Cohabitation, Confession, Communion

For generations, people in pews knew what to call it when folks "shacked up" before marriage -- "living in sin.""Sin" is a harder word to use, today.The Catholic archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M., recently raised eyebrows with a mere letter reminding his flock that cohabitation is a grave sin that Catholics must take to confession or there will be eternal consequences. Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan's priests read his sobering words from their pulpits on April 3, the fourth Sunday of Lent -- the … [Read more...]

Getting iConfession wrong

For generations, Catholics carried these simple leaflets inside their handbags or wallets, short texts topped with titles such as "A Guide For Confession" or "A Personal Examination of the Conscience."The believer would be reminded: "Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of the love one has for God and which is reborn with … [Read more...]

Archbishop meets the press (year 21)

In most news reports, Mother Teresa seemed like such a nice, quiet holy woman.But as any reporter who actually interviewed her quickly learned, Calcutta's "saint of the gutters" could be remarkably blunt. She once noted -- in a half-serious jest -- that she would rather bath a leper than meet the press."Mother was not known for the ambiguity of her feelings," noted Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, at a recent gathering of journalists at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "A lot … [Read more...]

Searching for Catholic sins

One tough challenge that Catholic shepherds face, Pope Benedict XVI said this past Lent, is that their flocks live in an age "in which the loss of the sense of sin is unfortunately becoming increasingly more widespread."The pope has consistently described the forces at work as "pluralism," "relativism" and "secularism.""Where God is excluded from the public forum the sense of offence against God -- the true sense of sin -- dissipates, just as when the absolute value of moral norms is relativized … [Read more...]

One thing about Lent

Faithful fans of ESPN's "Mike & Mike in the Morning" know that former NFL lineman Mike Golic takes great pleasure in skewering his urbane shrimp of a partner, Mike Greenberg.But in recent weeks, the sarcastic jabs by the University of Notre Dame graduate began drawing an ominous canned response from the producers -- a doomsday choir chanting "Golic's going to hell."You see, Golic vowed to make a big sacrifice this year for Lent, the 40-day penitential season that precedes Easter. When he was … [Read more...]

Old sins in confession

St. Peter Damian was a man with a mission.The church reformer was appalled by the sexual immorality of his fellow clergy and their superiors, who often refused to warn the faithful and allowed the guilty to go unpunished. He condemned all sexual immorality, but especially the priests who abused boys after hearing their confessions.Damian poured his concerns into a volume called the Book of Gomorrah, which ended with an appeal to Pope Leo IX for reform.The year was 1051. The pope praised Damian, … [Read more...]

A short test for Lent 2006

Now that Ash Wednesday has passed, the world's 1 billion or more Roman Catholics have entered the season of Lent.It's time for a short test.During this holy season of penitence and reflection, America's 62 million Catholics are required to:(a) Go to confession.(b) Abstain from meat and fast by eating only one full meal on Fridays.(c) Pray and meditate on biblical accounts of the suffering and death of Jesus, including attending weekly Stations of the Cross rites or an extra Mass.(d) I … [Read more...]

Cliffs notes for confession

It's time for the Catholic bishops to go to confession.It's time for all of the Catholic priests to go to confession.Actually, with Easter a few weeks away, this is a time when all Catholics are supposed to go to confession.But most of America's 65 million Catholics no longer know or no longer care that their church requires them to go to confession at least once a year in order to receive Holy Communion. Confession is especially important during this season of Lent.If bishops and priests want … [Read more...]