To the editor:
Fathers (Richard P) McBrien and Raymond C. Mann, in applauding the decline in confessions, state that “mature” and “adult Catholics” are mindful that “sufficient knowledge and freedom” are required “for the commission of a sin” implying that Catholics who use the Sacrament are immature and childlike (see: “Why are Catholics skipping confession,” Catholic Courier, April 2008). Like the publican, what makes a person truly human is the acute awareness of reality as it is and accepting the responsibility for the choices made.
Since Father Mann started hearing “declining confessions” 50 years ago, we have observed genocides in Cambodia and Darfur, the wholesale destruction of innocent human life, the degradation of women by pornography, judicial and legislative attacks on marriage, the breakdown of the home, destructive theft in the banking system and more, all taking place simultaneously with a growth of the pharisaic self-delusion of our innocence before God.
At one time, penitents, including kings, could be required to acknowledge their transgressions publicly. Now for 13 centuries, the Church gently exercises the authority granted by Our Lord: “Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whose sins you retain, they are retained” in privacy and under the seal of secrecy.
Ronald J. Buttarazzi Sr.
W. Church Street, Fairport