Bach, TV ads and i-confession

Via Rocco Palmo’s Twitter feed, I came across this Miami CBS affiliate story about the Roman Catholic archdiocese there launching a television campaign about the sacrament of penance:

The Catholic Church is trying something different to get people’s attention.

The Archdiocese of Miami is launching a television campaign to encourage people to confess their sins.

“Confession is for Catholics the way to have the sins that they have committed after Baptism to be forgiven,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski to CBS4′s Jorge Estevez at Saint Martha’s Church in Miami.

The idea to shoot the 30 second spot came from Archbishop Thomas Wenski who wanted to remind Catholics of the meaning behind confession.

“The sacrament of penance is more about knowing we are loved, that our god is merciful, and that he forgives us,” said Archbishop Wenski.

The Archdiocese of Miami hopes to remove any anxiety attached to the sacrament of confession.

There’s not much to say about the story — it’s fairly brief and only offers one perspective. But it did get me thinking (again) about how much of what passes for religion news fails to accurately convey the life of the church. I’m Lutheran and my pastor has been gently encouraging us during Lent to avail ourselves of the opportunity for private confession and absolution. And truth be told, private confession is a pretty interesting story.

But it’s also, like, 2,000 years old. So how do you cover something that’s ancient when the church down the street is running a Whoopee Cushion series for Lent? Which one are you going to cover? And what are the consequences of giving coverage to one Lenten practice over another?

But there are ways to cover confession, reconciliation, etc., even if it is an ancient practice. Picking up on a new television campaign is one. Archdiocese of New York and Diocese of Rockville Center have a campaign called “i-Confess” that uses social and digital media to generate interest in the practice, culminating with an all-day confession event in mid-April.

The Miami television ad is embedded above. I do think the choice of having my favorite Lutheran composer accompany the ad is worth noting!

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  • Jerry

    Your mention of one of my favorite composers, Bach, got me thinking. I had never considered his religious affiliation before, but, sure enough, a search for bach lutheran found some theological speculation: which I found interesting. And another one has a chapter “Bach as a Lutheran theologian!!! Live and learn.

  • kathy

    Thanks for sharing I enjoyed the video…make sure you watch it!

  • Mathew

    it does seem they are trying something different to get others attention

  • mer


    Actually, when he died, Bach had one of the most extensive theological libraries. Probably why the Passion is the best piece of music ever; it’s a musical theological treatise itself.

  • Julia

    The Lutheran MO Synod seminary in St Louis is famous for it’s frequent “Bach at the Sem” concerts. Well attended by Catholics, too, I might add.

  • Julia

    And my Catholic church choir sings lots of Bach at Mass – during Lent, in particular.

  • Dan

    The missing context is that this effort in Florida appears to be part of broader effort by the Catholic Church to encourage confession, a sacrament that has fallen into nearly complete disuse since Vatican II. At an even broader level, the effort in Florida is part of an effort in the Church to restore traditional spiritual practices. It is commonly opined that the declining use of confession is the result of the pervasive loss of a sense of sin and that this is in turn is the result of modern (and unCatholic) ideologies that do not recognize or outright deny the reality of original sin.

  • Tmatt


    And confession remains directly linked to participation in THE MASS.

    At least it does in Tradition and Church law.

  • Julia

    Confession is more closely related to receiving Holy Communion, which doesn’t necessarily occur in every Mass you attend.

    And confession deals with sin after Baptism, the sacrament which would have washed away original sin – according to Catholic belief.

  • Dan

    Julia, yes you are right and I didn’t mean to suggest that confession (the “sacrament of reconciliation”) is directed at original sin. It is, however, as a result of original sin that we are inclined to commit personal sins (see CCC 405), which are the subject matter of confession.

  • Jeff the Baptist

    Well at least they didn’t use A Mighty Fortress is Our God.