PS 14-15: Lenten Penance

Jesus arms outstretchedRemember, you can check Paschale Solemnitatis on this site, among many on the internet. If the main vector of Lent for the faithful is the Word and the sacraments of initiation, Penance is not out of the picture, certainly:

14. “The Lenten season should retain something of its penitential character”. (Paul VI, Apost. Const. Paenitemini, II, 1; AAS 58 (1966) 183) “As regards catechesis, it is important to impress on the minds of the faithful not only the social consequences of sin but also that aspect of the virtue of penance, which involves the detestation of sin as an offense against God”. (Ceremonial of Bishops, 251)

Detesting sin as an offense, as opposed to regretting sin because one has been caught. This is a difficult leap to make, especially in situations in which it is culturally tenable to hide one’s sinfulness. Still, inner conversion is to be desired:

The virtue and practice of penance form a necessary part of the preparation for Easter: from that inner conversion. of heart should spring the practice of penance, both for the individual Christian and for the whole community. This practice, while being adapted to the conditions of the present time, should nevertheless witness to the evangelical spirit of penance and also be to the advantage of others.

It would seem the witness cultivates the “interior advantage,” namely that people are inspired to look within and cultivate that hatred of their own sins. Not from a sense of guilt and shame of being caught out, but to encourage a deeper reflection at Lent than at other times of the year.

Pray for sinners during Lent:

The role of the Church in penitential practices is not to be neglected and encouragement is to be given to pray for sinners, and this intention should, be included in the prayer of the faithful. (Cf. Ceremonial of Bishops, 251; Sacrosanctum Concilium 109)

How many people do this? And of so, how are such intentions worded?

Form II appropriate for Lent:

15. “The faithful are to be encouraged to participate in an ever more intense and fruitful way in the Lenten liturgy and in penitential celebrations. They are to be clearly reminded that both according to the law and tradition, they should approach the Sacrament of Penance during this season, so that with purified heart they may participate in the paschal mysteries. It is appropriate that during Lent the Sacrament of Penance be celebrated according to the rite for the reconciliation of several penitents with individual confession and absolution, as given in the Roman Ritual”. (Ceremonial of Bishops, 251)

And a discernment for busy clergy: how much time is appropriate and sufficient?

Pastors should devote themselves to the ministry of reconciliation, and provide sufficient time for the faithful to avail themselves of this sacrament.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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