Lent is off and running. We had a full church for our 5:15 and 7:oo evening Masses. I hope your parish also had good crowds. I told our pastor that some genius needs to come up with 362 other giveaways to match things up with Ash Wednesday, Christmas, and Easter.
Though not as well-attended as Ash Wednesday, we offer a weeknight reconciliation (form I) primarily for students. Last semester, it was on Wednesdays. Since mid-January, it has been Thursdays.
Beginning Feb. 23, a priest will be available from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in every church in the diocese to hear confessions.
And not so good, this comment:
Citing a recent survey of U.S. Catholics, (Bishop Robert J. McManus) noted what he called an unsettling statistic — 45 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly never receive the sacrament of penance. He said the reasons for this are varied, but “an explanation of this disconcerting pastoral situation has to include to a significant degree a loss of the sense of sin among contemporary Catholics.”
Does it have to? Bishops are having a huge struggle coming to grips with their own culpability in the sex predator cover-up scandal. Indeed, many bishops seem to think they deserve a free pass–it happened to the other guy! comes the protest. Or: we’re victims too! Does it have to? I think not.
People no longer confess to the clergy in the numbers they may have had fifty years ago. It may be because of the human avoidance of admitting guilt. It may just as well be due to a loss of confidence in the clergy. Somehow I find it hard to believe that previous generations lived in a sort of Garden of Eden of sacramental practice, that some snake came along in the 60’s and it’s been hell ever since.
If Bishop McManus persists in harping on the loss of a sense of sin in others, he may miss the person who needs the most attention from his preaching on this score.