Saturday, January 19, 2008

Example #432 of "How we shoot ourselves in the foot":

Sent to me by a parent whose child recently made their "first penance". This was part of a note that was sent to parents of the first penitents:

"Due to the large number of children, we ask all parents and guests to refrain from going to Confession today so the priests will have more time with your children on their special day."

I wonder whether, in a few months when these children receive their First Holy Communion, a note will be sent home politely urging parents and guests not to receive the Eucharist on that day, so that the priests can spend more time with the children on their special day?

Experience has taught me that, without fail, on days when you're hearing the first Confessions of little guppies, you'll also going to catch a Marlin or two who haven't been to the Sacrament in years. To send a note home like that is the same as saying, "Don't worry, you don't have to feel guilty or emotionally moved while your here. Feel free not to sit there and reflect on your life while these children go to Confession. Instead, please, strike up multiple conversations with the people sitting all around you, so that the children experiencing God's mercy for the first time get used to the lack of reverence that they'll encounter in sacred spaces.

You want to allow the children to go first, that's perfectly reasonable. But to then "close up shop" after the last child is absolved loses a great opportunity.

4 comments:

Kat said...

Amen Father, Amen.

Barb, sfo said...

I have NEVER seen that kind of notice. We always heard, "Parents, siblings and friends are encouraged to receive the Sacrament. But kindly allow the children to approach first."

SWP said...

I wonder if the inability of many priests to see Confession as a joyful labor or worthy sacrifice has had unintended consequences for the laity? Perhaps their shirking this sacrament has affected their homilies, their sense of purpose, and therefore the mission of the Church?

We need a renewal of this sacrament, because it will restore the others.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

If anything it should be in reverse, the parents leading by example :)