-owned chain of restaurants, had grown up dreading the rite of confession. The reconciliation room, while intended to allow priest and penitent to meet in a reassuring face-to-face manner something like analyst and analysand, filled her with anxiety and shame. Six years ago, Ms. Marchetti began attending St. John’s, and these days she makes a confession at least twice a month. Speaking to an unseen priest through a screen seems to her a comfort.
“I’d always feared that the priests would know it was me, and I never wanted to think I’d done something wrong,” she recalled of her earlier experiences. “But at St. John’s, it was explained to me that I go to the doctor for my physical well being and I have to go to confession for my spiritual well being.”
Even so, she recognizes how the practice sets her apart from a national popular culture of celebrity magazines, talk shows, Facebook pages and Twitters that is relentlessly confessional and rarely contrite.
“You turn on Oprah and you have women crying to her, confessing what they’ve gone through,” Ms. Marchetti said. “Everyone is so quick to tell the world their problems, but they won’t tell a priest.”
In the hope of reversing those engines, the Catholic diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., has mounted what it calls a “Lenten Confession Campaign.” The diocese’s 87 churches, which include St. John’s, will be offering confession for two hours every Tuesday night in addition to the usual Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning periods.
To promote the campaign, the Knights of Columbus is paying for highway billboards, bus placards and radio and TV commercials — all using a slogan drawn from Corinthians, “Be Reconciled to God” — as well as the printing and distribution of 100,000 pamphlets about confession.
It remains to be seen, of course, whether the multimedia effort can change behavior on a grand scale. Monsignor DiGiovanni has changed it within his parish through a theological version of retail politics: reaching individuals and families through a decade of homilies, conversations and columns in the church bulletin.
The movement to revive confession, using the traditional booth, no less, has plenty of skeptics within American Catholicism.
“Confession as we once knew it is pretty much a dead letter in Catholicism today,” the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, wrote in an e-mail message.
Father McBrien, whose support of female ordination and married priest puts him on the theological left wing of the Catholic Church, added in a subsequent e-mail message that “the practice at the Stamford parish is an anomaly, not a sign of anything else” and at best “part of a small minority” of churches.
Majority or minority, the congregants at St. John’s firmly believe they are onto something. John F. X. Leydon, Jr., a lawyer in Stamford, has increased his pace of confession from once a year to once a month. The eldest of his four children, Mary, will be making her first confession this spring.
“The explanation we’ve given as parents is that none of us is perfect,” said Mr. Leydon, speaking also for his wife, Stacey. “However, we have to aspire to be perfect. And that should be a lifelong pursuit.”

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