Saturday, December 19, 2015


 This is from an Episcopal Church website:


Reconciliation is also known as Confession and is available to all persons. The old rule is "all may, none must, some should." The secrecy of confession is morally absolute for the confessor (the pastor). Confession may be heard at any time but is most appropriate during the seasons of Advent and Lent.


Gene said...

Fr, why do you even post this Episcopalian nonsense on your blog? Are you encouraging Catholics to accept their heresy? Confession (not the BS euphemistic designation "reconciliation") is a Sacrament and, therefore, "all MUST," unless you have achieved perfection. Even when I was a seminary/grad student and, later, a protestant minister the Episcopalians were a laughing stock among other protestant denominations. Now, they are not even funny...only tragic and a warning as to where some would like to lead the Church.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is the Sacrament of "Penance."

Gene said...

Indeed so, but one must confess before one can do penance. For years it was confession, then PC took over and they euphemized it. BS

Cletus Ordo said...

Can we please, finally, once and for all, dispense with "RECONCILIATION"? It's a great word for diplomats and psychotherapists, but for all of us dumb, simple Catholics who have to put up with all the rest of this Postconciliar silliness, couldn't we simplify it back down to "CONFESSION" or even "PENANCE"?

"RECONCILIATION" sounds just plain pretentious. Just another pandering word to try to make the Church sound more "relevant" to people who tuned out a long time ago and have no intention of ever tuning back in.

And Gene is right: Why DO you waste your blog space with this Episcopalian nonsense. About the only answer I can come up with is that the average Catholic has been trained to think like an Episcopalian, so you're just testing us to see how aligned we are.

Rood Screen said...

It's almost as hard to get worked up about anything the Episcopalians believe as it is with the Unitarians. I'd much rather have a theological argument with a Southern Baptist. I can respect a preacher who tells me I'm going to Hell for reasons he can state with clarity!

Rood Screen said...


Surely we can describe the Sacrament of Penance as a sacrament of reconciliation. But one "goes to Confession", not "goes to Reconciliation".

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Pope Francis refers to it as the Sacrament of Confession. He uses terms that people can understand and relate. He isn't into highfalutin language of academics or being PC!

I now refer to it as the Sacrament of Confession. And yes one goes to Confess, receive penance and be reconciled. The official name has never been Reconciliation or Confession, even prior to Vatican II, but Penance.

The popular devotional name though has and is Confession!

Anonymous said...

Ritual book title: Rite of Penance

Introduction to the Rite of Penance: II. "The Reconciliation of Penitents in the Church's Life"

Intro IV: The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance

Intro VI, no 38: "In preparing particular rituals episcopal conferences may adapt the RITE OF PENANCE (emph added) to the needs of individual regions..."

"These Are the Seven Sacraments" Archbishop Fulton Sheen (copyright 1962) Contents, IV, The Sacrament of Penance

etc etc etc

Doodler said...

I hope that all those 'faithful Catholics' who attend Mass AND MAKE THEIR COMMUNION over this Christmas period have understood that ALL MUST means them! It's easy to knock other traditions! The Parable of the Mote and the Beam comes to mind!

Rood Screen said...


"Rite" refers to the prescribed liturgical ritual with which the sacrament is celebrated. At issue here is not what the "rite" is called, but what the sacrament is called.

Anonymous said...

Mr. JBS - And, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see above), is it called the Sacrament of Penance.

John Nolan said...


If I'm not mistaken, JBS is a priest, and Catholic priests have not been styled 'Mr' since Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Anonymous 2 said...

Last time I checked (about one week ago actually), Episcopalians kneel for communion and treat the sacrament of Eucharist with great reverence. Perhaps we should think about that before we get all superior and dismiss Episcopalians as having nothing to teach Catholics.

Rood Screen said...


Yes, that is an appropriate citation, although I think there it's called the "Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation".

Since I hold two masters degrees, you can call me "Mister Mister".

Cletus Ordo said...

I can handle being told that the Sacrament of Penance or the Sacrament of Confession brings us reconciliation with God. Fine. Just stop calling the sacrament "Reconciliation" and take the word "Reconciliation Room" off the door to the confessional. And while you're at it, maybe some priests can stop pressuring penitents to go face to face when they would prefer anonymity.

When I hear priests and pants-suited nuns prattling about going to "Reconciliation" all it does it send a red flag flying up for me. The same thing happens when I hear them say phrases like, "Come to Eucharist" or "Go to Eucharist" rather than "Come to Communion" or "Go to Communion". Whenever they say "Eucharist" without "the" in front of the word, you can usually figure out what school of thought they've bought into: Catholic Nursery School.

Anonymous said...

Mr. JBS - Nope. "1210 Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life."

Anonymous said...

This is my opportunity to respectfully ask, again, that confession be available on Sunday before all Masses, including the 5:00 p.m. I have not been able to go to confession this Advent Season because the only day I can make it to the Church, due to logistics, is Sunday, outside of Holy Days of Obligation. Please consider. Thank you!

Gene said...

I second that. It would be a great idea and probably more people would go to Confession. I know I would...there are too many occasions for sin between Saturday afternoon and Sunday Mass.

Jusadbellum said...

Because I need to be RECONCILED, I take pains to regularly seek out a priest to CONFESS my egregious sins and even the banal ones as they lead to the mortal ones. And I readily agree to PENANCE so as to at least make some token form of self-mortification.

But my favorite expression is that this is an Encounter with Christ since it is the Lord who forgives through the ministry of the ordained minister.

CS Lewis once called human beings "perilous estates" - how delicate is our health and well being in this mortal coil! What an astronomic number of processes, systems, and churning cocktails make up our bodies' material existence! How confused we are of our own selves.

Who knows where consciousness and free will end and iron-clad inevitability begins? Indeed we are a mystery to the angelic and demonic beings as well as to ourselves. How little does it take to make us fall from grace...and how little does it take for God to turn our hearts back to His own?

Both the Pelagian and Calvinist are fools to think it's a cut and dry proposition to presume our intellect and will is "in charge" or to think our free will is of no avail to God's grace!

We're neither assuredly saved nor assuredly damned while still in the body. Thus the need for the cloud of witnesses, the social milieu of saints to support and encourage us. The need to avoid scandal and surround ourselves with edification. The need to "pray always" and think of lofty, good thoughts and images and psalms.

Occasions of sin need to be crowded out with occasions of grace. The world, flesh, and devil need to be supplanted by the Church, the new man in Christ, and the very indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

But even should we do all this and be caught up to the 7th heaven, still we remain mortal and in need as children on the grace of the Father given us in the Son through the Holy Spirit,


Pray for me, a sinner!

Gene said...

Jusad, since when did Calvinists presume our intellect is in charge or that our will is free? You misread Calvin. Calvin is as far from Pelagian as it is possible to get.

Jusadbellum said...


Read the full sentence. "...or to think our free will is of no avail to God's grace".

As far as I understand it, Calvin believed that the damned couldn't help but be damned and the saved couldn't do anything to jeopardize their salvation. So if you are elect, it's "game over". If you are not elect it's also "game over".

Gene said...

Jusad, I got it. Calvin believed that the damned remain damned. The elect "persevere." So, what if an elect commits murder? Well, he never was elect to begin with. How do we know if we are among the elect? If we are attending Church, praying, living the Christian life, and are sorry for our sins, these are the guarantees of our salvation. Calvin said we need not fear for our salvation if we are doing these things. We are among the elect. The theological issue, for Calvin, with irresistible grace/perseverance of the saints is that man's will cannot be more powerful than God's will, nor can man, by his own will, remove himself from God's grace. This would mean that man was more powerful than God. Calvin developed Augustine's doctrine of the passive and permissive will of God to a point where he believed he had dealt with this. Later generations of theologians are not so sure. Calvin himself still struggled with these issues his whole life. It is easy to simplify Calvin's theology and try to poke fun, but these are very real theological issues that have bearing on how we live and on how we view the Church vis a vis culture. Calvinists would say that the Catholic Church is s bit too glib regarding human initiative in the plan of salvation...speaking of Pelagius.

Gene said...

RE: Calvin, So, what if an elect commits murder? Can he repent of his sin and be saved? Of course...Calvin always tried to point people toward Christology and away from the terrible wrath of a sovereign God who hardens the hearts of the damned. One of the great mysteries of the faith is the mercy and love of the Incarnate Christ. How does this love and mercy work in the sinner or in the elect who commits sin...Christ covers us with His own righteousness...He is the substitute for us as the Sacrificial Lamb (there is a real difference here from Catholic Christology). For Calvin, the judgement of the sovreign God is righteous and iron clad, but the depth of Christ's mercy is unfathomable. So, we have this Christology/Doctrine of God dynamic everywhere between Calvin's lines. It is difficult, but it is the only way to gain any fop opting in trying to understand TULIP theology. Calvin is tough. I have tossed the Institutes on to the floor in disgust many times, but always returned to them for another go.

Gene said...

In the above comment, next to last line, it should read "any footing in trying to understand TULIP."

Jusadbellum said...


where in the world would Calvin have gotten the idea that God's will actively goes about annulling human free will? Certainly not from the Scriptures. Nothing Our Lord said backs up this crazy idea that a person still in this life is beyond the threat of sin. You need to focus on a few isolated quotes to the ignorance of all the rest to come up with either Pelagianism or Calvinism.

Of what point would Our Lord have taught us the Our Father if we, his disciples, "the saints" had nothing to fear of falling into temptation? His problem was how to make sense of a Christian life without the sacraments. No sacraments = a serious problem with dealing with sin. Now, logically it sets up two options: a) either sin doesn't matter to the Christian believer "who believes" - in which case it's preposterous because our consciences do not err in realizing that this can't possibly be the way it is....or b) that only some sin for some people matters.

But then if this is so, why all the upset over the scandalous evil Popes? I find it amazing that Luther started out as a scandalized soul over the true crimes and sins of corrupt Rome but then worked out a theology that made those sins to be not at all a threat to salvation provided people 'believe'.

God's will was to give us free will. free will has consequences. Else, how was Adam and Eve's fall a fall?

Gene said...

Jusad, Calvin did not believe that anyone is beyond the threat of sin in this life. The perseverance of the saints does not mean means that God will move them to be aware of their sin and repent and thus, continue to persevere. You need to read the Institutes if you want to understand Calvin. Now, you speak of human free will as if it exists on its own or as if it is predicated upon human initiative. Good does not "annul" the human will. He cannot annul what he created because the human will is predicted upon God's will. When Calvin speaks of free will, and his view is based upon Augustine, he does not mean freedom of choice, as in 'am I going swimming or to the movies.' The human will, with all of its choices and decisions, is never really free unless it is "enslaved to God's will" (Augustine, Confessions). We may have completely free choice in this world and still be in bondage because our wills are not in harmony with God's will. The only way this can happen is by God's initiative through the mercy and grace of Christ.

Now, regarding belief in Augustine, Luther, and Calvin...belief is Primary in that it is the absolute initial requirement for salvation. It does not cancel repentance or the consequences of sin ("What must I do to be saved? Repent and believe the Giospel" (Christ's own words). We cannot repent unless we first believe. Neither Luther nor Calvin would ever say, and never did say, that sin is not threat as long as you believe. But, as long as you believe, which presupposes awareness of sin and repentance, you are covered by Christ's redeeming Sacrifice. The order, dogmatically, for all denominations is, Right belief, Right worship, Right action. Right belief leads to right worship because we are obedient in giving god praise and glory through the most reverent worship we can offer, worship that acknowledges the Creator of the universe and the Incarnate Lamb of God.
Right worship leads to right action because our worship, in acknowledging God the Father, and Christ the son, leads us to follow God's commandments and the commandment of Christ to love and serve others.

You are both misreading Calvin and selling him short. There is much in the Institutes that is completely compatible with Catholic dogma...indeed, Calvin grew up Catholic and drew heavily from Augustine ( he did not care much for the "schoolmen," as he called them, including much of Aquinas).

Dan said...

Gene, I read and reread the Institutes back in the 70s, and no longer have my copy. So I have forgotten much of the structure of his thought. For some reason III 2: 29 sticks in my brain as a critical passage, but after all these years the numbers may be off. Anyway, on the popular level, it is common to hear from protestants, "Once saved, always saved" and "I have eternal security." Also, "when God looks at me He sees Christ's righteousness, not my sinfulness." Your comment, "Right belief, right worship, right action" begs the question: what is "right belief' with regards to some of the above popular notions above?