Reconciliatio et Paenitentia 32: Forms of Celebration, Part 3: Communal Reconciliation with Individual Confession

Often termed “Communal Penance,” form II has a fair frequency in some parishes. The third form is also communal, and in the past, there has been some unauthorized blending between the two. That said, these poor practices of liturgy reflect less on the rites themselves and more on a shallow understanding of what is to be accomplished.

We can’t avoid talking about it if we’re serious about discussing Forms of Celebration.

The second form of celebration, precisely by its specific dimension, highlights certain aspects of great importance: The word of God listened to in common has remarkable effect as compared to its individual reading and better emphasizes the ecclesial character of conversion and reconciliation. It is particularly meaningful at various seasons of the liturgical year and in connection with events of special pastoral importance.

Lent, and usually Advent are nearly always chosen. Parish missions and retreats also.

The only point that needs mentioning here is that for celebrating the second form there should be an adequate number of confessors present.

Most of these liturgies are well-planned and well-prepared. But there is a breadth of experiences that extend well into the negative.

It is therefore natural that the criteria for deciding which of the two forms of celebration to use should be dictated not by situational and subjective reasons, but by a desire to secure the true spiritual good of the faithful in obedience to the penitential discipline of the church.

Such discipline is intended for the greater good of the sanctification of the faithful. It is incumbent on Church leadership–bishops and theologians especially–to assess these rites, how people are formed in them, and their effectiveness in achieving the aim. Namely sanctity.

This document is Copyright © 1984 – Libreria Editrice Vatican. The link on the Vatican site is here.


About catholicsensibility

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