Christmas Trees Unsafe – Faith Inconvenient

by Jimmy Akin

in Sacraments, Technology

Hey, Tim Jones here again. This is from my blog Old World Swine;

I link THIS STORY
(Reuters) – about the removal of Christmas trees due to the risk of
fire – only because it reminded me of an incident that took place when
I was a newly minted Catholic and Parish Council member.

During one council meeting I noted that some parishioners had asked
me to ask if we couldn’t have some votive candles in the church. The
priest made some remarks about the fire hazard, and said he wasn’t sure
about insurance and liability, and stuff. He suggested electric
candles. The meeting moved on, as I silently resolved not to press the
issue lest we actually wind up with prayer candles that turned on and
off and reminded me of a tacky chandelier at my aunt’s house.

Father then read a letter from our Bishop, directing all parishes to
begin working toward perpetual Eucharistic Adoration as soon as
possible.

If there is a word the opposite of "enthusiasm", it was written all
over our priest’s face. Once again, he noted all the problems that
would have to be overcome… security, scheduling… well, that was
about it, but the upshot was that it was going to be a pain in the tush
and the Bishop’s letter was going to be ignored. That was it.

I must have made some sort of grunt of perplexitude, because I
remember Father explaining to me again what a  gigantic logistical
headache perpetual Adoration would be, and ending with the clincher
that "This parish is just not that devotionally-minded".

Had I been older, and a more grizzled and seasoned Catholic, I might
have asked the question that popped into my head, "…and you are okay
with that? As the spiritual father of the parish, the complete lack of
interest in classic Catholic devotions doesn’t bother you just a teensy bit?". I guess I didn’t ask because I knew the answer.

This also got me to thinking about another question that has
bothered me from time to time, about why we don’t hear from the ambo
more encouragement for Catholics to make use of the sacrament of
Confession. It seems like it is always scheduled at dawn-thirty on
Saturday mornings, and I can count on one hand the number of times I
have heard even the mildest endorsement of it in a homily. Forgive me
if I have entertained the idea that some priests might not push
Confession because they really don’t want to make more work for
themselves.

It must be a dreary job, in a sense, listening to the same old sins
week in and week out, and some that must grieve any sensible person.
There is no one else in the parish who can do it. My Dad was a cop for
a number of years, and I think the constant exposure to the underbelly
of the human family took its toll on him over the years, though he
never talked about it. Cops are basically the guys who follow after the
parade with a shovel.

I would like to have some input from priests or others who might be
able to answer the question. Are some priests, perhaps, partly
motivated to keep mum on the dearth of confessing Catholics by a desire
not to further clutter their already busy schedules? Just asking.

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{ 73 comments }

Dean Whinery December 20, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I’ve observed the same concerning the Sacrament of Penance. Have we become so holy that confessions be offered briefly if at all in some parishes, or by appointment only? In one parish, the pastor cancelled all confessions during Lent!
The pastor of my former parish tended to shift the hours around and reduce them, despite the having three priests in the parish. At least twice I heard him refer to it as a “minor sacrament”. Is one not sanctified just as much be a good confession followed by the pardon this Sacrament brings as receiving the Holy Euchrist?
What ever happened to the “fire and brimstone” priests who came each year for eight or nine days, during which a confessional light was on almost around the clock?

Dean Whinery December 20, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I’ve observed the same concerning the Sacrament of Penance. Have we become so holy that confessions be offered briefly if at all in some parishes, or by appointment only? In one parish, the pastor cancelled all confessions during Lent!
The pastor of my former parish tended to shift the hours around and reduce them, despite the having three priests in the parish. At least twice I heard him refer to it as a “minor sacrament”. Is one not sanctified just as much be a good confession followed by the pardon this Sacrament brings as receiving the Holy Euchrist?
What ever happened to the “fire and brimstone” priests who came each year for eight or nine days, during which a confessional light was on almost around the clock?

Dean Whinery December 20, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I’ve observed the same concerning the Sacrament of Penance. Have we become so holy that confessions be offered briefly if at all in some parishes, or by appointment only? In one parish, the pastor cancelled all confessions during Lent!
The pastor of my former parish tended to shift the hours around and reduce them, despite the having three priests in the parish. At least twice I heard him refer to it as a “minor sacrament”. Is one not sanctified just as much be a good confession followed by the pardon this Sacrament brings as receiving the Holy Euchrist?
What ever happened to the “fire and brimstone” priests who came each year for eight or nine days, during which a confessional light was on almost around the clock?

deusdonat December 20, 2007 at 12:33 pm

Jimmy, excellent post. Really meaningful. I hear you loud and clear. Sometimes it’s a very touchy and sensitive issue to reproach a priest who is errant in his observance of bishop (or even Papal) mandats. Far too many priests run their parishes as their own personal feifdoms based on their own cult of personality.
However, regarding Christmas trees, I for one would not shed a tear if the lot of them were to disappear. I never put one up. I feel Nativity Scenes are far more important and appropriate for the season. But to each his own : )

Esau December 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm

“Jimmy, excellent post.”
Hear, hear!
Jimmy’s awesome!

BobCatholic December 20, 2007 at 1:10 pm

“This parish is just not that devotionally-minded”.
This is what happens when people are trying to change the Catholic Church into the Church of the Holy Mirror. Instead of being devoted to God, people become devoted to the mirror.
It must be a dreary job, in a sense, listening to the same old sins week in and week out, and some that must grieve any sensible person. There is no one else in the parish who can do it. My Dad was a cop for a number of years, and I think the constant exposure to the underbelly of the human family took its toll on him over the years, though he never talked about it. Cops are basically the guys who follow after the parade with a shovel.
Interesting how you’ll see more cynical and nasty-minded cops than you’ll see cynical and nasty-minded priests. They both deal with the same evils, see people at their worst. But yet the priests, generally speaking, do not behave like cynical cops do.
This is proof of the Holy Spirit working in our priests.

Fr Bill P December 20, 2007 at 1:12 pm

OK..here’s a view from the other side.
I schedule 1/2 hour of confessions before all Masses (weekdays included). It gives me plenty of time to catch up with prayer. I preach about confession and the need for it (quite eloquently from what some tell me)…and yet where are the throngs of people? I called their bluff with “you don’t do it enough”. Now we have it everyday but monday. Now I hear that it is at the wrong times. Right. I’d bet if I was there 24/7 they would move on to a new excuse.
WE have 24 hour adoration on 1st Fridays & 1st Saturday. I have enough coverage to make sure someone is there all the time, but the fast majority of my parishioners would apparently be deep-fried in oil. I hear, “I can pray by myself” and other protestant sounding excuses. I am happy to get them show up when we already have it. I have made suggestions that we do a 40 hour devotion. Want to talk about the look on the face of the priest in this post??? I got a whole room full of it.
I will grant that I have a 300 family parish in an rural area, but we could be doing more. THe problem isn’t the teaching…nor even the preaching…nor the availibility. It is the laity. I love my parishioners a great deal. I will continue to conjole them on to deepening their faith, but I know a lot of priests like myself who have tried and have gotten shot down repeatedly. Some give up. Now I do not know whether the priest in this story is such a priest. I probably would not be so cavelier in my assessment of what the bishop wanted. I can tell you the insurance companies do not like the votive candles (have them anyway) and 2 churches in my diocese have burned to the ground because of them in last 5 years.
I guess what I am trying to say is that the next time you want to presume the worst in the priest in the story, step back and see that when conservatives get what they say they want…they don’t always answer so well. Priests, though, should perservere to drive their flock to higher ground and continue to challenge the laissez-faire attitude present in most parishes. People who don’t like laissez-faire priests: 2 things: 1) support the priests who are trying to do the right thing instead of just criticizing the ones who don’t & 2) Guess what laissez-faire priests were before they were priests…laissez-faire laity. You want better..the recruit young men who will follow God and the Church with undivided hearts..who would despise laissez-faire…raise you children to avoid it as well (and talk to them about priestly vocations).
I will agree there needs to major shifts int he Church in this country. But that shift isn’t just with the clergy.

Mat December 20, 2007 at 1:15 pm

A very insightful post. I find this to be the norm throughout North America, with a few noted exceptions.
Why do you think that parishes offer General Absolution when they know it is not generally permitted. I’m willing to bet it’s not because they’re trying to lure in lapsed parishioners, but because it’s convenient. Same reason priests waltz into church ten minutes before Mass, and then dash out right after. Pastors seem to love to gripe about paper work, money, declining parishioners, and many give the impression that they are trustees rather than priests.
To rub salt on the wound, people (including thesep priests themselves) moan about how overworked Pastors are. “Oh, Father so-and-so is so overworked! He only spends about three hours a week in Church, but he’s so overworked!” If parishes are dying, it’s because many priests have lost their zeal.
As to the topic Eucharistic Adoration, when an effort to start it at my parish was made not to long ago, the former (retired) Pastor, who says Mass there quite often, inquired “What would want that for?”
I’ll probably be entering seminary in a few years, and although I certainly don’t profess to know much about being a priest, I’ll be able to keep in mind during my years of service exactly how not to be a priest.
However, I must say that over the past few months, I’ve been praying for the priests in my Diocese, and I’ve noticed a small change in my parish priest, who now sits in the confessional for a little while before each Mass. I certainly hope this isn’t a fluke! Also, in my experience, frequently going to confession yourself with a certain priest can often have an effect on him. He may say to himself “hey, if these laymen are going to confession every week, maybe I should too.”
Regardless, we all need to pray for our priests.

Esau December 20, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Just for the record, the priests in the parish I have been attending are AWESOME!
(That’s not to say the subject priest here is not similarly awesome; for all we know, he may be dealing with a “lukewarm parish”!)
They often preach on how important Confession is and how necessary — unlike those parishes I’ve been to where Confession, in the mind of its liberal congregation, is not even a sacrament but merely a psychological convenience (a free service, if you will, as a convenient substitute for psychological counseling) for those who may need to spout out what they need to in order to feel better about themselves!
How sad is this!?

Little Gidding December 20, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Not a problem in our admittedly extraordinary parish–confession is heard six days a week. All three priests are there MWF at 7PM as long as the lines last, and the same on Sat at 3:30. On Tues and Thurs, confession is at 6:00AM and 8:30AM, which is half an hour before the two daily weekday Masses. Last Wed, a typical night I think, for this time of year, there were about 60-70 people there for confession. Our priests often, often tell us, cajole us, persuade us, invite us, welcome us, etc., during their homilies to receive the sacrament of Penance. And, for the past year or so, I’ve noticed, the bulletin–which used to describe it as the “Sacrament of Reconciliation,” and then the “Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance,” now just calls it the “Sacrament of Penance.”
To my mind, the collapse of Penance–the sacrament and other penitential practices–was the worst thing that happened in the Church in recent times.

Tim J. December 20, 2007 at 2:12 pm

Thanks, Fr. Bill P., for your comments. I want to treat everyone fairly, especially our priests, who have so many demands on their time and who carry such a great responsibility.
I’m grateful for your perspective. I know I personally need to pray more for all priests. I have also pulled back, somewhat, from a lot of parish activities I had been involved in. I DO hope to be able to be of more help soon.
God bless you and your parishioners.

georgeaquinas December 20, 2007 at 2:13 pm

Well, I am happy to report that at my parish, Christ the King in South Bend, Indiana the topic of confession and the need for confession has been worked into each Advent Homily. Also, our parish had two nights when nine priests were present to take confession—I belive that these priests exchange nights with each other—–I know several parishes had a night like this.

Harrym December 20, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Here’s my two cents. A success story in suburban Philadelphia:
My pastor has emphasized the need for reconciliation every Lent and Advent since he arrived at St. Cornelius Parish in Chadds Ford, PA 4 years ago. He follows his words with action. He invites local priests each Lent/Advent to participate in a Reconcilation Service. Last night there were 17 (!) priests hearing confession and over 350 people attended. If you preach it, they will come.
Merry Christmas

JoAnna December 20, 2007 at 4:22 pm

I live in a fairly large city (around 100,000 people) and luckily have a number of parishes near my home. There’s 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration at the Cathedral, and Reconciliation M-F from 11am-12pm as well as on Saturday from 3pm-5pm (and by appointment). We usually try to go to Saturday reconciliation, but we have to get there early because there is always a long line!
The other two parishes near my home offer Reconciliation half an hour before all daily masses and by appointment.
Our priests also preach about the necessity of Reconcilation frequently. Just a few weeks ago I recall a homily in which the priest encouraged the faithful to be specific when telling their sins (as opposed to vague) so the priest could offer better spiritual guidance.
So, I’d say we’re pretty lucky in this neck of the woods.
I admit I should go to Eucharistic Adoration more often, but what with working full time, having a toddler, and being six months’ pregnant, it’s difficult to find some free time in which to go. I’m glad it’s offered 24/7 near my home, though.

Masked Penitent December 20, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Are some priests, perhaps, partly motivated to keep mum on the dearth of confessing Catholics by a desire not to further clutter their already busy schedules?
No, not in my limited (lay) experience, which confirms FrBillP’s comments.
I am also reliably informed that many priests regularly sit and wait in the confessional and wait and wait …
The problem is not in the supply(availability) of confession but the demand for it. Nowadays, most Catholics rarely, if ever, avail themselves of this means of reconciliation.
Why? that’s an important question – but the reason is not a lack of availability.
Sometimes it seems that many more people prefer to confess all on TV.

AnnonyMouse December 20, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Tim,
You need to pray for your priest as he obviously seems discouraged.
One thing, you can suggest as far as the Eucharistic Adoration goes is to have installed keypad locks. That way, only the people who sign up for adoration will know the code.
And maybe YOU need to volunteer to make yourself available for the installation or say you will make sure someone is there to get it installed, etc. Just my $.02

Tim J. December 20, 2007 at 7:34 pm

I want to point out that I was intentionally vague in this post, not indicating what parish or which priest I was referring to.
I will say that this happened years ago and does not refer to any current situation, though I appreciate the concern.

A Non December 21, 2007 at 12:39 am

Well, I would need some more information on the eucharistic adoration. In some churches it would be wrong to have such devotions. Very wrong.

A Non December 21, 2007 at 12:50 am

Sorry, was just waking up and I miss-read the story; for some reason I read the Bishop said no to eucharistic adoration and the church was going to go against him. When the bishop says to do it, do it.

A Non December 21, 2007 at 12:53 am

I just noticed I misread the original story (must be because I was just waking up). I thought the church was going against the bishop by having eucharistic adoration; but if the bishop says to have it, then have it.
Nonetheless, there are traditions where eucharistic adoration are a no-no, and it’s what I thought was taking place here. People trying to start it up where it should not be, with the bishop being firm with tradition.

A Non December 21, 2007 at 12:53 am

I just noticed I misread the original story (must be because I was just waking up). I thought the church was going against the bishop by having eucharistic adoration; but if the bishop says to have it, then have it.
Nonetheless, there are traditions where eucharistic adoration are a no-no, and it’s what I thought was taking place here. People trying to start it up where it should not be, with the bishop being firm with tradition.

A Non December 21, 2007 at 12:53 am

I just noticed I misread the original story (must be because I was just waking up). I thought the church was going against the bishop by having eucharistic adoration; but if the bishop says to have it, then have it.
Nonetheless, there are traditions where eucharistic adoration are a no-no, and it’s what I thought was taking place here. People trying to start it up where it should not be, with the bishop being firm with tradition.

Mary Kay December 21, 2007 at 4:51 am

So far we have two sides: One is “blame the priests for casual attitude toward Confession ” and the other is “blame the laity for not showing up.” The only thing that proves is that one’s personal experience is not sufficient, in itself, to made a general statement about the Church as a whole.
My own experience is mostly that where Confession is offered, even when treated casually, there are lines of laity. But that’s not the whole Church.
Bottom line, I wouldn’t give either side a free pass.

Fr. Larry Gearhart December 21, 2007 at 5:23 am

I can identify with the priest who has a small parish. When people know that the priest knows them well by face and by voice, people frequently feel anxious about baring their souls to him. It seems to be a lot easier for folks to confess to a stranger, especially from behind a screen.
I suspect this may be particularly true for my parishioners (I, too, am the pastor of small parishes), because I am known to have a keen, analytical mind. Combine this with the fact that I’m an introvert (so that I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve), and you can appreciate their caution.
Maybe if I continue to make progress in my own spiritual life (with, among other things, adoration of the Eucharist and frequent confession), my parishioners will also come to see compassion in me, and they won’t find the prospect of opening their own personal can-of-worms before me to be so daunting. Then, too, this is only my second year as pastor.

Scott W. December 21, 2007 at 5:27 am

Nonetheless, there are traditions where eucharistic adoration are a no-no
Example? I see where it was ended in a Cali diocese and a rather lame excuse offered for it–that basically PA started in the 13th century and not the 6th (so what?), and that we should use the time for social work (false dilema).

The Masked Chicken December 21, 2007 at 6:44 am

Mary Kay has raised an interesting question: has there ever been a statistical study of confessional use in the US? I realize that priests would probably have to be excluded, but would questions like, “when was the last time you confessed to a priest in a confessional,” be too invasive? They might reveal enough data to see some patterns. Ultimately, the problem seems to be church-specific. I know of a city where people are falling out the door for confession every day and yet a Church only a few miles away has confession for fifteen minutes on Saturday afternoon.
The Chicken

Sparki December 21, 2007 at 6:47 am

I have to say, I’m flummoxed.
I converted 4.5 years ago, but confession is and always been a big part of the Catholic experience for me. It has been often spoke of and encouraged by the two priests who have pastored our parish in that time. I guess I thought this was normal, although I have heard it often said of our downtown parish that there is a unique ministry in the Sacrament of Confession here. We have daily confession from 11 to noon, and then Mass at 12:10, and both are well-attended by downtown workers. On Saturdays, confession is from 7 a.m to 8:15 (Mass at 8:30), 11 to noon (Mass at 12:10), 3 to 3:45 (Mass at 4) and 7 to 9.
This week, extra confession times are scheduled from 7 to 8:30 on Wed., Thurs. & Fri. to handle all the extra folks who want to confess one extra time during Advent.
I usually go to confession taking an early lunch hour at the office, just because it’s more convenient for me, though I sometimes go on Saturday evenings. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have to stand in line. There has always been at least one person ahead of me, and at times there have been 10 or more, and two priests hearing confession. The retired priest’s home is about 2 miles away and they’ll come help Fr. out in hearing confessions when it’s really busy during Advent and Lent.
But I don’t think this is limited to just our parish. All the other parishes in our town offer daily confession times and daily mass. In the rural areas of our diocese, confession is often offered only once a week, on Saturdays, but being Advent, they’ll all have extra confession times scheduled in the evenings, too.
Oh, and btw, I don’t live in a large city or a particularly Catholic city — I live in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Masked Chicken December 21, 2007 at 6:48 am

Let me clarify…
It should have been:
I Know of a city that has one Church where people are falling out the door for confession, every day, and yet a Church only a few miles away has confessions for fifteen minutes on Saturday afternoon.
The Chicken
(Maybe I’ve been a good Chicken…typepad has let me post longer paragraphs :) )

Sparki December 21, 2007 at 6:49 am

I forgot to mention, our kids go to Catholic school and they all have confession once a month once they’ve made their first penance as part of their religion class. So the kids are really “trained up” to think of confession as a Sacrament one receives monthly.

The Masked Chicken December 21, 2007 at 7:18 am

Don’t mean to highjack this thread, but Christmas trees made me think of something: Please, please, please, if you know someone in a nursing home or otherwise, alone (even, casually), try to visit them during this Christmas season. It is an act of mercy; it is a form of alms-giving; you may be in that situation, someday.
Given the number of Baby-boomers who never married and the number of parents living to advanced ages, I can imagine that there are many people who will never see a familiar face during this Christmas season. I realize that everyone is really busy, but especially if you have kids, what a great way to show that older people are not to be discarded or that Christ is present even to those who feel abandoned.
Again, sorry for highjacking the thread, but it seems like a timely point.
The Chicken

Beau December 21, 2007 at 7:18 am

I read a blog post by a priest in our diocese not long ago. It was basically a rant about Summorum Pontificum, but that’s beside the point. In the post he posed the question: Do we really want to go back to sermons that are about the expiation of sin?
I couldn’t help but think…YES! I’ve gone to confession at five or six different parishes in the diocese, and if anyone has shown up at all, there’s never more than a few.
On occasion I attend the extraordinary form of Mass (it’s 150 miles away, so not as often as I’d like). At that parish, confession begins an hour before Mass, lasts all through Mass, and continues long after Mass, until there is nobody left waiting. The sermons frequently discuss sin and it’s expiation. Seems to be some sort of correlation there…
Fr. Bill P. has my sympathies and prayers – keep up the good work, it really does make a difference! The traditional community mentioned in the above paragraph is exceptional and I know that. I also know that there are a lot of people that have gone so long without being told about sin, that they’re walking around thinking they haven’t committed any.

Catholic Bibliophagist December 21, 2007 at 7:59 am

My current parish offers confession before all Sunday Masses and there are always people in line until Father leaves the confessional to say Mass.
They’re offering it three times a day every day in the week before Christmas.
My previous parish offered Confessions for an hour on Saturday afternoons and a half hour on Saturday evenings. Sometimes you’d get there and find that confessions were canceled because of a wedding or something. Lines were seldom long. (They preferred to push twice yearly Penance services.)

Alex Benziger.G December 21, 2007 at 9:21 am

To all the viewers of this blog
………….
It is a mortal sin to eat eggs
-Sidhbavanandhaji- Hindu Priest
Environmentalists speak:
Do not cut the trees, even if
it is standing in the middle of
the road.
Law says:
Do not kill stray dogs , even
if it is mad dog.
Ironically another law says:
Abort the child in the womb
freely without any
restrictions
But the other law says:
Child in the womb has vested
right to succeed the property
of his father.
What a shame !!
The strange laws and the
Indifferent people.
May Infant Jesus
Showers His Grace on the
people to live with Love and
Truth
Wish you a Merry Christmas
and
Happy NEW YEAR 2008
BY
G. Alex Benziger, Advocate
alexbenziger@aol.com

Tim J. December 21, 2007 at 9:40 am

Well… how can you argue with that?

Margaret December 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

Chicken– I don’t think it’s a hijack, and it’s worth repeating. Many of the folks in the old folks’ homes have few or no visitors. Christmastime and ANYTIME are great times to go, and especially to bring the kids along (assuming they don’t have coughs and runny noses!)
My parish has a group of families that rotate through a few times a year, and pay birthday visits to the residents at a local home. Only one visit is expected per month, so we stop by EVERYONE who has, for instance, a May birthday. We bring a balloon and home made card, sing happy birthday, and just visit for a few minutes.
A similar model could work now– homemade Christmas cards, and a carol or two. You don’t have to be the Von Trap family singers for this to work, and you’d be amazed at the power of music on some apparently unresponsive older folks.
God bless us, everyone. :-)

Mary December 21, 2007 at 10:48 am

Why would you want to? 0:)

Tim J. December 21, 2007 at 11:51 am

I have to say, I may steal Alex’s opening line “To all the viewers of this blog”.
It has the twin properties of being totally useless and also pompous… kind of like Congress.
In addition, it makes it sound like an alien from a 1950’s “B” movie has dropped in on the combox… “People of Earth… we have come for your cocktail weenies… resistance is futile…”

Dan Hunter December 21, 2007 at 12:30 pm

Both my mother and Father distinctly remember long lines of people awaiting confession on Saturday afternoon and one hour before Holy Mass on Sundays. Between 50-100 people at 5 pm Saturday. 7 am Sundays.
This happened in the 1940’s and the 1950’s in a small suburban town in New York.
I remember growing up in the 1970’s and seeing maybe 10-15 people waiting to confess on Saturday afternoon. At that point there where no scheduled confessions on Sunday.
Just before I began assisting at the Tridentine Mass Parish,in 2004, there was maybe 2 or 3 people waiting for confession, at my old Novus Ordo parish. Sometimes the priest never showed up.
So the progression that I can report in our family’s situation was: 1950’s scheduled confession at least twice a week priest in the confessional for 2 hours at least. 50-100 people
1970’s: scheduled confession Saturday afternoon for 1 hour. 10-15 people
2003: scheduled confession Saturday afternoon 30 minutes 2-3 people sometimes the priest did not show up.
Now at our Diocesan all Tridentine Mass Parish scheduled confessions on Monday 4-6 pm
Wednesday 5-6 pm
Friday 4-6 pm
Saturday 3-4:30 pm
Sunday right before the 12 noon mass from 10:30-11:30
Any other time by appointment.
I can only speak for the Sunday 10:30 confession but I would estimate that 20-30 people recieve this Sacrament of the Dead.
God bless you.
Ut Prosim

John J. Simmins December 21, 2007 at 12:30 pm

At an old parish, we brought up EA. The pastor waxed on about insurance, lighting, etc. Then, he mentioned that someone might be mugged or even killed in the middle of the night. One person piped up “Oh, how wonderful to be martyred in the presence of Christ!” That brought the pastor to a complete stop, complete with unbelieving stare. Then, the deacon piped in that he didn’t understand the theology of EA….
At that point, we knew we were lost.

Esau Who? December 21, 2007 at 12:34 pm

“By the ancient rites of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this … it is defended!”

Esau December 21, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Ooopsss…
My above post was in response to Tim J’s In addition, it makes it sound like an alien from a 1950’s “B” movie has dropped in on the combox… “People of Earth… we have come for your cocktail weenies… resistance is futile…”.

Laura December 21, 2007 at 12:50 pm

At my parish at least, confession is held for 15 minutes each day before every mass and on Saturdays it’s held for an hour. If I get to go during a week day, there are usually people there all the time, not many, but a few and I think seeing at least a few people everyday is a good thing. The priests at my parish are wonderful, and we also have 24 EA, which I love.

Monica December 21, 2007 at 1:38 pm

I’m in the LA archdiocese and we are blessed to have 24 hr EA, and the lines at confession are always long. Confession is only offered sat afternoon and again sat evening from 8-9pm, and I’ve never been when there wasn’t a long line. Usually there are 2 priests there, plus we have 2x year a penance service with more than 10 priests available to hear confessions.
There is mild exhortation from the pulpit to attend confession when there is a penance service, but otherwise not much. Last week I was about #15 in line, and there were at least that many people in line when I was done. We have a huge parish though, so perhaps that accounts for it. Percentage wise we may not be that much different from the small country parish, though I expect adoration has a lot to do with how this goes.

The Masked Chicken December 21, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Since one of the areas I do work in is plant material properties, I suppose I should say something about Christmas tree safety. It is very hard to ignite a moisture saturated Christmas tree. In fact, tests have been done to simulate normal conditions [warning, PDF file]:
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/pdf1997/white97b.pdf
that have found it to be virtually impossible to start a Christmas tree on fire if the stem moisture content is above 75%. The problem is that many people do not know how to properly set up a live Christmas tree. If the mositure level in the stem falls below 75%. the stem will no longer conduct water, no matter how deeply the stem is immersed. From that point on, the needles dry out and the Christmas tree becomes a very easy ignition source. It is sometimes difficult to tell stem moisture content by looking at the tree.
I won’t tell people how to set up Christmas trees, due to liability issues, but most of the time, if the article’s research is correct, Christmas trees which ignite have not been handled properly to keep the moisture content high enough. Yes, Christmas trees are extremely dangerous once they reach critical moisture content. A moist Christmas tree will burn (if at all) with about 69 kW (kilowatts of heat); a dry tree will burn with 786 to 1667 kW.
Be safe, people.
The Chicken

Esau December 21, 2007 at 2:15 pm

The Masked Chicken,
You from China by any chance? ;^)

Lynn O. Peterson December 21, 2007 at 3:27 pm

On Our Elderly Catholics (and others)
Following in the footsteps (chicken scratches?) of our Mr. C., allow me to report in from Santa Monica, then pick up his thread less travelled. We have:
* long lines for confessions, always
* twice yearly penance services, once this week and the other in Lent
* a team of 50 lay volunteers who bring pre-consecrated host to 7 local nursing homes using the Rite of Distributing Holy Communion Outside Mass (Long Form)
Many of the service (not Mass, but an authorized communion service) attendees at our local retirement homes (independent and assisted living facilities, as well as SNFs (skilled nursing facilities)) are former Eucharistic Ministers to the Sick and Homebound themselves and can no longer attend Mass because of age or infirmity. They appreciate our volunteer efforts immensely and we, the volunteers, find it very satisfying. Our priests visit several times a year for Mass, confessions and TLC.
For more information on serving the elderly, check out my partner’s web site on the Institute for Sunday Liturgy for the Elderly (ISLE) at
http://www.isle-national.org
Kindly ignore the 404s…we’re a work in progress.
Totus tuus,
Lynn O. Peterson, OPL

Glenn Dallaire December 21, 2007 at 3:48 pm

A Priest once complained to St. John Vianney (the Cure d’ Ars) that his parishoners are lukewarm, that the confessionals are almost empty and that Sunday Mass is lightly attended.
In reply, St. John Vianney asked him “How much have you personally sacrificed and done penance for your flock? You yourself must make sacrifices and do penances if you want to bring souls to God”.

Esau December 21, 2007 at 4:05 pm

To all the viewers of this blog
………….
Ask not what your priests can do for you —
But what you can do for your priests!
Wish you a Merry Christmas
and
Happy NEW YEAR 2008
BY
Joe Smith, Advocate
y-do-u-care@aol.com

Mary December 21, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Esau — oh, another Whovian!

A Non December 22, 2007 at 1:16 am

Scott
Go to a Byzantine parish.

Scott W. December 22, 2007 at 5:21 am

Go to a Byzantine parish.
Ok, but I don’t see how anyone could interperet the op to mean Byzantine rites which have their own bishops afaik.

Scott W. December 22, 2007 at 5:29 am

On further research, it looks like a byzantine rite parish can be under a Latin rite bishop if the numbers are small enough. But again, common-sense suggests the op as an example of typical Latin-rite resistance to pa.

Mary December 22, 2007 at 8:52 am

On the Cure d’ Ars point:
Sometimes true.
Sometimes, one must consider that sometimes Jesus’s followers left him. When He preached about the Bread of Life. When things got rough — all but a tiny handful failed at the Crucifiction. Sometimes it is a priest’s appointed cross to bear, that his parish is lukewarm.
It is, of course, always morally permissable to pray that a given cross be removed. 0:)

Anonymous December 22, 2007 at 4:58 pm

I have not been a Catholic for many years yet and have experience of only two parishes. FWIW, here’s my experience.
First parish, confession was officially available for twenty minutes on Saturday, although I am not sure that the priest was always there for that whole time. I went to church there many times (as a pre-Catholic) before I even knew where the confessional was; it just looked like any other door in the wall. I only remember seeing anyone come out of it once. Confession was never mentioned in the homilies, nor was there much preaching at all. However, the priest was and is a very well-liked man and there are a lot of people in the RCIA class every year.
Second parish, confession is available starting forty minutes to an hour before every weekend mass and going as long as there’s anyone in line after mass. Plus there’s big Advent and Lenten penances services, “by appointment”, and, I think, First Friday confessions. The big difference though is that confession is frequently mentioned in the homilies as something we need to do, and at the end of mass we are reminded that father will be hearing confessions. And people come. Exactly once have I been to confession when there wasn’t a line ahead of me and that was because it was 1.) very early Sunday morning and 2.) a hurricane was supposed to hit the next day so a lot of people had left town; people did come after me. Although the priest here may be less warm and outgoing and although it is a smaller town, this is also a growing parish, and I personally feel more edified by the sermons. And very grateful that it is so easy (availability-wise, not facing up to my sins-wise) to go to confession here.
I agree with what Father Larry Gearhart says about many people finding it harder to confess to a priest who knows their voice, but I think if turnout for confession increases at the small churches, that fear is somewhat alleviated because people figure the priest is less likely to remember any one thing said today when he is hearing from a long line of people! Father Trigilio (?) on EWTN once said that a blessed sort of forgetfulness sets in and priests can’t remember confessions, that they all kind of blur together. Maybe more people need to hear that to make them less reluctant to go? :-) That, plus a reminder that you can not shock a priest because they have heard it all before, might quiet a lot of nervousness.
Oh, and as regards Eucharistic Adoration. I do not participate in perpetual adoration for several reasons–a couple of personal reasons I won’t go into, but also because for a long time I had little idea what I was supposed to do if I went and so figured I wouldn’t do it right. I heard people say it was a good thing but never heard anyone say what you actually do if you are there alone with the exposed Eucharist; it’s one thing if there’s a big group and you are doing group prayers, but what do you do alone or maybe with one other person silently praying there? I have since gathered that ordinary prayer is fine, but I suspect a lot of other people who might be willing to go are like I was and wondered what they were actually supposed to do if they went. And maybe wondering if they have trouble focusing on prayer when they’re at home, wouldn’t it be even worse to lose track and have their mind wandering in the presence of the blessed sacrament. What I’m saying is that maybe sometimes part of the problem is simple, curable ignorance.

Scott W. December 23, 2007 at 5:45 am

Good points anonymous. Laity response can’t be predicted or manufactured as in homilies about confession + high availability of confession = lots of confession use. If you build it, they may not necessarily come, but I think anyone would agree that if we don’t build it, therefore they can’t come is an unacceptable situation.
On Eucharistic Adoration (perpetual or otherwise), there should literature at the location explaining what is going on and what to do, but basically there is no wrong way to do it within common sense. Pray, read Scripture, books on the saints or religious instruction, or just sit in silence. Some people don’t want to do adoration and no one one should give them a hard time for not doing it and I’ve yet to meet anyone who did. I have however met people who objected to the very idea of adoration itself, and their objections just don’t add up. If there is simply not enough people to do it, or if the rite like the Byzantines doen’t have the tradition, that’s legit. But when people start in with “we should not do adoration because people can’t take it with them when they are done”, or that we should be using the time to do social works, it indicates something else is going on.

Mary Kay December 23, 2007 at 11:25 am

I had little idea what I was supposed to do if I went and so figured I wouldn’t do it right.
Anonymous, your wanting to “do it right” touched me. There’s no “right way” to go to Eucharistic Adoration. Some people pray the rosary or divine chaplet or read Scripture. I think it’s sufficient to simply be in the presence of the Lord. To be Mary rather than Martha. I saw a mini-booklet once on Adoration that said to just bring your concerns, whatever it is that you’re thinking about and bring them to the Eucharistic Presence. So simply being there or being “active” with reading or praying – either is fine.

JV December 25, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Anonymous, when words fail, just look at Him and let Him look on you. If you fall asleep, that’s what we like to call the “Prayer of St. Peter”. 😉

Maureen December 26, 2007 at 8:51 am

A lot of non-Catholics really long for Confession. You see this in all the times it shows up in TV shows.
Re: lukewarm parishes
It’s logical that God would send them a priest who wants to do something, isn’t it? And it’s just human nature that sometimes it takes a while for people to take advantage of something “new”. Please don’t be discouraged. Just keep doing what needs doing, stubbornly. Be flexible about ways and means, but don’t give up.
You’re helping God sculpt human beings like some kind of bonsai tree. It can take a while. (That pesky free will thing.) :)
Re: right times
I’d like to put in a word for those of us who aren’t morning people. There will never be a time when I will get to morning Mass, unless I sleep next door to church. So the chances that someone like me would ever get to Confession before morning Mass? Pff.
I also don’t have a car, so noon Mass is another thing I’m never able to attend. I work, and it’s just too far to walk to church and back to work in an hour.
Now, if my church had an evening daily confession time — one scheduled after work — people like me would be able to attend. We do have a Saturday Confession time, but I can rarely get there because I have a commitment every Saturday that runs well over that time. And when we had our Advent penitence service, it was during choir practice…..
I don’t even have kids, and I have problems like this. Admittedly, a car would make noon Mass possible, but I’d never be able to eat lunch. (It’s meant for the school kids, really, and scheduled before _their_ lunch.)
So yeah, it’s all very well to say that if I really cared I’d make time. But it’s never seemed to me that our parish schedules are adapted to working adults. They’re fine for retired people, school kids at the parochial school, and the priests. Meanwhile, most evenings the parish grounds are occupied only by sports and meetings of a few interest groups (like the choir practice). This has been a pattern at most parishes I’ve known, except those that cut out the afternoon and morning activities, too.

Maureen December 26, 2007 at 8:54 am

In the olden days, a lot of parishes in urban areas had late, late Masses and classes and Confession times. (Of course, the Cure of Ars was in there all the time, but I’m not talking him.)
The extreme of this was Fr. Duffy in New York, who instituted a 2 AM Sunday Mass for the newspaper and Broadway workers in his parish. Best Mass Time EVER. :)

Jarnor23 December 26, 2007 at 11:52 am

I’m there, dude. I thought Midnight Mass for Christmas was a beautiful thing when I did it this year for the first time! Although the primary thing was the sheer beauty, peace, and tranquility of the celebration of Christ’s birth, I have to also say I was glad to worship in an hour very in tune with my body’s sleep cycle as I work late hours.

RAnn December 26, 2007 at 5:26 pm

I’ll second the comment about confession times perhaps being part of the problem. The typical parish here has confessions from 3-3:35 on Sat. afternoon, followed by the vigil mass at 4:00. In most parishes the vigil mass is the “old folks” mass. IMO the reason for that is that for families with kids, Saturdays are days for errands, housecleaning, birthday parties, shopping, and other chores. If I don’t want to show up at confession looking/smelling like I’ve been doing house/yard work all day, I need to quit those chores no later than 2:30 to get ready to show up at church for 3:00 and if I want to make it a family affair, we’d have to start earlier. I know the priests are busy on Sunday mornings, but that’s when most people make time for church. Scheduling confessions, adult ed etc. would, IMO be a way to get someone there other than the same “old folks” who attend everything. Offering confessions before daily mass would be nice for the crowd that is there, but daily mass is at 9:00 a.m., not when those who work normal jobs can make it.

Monica December 26, 2007 at 6:32 pm

when I was in college one of the daily masses offered was at 5 pm with confessions offered afterwords. THis worked amazingly well timewise though I know it’s preferable to confess before Mass. I made it to confession far more often than I do now, mostly because of the sat afternoon interruption of yardwork (read ‘sweaty, dirty, time to start dinner prep, etc.)

Fr Bill P December 27, 2007 at 6:42 am

I have read some of the responses and will now respond again.
I am afraid that some, unwittingly and unintentionally, have inculturated a sad attitude into the practice of faith: it has to be convenient to my schedule. It is across the board.
It is the priest who gives as little his time as possible to ministry and sees it as an imposition on his time…the priest who sees the preisthood as a 9 to 5 job. It is the priest who, as one of my brother priest here said, “would not become a slave of the confessional” (translation: confession is 15 minutes before sat night Mass)
It is the bishops who keep rolling back Holy Days of Obligation, lessening the liturgical role sought after. IT is the continual dumbing down of catechesis, the caving in to fringe groups, and towing the liberal line on just about everything…all for the sake of not having to engage people where they really live. It is easy to talk social justice…that is about other people’s sins…much harder to talk about personal behavior…hits too close to home.
What is the end result? A laity who, for the most part, see the Church as a service industry…whose hours must be as convenient as the hours at a store or restaurant. Homilies have to be a collection of feel-good sound bites. Teaching should impinge on their lives as little as possible. Having to switch around one’s day around a matter of faith or the practice thereof (say confession)is simply not done. Faith must be convenient to my life…not my life must be convenient to my faith.
WE seldom learn. The lower we set the bar the lesser result we get. It is the same attitude that permeates education in this country. The lower we set the bar, we more we nurture the narcissistic beast devouring this country.
Faith shouldn’t be convenient!!! It should upset our lifestyles…it should challenge it. But as long as the clergy caves into the temptation to lower the bar (and thus their workload) the laity will respond. Faith should lead us to heroic virtue, not insipid pandering. Faith should trasform (hello?? grace), should help us put our priorities straight. Is it not the Scriptures that tell us that we are called to live in the world but not of the world? Then allow the practice of your faith to inconvience your lives. Yes, we still have jobs and other responsibilities…but all things in their right order.
WE clerics should quit lowering the bar. It is our call to keep the bar high and to give through the sacraments, teaching, preaching, and pastoring, the means to get over the bar. I wonder if the milquetoast attitude of so many clergy is what drives away young men in droves from even considering the priesthood. If we live it as the life of heroic virtue it is called to be, you can bet it will inpsire. It will inspire vocations…it will inspire fidelity.
Maybe as the new year draws near, and we get all in a dither about resolutions..we find one that makes us practice our faith at the price of inconveniencing our lives in some manner. Now is the time for heroic virtue!! And not just from clerics, but from laity as well.

Augustine December 27, 2007 at 7:51 am

Recently there have been ellections for the parish council. As so few put their names down, pretty much anyone who does gets into the council.
I prayed about signing up and the kind of things that popped into my mind while reflecting on it was similar to the one describe above.
Unfortunately, I’m not blessed with a “pastoral”, i.e., nowadays a synonym for watering down the Faith to a comfortable level, attitude and would not be able to provide an effective service there.
May St. Cure d’Ars pray for our priests.

Tim J. December 27, 2007 at 8:25 am

Thanks, Father Bill! You should have a blog.
The faith has always been inconvenient, for some to the point of death, so I don’t mind getting out to confession early on Saturday, though I should go more often. I do wonder whether we might have more participation with more emphasis and broader scheduling. You are absolutely right that the clergy and the laity need to both challenge and support one another.
A few times I have heard people talking as if the Church were like any other kind of service industry, as if the teaching and “programs” should be determined by focus groups, popular vote, or something.
To those who feel that the Church ought to cater to the marketplace – this is one of those areas of life that’s NOT all about you.

Susan Peterson December 27, 2007 at 10:03 am

I have a question about confession. I used to go monthly but have lapsed greatly and go before Christmas and Easter, and sometimes when we visit the Toronto oratory in the summer. This year I missed before Christmas due to an unscheduled family visit at the time I had planned to go. My question is…how do you remember your sins? Years ago it seems that I always knew what I had to say and my problem was fear of saying it. Now, my problem is that my mind goes blank. I know this isn’t because I don’t have any sins! Sometimes I say something that hurts someone’s feelings and I feel bad about it and remember it for maybe a day, and then it is gone, into the blur of time past. I think it is easier if one goes more often, but it is difficult to start. The first time I went to confession as a Catholic (I had gone once as an Anglican) the priest “examined my conscience.” To tell the truth I was rather astonished by his categories and the areas the examination covered, and those it didn’t. (He was an older Redemptorist in 1972.) But now I almost wish that priests were prepared to do something like this.
I also disagree with those who feel that being anonymous is important. Fine for those who feel that way, and there have been a very few times in my life when I wanted that. But my best experiences of confession were when there was a priest I saw regularly for confession and spiritual direction. This was long ago, though, and a priest who seems as if he is such a person has not appeared recently. Maybe I am not looking with the right eyes.
I don’t think priests judge people at all for what they confess. Rather, they are moved by their humility and see them as people who are trying to grow spiritually.
I used to think, How can I possibly say that? Now I just can’t remember what to say. I know this means I am in bad shape, spiritually. But I think this is the main reason why I don’t go.
SFP

Tim J. December 27, 2007 at 10:25 am

Susan, I have always had a notoriously poor memory (unlike my brother, who can recall very clearly events from our childhood, much of it is very foggy to me).
I also wrestle with remembering my sins specifically. This is why it is a good idea to do an examination of conscience at the end of every day, and perhaps even to write down important points (if you don’t feel you can keep your privacy protected, you can write using a simple code).
This is also another reason why frequent confession is a great thing. If you can’t think of any mortal sins, you can confess venial ones, and this in itself can be very helpful in spiritual growth.
In any case, if you try your best to confess ALL your sins to the priest, then all your sins are absolved, even the ones you forgot. You are also free – in fact you should – confess these sins later, if you remember them.

Jarnor23 December 27, 2007 at 1:09 pm

Father, no disrespect intended, but confessions that were, say only offered once a month on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM would have very few people coming. Why? We don’t like to lose our jobs, because we believe God would want us to feed our children.
While the faith shouldn’t be solely focused on convenience, and I agree where you have pointed out problems, those exist, it shouldn’t be as inconvenient as possible either, requiring long lines, and little hope of ever making a confession, or the Mass. In places in the world where it is that inconvenient, it is a tragedy, not an example to be emulated, only having Mass once in a blue moon.
Frankly, I find the problem more often is that there are not enough times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in many parishes. Around here, I am glad we have a few parishes that find this Sacrament important enough to offer daily, and not just in “special general absolution” services somewhere in Lent.
Making the Sacraments extremely inconvenient needlessly to those who have to work to feed a family won’t increase their holiness, it will show them that their spiritual guardians don’t give a hoot about their family’s well being. While being a Christian may some day involve dying for Christ, it shouldn’t mean cutting off your own head because you want to be as good as the martyrs. When Christ has given us the blessings that allow us to have the Sacraments daily, we should make use of His gift.

Fr Bill P December 27, 2007 at 3:24 pm

I agree jarnor…which is why I lay the blame, for lack of a better phrase, at the feet of not just lay folk but clergy as well.
You’ll find in many of those places a dearth of clergy. When I first read some of the above posts I became a bit angry. I thought to myself, “You know, the people me want in the school, with the teens, in the nursing home and shut-ins, in what seems to an endless myriad of meetings I don’t give a **** about, have Mass multiple times aday, hear confessions frequently, make sure every person that is in the hospital is seen, make sure the administration is being done well ( also something I could not care less about…I wasn’t ordained to be a bookkeeper) be there whenever they need me (and drop whatever I am doing), essentially be there on call 24/7. I am supposed to get a day off a week…most times its like a day off a month.” Now, I came in knowing that, so I have no right to whine. However, if there were more priests, it would make my responsibilities a bit more managable. I work very hard on vocation work for my diocese. I have people that I have recruited (so to speak)ordained, in the seminary, and entering the seminary…from anywhere, it seems, but my own parish. I know many of my parishioners think I have Sunday Masses and then golf the rest of the week. Few have any idea of the heavy workload placed on most of us, but we try very hard not to complain about it lest it diminish us and the work we do. I would imagine that most are like me and love what we do and what God has called us to. But it’s hard and demanding, especially when the numbers of us dwindle.
I have started asking my chronic complainers here where the vocation from their family is. I have started asking the priests who do whine who was the last person they asked about priesthood. We keep looking for simple answers to complicated problems. It’s a balancing act.. a tough one. Had I to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat. But please understand, so many of the people who whine the loudest in my life are usually the people who do the least.

Jarnor23 December 27, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Yeah, that’s the way it often goes in the world.
I feel very blessed to live in a diocese that is faithful and has a pretty strong number of priests from our seminary each year. Even so, even more good priests are always needed. I feel very sorry for the places where there is a true dearth, and wish we could somehow help many of these dioceses that have things worse off. The horror stories I hear from people living in many places perplex me, as I could never see some of the nonsense I get told happening here. Yet I’ve seen Youtube video of some of the worst of it.
Well, I guess we’ll do what we can. Our second child to survive (with God’s mercy, of course) will be coming soon, and we will encourage all our children to seriously consider if they have a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. Not that there’s anything wrong if they are called to marriage, of course. We hope after the current financial difficulties we are going through to add to that number again. :)

The Masked Chicken December 28, 2007 at 7:40 am

Regarding the problems of timing for confession, etc., part of this seems to be due to a distorted set of priorities in some peoples lives which is fueled by a lack of understanding about the nature of sin.
How many saints have said they would rather die than commit a venial sin — not a mortal one, mind you. Nowadays, the attitude seems to be that the forgiveness of sins is easy. Some people seem to forget the price that was paid. The reason they forget the price is because they forget the ransomer.
It seems that many people simply do not know Christ. That is the problem, in a nutshell. Many claim to know Christ, but in reality, pay lip service to an idea and not a man. Some people look at the cross and fail to really understand that Christ died for them. They seem to think that he died for everyone else, but of course, they, themselves, have only small sins and they share in Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross more as one participates in a bakesale than as a soldier going into battle expecting to die.
If they were to be pushed out of the way of a moving car and the one who did it were run over, these people would have such gratitude that they would take care of the dead man’s surviving family for life as a debt they could never pay. How much more did Christ die for us that we should not be run over by sin. How much more gratitude we should have. How much more we should try not to dishonor what he did by adding to his burden.
Do people really take the Faith as a matter of life and death? Let a priest tell the congregation that they will die soon and face a just God who gave them a whole lifetime to reform and that they choose not to. Let a priest tell them that a way out has been provided so that they need not suffer the punishment they know in their hearts they deserve. Until people realize what they can lose, they will not suffer to hold on to it.
Yes, confession times should be practical, but it is a far cry from practical to easy. Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents. Death can claim us just as quickly as a sword blade across an unsuspecting throat. I wish people would set their priorities straight. This disordering is the end result of a misunderstanding in modern catechisis which tells people about God’s mercy, but fails to explain that mercy implies that a sin has been commited. Make the horror of sin real and people will flock to the confessionals.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken December 28, 2007 at 7:44 am

A sentence above should have read:
Many claim to know Christ, but in reality, pay lip service to an idea and not seek to learn and follow a man.
The Chicken

The Masked Chicken December 28, 2007 at 7:49 am

Note to self: proofread, proofread, proofread…

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