Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Confession and Vocations

I came across the following article in the December 19th, 2005 edition of the B.C. Catholic. I'd have to agree that vocations are fostered in a faith community which is true to the teachings of the Magisterium, Sacred Tradition, and the Scriptures.

I'm curious as to whether general absolution really is the norm in Quebec, as this article seems to imply. Regarldess, it seems to make sense to me that there is a link between the regular practice of confession and the number of vocations being fostered. Having the opportunity to go to confession with a priest often helps you to recognize areas of your spiritual life that you were unaware of before or may have neglected, that itself may be a means of God opening your heart to consider a priestly or religious vocation.

"Dropping general absolution has helped vocations: bishop" by Steve Lord

Father MacDonald of the Diocese of Saint John said recently a marked increase in the number of priestly vocations in his jurisdiction has come about as a result of getting rid of general absolution as an everyday form of the sacrament of reconciliation.

He said that as many as eight new priests may be ordained in the diocese in the future because of dropping this. Four men are in the seminary and up to four others are heading that way. "It's difficult not to see a link," he said.

Explaining his position in a wide-ranging late November interview, the bishop said general absolution chases away priestly vocations like so many things in the Church that have become forms of dissent or rebellion. Desent repels blessings, he said, and eliminating such dissent as the intended or unintended misuse of general absolution restores blessings.

"The Lord does not bless rebellion" said the bishop. "The Lord has shown this with general absolution." He added that there has been a serious decline in vocations in Quebec, for instance, as a result of having it there, and Catholic churches are being sold there. He said general absolution started out as an exception but became the norm.

"General absolution has been used in wartime with troops going into battle when there's evidence that there would be some lives lost. If they didn't lose their lives and if they had serious sin, they would have to bring it to the power of the keys.

"Never, ever, ever was it foreseen that general absolution should be a norm, but that's what it became; even for first confession of sin by children, first reconciliation, they were given general absolution," he said.

"We need confession. How do we get people back? That's a good question. Should priests sit in the confessionals and wait? I would say, number one, priests should themselves practice regular confession in such a way that the Holy Spirit is alive.

"You see, sin brings its own blindness. Only the Holy Spirit of truth can penetrate the blindness and the darkness and awaken the conscious to sin, but that has to be practised regularly."

He said going to confession was beneficent not only for the penitent, but also for the example to others.

"That's one of the things I saw in Little Pond, Prince Edward Island (the bishop's home community). I can still see these great big men coming out of the confessional, because I was an altar boy and the confessional was in the sacristy."

Going to confession, he explained, is an act of humility and of emptying of oneself, like Jesus did in following the Father's will in becoming a man and dying with anything but dignity.