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Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cheap Grace?

It has been reported here by an anonymous poster to the last thread that St. Mary's Parish, Hales Corners, will be offering general absolution for anyone who happens into the church on Wednesday, December 20th. Other than the parish bulletin making an odd distinction between "Communal Reconciliation" and "Individual Reconciliation", I have not found conclusive proof that this will occur. But, since Fr. Chuck will likely be out shopping for new ties, and Mary Matestic will be the presider at the service, I can find it believable. If someone knows for sure, please let me know.

Remember when His Excellency Timothy M. Dolan implied that he was taking a stance on this? He even gave the implication that general absolution was the first step down the slope to denying our own sinfulness. But, we should be getting used to the fact that sometimes people say a whole lot more than they are actually willing to act on.

Could this be happening with His Excellency's advance knowledge and, gasp!, approval? There is no question that it is the Archbishop's responsibility alone to determine if general absolution can be used. Well, while I think there is a lot more orthodoxy in what the Archbishop says than in what he has ever done, I will give him the benefit of the doubt. His priests (and priestesses) just flat out ignore him and the Church in so many ways.

The problem for all of us simple, hopeful Catholics, is that we are left with no good option to trust him. Here are the choices that I see: either the Archbishop:

a) has no intention of having his warm fuzzy words be matched with any actions;
b) says one thing, but (at least tacitly) approves of something else; or,
c) when confronted with dissenting activities, he does nothing to discipline the wayward priests or diocesan center bureaucrats.

For a little more perspective, from what I have been told, the tie-wearing Fr. Charles was already a problem with his questionable practices at his last parish, St. Sebastian's. But, under the present Archbishop, his negative impact is neither corrected nor isolated. Instead, it is moved from a medium sized parish, to a larger stage.

Reluctantly, I even have to offer props to at least one Cousins Center underling. Even the impossible to navigate, user-unfriendly, website indicates that, if reports are true, Fr. Cheap-Ties will be violating something.

For more useful information that anyone can print off and mail to St. Mary's Parish, or to the Archbishop himself, check out what the Vatican says. (Fr. Cheap-Ties...the Vatican, that's that big Church in Rome.)

I would love to hear if other places are using general absolution.

Gotta finish some Christmas cards.

Mike

7 Comments:

Blogger Terrence Berres said...

Last year, Fr. Meinholz at St. Alphonsus in Greendale really, really wanted to have general absolution for the Christian Formation program's reconciliation service. As I've said on my blog, I objected. I'm a catechist there and the last thing St. Al's needed was yet another parish practice that contradicted what I teach my Christian Formation students. As I understand it, Fr. Meinholz had a compromise Rite 2.5 worked up with general absolution for venial sins and confession for mortal sins.

This year, St. Al's had what was called "Communal Reconciliation". I didn't go and haven't yet checked on what it actually was.

Sunday, December 17, 2006 3:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

The presumption in Fr. Meinholz's work avoidance approach is that while no confession is preferred...the explanation you note that he gives forces the kids who walk to individual confession to be tacitly admitting to mortal sins.

Wow, ain't great, now are priests are haming people out of going to confession.

Monday, December 18, 2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

That is "shaming people out of going to confession."

A perverse revival of Catholic guilt.

Monday, December 18, 2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

From what I heard, he spoke in terms of serious sins rather than mortal sins, and I'm translating that into what we teach.

Monday, December 18, 2006 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That question came up at an RCIA class at Holy Angels in West Bend a week or so back.

I quoted the CCC, number 1483 and will do so here...

"1483 In case of GRAVE NECESSITY recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages *DOES NOT* constitute a case of grave necessity."

I mentioned that given the extremely small, if not nonexistent, line at most Saturday confessions, certainly there is not a lack of opportunity for absolution.

I then asked Father Rick of Holy Angels what is considered a grave necessity and if these communal penance services forgive a person of any sins, mortal or venial. He stated you are absolved of NOTHING at these services. I wholeheartedly agree. As father Rick said, if you want absolution, "Get in the box" and make a good confession.

He described "grave necessity" as an airliner at 40,000 feet in a nose dive with all engines out. If he were on the plane he said he'd stand up and offer absolution. He did not consider a communal penance service anything remotely close to "grave necessity".

He is truly a gift to our Parish. When/if he moves on in a few years, some other parish will be very lucky.

KJ
West Bend, WI

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what does anybody know about Bishop Sklba and a Winter Soltice celebration this past Sunday? I'm hearing some strange things, but I do think that the Bishop often expresses a great deal of wisdom, so I would like to know what you guys find... Thanks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 3:36:00 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee events calendar said Bishop Sklba will Celebrate Winter Solstice with Congregation of the Great Spirit, Milwaukee.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:11:00 PM  

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