Thursday, January 22, 2009
At some point during my ongoing blur of incessant travel and guzzling from the
font fire hose of scientific knowledge, I read a short news blurb somewhere about a campaign by the Vatican to encourage more Catholics to go to confession. This morning, still a bit tired from one of the busiest days I've had in quite some time, my mind remembered thinking at the time that the piece was blogworthy. So I hunted for and found the story.
The above link discusses the campaign in some detail, specifically the small part my blurb focused on:
It will be a historical day for the world, Catholicism, and the Vatican. For the first time, is going to give a peek into the tribunal of confessions. It will be the first time in 830 years.This story sets the context, but, in addition to never naming the Apostolic Penitentiary, it misses the juicy morsel that caught my eye the first time. For that, we'll go to another report:
In the last few years, the Vatican has seen a decline of people coming in for confession. That means not many people are coming to confession. As a result, the Vatican is trying to get more people to come into confession. For the first time in its history, the Vatican will be giving a sneak peek of what goes on in regards to the handling of confessions. While the priests listen to confessions, it is a revealed that there is a tribunal for such confessions.
There are confessions for the most sinful acts and crimes. The tribunal that handles such confessions is known as the "tribunal of conscience." It has invited the public to see what goes on in regards to confessions. This is the Vatican’s way of fighting against the decline of people confessing their sins. [minor format edits]
As the Vatican's highest court, the tribunal deals with confessions considered so grave only the Pope himself has the authority to absolve them.To summarize: Spitting out a piece of unleavened bread at the wrong time will get you into a long, one-sided conversation with the Pope, but serial murder and genocide get pawned off onto the local priest.
Defiling the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ, is among several sins that can be forgiven only at the highest level, officials said. Yet confessions of crimes the general public may consider even more serious, including genocide and serial murder, can be dealt with by local priests or bishops.
Defiling the Eucharist is one of five sins that can be dealt with only through the tribunal.
Cardinal Stafford says there has been a rise in incidents of people receiving the host and spitting it out or otherwise desecrating it, sometimes in Satanic rituals.
Other sins that would land a repentant Catholic before the tribunal include attempting to assassinate the Pope and, as a priest, breaking the seal of confession by revealing who has sought penance and why. In addition, the Vatican's highest court would handle priests who have offered absolution to their own sexual partners and men who directly participate in an abortion, such as by funding it, and later seek to become priests or deacons. [bold added]
Remember this the next time someone claims that the "alternative" to the various modern expressions of collectivism is religion, or that without God, there would be no morality. What kind of morality -- what guide to living one's life -- would appraise human life so cheaply?
This was part of a campaign to entice people to become more observant in their faith? That, too, is a confession!