From the Catholic News Hub, a new service from CNS, comes this brief editorial piece from Austin, Texas on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“Helping people understand that their fears keep them from realizing God’s love, and the love of others, means that penance takes on a medicinal nature; it offers a ‘healing of the wound,'” Father Brian Bransfield said.

That’s different from models of penance that emphasize the juridical or “mercantile,” he suggested. The sacrament is not a court decision or an exchange of offenses for retribution, but an encounter with God’s mercy, forgiveness and love.

The notion of Reconciliation as a sacrament of healing gained ground after Vatican II, but perhaps not in the minds of most Catholics. Long-time readers know I think more reform is needed in this sacrament. And while I applaud the emphasis on Reconciliation as medicinal, first and foremost, it is liturgical. That said, some of Bransfield’s practical suggestions should be taken to heart: confessorspreparing for the sacrament well in advance, prominent posting of times for the sacrament, planning for an identifiable location, a positive demeanor in the confessor, the need for confessors to be “deep listeners.”

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Reconciliation

  1. Anne says:

    I think we should speak more about and compare Reconciliaion with Baptism. When a person enters into a life with Christ at Baptism, all sin is erased. We often fail in our Baptismal committment and God, being God, continuously offers us another chance to be reconciled and brought back to life.

  2. KiwiNomad06 says:

    It was interesting while I was in Europe seeing the different ways “reconciliation” was treated in different places. In some churches it was placed prominently, hours were displayed, and people were often waiting. In other places it was barely visible. Now I am back home, and the nearest church to me has a reconciliation room apparently. But it is not labelled or easy to see and I have no idea where it is.

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