What’s happened to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?


JUNE 15/19/20, 2013

 

What’s happened to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?


 

I have always been a faithful penitent, and hence you will find this lengthy compilation of information

CONFESSION-THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CONFESSION-THE_SACRAMENT_OF_RECONCILIATION.doc
in the “CATHOLIC ISSUES” section on this ministry’s web site, to which four contributions have been made by US apologist Ron Smith.

To avoid your reading here a repetition of my strong feelings on this issue – and on its decline and virtual disappearance in the postconciliar Indian Church — I recommend your perusing the above-referred document which also contains a letter from me to a Catholic forum on page 41.

Elsewhere in the document, some reasons for the decline are attributed by me to modern counseling/New Age techniques that preclude the confessing of one’s sins to a priest. Unfortunately, these techniques are increasingly being propagated by priests as the above-referred document indicates; check out the eighteen articles in the PSYCHOLOGY series at this ministry’s web site, including

PSYCHOLOGY AND NEW AGE SPIRITUALITY 01

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/PSYCHOLOGY_AND_NEW_AGE_SPIRITUALITY_01.doc

PSYCHOLOGY AND NEW AGE SPIRITUALITY 02

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/PSYCHOLOGY_AND_NEW_AGE_SPIRITUALITY_02.doc

PSYCHOLOGY-A TROJAN HORSE IN THE CHURCH

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/PSYCHOLOGY-A_TROJAN_HORSE_IN_THE_CHURCH.doc

and a revealing report

SANGAM INTEGRAL FORMATION AND SPIRITUALITY CENTRE, GOA-NEW AGE PSYCHOLOGY, ETC.

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/SANGAM_INTEGRAL_FORMATION_AND_SPIRITUALITY_CENTRE_GOA-NEW_AGE_PSYCHOLOGY_ETC.doc.

I have taken up the matter of the non-accessibility of priests for hearing confessions with successive bishops of my archdiocese including in my recent letter of February 4 to the present incumbent George Antonysamy.

The present report was ready for the web site since over two years now, but a recent letter from a formerly-active charismatic prayer group leader of Goa precipitated its publishing. Here is that letter:

 

From:
Kenneth D’Sa
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 7:59 PM

Subject: Re: WE COMPLETE A DECADE OF INTERNET MINISTRY, PRAISE THE LORD

Congratulations on your 10 years of a very unique internet ministry, filled I’m sure with a lot of hard work, loneliness, frustration and of course, persecution! Most in your place would have given up within a week – leave aside 10 years! God bless you Mike. Do keep up the good work. My prayers and good wishes go with you and your loved ones, always. And thanks for all the updates you keep sending. Your reports bring to light a lot of things which are hidden and put under the carpet not only by so-called charismatic leaders, but also mainly by the clergy. 

I wish you would try and bring out an article on the clergy and their attitude towards the “Sacrament of Reconciliation”.

 

 

In my own personal experience, and I don’t mind being quoted, I HAVE BEEN REFUSED CONFESSION by priests because “IT WAS NOT TIME FOR CONFESSION”. Last Sunday, I was refused confession by a senior priest at Don Bosco’s, Panjim because it was SUNDAY!!! A typical attitude of the Levites of the time of Jesus! Today, there is also the new fashion confession … FACE TO FACE … why? What happened to the closed confessional? Why does the priest need to see the face of the penitent, especially girls and women? Also, are they so busy that they cannot find time to sit for confession? What is that “so much of work” that is so important and urgent that they have to do? Anyway, that’s today’s church … putting people off and driving them away to preachers like Johnson Sequeira and others. Can we blame them? 

Take care of your precious self, Mike. You are precious in His Kingdom…..my prayers and good wishes remain with you.

Much love and prayers, Sonny

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Kenneth D’Sa
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 6:55 PM

Subject: Re: RE: WE COMPLETE A DECADE OF INTERNET MINISTRY, PRAISE THE LORD

Dear Sonny, THANK YOU.

You are on the dot as usual. There is a report with feedback from around 60 priests to a question from me. It is yet to be released by me. I shall inform you when it is published*. I had also taken up this issue recently with my archbishop. Love, Michael

 

*Here is the letter that I wrote to about 120 priests, half of whom replied:

From:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Subject: CONFESSION PROBLEM Sent: Saturday, 22 January, 2011 To:

Dear Father,

Yesterday, Angela and I assisted a team from Bangalore in giving a full-day retreat in a convent school run by Salesian nuns, which is located in the compound of a parish church in Chennai. [This was the second retreat we gave]

A day before the retreat, I telephoned and requested the Salesian asst. parish priest [who had arranged the programme] to hear my confession before the commencement of the retreat. He informed me that he would be busy with school administration in the morning, and could not give me a commitment even for the rest of the day. Even when I repeated that I was ready to come to him at any time of his convenience before the start of his day’s work, or even later, he insisted that he was busy. When I finally confronted him firmly, asking him “Are you trying to avoid hearing my confession, Father“, he finally agreed to hear my confession at 8:25 am; the retreat was to commence at 9:00 am.

In the meanwhile, I shared this information with the Bangalore team over the ‘phone.

Early the next morning, after the leader of the Bangalore team arrived in Chennai and took up the issue with him, the priest rang me up at 7:00 am and reminded me of my appointment with him for confession at 8:25 am and then to join for breakfast with the sisters.

The previous night, after considering his initial reluctance, I had decided not to meet him, but now I said I would be there.

Although I started from home well in advance, I could reach the church only at 8:40 am due to an unexpected traffic diversion and the ensuing traffic jam because of the Republic Day parade practice. I could not find the priest anywhere. When I finally ran into him at 4:30 pm, he did not even mention our confession appointment, so I, too, let it pass.

Is it not one of a priest’s primary pastoral obligations to hear confessions, especially if I am whole-heartedly prepared to adjust my time to his convenience?

Later, my friend from the Bangalore team told me that there is a Canon Law that the priest has to obtain permission from his superiors to hear confession because he belongs to a religious order! I cannot accept that as being true.

This priest is an assistant parish priest in the church and has initiated a lot of “liturgical innovations” at Mass, I understand. I believe that the priest came to know from the same Bangalore team leader that I was in the know about this, as I had earlier expressed my concern to my “friend”, and therefore the priest was avoiding me so that I could not ask him about it, though in truth it had not even crossed my mind to do so.

I would like you to be very clear and explicit about all the issues involved, Father.

And, is there any truth in what my friend, who is a very good Catholic, said about Canon Law, superiors’ permission, etc?

I am taking this issue very seriously. I will not quote your name against what you respond to me.

Love, Michael

 

COMMON PORTION OF MY RESPONSE TO THE FIRST 39 LETTERS RECEIVED FROM PRIESTS [EXCEPT NOS. 29 AND 37 TO WHICH I DID NOT RESPOND. I GAVE AN EXCLUSIVE REPLY TO NO. 44]:

Dear Father, Thank you so much for your prompt and informative/supportive response which I very much appreciate. […]

I am not at all upset about the incident or with the priest.

I did not take up the matter with the parish priest because I did not want to make an issue out of it. I was more concerned that the assistant parish priest had apparently been able to convince the other half of our retreat team, seven persons from Bangalore, good Catholics, that there was a canonical reason that he had not acceded to my request for confession.

I have checked Canon Law and it does not apply in this case.

In my letter I had forgotten to add the information that when Angela and I had given a two-day retreat to the Muslim and Hindu students of another school on the same campus two months ago in November, the same Salesian Asst. parish priest had not only found the time to meet us several times before, during, and after the programme between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm but had also heard Angela’s confession immediately on her request.

It was only this time that he avoided me, and it’s a safe guess that it was because he heard that I was concerned about his experimental innovations [abuses] during the Liturgy of the Holy Mass.

Love, Michael

 

 

RESPONSES FROM PRIESTS [IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER]

1. From:
Name Withheld 1
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:00 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

It is a pity that the priest was not available to hear your confession. Canon Law does not require that a religious priest needs to get permission from his Superior to hear someone’s confession. Canon Law is very liberal about the sacrament of confession and allows even a priest dispensed from the vow of celibacy — and is therefore laicised — to hear the confession of anyone in danger of death. The last important gesture before his death was to hear the confession of that thief on the cross and to absolve him. Try to keep no feelings about that priest and have peace of heart because the Lord knows everything. In the absence of a priest make an act of contrition, saying also Ps. 32 and you will be free from your sins. In case of any mortal sin one needs to confess to a priest at the earliest opportunity. God Bless you!

From:
Name Withheld 1
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 2:38 PM Subject: Re: LITURGICAL ABERRATIONS

Dear Michael,

The topic ‘liturgical aberrations’ is a good one… but the authorities concerned will not take action. But as a source of data, it would be good to have those articles on the web site. You could send a collection also to the Vatican. The priest you referred to might have been disinterested in meeting you. You will have to get used to such things. But keep praying that your ministry will not arouse many hostile reactions. God Bless! Name Withheld 1, Salesian, Retreat preacher, Kolkata

 

2. From:
Name Withheld 2
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:27 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mike, confession is a personal need. You can opt to confess to any priest who is not barred by the cannon law. Some matters or sins are reserved to the Bishop and so cannot be absolved. And if a priest refuses to hear confession it is his problem. He has not to give any reason. Only in case of emergency no priest can refuse to hear confession. This is only in case of serious point of death. When you request a priest hear your confession he can either give you time or he may not. It is up to him. If it is not urgent matter he is free. 

We cannot oblige any one to hear our confession these are two free actions of two free people. Though every priest is invested with the power to forgive it is not obligatory.

That is why pastorally this slackness has crept in. that is why confession has become not a priority in the lives of people 

Jesus had always told his followers to seek forgiveness because the kingdom of God was at hand. it is for the each individual to seek this sacrament where and when possible.

So please do not feel bad if that priest refused to hear your confession.

I am sure just because you have sought to go for confession God forgives you. That is all that is needed. It is not the priest who forgives it is God who forgives.

From:
Name Withheld 2
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 8:51 PM Subject: yes

As I told you Mike, you are free to seek to hear confession. But some times the priest may not want to hear the confession. As there could be some reason for which he is not free to tell. In union with the Divine Word,

Name Withheld 2, SVD, Indore

 

3. From:
Name Withheld 3
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 12:33 PM Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

I was in the midst of a very important task, but when I read your mail, I was so disturbed that I have now suspended what I was doing and I will attend to your query. Michael, before I proceed any further, let me state forcefully that every priest whether religious or diocesan is duty bound to hear the confessions of all those who live in the parish in which he is posted. Besides this, there may be people from different parishes and dioceses who visit his parish and even they who come to his church for confession are entitled to go to him for confession. If the priest from one diocese goes to another diocese for a short duration and wants to carry out liturgical functions in that diocese for the general public, then only he must obtain the permission of the bishop of that diocese. If his visit is to his home, than he can offer Mass and confession for the members of the family without reference to the bishop. For example when I go to Bangalore for solemnizing a wedding of my relatives, the parish priest of Holy Ghost church gives me delegation to be the main celebrant and perform the marriage rites. I am quoting the relevant canon law clause that makes it obligatory for a priest to hear the confession of a person.

Can.  980 If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.

Can.  986 §1 All to whom the care of souls has been entrusted in virtue of some function are obliged to make provision so that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably seek to be heard and that they have the opportunity to approach individual confession on days and at times established for their convenience.

§2. In urgent necessity, any confessor is obliged to hear the confessions of the Christian faithful, and in danger of death, any priest is so obliged.

An Explanation: Canon 980 means that the person is a genuine Catholic.
Canon 986 2 means any priest even if he does not belong to that diocese has to hear the confession of a person in danger of death.
Michael I had experienced the same when I as a lay person I approached a priest before mass, he said “If I sit in the confessional, a line would gather.” He could have heard my confession in the sacristy. We diocesan priests are priests of the people. I remember that in a diocesan church I had gone for evening Mass. A priest was in the compound and the church was packed, I asked for concession and both of us sat on the steps and he heard my confession.

 


Many people including youth come to my room for confession. We must be responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Before Mass and after Mass, I sit on a chair for a few minutes and I have had the most beautiful confessions of daily Mass goers who have not gone to confession for 30 to 40 years. When we refuse to hear confession, that person may not ever come again. I hope that I have answered you.
Keep up the good work that you are doing. With Love, Blessings and Prayers.

From:
Name Withheld 3
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 11:25 PM Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

As you have stated, the priest could have felt that you would confront him. Women come easily for counseling and confession – not so men. The first time that fellow priests and nuns asked me to hear their confession, it was a sudden thought of “Would I be able to deal with them positively and spiritually”. But when in all humility as a priest I realised that when I sit in the confessional, and know that it is Christ who is really dealing with the penitent, then it is very easy. Hence, when an Archbishop suddenly asked me to hear his confession, I knew that Jesus would be the one speaking, advising spiritually and forgiving, I always left it to the Lord and as always, He brings peace & forgiveness to the person.
May God bless you as a couple. This Sunday’s Gospel precisely stresses the apostolate of the laity. There were so many women who helped Jesus in his ministry. Love Blessings and Prayers.
 Name Withheld 3, Diocesan, Mumbai

 

4. From:
Name Withheld 4
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 1:44 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

At the outset I must say that it was the duty of the Salesian priest to hear your confession. Your friend who quoted you the Canon law did not give you the number unfortunately but, I think, he has most probably misunderstood canon 969 which reads as follows:

Can. 969 §1 Only the local Ordinary is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members of religious institutes may not, however, use this faculty without the permission, at least presumed, of their Superior.

The first half speaks of secular priests and the second of religious priests. With the ordination of every religious priest (in your case the Salesian priest) the permission of the superior is already presumed and, in any case, being an assistant PP he is presupposed to have the permission already.

Imagine a man dying in a plane and asks for a priest (if there is one on board) to hear his confession. The priest would commit a serious error if he refuses on grounds of permission. I hope things are clear now.

Wishing you more energy and blessings from the Lord in your ministry. Name Withheld 4, Jesuit, Mangalore/Rome

 

5. From:
Srampickal
To:
‘prabhu’
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 4:06 PM Subject: R: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Normally when a priest is ordained and appointed as asst. pp, he is given the powers to hear confessions and administer all sacraments. I do not see why he has a problem. May be he has another story to tell.

Again as a general norm, I never make judgments on anyone (that is HIS job up there).

May be he has his reasons. I need to hear from him. Without hearing both sides I cannot take a story as real.

Better contact a person nearby who can talk to the priest also. Why not ask the PP there?

From:
Srampickal
To:
‘prabhu’
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 8:58 AM Subject: R: CONFESSION PROBLEM

I like the ministry you are in.

Can you do a little help to popularize COMPANION among your clientele?

Let me know what you can do. I can send you some extra copies. Regards, Jacob Srampickal,
Jesuit, Rome

Fr Jacob Srampickal passed away. I would not recommend “COMPANION” to anyone. See

COMPANION INDIA-WHY I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS MAGAZINE TO CATHOLICS [To be updated]

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/COMPANION_INDIA-WHY_I_WOULD_NOT_RECOMMEND_THIS_MAGAZINE_TO_CATHOLICS.doc

 

6. From:
Name Withheld 5
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 4:33 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael Prabhu

As far as I know, whenever a religious priest resides in a diocese (a diocese where his community resides), he has to get the confession faculty from that bishop till he moves to another diocese for his transfer (for simply for a visit or a course to another diocese is not included). With that faculty he can hear confession of anyone from any diocese. If he said, he was busy, he must have been busy. Poor chap. Leave him free. Name Withheld 5,
Salesian, Bangalore

7.
From:
James Manjackal
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 5:03 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

My dear Michael,

It is obvious that he was avoiding you. He does not need any one’s permission to hear confession UNLESS HE IS FORBIDDEN by the church to hear the confession or under SANCTION.

Canon 986 says” All to whom by virtue of office the care of souls committed, are BOUND to provide for the hearing of the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who reasonably requests confession and they are to provide these faithful with the opportunity to make individual confession.”

 

 

 

Because he is a religious priest belonging to a particular order or congregation, he does not need any permission from his superior to hear the confessions of any one especially he the asst. parish priest.

As far I read your letter and understand, he was avoiding you. He has no reason not to hear your confession. Only a visitor priest, when he comes to a place needs the permission of the local superior (usually parish priest) to hear confession, that too when a penitent asks, he can hear without any permission.

How are you? I love you and pray for you. If you need more clarification I can write to you. The priest can simply say that he had no time!!! An easy excuse. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011. Click here to visit my website

Fr. James Manjackal MSFS, Retreat preacher, Munich

 

8. From:
Name Withheld 6
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 5:40 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,
Please do not discuss issues regarding your own personal confession with anyone. It does not look nice for any of us to comment on. I am now 39 years a priest. I wish to tell you as a senior traditional priest to keep this matter a very low key. Whatever he does in his parish, he knows what he is doing — he must be doing it with his bishop’s permission. You are a man who preaches retreats. I wonder, why you get so worked up on such trivial matters, I think, you are greater than those little things. God bless you in what you do for the church and its people. I am sure, you are and you will be blessed by God. With warm regards and God’s blessings

From:
Name Withheld 6
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 9:49 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

I quite understand your predicament and the situation. However, I would like to point out to you that we priests have not yet become “angels” or “angel-like” human persons. We too have short comings like all other people. Sometimes, a little understanding from a person like you may make some of us “weak” priests better persons in future. Leave him to be himself. Some day soon he will realize his folly. Your guess may be correct, but a man like you, a great retreat preacher, holy person, can take it with a pinch of humility. I hope I am not preaching a retreat to you. Good luck in your ministry and good work for the people of God. God bless you and Angela. Love, Name Withheld 6. Diocesan, Mangalore

 

9a. From:
Name Withheld 7
To:
Michael Prabhu (E-mail)
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 7:45 PM

Subject: TR: Votre consultation sur la confession

Dear Michael

Thnak you for your message and for your trust. I submitted your problem to a canonist that is a friend of mine, and here the reply he sent me. An Assistant Parish Priest has the right and duty to hear confession. Confessions have to be organised in the Parish.
I don’t think you will be successful if you complain to the Bishop or to Holy See. They have to deal with so many more important abuses and disorders! They will consider this sad event as a detail in comparison with the rest. Let us keep praying for each other. United in prayers, In Cordibus Jesu et Mariae, Name Withheld 7, Benedictine, France

9b. De:
m……0@free.fr
Envoyé: samedi 22 janvier 2011 14:28 À: P. Jean Objet: Votre consultation sur la confession..
Dear Fr Name Withheld 7,
We, baptized, we should be peace-makers, even if somebody (especially a priest) is wrong.
Of course, we could pursue him, or let know the story to the bishop (however, this could be possible) or even to the Holy See (but it would be a waste of time, and Our Lord Jesus would probably not enjoy that).
(By the way, why not to ask the Parish Priest? If the Assistant refuses all the confessions, this MUST be done)
But all the saints would explain that it is better to find a peaceful solution.
Here, to choose a priest who accepts hearing confessions.
If no other priest is available in that place, ask the parish priest.
It is his duty to organize the confessions in his parish (Can 986).
From a canonical point of view, it seems that since he IS assistant, he has the right and the duty of hearing confessions.
It is obvious that he has received all the required permissions to do that, both from bishop and religious superiors (and the proof is that he granted an appointment).
He must hear confessions of people, provided that the request is reasonable (for instance, at a reasonable time…)
However, a priest has the right to refuse hearing a particular penitent, for special reasons:
if somebody is very scrupulous, or asks to confess every day; or if a person (for instance a woman) had probably strange/bad intentions.
There may be other reasons.
If not, the Code of Canon Law says:
Can. 991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another [Catholic] rite.
But if that priest seems very strange, and, for instance, “has initiated a lot of ‘liturgical innovations’ at Mass'”, does it reluctantly and in a hurry, it is perhaps better to ask another priest, isn’t it? Name Withheld 8, France

 

11. From:
Name Withheld 9
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 8:19 PM Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

 

 

 

Dear Michael, 
I have read your letter w.r.t confessions and replying to your query about Canon Law. I could say that all priests who have the faculty to hear confessions which is given by their local ordinary can hear confessions of anyone UNLESS the local ordinary has revoked it for certain reasons while the priest can do all other ministries.  When that faculty is later restored than that priest can resume hearing confessions. In certain places the local ordinary or Religious Superior can make certain restrictions to certain priests of whom to hear confessions and in particular jurisdictions of the diocese.  So some priests if they do not possess the faculty to hear confessions outside the diocese or other jurisdictions, if he hears confession it would be valid but illicit.
In your case I presume this priest has the faculty to hear confession as he is in a particular parish and he has not mentioned his inability in that sense but has deferred it due to other reasons to which he has even agreed later to hear it.  So as per law, it is assumed that he has the faculty to hear confessions as per my judgement of the case you enumerated.
If you want to know more of the Canon Law, you could read or download Canons nos 965- 986 which speak of the sacrament of Penance.
I hope I could throw some light as I am not an expert in Canon Law but to what comes to my knowledge I have shared above. Regards, In Jesus Christ, Name Withheld 9, Diocesan, Mumbai

 

12. From:
John Jay Hughes
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January
22, 2011 8:49
PM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael:

I am deeply distressed to learn of the difficulty you encountered in trying to go to confession.  Request for confession is a priority for any priest in the world. I know of nothing in canon law which justifies what your friend told you about a priest, whether a member of a religious order or not, having to obtain permission to hear someone’s confession.

We priests are weak sinners, like everyone else. But that a priest would fail to respond at once to a request for confession is, I can only repeat, deeply distressing. As a priest myself, and in the name of the whole Catholic community, I apologize for this grave failure in pastoral duty.

Should you wish to talk to me about this, now or at any time, please call my private number: 314-862-4338. That is answered only by me, so please leave a message if you get the answering machine.

May the Lord bless you richly and heal the wound you have received from one of his priests. Fr. Jay Hughes, St. Louis, USA

 

13. From:
Name Withheld 10
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22,
2011 9:10 PM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mike,
As per Canon Law, a priest is bound to provide for hearing of confession (can. 986) and in urgent necessity they are bound all the more. Unless in case of a priest (here, he belongs to a religious congregation) whose right to hear confession has been revoked by his superior (Canon 974# 4) whereas once a faulty is given and not revoked then he is bound to in keeping with Canon 986. Name Withheld 10, Diocesan, Mumbai

 

14. From:
prabhu
To:
Name Withheld 11
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:09 PM

Subject: THANKS FOR CALLING, AND SHARING

Dear Father,

I’m so glad that you called. I learnt some things about confessing and confession from you. I shall try to apply them in my life. You must have spoken for 45 minutes or an hour. I lost track. I sleep only by midnight, even later, so there is no problem for me whenever you may call. About 10-15 minutes after we hung up, I noticed that I had replaced the receiver improperly on the hook. I corrected it at about 10:00 pm IST. My apologies, Father. Maybe you tried and found that you could not get through to me.

Fr John is from St. Louis, USA. Probably St Louis, Missouri. It can’t be the Netherlands. Our correspondence is below. He had written that lovely article* and I wrote and thanked him for it. It was a brief meeting on the internet 13 months ago.

About the price that you paid, several priests — including from Goa — have shared that with me. They are very conservative and have been posted [punished] in villages where they can access nothing including the Internet and even using the mobile phone is difficult! I once again thank God for priests like you who are an edification to lay people like us.

Love, Michael & Angela 

*After 55+ Years, Still in Love with Priesthood. Former Anglican Recounts Joy of Celebrating Mass

From:
Name Withheld 11
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:05 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Hi Michael, I said hi to Fr. John on your behalf. He is in the States and was wondering how you got his email. I did try to connect to you two times. But the message which I was getting while ringing to you is that this telephone does not exist. It is due to faulty network. Nor could I get back in touch with you. The call was not getting connected. Anyway it was nice to speak with you. May our conversation help us to grow in the Lord and work for his Church. Bye and God bless you.

From:
Name Withheld 11
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:22 PM

Subject: Re: THANKS FOR CALLING, AND SHARING

Thanks Michael and Angela for the note again. And may God bless your work. Bye for now and God bless you. Name Withheld 11, Diocesan, Canada

 

15. From:
Name Withheld 12
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, Ja
nuary 22, 2011 10:29 PM
Subject:
Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

 

 

 

Dear Brother Prabhu, Greetings of Peace to you

This is a short response to your letter about Confession.

Even though every priest has the duty to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation by helping the penitent, he needs to get special permission by the bishop for this faculty.

Generally once this is given by one bishop, a priest in India gets permission to listen to the confession all over the country. However, I come to know that this faculty is to be given when he goes abroad.

The faculty for confession is special and it can be revoked from a priest in case he had some problem or secrecy, or other similar issues. In general, every priest is given the faculty to hear confession. However, if his faculty is revoked by his bishop, he looses that faculty everywhere.

Whatever be, spiritual life is predominantly a matter of love for God.

Where there is no love and forgiveness, there is no Christian life. Name Withheld 12, OFM Cap., Tamil Nadu

 

16. From:
Name Withheld 13
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:33 PM

Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

DEAR MICHAEL.
THERE WAS A CANON LAW LIKE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. BUT NOW ANY PRIEST CAN ADMINISTER CONFESSION ESP WHEN SOMEONE IS IN A PARISH. GOD BLESS U. FR THAMBU. Name Withheld 13, Jesuit, Chennai

 

17. From:
Name Withheld 14
To:
prabhu
Sent: Saturday, Januar
y 22, 2011 10:36 PM Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,
Thanks for the mail regarding the problem faced by you regarding confession to your asst. parish priest. First of all I agree with you that as asst. parish priest he has the obligation to assist parishioners at the sacrament of reconciliation. The time, of course, can always be adjusted according to the convenience of people and the priest concerned, but he just cannot refuse to attend to the parishioners.
Secondly, as asst. parish priest, he should have already obtained the necessary faculties from the diocesan bishop to administer sacraments in the parish, and therefore there is no need for seeking permission from his religious superior as such. If on the other hand he is just a visitor to the parish and someone approaches him for confession, he needs to take permission of the parish priest before he sits for hearing confession. Here in this case he already the asst. parish priest, so he does not need any such permission. All the best and God bless, Name Withheld 14, SVD, New Delhi

 

18. From:
Name Withheld 15
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, Januar
y 23, 2011 12:07 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Peace of Jesus!

 – I cannot understand why he made such a big fuss about hearing your confession. Of course he has a duty at least in charity, to hear a confession, when you were fully ready to agree to whatever time or conditions, he demanded.

 – As far as I know there is no canon law that a religious has to get such a permission. In fact being an asst P.P. means he surely has permission to hear confessions. The rule about getting faculties to hear confessions, were more strict in the past. The rules are far more simple and better today.

All the best! In union of prayer. Name Withheld 15, Redemptorist, Mumbai

 

19. From:
Name Withheld 16
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, Januar
y 23, 2011 12:35 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Hi Prabhu,

Nice to hear from you, even if it is for a query, hope u are fine and keeping in good health.

With regards to your query- any priest cannot hear confession just by the fact of ordination,

Even after ordination he is explicitly given permission called the ‘faculty to hear confessions’ – which is obtained from the Bishop or the religious superior of the concerned priest.

The faculty can be revoked by the same person who gives the faculty- when the concerned priest is prohibited from hearing confession. 

According to Can 986: ‘All to whom the care of souls is committed by reason of an office are obliged” – that is usually the parish priest and assistants. Others are not obliged unless it is urgent necessity (the old cannon law used to make a distinction between the obligation out of justice and out of charity, that is the duty of the Parish pastors and in urgency any priest.) As a religious the priest you are speaking of is not obliged to hear your confession, but if he is appointed as asst. PP, he is obliged to hear.

Normally the pastor is supposed to fix a time and make it known when confessions will be heard but this does not allow him to restrict confession only during that time. “In urgent necessity any confessor is obliged to hear the confessions” (unless he is prohibited to hear) and in case of danger of death any priest can hear (even if he is prohibited)

As per the The Rite of Penance- (10b) “The confessor should always show himself to be ready and willing to hear the confessions of the faithful whenever they reasonably request this.” Documents of Liturgy, 1963-1997

I hope this suffices your need. Name Withheld 16, Neo-Catechumenal Way, Maharashtra

 

20. From:
Name Withheld 17
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 7:11 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Thanks for your kind letter.

 

 

 

Any Ordained Priests who works in a diocese with the valid permission of the local bishop – is obliged to hear the confession of the penitent who approaches him for confession. There is no second explanation for this. He is canonically bound to celebrate the sacrament of Penance. All other works takes priority for celebrating the Sacrament. No doubt when he has some other important works, surely he can request the penitent to approach him in accordance with the mutually stipulated time. That is perfectly o.k. Name Withheld 17, OFM Cap., Mysore

 

21. From:
Name Withheld 18
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 8:16 AM

Subject: Issue about Confession

Dear Michael,

Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear about the unpleasant experience you had to undergo in receiving absolution through the sacrament of reconciliation. So here is my response to the questions you have posed.

Firstly, I feel any priest should have made some time possible for hear confession or at least give you an option of going to another priest, should he be not able to do so. Unfortunately many of us priests have failed in what is our primary duty and as a result the lay faithful suffer for the same.

Secondly with regards to the Canon Law implied by your friend I state here the pertinent canon:

Can. 969 §1 Only the local Ordinary is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members of religious institutes may not, however, use this faculty without the permission, at least presumed, of their Superior. 

Being an assistant to the Parish priest I would normally presume the priest has the faculty to hear confession but of course I cannot ascertain this. But the fact he did not state this as the reason itself would give me good reason that he has the faculty to do so.

I hope this answers your questions. May the Lord bless you and Angela for all the good work you do in His Vineyard. Do also keep me in your prayers.

God’s Blessings, Name Withheld 18, International Catholic Programme for Evangelization, The Philippines

 

22. From: Name Withheld 19
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January
23, 2011 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu,

I hope that you and your family members are doing well. I wish and pray for the same.

I am sad that you had a bitter experience for the healing sacrament.

There is a need of permission to hear confession. But if he is an asst. parish priest he might have received it, when he was appointed. So I think he can hear the confession.

i do not know why the priest behaved like that. I can say that you talk with the priest and correct him. It may be great help for his own soul and for the sanctification ministry.

Pray for me, I will pray for you all. Thank you, yours in Christ,

From:
Name Withheld 19
To:
prabhu
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:13 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu,

Very nice to hear from you. Your understanding is very clear. Name Withheld 19

 

23. From:
Name Withheld 20
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 12:12 PM Subject: may God bless you

Dear brother Michael Prabhu!

Thanks for your email. In every parish the parish priest and the assistant parish priest have normally the faculty to hear confession in the parish territory. It is surprising to quote the Canon Law in this way. Sacrament of Reconciliation is so vital in the Christian life. I feel sorry that it has happened for you. How a priest is authorized to forgive sins in the name of Church and on behalf of our Lord who always welcomed sinners with love and compassion. Priest must be always ready to spend the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It should be our priority.

Please rest assured of my prayers and may God bless you, Name Withheld 20, Former National Director, Pontifical Mission Societies, Bangalore

 

24. From:
Name Withheld 21
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 9:13 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Confession is a priority. A priest can’t refuse to hear a confession when asked because he is “too busy”! Unless he is saying Mass in a few minutes, he MUST hear your confession. Assuming he is the assistant parish (or school administrator) priest it follows that if he is assigned there he has faculties to hear confessions. Faculties are a license to practice priesthood in a specific area, usually given by the Bishop or religious superior. You don’t have to ask for these faculties. He would not be an assistant without faculties. It is a no brainer. Even though I am retired and have no specific assignment nevertheless I have faculties from the Cardinal to say Mass and hear confessions. If I have faculties, so does the reluctant Salesian. Hope this helps. Name Withheld 21, The Philippines

 

25. From:
Name Withheld 22
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 9:21 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu, Thank u for your letter.

I would rather speak about the topic personally when I meet you. Please call me before coming to make sure I am here.

Yours fraternally in the Precious Blood of Jesus, Name Withheld 22, OCD, Mumbai

 

 

 

26. From:
Name Withheld 23
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 5:57 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, 

Thanks for your mail. Saw this only this morning as my internet had been on the blink!

I am very poor in canon law. Yet I remember that a visiting priest may have to be given permission by the parish priest before he can hear confessions.  

But a priest who is already an assistant, who is functioning, should not need permissions. If he were under any sort of censure, he could have directed you to the parish priest. 

I think the main problem is that Confessions are ‘going out of fashion,’ which may be a crude way of putting it, but true. Sad. Our Catholic Church needs lots of renovation. They are paying a lot of attention to form, whereas it is the Spirituality that needs attention. 

I do not think that my views are worth quoting. Otherwise I do not mind going on record. 

You are very much in my mind and my prayers. With warm regards and love, to Angela and to You,

Name Withheld 23, Trichy

 

27. From:
Name Withheld 24
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 7:42 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

First of all I am pained to hear this. This is unfortunate. When I get ordained I don’t get faculty of confession automatically. My bishop gives a letter stating that I can hear confession of the faithful in my diocese as well as wherever I go. Nowadays some bishops give this faculty for a year, then every year they renew.

When a religious priest comes to the parish, they have to receive a letter from the bishop. If he is an assistant, he will get one when he is appointed to the parish. BUT NO ONE CAN DENY CONFESSION for the penitent if he has the FACULTY. Now I am very sad that happened to you. You go to another priest with whom you feel comfortable. I am really sorry to hear this. Let us not play with the SACRAMENTS. Name Withheld 24, Executive Secretary, CBCI, New Delhi

 

28. From:
Name Withheld 25
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:00 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Greetings and blessings to you for the New Year
The principle ‘Salus
Animarum
Est
Suprema
Lex’ means that the salvation of souls is the highest good. So, in an urgent need for confession, a priest is bound to give his time. The Faithful could find other priests (if there are) with whom they could make their confession if there is a genuine inability of the priest to hear the confession. 
Regarding Canon Law, YES, to hear confessions, even a validly ordained priest needs the permission of the Archbishop or Bishop of the place. But here again the principle Salus Animarum Est Suprema Lex applies where a validly ordained priest, even without the permission of the local ordinary can listen to a confession if the situation is serious and the soul has to be saved. Name Withheld 25, Diocesan, Bangalore

 

29. From:
Name Withheld 26
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Hi Michael, Greetings. Thanks for writing in. Give me a few days time to respond to your query. 

From:
Name Withheld 26
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 11:17 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Greetings. Kindly read below for answers to your questions.
I am making an attempt to answer your query in a general manner.
If I present your question once again in my own words:
a) I am told that a priest must obtain permission from his superiors (if he belongs to a religious congregation) in order to hear confession? Is this true?
b) Is it not one of the primary pastoral obligations of a priest to hear confessions?
c) Would it be proper for a priest to refuse or avoid hearing confession on the ground that “he was busy with school administration” or any other activity?
d) Where the penitent is willing to adjust his timings according to the availability of the priest, would it be proper for the priest to avoid hearing confession?
The Canons 959-997 specific deal with the sacrament of penance.
Let me first place a general perspective of the Sacraments according to canon law.
According to Can. 840 “The sacraments were instituted by Christ the Lord and as actions of Christ and the Church, they are signs and means which express and strengthen the faith, render worship to God, and effect the sanctification of humanity. Accordingly, in the celebration of the sacraments the sacred ministers must use the greatest veneration and necessary diligence.”
According to Can. 843 §1 “Sacred ministers (read priest) cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”.
According to Can. 848 “The minister is to seek nothing for the administration of the sacraments beyond the offerings defined by competent authority, always taking care that the needy are not deprived of the assistance of the sacraments because of poverty.”
 —————
Q a) I am told that a priest must obtain permission from his superiors (if he belongs to a religious congregation) in order to hear confession? Is this true?
Every priest who wishes to hear confessions must be grated the “faculty to hear confessions” by the local ordinary (see Can. 969).

 


This faculty is normally granted by the bishop (see C 969).
Further this faculty is granted in writing (see Can. 973).
A priest who belongs to a religious congregation also needs to be granted the faculty to hear confession from the bishop.
Commentary: It is normal for all those who are ordained priests to receive this faculty at an appropriate time after the ordination.
A priest who has been granted faculty by one bishop can utilise this faculty universally (See Can. 967).
A priest who has been appointed to the office of asst. parish priest (pastor) also receive the faculty to hear confessions unless specifically revoked (see Can. 967§3).
—————-
Q b) Is it not one of the primary pastoral obligations of a priest to hear confessions?
A pastor (including the asst. parish priest) is the “pastor of souls” (Can 843§2) and it is his primary pastoral obligation to provide the sacraments to those who seek them at appropriate times (see Can.843 §1). No pastor can deny the sacraments except for a just and proper reason.
Further, Can. 986 §1 states that “All to whom the care of souls has been entrusted in virtue of some function are obliged to make provision so that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably seek to be heard and that they have the opportunity to approach individual confession on days and at times established for their convenience.
§2. In urgent necessity, any confessor is obliged to hear the confessions of the Christian faithful, and in danger of death, any priest is so obliged.”
—————-
Q c & d) Would it be proper for a priest to refuse or avoid hearing confession on the ground that “he was busy with school administration” or any other activity? d) Where the penitent is willing to adjust his timings according to the availability of the priest, would it be proper for the priest to avoid hearing confession?
In the light of what has been said in (b) above, it is the duty of the pastor to provide suitable times for confession and not to refuse a penitent. The reason that “he was busy with school administration” is unjustifiable. Where the penitent is willing to adjust his timings according to the availability of the priest, it is only proper that the priest must reach out pastorally to the penitent in providing the sacrament of confession.
————————-
The relevant canons for your quick reference:
Can. 966 §1 The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it for the faithful to whom he imparts absolution.
§2. A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself or by a grant made by the competent authority according to the norm of can.
969. Can. 967 §2 Those who possess the faculty of hearing confessions habitually whether by virtue of office or by virtue of the grant of an ordinary of the place of incardination or of the place in which they have a domicile can exercise that faculty everywhere unless the local ordinary has denied it in a particular case, without prejudice to the prescripts of Can. 974 §§2 and 3.
§3. Those who are provided with the faculty of hearing confessions by reason of office or grant of a competent superior according to the norm of Can. 968, §2 and 969, §2 possess the same faculty everywhere by the law itself as regards members and others living day and night in the house of the institute or society; they also use the faculty licitly unless some major superior has denied it in a particular case as regards his own subjects.
Can. 968 §1 In virtue of office, a local ordinary, canon penitentiary, a pastor, and those who take the place of a pastor possess the faculty of hearing confessions, each within his jurisdiction.
Can. 969 §1 The local ordinary alone is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any of the faithful. Presbyters who are members of religious institutes, however, are not to use the faculty without at least the presumed permission of their superior.
Can. 970 The faculty to hear confessions is not to be granted except to presbyters who are found to be suitable through an examination or whose suitability is otherwise evident.
Can. 973 The faculty to hear confessions habitually is to be granted in writing.
Can. 974 §1 The local ordinary and the competent superior are not to revoke the faculty to hear confessions habitually except for a grave cause.
§2. When the faculty to hear confessions has been revoked by the local ordinary who granted it as mentioned in can. 967, §2, a presbyter loses the faculty everywhere. If some other local ordinary has revoked the faculty, the presbyter loses it only in the territory of the one who revokes it.
§3. Any local ordinary who has revoked the faculty of some presbyter to hear confessions is to inform the proper ordinary of incardination of the presbyter or, if he is a member of a religious institute, his competent superior.
§4. If the proper major superior of a presbyter has revoked the faculty to hear confessions, the presbyter loses the faulty to hear the confessions of members of the institute everywhere. If some other competent superior has revoked the faculty, however, the presbyter loses it only with regard to the subjects in the jurisdiction of that superior.
Can.  976 Even though a priest lacks the faculty to hear confessions, he absolves validly and licitly any penitents whatsoever in danger of death from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.

 

 

 

Can. 978 §1 In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is equally a judge and a physician and has been established by God as a minister of divine justice and mercy, so that he has regard for the divine honor and the salvation of souls.
Can. 979 In posing questions, the priest is to proceed with prudence and discretion, attentive to the condition and age of the penitent, and is to refrain from asking the name of an accomplice.
Can. 980 If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.
Can. 983 §1 The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.
Can. 984 §1 A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded.
§2. A person who has been placed in authority cannot use in any manner for external governance the knowledge about sins which he has received in confession at any time.
Can. 986 §1 All to whom the care of souls has been entrusted in virtue of some function are obliged to make provision so that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably seek to be heard and that they have the opportunity to approach individual confession on days and at times established for their convenience.
§2. In urgent necessity, any confessor is obliged to hear the confessions of the Christian faithful, and in danger of death, any priest is so obliged.
Name Withheld 26, OFM, Bangalore

 

30. From:
Name Withheld 27
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 1:05 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu,

This priest who dilly dallied to hear your confession has a mental block against you because of the things you have mentioned. He is either afraid of you or he is afraid of not being able to keep the confessional secret of the confession because he probably has a grouse against you for opposing his innovations. So he probably feels hearing your confession may tempt him to even inadvertently expose your sins.

So morally he may feel it is better to steer away from you rather than fall in bigger sins.

That he has to tell his religious superior is rubbish because the Ordinary of the place (bishop) usually issues a permission to them to hear confessions as soon as they are appointed in the diocese and a formal request is made for the same.

Why not leave the priest alone as he may be justified in refusing to hear your confession if he sees harm coming to him out of it. Like in the case of a priest knowing about the robbery done by the Sacristan, the priest refuses to hear the robber’s confession doubting that the confession was a means to shut his mouth in telling the truth to the authorities.

I feel you have greater things to do rather than deal with this petty thing wherein the particular priest who is the organiser himself must be fearing of being traumatized to hear your confession. Please give the priest a break!

Name Withheld 27, SFX, Goa

From:
prabhu
To:
Name Withheld 27
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 2:48 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Fr. Name Withheld 27, […]

BUT!! I think that you may have read too much into what I shared with you. That maybe because you do not know me or my ministry so well.

The analogy of the robber-sacristan does not hold here. I have not committed any crime to confess. I am just a penitent. The good priest was not expected to surmise anything from my requesting to confess as a routine as explained to him, before giving the retreat. He was not expected to surmise that I might discuss his errors in the confessional. I wasn’t going to. The two issues are distinct and separate. Moreover Canon Law 212.3, if I am correct, gives me as a lay person, the duty and right and obligation to bring up PUBLIC unchecked clerical error when noticed.

I did not say anything about the priest being guilty of moral error but of error in his obligation to celebrate Mass strictly according to the rubrics. Don’t you agree with me on that?

Love, Michael Prabhu

 

31. From:
Name Withheld 28
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 9:10 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

You are taking me too seriously. I am not an expert in all the issues related to canon law and my words should not be final.

Well, recently, there was a discussion among the canon lawyers about the same question. It was a lady requesting her parish priest that her confession be heard and the parish priest refusing to hear her confession. (c. 986)

The arguments for and against were made. What I remember of the few vital points of the discussion is that even a parish priest can deny a particular confession be heard provided he makes arrangement for another confessor.

The normal reason why a parish priest should not hear the confession of someone is when he is sure that the penitent is an accomplice in the sexual sin, and absolving an accomplice, he incurs automatic suspension. Are you an accomplice with his sin???!!! Or to ask in other way, “What if he was under an automatic suspension?” Is he bound to tell you about his situation?? NO!
Another situation is when superiors are asked to hear the confession of their students. (c.985)

C. 986 says every one to whom the care of souls is committed are bound to provide for hearing of the confessions of the faithful.

 

 

It does not necessarily mean that they themselves have to hear the confession. A priest may be ill disposed to hear the confession of another priest as he may be “spiritually weak” or probably he has never heard the confession of a priest and he is “embarrassed” at the request etc. There can be so many human factors why a priest may refuse to hear confession. And in such cases, it is his duty to ask the penitent if he could arrange for another confessor.

I don’t know if you became “scrupulous” about confession??!! The law teaches us that even if one cannot actually go for individual confession, but if he repents and resolves to approach the sacrament of confession, the next available occasion, he is free to receive the sacraments. If you have repented of your sin, I am sure God has already seen your contrition. And the Lord does not turn away a repentant sinner. So, I would fraternally advise you, to receive the sacrament of confession as a gift from the Lord and do not make an issue with the sacraments. Sacraments are not mere rituals. They are to establish and re-establish relationships with God and with one another. And if the same is used to bring discord and disharmony, I think we have missed the point.

Of course, a religious does not need the permission of his superior to hear confession unless he is specifically forbidden to hear confession for grave reasons. 

From:
prabhu
To:
Name Withheld 28
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 5:36 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Thank you so much for your prompt and informative response which I appreciate.

To answer your queries, No, I am not an accomplice in anything with him, nor am I scrupulous about confession.

[Rest of the letter as on page 2] Love, Michael Prabhu

From:
Name Withheld 28
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 6:20 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Thank you for the reply. I am happy that the retreat went well. Yes, as human as we are it tickles the ears to hear the confession of a woman than a man; and that of a lay man than that of a priest and companion.

I am happy that you did not allow the things to go beyond proportion.

From:
Name Withheld 28
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011 5:37 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Your dispatch ‘Emperor Emmanuel Church Exposed’, I once again published in our Archdiocesan Newsletter the article and I got a good feed back.

What kind of retreats do you preach? It will be good to know because we want couples who are giving retreat and who are gifted in music too. Will you be able to come to Imphal to preach retreats?

Now I understand why you complained that the priest readily agreed to hear the confession of Angela and not yours!! Ha ha ha! Good Michael! I will remember you and your ministry in my prayers Name Withheld 28, Diocesan, Imphal

 

32. From:
Name Withheld 29
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 9:34 PM Subject: Greetings from Fr Nn

Dear Mr Michael,

Happy to hear that yourself and Angela conducted a retreat for Sisters. Good work. Congratulations.

Then about that Asst. Parish Priest and the case of your confession, what I have to say is that being the Asst. Parish Priest of the place he has all the faculties needed to hear the confessions of all who approach him for confession. So here there is no question of getting permission from superiors. He must have had some other reason for not hearing your confession.

Hearing confessions is one of the primary duties of any priest, especially of the parish priest. Priests are appointed to sanctify the faithful.

Even if one is not the parish priest of the place, to my understanding if any one approaches a priest for confession the priest is automatically authorised to hear the confession of the person who asks for it. This is was what I was told long ago by my spiritual director and I have been following this rule. It has happened to me that while I was visiting other places people have approached me for confessions and I have readily obliged. I suppose what I have said is enough to clear your doubts. With kind regards and all good wishes, sincerely yours in the Lord, Name Withheld 29, SSP, Mumbai

 

33. From:
Name Withheld 30
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, January
25, 2011 12:22 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Every ordained priest is separately given a faculty (power) to hear confession of the faithful by the Bishop or Superior (incase of religious order). Without this faculty he cannot hear confession even though he is validly ordained priest. In some cases this faculty is revoked by Bishop/Superior which means the priest cannot hear the confession. I am not very clear what your friend meant when he said that this priest needs to take a permission from his superior. If this priest has faculty to hear confession of his parishioners he does not need to take permission from his superior.

The Canon 986 says All to whom by virtue of office the care of souls is committed, are bound to provide for the hearing of the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who reasonably request confessions, and they are to provide these faithful with an opportunity to make individual confession on days and at times arranged to suit them.

The above canon law says that valid priest who has faculty to hear confession should provide faithful with an opportunity to make confession ON DAYS AND AT TIMES ARRANGED TO SUIT THEM. As I understand you properly I think the priest said he was busy. He did not refuse to hear your confession. Also it would be wrong to conclude that the priest was avoiding you because he will be questioned by you about “liturgical innovations”. These are two different issues.

Name Withheld 30, Diocesan, Mumbai

 

 

 

 

34. From:
Name Withheld 31
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, January
25, 2011 10:00 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, 

1. For hearing confession priest needs permission from his Ordinary. General permission is granted to all priests in the Archdiocese of Madras Mylapore if he is not banned by his superiors or any bishop in the Catholic Church. 

2. The priest you mentioned may have some ban from his superiors or any bishop in the Catholic Church. If no ban is there his primary duty is to hear the confession than work in the school (Canon Law says). Priest should not delay the confession of the one who ask for it.

3. If he is appointed as assistant parish priest, he should have the faculty of hearing confession. I guess he avoids you.

I am always in your service. 

Could you clarify one thing? Is it allowed to Use “Om” symbol or sound by Catholics in the church? Priests in Varanasi are using it. Is it O.K. or is there any ban from CBCI? Name Withheld 31, VC, Retreat preacher, Bangalore

 

35. From:
Name Withheld 32
To:
prabhu
Sent:
Wednesday,
January
26, 2011 10:43 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, 

Regarding confessions, every priest is given a faculty by the Bishop to hear confessions, since he was an assistant parish priest, he could have heard your confession. About the canon law, the priest ordained for the diocese is permitted to hear confessions. If he has to go to another diocese, he has to have the permission of the local Bishop. As a religious and a assistant parish priest, serving the diocese, there was no need for any permission. Please continue praying for priests.  

The Emperor Emmanuel report was very enlightening. Also your report on the “Risen Lord on the Cross” images. 

More & more people are installing the image of the Risen Lord. In our very parish, they are circulating the Risen Lord images to all the families.

There is an urgent need for the awareness of subtle errors that are creeping in the Catholic Church. 

1. The whole emphasis is on “Celebration” which has evolved through the charismatic understanding that the Lord is risen and so there is need to “Rejoice & Celebrate”. In fact, Fr. Erasto of the Blessed Sacrament Fathers openly teaches that Christ died and rose at the same time.  

2. Actually, resurrection is the result of the passion of Christ. Therefore, the need of a crucifix to remind us as long as we are in the world we have to carry our cross and die on it. Here the emphasis is more on penance, sacrifice, mortification and a continuous purification through the Blood of Jesus. What is strange is that the charismatic or the new movements’ call on the Blood of Christ without going through his passion or meditating on his suffering.

3. The world is suffering and it needs a God who is on their side. When they look at him struggling on the cross innocently, it definitely gives them hope to live. By just focusing on the “Risen Lord” and bypassing his suffering does not give us hope.

4. Whenever an “Exorcism” is done, the priest uses the “Crucifix” and not the “Risen Lord”. Satan is defeated by seeing the wounds of Jesus bleeding and the smell of the Blood suffocates him.

5. Hence, it is highly recommended to keep a crucifix either big or small to ward off our homes from all evil and to continue to protect us, so that the Lord sees the blood on our lintel and passes by. Our Lady of La Salette gives us a crucifix with added tools – hammer & pliers. Actually Our Lady of La Salette is seen wearing this crucifix and she has promised that this crucifix would emanate “Light” during the dark days.

6. How improper would it be to take away the crucifix from St. Francis Xavier’s hand and replace it with the “Risen Lord”.

7. “Every time anyone kisses the Crucifix or looks at it with devotion, the Gaze of the Blessed Trinity is fixed upon that soul – and at the same moment a wondrous beauty is added to that soul, and a reward treasured for an endless glory” -Words to St. Gertrude.

Thanking you very much for all your mails and your fervent love for the Church. Keep doing the good work. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” – Phil 1:6.

God Bless you. Keep good health. Praying for you. Continue praying for priests. Name Withheld 32, Diocesan, Mumbai

 

36. From:
Name Withheld 33
To:
prabhu
Sent:
Wednesday,
January 26, 2011 10:12 PM
Subject: Re: C
ONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,
I am sorry to hear that you could not make your confession, because the priest was very busy or because he was not interested. There is no canon law which forbids the priest who was in his own parish from hearing confessions. It is unfortunate that some priests do not make themselves available for the sacrament for which they are ordained. Kindly pray for all such priests.
But after you really took up the matter with him he was ready to hear your confession but you had made up your mind not to make your confession to him and when he gave you time you could not reach on time. So to my mind, he is not entirely at fault.
Yours in the Lord, Name Withheld 33, Diocesan, Retreat preacher, Bhopal

 

37. From:
Name Withheld 34
To:
prabhu
Sent: Thursday,
January 27, 2011 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Thank you for trusting me with your problem.

The fact that that priest is already in the pastoral ministry, he has the faculties to hear confession. Also, now in our country, if you have the faculties in one diocese, you may hear confessions also in other dioceses.

 

 

 

Hence there could be some other reason why he was not keen to hear your confession.

1. Is he emotionally close to you? Some priests do not like to hear the confession of their friends, as they feel – rightly or wrongly – that could affect their relation.

2. If the person concerned has some conflict with priest.

3. Some priests today are not keen on hearing confessions, as they think that many come out of routine.

4. Some are just not interested…  I AM ONLY THINKING LOUDLY.

I suggest that one day you make an appointment with him, and just talk it over. “Father, I have the impression you do not wish to hear my confession…” Then you will know from him the true reason – provided he tells the truth.

You are most welcome to ask me any question you wish. Name Withheld 34, Diocesan, Udaipur

 

38. From:
Name Withheld 35
To:
michaelprabhu
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 9:02 AM Subject: Confession

Dear Michael,
Thank you very  much for your letter dated 22nd instant. I have read it will interest and concern as it is a delicate issue you have brought up, especially so since it is related to the sacrament of confession.
At the outset I must remark that the impression I am getting from the whole episode is that there is something that is making the asst pp feel ill at ease about hearing your confession or for that may be anybody’s confession. In all charity you could give him the benefit of doubt and seek someone else to make your confession.
Secondly as a religious priest he does not need his superior’s permission to hear confession. The common practice is that when a religious priest comes into a diocese the bishop must be informed about his arrival and ministry. Earlier it was needed to get the bishops permission to hear confession in his diocese. I am not sure whether it is in the Canon Law now.
In any case my honest opinion is that this is a matter to be ignored since it is dealing with the sacrament of confession. If any other sacrament is denied or refused then the matter can be taken up with the bishop. You can find any number of confessors anywhere.
I hope my answers are ok with you. Please feel free to get back any time. With love and prayers,
Name Withheld 35,
Salesian, Kolkata/Siliguri

 

39. From:
Name Withheld 36
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 11:45 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Brother Michaelprabhu, Greetings in the precious name of Jesus!  

I am saddened, by your email. A religious priest should be all the more pastoral and reach out to hear confession, rather be busy with school administration. It is the privilege of an ordained priest, provided he has the faculty from the Local Bishop.  You can take this issue up with the Local Ordinary or the Salesian Provincial, of that particular region.  

God Bless You and your Family. Name Withheld 36, Redemptorist, Bangalore

 

40. From:
Name Withheld 37
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 1:42 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mike, Greetings.

I am in Rome. I am not a Canon Lawyer. As a pastor, I feel that any priest should hear anybody’s confession on request.

If he is busy, he should still make time as confessional ministry is more important that whatever other GREAT thing he does. The matter should have been brought tot he notice of his PP or his provincial.

Avoiding hearing the confession of “a public and notorious character” is another matter. Name Withheld 37, Salesian

 

41.
From:
Name Withheld 38
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 3:42 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mr Prabhu,

I do not see how an assistant Parish Priest can make the excuses mentioned. A priest on transit needs the permission of the P. Priest to hear confessions in the jurisdiction of that P. Priest. This presupposes the visitor has the faculty from his bishop to hear confessions. But in the case mentioned, I do not see any impediment to hearing confession. I am still quite busily occupied and am not able to quote the relevant canon law etc or to give a detailed explanation.  

God bless! Name Withheld 38, SSP, Bangalore

 

42. From:
Name Withheld 39
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday,
January 30, 2011 11:35 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mr. Michael,
Thank you very for you have taken me by confidence to share with me the difficult experience with me inspite of the fact that you know me very little. Could you please introduce you little more and give me more details of your spiritual status for not having confessed with the Assistant PP. I did not understand from your letter what prevented you from going to another priest if you were so desperately looking out to confess. I will be very happy to help you out in the best way possible for me. Thank you very much. Love and prayers, Name Withheld 39, Jesuit, Kannur

 

43.
From:
Name Withheld 40
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 30, 2011 9:11 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu, I find the whole thing somewhat funny!  

Every priest at the time of ordination receives the power of forgiving sin, i.e. of administering the Sacrament of Confession. However, the power is bound and cannot be exercised without the Bishop authorizing him to hear confessions. The Bishop may authorize him to hear the confessions of all the faithful in his diocese, or of hearing the confessions of only children, or only men. These restrictions are generally enjoined upon newly ordained priests. Later, all restrictions are cancelled.

 

 

In our case, only the priest concerned can give the real reason of avoiding hearing her confession. I guess that the real reason is the known opposition of the penitent to his innovations. I wonder whether it is possible to put this right, so I think that the decision to go for confession to another Confessor is the only wise solution. God bless! Name Withheld 40, Salesian, Bangalore

 

44. From:
Name Withheld 41
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011 9:56 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mr. Michael Prabhu, 

I have received your kind mail dated 22nd January 2011 and thank you for the same. I have studied the contents of your letter, in which you state that “I would like you to be very clear and explicit about all the issues involved, Father.”

It would be difficult and unfair for me to give my learned counsel on the matter since I have not heard the other side of the issue. I request you to kindly take up the matter with the local competent ecclesiastical authority.

With every good wish, Name Withheld 41, St Pius X Seminary, Mumbai

 

45. From:
Name Withheld 42
To:
prabhu
Sent:
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 2:17 PM
Subject: RE:
CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Greetings! Sorry I missed this mail... only today while I was deleting all the mails I came across this... it is a pity that the priest in question did not go out of his way to hear your confession... priests should go out their way to listen to the confession of a faithful... as for the permission aspect... if I go to another diocese or country I need the permission of the bishop to hear confessions. But if the priest is in a particular place for sometime it is obvious that he has been allowed to hear confession. Even a parish priest who knows that you are a priest can ask you to hear confession in his parish. But in India no one really takes the permission aspect seriously but in countries like Italy, yes. But at any time, the priest should be ready to hear confessions. Take care, Name Withheld 42, Salesian, Bangalore
				

 

46. From:
Name Withheld 43
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday,
February 07, 2011 11:17 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu,

Hope you are in good health and spirit. I returned from Kerala on 4th. Here I don’t have easy access to internet. Hope your ministry goes well. What about your family? Hope all are doing well.  

Regarding your mail, as far as I know, the permission to hear confession is to be obtained from the Bishop. Normally after the ordination we get it from the Bishop.  When we are appoint to a place normally the Bishop grant the right to hear confession.  And as he is an assistant parish priest normally he suppose to have the faculty or hearing confession with in the parish  and normally outside the parish with the permission of the respective parish priest for public hearing of confession. But when a penitent approaches for confession, priest has the duty to hear the confession, because it is one of his prime duties. With love Name Withheld 43, OSST, Bangalore

 

47. From:
Name Withheld 44
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 9:58 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mr. Michael Prabhu,

I read your letter with keen interest. I do not know the asst. parish priest whom you are refering to, in your email. However, I am sorry to hear that your request was turned down repeatedly by him and it irritated you most. 

As far as the canon law is concerned, to the best of my knowledge, an assistant parish priest has the faculty to hear confessions in his parish territory and with the permission of the local parish priest in any other parish in the same diocese. The bishop is the one giving faculty to hear confessions (and not the provincial or religious superior) and he gives it at the time of the appointment of the priest as vicar or asst. vicar or when any priest requests for it (in the case of religious who come transferred from some other diocese). The priests who are appointed as confessors, retreat/recollection preachers, spiritual directors and so on (just like the parish priests and asst. parish priests) have usually the necessary faculty.

In any case, I think these legalities can be bypassed whenever any faithful asks for confession urgently. I am not sure whether there are ambiguities in my explanation here. Kindly ask any canonist if there are further doubts. Regards. 

Name Withheld 44, Salesian, Bangalore

 

48. From:
Name Withheld 45
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:11 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,
It is a challenge to live life today whether the Religious or for the Lay person. Each individual interprets laws as they wish. I will advise you to pray for everyone. God bless you and your mission. With love, Name Withheld 45, Jesuit, Chennai

 

49. From:
Name Withheld 46
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 1:34 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Mr. Prabhu
Greetings! At the very outset, I must apologise for this delay in replying to you. I was out of station a good bit. Furthermore I was also caught up in a meeting organized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. At any rate, regarding two of the issues you have raised, Canon Law has the following to say:
1. A priest needs the faculty to hear Confessions

Canon 966 #1 states: “For the valid absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the power of order, the minister has the faculty to exercise that power in  respect of the faithful to whom he give
absolution”.

 

 


2. As regards priests who belong to a religious institute, there is Canon 969#1 which states: “Only the Local Ordinary (i.e. the bishop) is competent to give to any priest whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members of a religious institute may not, however, use this faculty without the permission at least presumed, of their superior.”
These are two canons which concern what you asked. Name Withheld 46, Doctrinal Commission, CBCI, New Delhi

 

50. From:
Name Withheld 47
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 2:22 PM Subject: CONFESSION PROBLEM

I was reading your mail and I think that it is too hard to answer to such a problem of confession by mail, especially in English. The best would be for you to meet the bishop and ask him to do something. Name Withheld 47, France

 

51. From:
Name Withheld 48
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 3:23 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

If he has been appointed as Asst Parish Priest, he must have the faculties. Name Withheld 48, Diocesan, Mangalore

 

52. From:
Name Withheld 49
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 10:13 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michaelji,

Thanks for the mail. I think I had responded to your mail briefly saying it would be better to consult a canonist regarding the matter. I have been on the move for some weeks and even now i am out of Delhi. Besides, the question you have raised do not come under the purview of my expertise or authority. 

As far as my knowledge goes a priest need not have permission to hear confessions in ordinary situations. There are exceptions of course, for instance, a priest if he is party to a sexual act cannot absolve his partner. 

As for the priest not wanting to hear your confession or making excuses for not doing so, is not a good pastoral practice, but I do not want to judge him as he may have some compelling reason. Therefore the case you present cannot be commented on unless his version is heard. I am no authority to pass any verdict on his conduct. His Ordinary, the superior, can seek his clarification in this matter. If you feel any priest is habitually neglecting his pastoral duties, you can approach the legitimate authorities. With good wishes Name Withheld 49, Social Commns. Commission, CBCI, New Delhi

 

53. From: Name Withheld 50
To:
prabhu
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:30 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Hello Michael Prabhu, Peace of The Lord be with you. 

You have sent me an Email regarding Confession Problem.

Can you please call me in my Mobile Number: xxxxx xxxxx? I prefer to talk to you on this issue than to send you an Email. Thank you and God bless you. 

Yours in the Service of the Lord, Name Withheld 50, DCCRS, Tuticorin

 

54. From:
Name Withheld 51
To:
prabhu
Sent: W
ednesday, March 16, 2011 10:57
AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Hope you are well over there. Thank you for your trust and confidence in me.

First of all I acknowledge my incompetence in this matter, but I can guide as per my theological studies.

1. Every Catholic (diocesan or religious) priest (even asst. parish priest) who has the faculty for confession has the obligation to hear the confession of a penitent when approached. Otherwise the priest concerned will have to answer to God.

2. The faculty for confession is the special authority given by the Local Ordinary (Local Bishop) when a priest incardinated into the diocese

3. No religious superior can stop him from hearing confession under obedience.

4. Only the Local ordinary (the Bishop of the diocese) can stop the priest from hearing confession (i.e. taking away the faculty for confession) for grievous reasons.

5. The priest may tell the penitent to come some other suitable time to make the confession.

6. Since confession comes within the realm of internal forum, penitent instead of being hurt forgive the priest and may better go to another priest available at the moment

7. If priest is not available may make a perfect act of contrition and receive God’s mercy and may go ahead; but make sure to make a sacramental confession as soon as possible.

Looking for forward to hear from you, With God’s blessings upon you, Name Withheld 51,
Simla-Chandigarh Diocese

 

55. From:
Name Withheld 52
To:
prabhu
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2011 8:42 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

It is his primary duty to be available for confession. Jesus bless you abundantly! Name Withheld 52, Diocesan, Satna

 

56.
From:
Name Withheld 53
To:
prabhu
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2011 5:35 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Regarding your confession with the Salesian priest: I don’t think Canon Law would have anything to say about obtaining permission from the Superior before sitting for confession. I don’t think – I may be wrong, but I am not in the know-how. But Michael, don’t pay much attention to it. There a so many things happening in the Church today that so many people are leaving the church, and they say it is due to the hurts caused by the priests. One decent man told me recently, that due to a particular hurting incident, he went up to the priest and said gently: ‘Due to priests like you our faith is in doldrums today’. So, Michael, leave the matter there, forget about the incident, and go about doing the good work you are doing. The way to attack evil is to go about going the good that we are doing with the help of the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord!

 

I will continue to keep you, Angela and the family in my humble prayers, and kindly ask you to do the same for me. God bless you. Yours in Jesus, Mary and Joseph Name Withheld 53, Diocesan, Goa

 

57. From:
Name Withheld 54
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:12 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael,

Today I checked my email and found your letter concerning the ‘Confession problem’ that you had written quite long ago.

Your friend is right in saying that there is a Canon Law that a member of the religious institution has to obtain permission from his superior. Canon 969 says ‘The local ordinary (Bishop) alone is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confession of any of the faithful; however, presbyters who are members of religious institutes should not use such a faculty without at least the presumed permission of their superior’.

All the best. Kindly remember me in your prayers. Yours sincerely, Name Withheld 54, Diocesan, Mangalore

 

58. From:
Fr Joe Lobo
To:
prabhu
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 10:24 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Jai Yesu!

I am deeply sorry for the delay in this response to your letter […] Now, to answer your question, a validly ordained priest, who is given the faculty for hearing confessions, is bound to hear confessions. For he is ordained a priest and given the faculty for administering sacraments, especially for hearing confessions, for others and not for himself.

But, even if a priest has been validly ordained and licitly given the faculty to hear confessions, only in the jurisdiction for which he is appointed. If for some reason, he is suspended from or forbidden by the Bishop or his Superior from hearing confession, then he cannot hear confessions. As any judge who can exercise his judicial powers, so also a priest can exercise his faculty to hear confessions only in his jurisdiction.

In the case you have mentioned, I fail to understand how a priest who you say is an assistant parish priest can refuse to hear confessions. If he still persists in avoiding to hear confessions, you may better approach his Parish Priest to whom he is an assistant or/and his Superior if he is a religious.

I do hope I have answered your question. I am happy that you, unlike quite a few today, have great faith in your need for and the efficacy of the sacrament of confession.

Please pray for me. I will do the same for you. With regards and blessings, Yours in J.M.J, Fr Joe Mary M. Lobo, Birur

P.S. I do not mind your including my name. I’ve spoken the truth.

 

59. From:
Name Withheld 55
To:
prabhu
Sent: Wednesday,
April 13, 2011 10:37 AM
Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Michael, Praise the Lord!
You must have great patience with me. I have this email ID but as I am most of the time with retreats, I am unable to see any. My retreats take me to remote places where the Mother Teresa sisters work and they have no such facilities.
Neither do I have any laptop or anything. So, only when I come back I am able to see things. Please pardon the delay.
Actually, you should address this problem to Fr. Nn as he is a Doctorate in Canon Law and knows these matters clearly.
In my personal opinion, as a priest for now thirty-three years, I cannot accept any priest refusing the Sacrament of Confession to a needy faithful unless of course he is specifically forbidden to hear confession. It is true one must get the
faculty to hear confession. But if one is an assistant parish priest, he certainly will have the faculty from the Bishop. I do not know what could be the reason why he did not oblige you. It would be good and in a spirit of reconciliation to have a
little friendly chat with him and clarify the matter. After all we are the disciples of the Lord.
I do appreciate the great work you are doing to defend the faith and I admire your courage and fortitude in exposing the terrible things that are going on. My prayerful support in these as I know how difficult it is to go on in this battle.
Courage. God bless you. Sincerely,
Name Withheld 55, Salesian, Retreat preacher, Kolkata

 

60. From:
Name Withheld 56
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 1:35 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Prabhu, Sorry for the delay in replying to you. Was busy with retreats. I’m sorry to hear of the difficulties you faced for a confession with a Salesian priest. I being a diocesan priest, I’m not aware of the permission the Salesian priest has to take from his superiors. Probably, he might have learnt that you heard of his innovations which he introduced in liturgy and wanted to avoid you. Give this matter a forgiving touch and pray for him. I too will  pray for you, Name Withheld 56, Diocesan, Retreat preacher, Goa

 

Here is the letter that I wrote to 11 seminarians, 7 of whom replied [chronologically copied]:

From:
prabhu
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 5:50 AM Subject: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Seminarian friends,

I trust that you will respond even if this letter is not personally addressed to you.

Yesterday [January 21, 2011] Angela and I assisted in giving a retreat… [The rest as in the letter to priests]

God bless you and your vocation. Love, Michael

 

1. From:
Seminarian 1
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 8:57 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Michael,

From what I know about the Dominicans, they have a standing dispensation from their community prayers in order to hear confessions. Ideally, a priest is not supposed to refuse confession. I am very sure that there is no need for permission from superiors to hear a confession. That is ludicrous.

 



I think we must also keep in mind that priests these days are very busy and stretched to the limits. Ask any teacher about how stressful their day is. Think about how it must be for a school principal who has to put up with parents, teachers and students in a day. Spend a day with a principal and you will know what the stress is like. I’m talking as a student of Education Administration.
This issue is close to my heart because a young priest friend of mine was recently admitted to the ICU and another 37 yr old priest died of a heart attack.
IN THIS CASE, I THINK YOU MUST APPRECIATE THAT THE PRIEST HEARD YOUR CONFESSION. PERIOD.
If you really care about this issue, you must debate the issue about whether principals should also hold charge as asst. parish priests.
The solution to this is to stop giving priests dual charge. Being asst. parish priest is no less of a responsibility.
If you care for priests, help reduce their burden.
I had great regard for you all this while but after this mail, I discover that you are a clergy basher. No wonder many bishops choose to ignore you.
Please be more sensitive to the issues faced by our priests. We need to pray for them and care for them. Not bash them. God Bless! Seminarian 1, Goa/Ohio

 

From:
prabhu
To:
Seminarian 1
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 1:20 PM

Dear brother Derek,

It was good to receive your letter so promptly. Reading it was a humbling experience for me.

I had written individual personalised letters to 120 out of the many priests in my address book, and when I received your letter, I had just received around 28 responses from 20 or 21 priests including several theologians and canon law experts from India, France, and the States, even two from Rome. I expect more today. It all could get to my head, so I truly appreciate your letter.

Early this morning, I sent this letter to 11 of my seminarian friends and you have been the first to respond. See how the Lord has blessed me with all of you.

I do hope that you will still remain my friend and continue to advise me even if you believe that I am doing you know what, { clergy bashing} which is something I would never want to do because priests are anointed by the Holy Spirit of God like no other of his creation on earth.

I love my Church and as long as there are young men like you who have the courage to face up to anyone and to speak up as you did with me, there is hope for the Catholic Faith of our children and grandchildren. So keep it up.

Yes I do understand the problems of priests. I have one in my family. I do not know how I can solve their problems regarding duties etc. as kindly suggested by you, Derek. It is neither my area of expertise nor calling. Knowing the effective reach of my ministry, people have brought me documented cases of moral and financial issues concerning priests, but I am not there to judge them on that, so barring 1 or 2 cases which were however ALSO connected with other serious doctrinal error, I have never taken them up.

In the matter of this asst. p.p., I wrote [only this morning] a follow-up letter to those 20+ priests who responded. It reads:

“I am not at all upset about the incident or with the priest. A penitent requesting for confession and being put off is a serious issue if there is no valid reason for the confessor’s doing so, don’t you agree?

I did not take up the matter with the PP because I did not want to make an issue out of it. I was more concerned that he had been able to convince the other half of our retreat team, 7 persons from Bangalore, good Catholics, that there was a canonical reason that he had not acceded to my request. I have checked Canon Law and it does not apply in this case. In my letter I had forgotten to add the information that when Angela and I had given a two-day retreat to the Muslim and Hindu students of another school on the same campus two months ago in November, the same Salesian asst. parish priest had not only found the time to meet us several times before, during, and after the programme between 7:30 am and 6:00 pm but had also heard Angela’s confession immediately on her request.

It was only this time that he avoided me, and it’s a safe guess that it was because he heard that I was concerned about his experimental innovations during the Liturgy of the Holy Mass.”

I [publicly] pursue the cases of only those priests who are in PUBLIC and PERSISTENT unremorseful violation of Holy Church’s teachings and which the Bishops make no effort to correct and which result in scandal and/or loss of Faith among the faithful.

There are just a very few, maybe 10 bishops who have steadfastly refused to reply to me. I am sure they have good reason to do so. If they met with me personally as several now have, they would change their mind, I believe.

About once a year, I might get a letter like yours from some lay person or the other, and I always welcome them because it helps me to maintain the right perspective and keep myself in check, maintaining objectivity when I write.

When I publish my articles I make it a point to include the condemnations and criticisms of this ministry that I receive from stable and faithful Catholics to give a balanced view. Of course, since a couple of years, I obscure the names and email addresses of the people who write so that they cannot be identified.

Only last night a Goan priest from Canada rang up and talked to me for the first time ever. He was positive about my approach and he tried to connect me through conferencing to an American priest who had written just once to me and now for the second time.

 

 

 

The Goan priest told me the sad story of how when he tried to talk to the Bishops in Goa to correct public error, he was sent away to Canada. There are at least 2 other priests in Goa, and 1 in Mumbai who are being persecuted because they stand for orthodoxy.

Yes, brother, it is difficult to be a priest in today’s Indian Church, even a seminarian. People with my temperament could never get through. Each time I see a good priest — and I am absolutely certain that you will be one, as I also just re-read your lovely letters of June 2010 — I marvel at how much they have been through to get there, and how much they endure to remain there.

It happened that 10 minutes after posting that email to you this morning, I was in church offering the graces of the Mass for priests.

I’ll sign off here, brother and I look forward to your continuing to discipline me in future because I know that you do it in love. Michael

From:
Seminarian 1
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 7:40 PM

Michael, I appreciate the spirit with which you read my letter. Please continue to be a faithful lay person and we will pray for our priests. Seminarian 1, Goa/Ohio

 

2. From:
Seminarian 2
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2011 9:43 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Greetings dear Prabhu
I read the Contents and noted the points.
To the best of my knowledge, all pastoral priests appointed by the bishop generally have faculty to hear confession in their own parish territories, unless he is explicitly denied the faculty.
Another issue is that a priest can actually deny a faithful confession if he feels that the person does not have the intention for conversion.
Apart from these there are also some sins which can be absolved only by the Bishop. I cannot quote as of now but will try to do it soon. Your Servant in Christ Seminarian 2, Chennai

3. From:
Seminarian 3
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Monday,
January 31, 2011 10:30 PM
Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Mike,

I just read your mail. I will get all the details for you on this matter and when I become a priest in 6 years and you wanna confess even at 3 in the morning, my room is open always, remember that. To confess or any pastoral help you are free to come to me anytime and I mean ANYTIME. That’s what I am here to do and I’m all ready.

From:
Seminarian 3
To:
Michael Prabhu
Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2011 9:58 AM Subject: RE: CONFESSION PROBLEM

I just found out from one of our senior theologians here in the seminary that there could be many possibilities for that priest not hearing confession. I’ll list them.

1. He could have failed his ad auds and is not allowed to hear confession, as the church doesn’t see him fit enough to hear confessions and to lead God’s people to the right path with his advice.

2. He could be out of his jurisdiction and in this case he will have to seek permission from his superiors or the ordinary which would mean the bishop

3. He could be a priest hearing confessions in his diocese or outside but he could be forbidden to exercise his faculty of confession due to some grave manner.

4. He could be lazy; in this case you could report him to his superiors or the bishop and more so you have to pray that his superior is not lazy too.

5. His faculty for hearing confession could have been taken away by his bishop (who has the power and the authority to do so) for some grave reason.

6. Any other reason which I can’t see now but which may exist if the bishop or ordinary sees proper.

I hope this reply has come of some assistance. If there is something we have missed now, you can tell me where I have missed out. I have spread your Metamorphose ministry like wildfire in the seminary, much to the dismay of my professors and I have been named as a fundamentalist but now since I operate quietly and slowly, they have been quiet again.

Seminarian 3, Mumbai/Goa

 

4. From:
Seminarian 4
To:
prabhu
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 2:25 AM Subject: Re: CONFESSION PROBLEM

Dear Brother,

I am very sorry; I had exams and didn’t check my mail frequently. I am just managing to catch up with all the past mails. It’s quite some time since you sent this mail, so I just wanted to check whether you still needed the clarification or has someone already addressed it. With prayerful wishes, Seminarian 4, Rome – NOW AN ORDAINED PRIEST

 

5. From:
Seminarian 5
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 6:37 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION QUERY REMINDER

Hi Michael,

I’m sorry about the previous email. Though I received it, I did not notice it. Well, I am currently studying philosophy, so I do not know about Canon Law, but I have asked a priest from my community.
According to him, when a religious priest is transferred to a different diocese, he needs permissions from the local bishop to administer the sacraments, including confession. For all other situations, he doesn’t need any permission. And there is no requirement to ask permission from superior, only the ordinary bishop of the diocese in the situation mentioned above.

 


But the priest also told me that if a person comes for confession, you cannot deny confession.
He has recommended to google for faculties and canon. Regards, Seminarian 5, Bangalore

 

6. From:
Seminarian 6
To:
prabhu
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2011 9:01 PM Subject: Re:
CONFESSION PROBLEM: REMINDER

Hi Michael,

No excuse for the late reply […]

It’s a non standard situation so there can largely be any opinion. Please understand that I am not taking either persons side

1) My friend told me that there is a Canon Law that the priest has to obtain permission from his superiors to hear confession because he belongs to a religious order. — TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, SINCE HE AN ASSISANT PARISH PRIEST OF THAT PARISH ITSELF, OBVIOUSLY HE HAS FACULTY TO HEAR CONFESSIONS.

—-SOME POINTS TO CHECK — 

A) DOES THE PARISH BELONG TO THE SAME RELIGIOUS ORDER (I.E. – PARISH IS RUN BY THE RELIGIOUS ORDER) OR IS THE RELIGIOUS PRIEST ON LOAN TO THE PARISH BY HIS RELIGIOUS ORDER –

B) WHETHER THE PRIEST HAS BEEN GIVEN THE FACULTY BY HIS SUPERIOR TO HEAR CONFESSIONS OUTSIDE HIS ORDER IN THE PARISH: CANON 969-1

2. IN RARE CASES (MAYBE RAREST OF RARE) A PRIEST WHO KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO CONFESS HAS THE RIGHT ON MORAL GROUNDS TO AVOID HEARING THE CONFESSION OF A PERSON, FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY AND SOCIETY. ONCE HE HEARS, HE IS BOUND BY THE CONFESSION SEAL TO REVEAL NOTHING AND HE MAY FEEL HE KNOW SOMETHING SERIOUS WHICH NEEDS TO BE REVEALED FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

3. THE PENITENT HAS THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE HIS PRIEST, BUT VICE VERSA IS NOT POSSIBLE except in RAREST OF RARE cases as mentioned above.

4. SO IF THERE ARE NO MORAL GROUNDS DIRECT (EXTERNAL) OR INDIRECT (INTERNAL) TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE ANY PRIEST HAS NO RIGHT TO REFUSE A WILLING, WAITING PENITENT, WANTING CONFESSION. IT SEEMS TO ME YOU ARE MAKING AN ASSUMPTION THAT THERE IS NO MORAL GROUND WITHIN, THAT THE PRIEST MAY OR MAY NOT BE WILLING TO STATE.

5. THE IDEAL SITUATION HOWEVER WOULD, HAVE BEEN FOR THE PRIEST TO FRANKLY TELL YOU THAT HE IS UNABLE TO HEAR YOUR CONFESSION WHEN YOU PHONED, IF HE DIDNT WANT TO, WITHOUT NECESSARILY REVEALING THE INTERNAL REASON IF ANY AND ARRANGE FOR AN ALTERNATIVE PRIEST TO DO SO, WHICH IN MOST CASES SHOULD BE QUITE EASY FOR A PRIEST LIVING IN A COMMUNITY.

6. SINCE YOU NEVER ARRIVED AT 8.25AM AND YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO INFORM HIM REGARDING YOUR DELAYED ARRIVAL, THERE MAY BE A LOT OF PRESUMPTION THAT HE WAS UNWILLING OR DISINTERESTED IN HEARING YOUR CONFESSION. PRESUMPTION IS ALWAYS SUBJECT TO ERROR.

7. WHATEVER HIS REAL MOTIVES ARE, WE MAY NEVER KNOW AS GOD ALONE KNOWS THE HEART. THE BOOK OF SIRACH SAYS, IT IS THE GREATNESS OF A PERSON TO OVERLOOK ANOTHERS MISTAKES, SO EVEN IF IT WAS A MISTAKE ON HIS PART, YOU CAN DEMONSTRATE GREATNESS BY  OVERLOOKING IT. MY SUGGESTION IS DEMONSTRATE GREATNESS, BY LETTING GO AND FORGIVING, IF ANY HURT HAS BEEN CAUSED TO YOU, RATHER THAN NURSING A GRUDGE, WHICH WILL BENEFIT NEITHER PARTY, ESPECIALLY YOU.

8. I CANNOT COMMENT ABOUT THE LITURGICAL INNOVATIONS AS THEY MAY OR MAY NOT BE WITHIN THE AMBIT OF LITURGICAL NORMS AND THAT WILL HAVE TO BE CHECKED BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY IN THE DIOCESE.

This is my opinion after consulting a more senior priest in the parish. Please feel free to consider it or reject it.

Regards, Seminarian 6, Bombay – NOW AN ORDAINED PRIEST

 

7. From:
Seminarian 7
To:
prabhu
Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2011 7:46 PM Subject: Re: CONFESSION QUERY REMINDER

Dear Michael, Greetings from Rome!!!

Hope you and your family is keeping well.. Sorry for the delay in responding your email. 

Well after reading your email, these are some of my responses, though I am not a competent person to answer.

As far as I know “The Salvation of Souls is the supreme law of the Church”.

Canonically a priest after Ordination gets a written permission from the Bishop to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “Can.  973 The faculty to hear confessions habitually is to be granted in writing.”

As your friend said it is true that a religious priest should get the permission from his superiors for hearing the confession.

For more details you can refer the Code of Canon Law Title IV. The Sacrament of Penance (Can 959 – 997). 

It would be good to clear this topic with a Canonist who is specialized in the laws of the Church because in certain cases the parish priest can grant asst. parish priest to hear confessions if he has not yet received the written permission. 

Every Diocese will have an Authorized Canonist, it would be better for you to enquire with the Canonist of your diocese because for certain things the Episcopal Conferences can make its laws only for its Diocese.

Michael if in case I get more clarity from any competent persons here on this matter will surely get back to you.

Do also keep me in your prayers as I have been falling sick very often after Christmas… 

Assuring you of my prayers for you, family and your ministry. In Christ Seminarian 7, Rome

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LETTER I WROTE TO THE LEADER [NAME WITHELD] OF THE BANGALORE TEAM THAT I ASSISTED IN GIVING THE JANUARY 21, 2011 RETREAT IN CHENNAI:

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
NAME WITHELD
Sent: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11:09 PM

Subject: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY THE PRIEST WHO INVITED US TO GIVE THE RETREAT

Dear NAME WITHELD,

I just completed the report which I have attached herewith.

I recall the letter that I wrote to you, subject “CONFESSION AND CANON LAW” on March 6, 2011

[From:
prabhu
To:
NAME WITHELD
Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2011 9:58 AM Subject: CONFESSION AND CANON LAW],

from which I quote 

[In future] I can work with you only if your confidence in me stands unchanged.

I hope that I’m wrong, but that does not appear to be the case now.

Brother, I cannot preach one thing, or write about one thing, and ignore the same when I see it in a person, even if it is with the organizers [of a retreat] or the ones who have invited me. I would then be a hypocrite or partial or a compromiser.

You know that almost every major ministry is silent in the face of major errors that abound in the Church and her institutions, preferring to look the other way in order to receive further invitations. I doubt that such decisions are influenced by the Holy Spirit; which is why the Renewal is dying a slow death all over the world, stifled by its own leaders who are walking in the flesh.

Even if numbers are sometimes there, it is almost always the same old faces, and you and I know that the lack of knowledge of most retreatants is so poor, they flit from retreat to retreat for years on end, always receiving [usually the same fare], rarely being able to give, and are more subservient to dominant leaders than to the prophetic voices that God chooses to use now and then.

I have always believed that you are not one of them. I rejoice to see your entry into ministry.

To come to the subject of my letter, Fr. Nn’s avoiding hearing my confession is indefensible. I was quite taken aback and surprised when you said first that I could have made my confession anywhere else, and next that there was Canon Law involved in his being unable to confess me. I was waiting for you to get back to me on which Canon Law you were talking about, but you have not brought it up, so I have. I believe that Fr. Nn mentioned Canon Law to you, so maybe you could get the clarification from him and give it to me so that I might be enlightened.

What I observed was that Father Nn agreed to hear my confession only after you reached Chennai and talked to him. He then called me up and asked me to come at once. My personal sharing was only with you and I did not intend/expect it to go back to Father since I lost my eagerness to confess to him because of his repeated excuses. Moreover, I wrote immediately to him on his refusal, declining rather, explaining what I felt, but he did not care to reply. That was the second time.

The other thing that I shared personally only with you in just one sentence after the first retreat we gave 2010 end was my concern that Fr Nn was possibly involved in liturgical abuse during his celebration of the Eucharist. Apparently, he has come to know of this too from you and has been avoiding meeting with me ever since, probably fearful that I might bring it up with him.

Do you think that I am wrong on either issue? Would you not enquire from Fr. Nn whether what I learnt is true, and correct him in the Lord if it was so, or would you let it pass because he is your good, longtime friend?

And do you think that that there was a different way that I could have asked Father if he was avoiding hearing my confession? I know of no other way than a simple, truthful, direct question, “Father, are you avoiding hearing my confession?” I did so, but I did not ask him why.

I believe that Father Nn is wrong on both counts [I have started a section on Liturgical Abuses on my web site]. If you think that Fr. Nn is correct and justified, then I am in error and you should not consider asking me to join your team again.

If you believe that Fr. Nn has erred, then you can please let me know that. I am always at your service, and even if we do not minister together, we are still good friends, because nothing can change my high regard for you as a person and as a Catholic.

[…] I believe that when one is in ministry, even though one always remains a sinner [which I am; I made my confession yesterday evening], it is one’s integrity in the littlest of things that counts in the ultimate analysis.

Assuring you always of my prayers and support, Love, Michael

NO RESPONSE

From:
prabhu
To:
NAME WITHELD
Sent: Sunday, March 13, 2011 8:08 AM

Subject: CONFESSION AND CANON LAW: SENDING AGAIN […]

NO RESPONSE

From:
prabhu
To:
NAME WITHELD
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 7:40 AM

Subject: Re: CONFESSION AND CANON LAW: SENDING AGAIN […]

Dear Nn, I pray that all is well with you and your family and team members.

I am sure that you are very busy, but I do hope that you will find the time to respond to my questions and concerns.

Love, Michael

NO RESPONSE

NAME WITHELD
elected to not respond to my three letters of March 2011. It remains to be seen if he replies to the letter that I sent him today, June 18, 2013, along with the present report.
The attachment contained the above pages under this letter dated June 18, 2013.

 

 

 

 

THE LETTER I WROTE TO FR. NN, THE SALESIAN ASSISTANT PARISH PRIEST, ON JANUARY 20, 2011:

From:
prabhu
To:
Asst. Parish Priest
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:36 AM Subject: from Michael Prabhu

DEAR FR Asst. Parish Priest,

I AM TRYING TO REACH YOU.

I HAD COPIED YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER WRONG, SO I CANNOT CALL YOU.

I NEED TO KNOW IF I CAN MAKE MY CONFESSION TO YOU TOMORROW MORNING BEFORE THE RETREAT AND AT WHAT TIME IT IS CONVENIENT FOR YOU. Please contact me on 2461606.

Dear Fr Asst. Parish Priest,

After I wrote those lines, I got a call from Ms. Prem and she gave me your number. Then I immediately called you.

I wanted to make a confession before I started the retreat and needed to know when you would be free BEFORE the program started. You said it can be done during the day, anytime. You know that once the sessions start it will not be possible for me to leave the venue or to locate you as I don’t own a mobile phone. Only when I asked you directly if you were trying to avoid me or hearing my confession you agreed to meet me at 8:30 am. I said then, that I would meet you.

After hanging up, I thought that I got the impression even when I called you on the 26th December on your sacerdotal ordination anniversary, and I said that we were driving up to meet you and wish you for Christmas, you said that you were busy and couldn’t assure me of any definite time to meet. I understand fully, knowing that was Sunday and Christmas, and also your commitments in the parish. So I said we would come some other time during the vacation. But again you said that I need not trouble much about it; at that time too I had felt that you did not want to meet me.

Is there some reason for that? Am I wrong in what I feel? If so, I apologise and am open to correction.

Our family confesses regularly, Father. Wherever I go, I find priests too busy with other things to hear confession. It is rarely I see a priest sitting in any church in Chennai, and sometimes the priests come so unwillingly. I have had not one but several such experiences. I do know that you have a commitment in the school. But you are also first and foremost a pastor. I did not at any time suggest that I should meet you during school hours or once assembly begins. I was hoping that you would be happy to confess me and eagerly invite me saying ‘come anytime’ before the program just as you found the time to invite us for breakfast the last time.

I am now inclined to skip confession or complete it today if I can find another willing priest in the churches near our home.

Love and prayers, Michael

 

THE LETTER I WROTE TO FR. NN, THE SALESIAN ASSISTANT PARISH PRIEST, ON JUNE 19, 2013:

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Asst. Parish Priest
Cc:
NAME WITHHELD
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 7:47 AM

Subject: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY YOU AT THE JANUARY 2011 RETREAT ON YOUR CHURCH PREMISES

Dear Fr. Asst. Parish Priest,

You will recall the second retreat [the first was in 2010] that I gave, accompanied by my wife Angela, to the students of the school in your church compound on January 21, 2011.

You will also recall that, as is customary for me before I preach a retreat, I telephonically requested you a day in advance of the retreat, to hear my confession on the morning of the retreat, prior to its commencement. But you declined to make yourself available to me, citing your busy-ness. Though, on my pursuing the matter with you, you finally consented to give me time, I later decided that I would make my confession at a future time, elsewhere.

Without imputing any motive to your decision, I shared this with Bro. NAME WITHHELD over the phone. However, Bro. NAME WITHHELD asked you about it on his arrival in Chennai the next morning after which you called me up and asked me to come over to be administered the Sacrament. But, because of the short lead time and a traffic diversion due to the rehearsal for the Republic Day parade, we reached the church a few minutes late and could not locate you anywhere.

 
 

The matter would have rested except that Bro. NAME WITHHELD tried excusing you citing some Canon Law or the other. I know that your friendship goes back many years and that he has even attended your ordination. I do not let personal relationships affect the ministry that I am called to do in the Church. If I did, it would eventually impact my preaching and writing. Our family has always experienced difficulty in getting a priest to hear our confessions at many parishes in Madras-Mylapore archdiocese, and so I viewed this matter seriously.

In March 2011, almost two months after the retreat, I wrote thrice to Bro. NAME WITHHELD with whom I have had a close friendship since 2002, even staying over at his home. However, he elected not to reply to me even though he used to be a prompt correspondent and ardent supporter of my ministry apart from being a benefactor.

 
 

To ascertain the veracity of Bro. NAME WITHHELD‘s assertion that there was some Canon Law issue in your being unable to hear my confession — though you did hear Angela’s at the first retreat we gave in 2010 — I wrote individually to 120 priests, 60 of who replied, and to 11 seminarians, 7 of who replied.

A few priests misunderstood that I was upset or hurt over the incident, or that I was in the state of grievous sin [I was not] and offered me advice. But the rest understood that I was a regular penitent and only concerned about the attitude of many priests to being readily available for hearing confessions.

 

 

 

My letter to the priests and seminarians was more to draw out their comments on your making it difficult for me to make my confession than for my seeking from them a clarification on Canon Law, as I was already clear about that.

 
 

It has been informed to me by your staff and parishioners that you initiate innovations in the Sunday Holy Mass liturgies which can only be termed as abuses or aberrations. No priest or even bishop may tamper with the rubrics of the Mass. In doing so, they are acting in open disobedience to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. You will recall that after the conclusion of our retreat, we were standing around in front of the church when one of your parishioners joined us. The lady referred to an audio-visual show that you introduced in one of your Tamil Masses and exclaimed, “Rombo nalla irunthathu, Father” [“It was very good”] or something very close to that.

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is not a programme that has to be made entertaining for the congregation and for which we have to be congratulated.

It is matter of great seriousness and regret when the custodians of the liturgy become its violators and when the pastors of the flock lead the sheep astray.

At my web site, you will find dozens of documents, articles and reports on the Holy Liturgy as well as on its violation by priests and laity.

 
 

In fidelity to the principles of truth, impartiality and non-compromise that I strictly adhere to in my ministry, I have collated my own letters and the priest’s and seminarians’ responses into a report that will be published on my web site tonight. I have already sent last night it to Bro. NAME WITHHELD whose name has been withheld by me in the final edition of the report, whether he replies to me or not.

In your case, Fr. Nn, since as a priest you are one from whom we expect pastoral care and proper guidance, whether I include your name and identity in the final report will depend on your response — or lack of it — to this letter from me.

The referred report is attached herewith.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Prabhu

 

THE THREE RESPONSES THAT I RECEIVED FROM FR. NN, THE SALESIAN ASSISTANT PARISH PRIEST, ON JUNE 20, 2013:

From:
Asst. Parish Priest
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:55 PM

Subject: Re: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY YOU AT THE JANUARY 2011 RETREAT ON YOUR CHURCH PREMISES

Dear Mr. Michael
Greetings of peace and joy in the Lord. How are you? Regards to all at home.
I still do remember the warm reception extended by you in your home.
Please accept my apologies for not making myself available to hear your confession. This is already a wound in itself for me and may I beg you not to publish it. Expecting your favourable reply Regards, Asst. Parish Priest

 

From:
Asst. Parish Priest
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 8:57 PM

Subject: Re: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY YOU AT THE JANUARY 2011 RETREAT ON YOUR CHURCH PREMISES

As above

 

From:
Asst. Parish Priest
To:
michaelprabhu@vsnl.net
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 9:00 PM

Subject: Re: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY YOU AT THE JANUARY 2011 RETREAT ON YOUR CHURCH PREMISES

Dear Michael
how is your ministry going on..pls enlighten me also about.. and I skipped mentioning that I could not download the attachment you sent in your mail due to some error. Thanks

Asst. Parish Priest

From:
Michael Prabhu
To:
Asst. Parish Priest
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2013 11:05 PM

Subject: Re: REPORT ON THE REFUSAL OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION BY YOU AT THE JANUARY 2011 RETREAT ON YOUR CHURCH PREMISES

Dear Fr. Asst. Parish Priest,

I acknowledge receipt of your three consecutive letters. Thank you for replying. You have shown that you could reply if obliged to [There were earlier letters from me which did not elicit any response from you.]

I had forgotten that you had visited our home. That was after the first retreat. The remembrance of that good time was eclipsed by the confession incident at the second retreat we gave, and I completely forgot it. I’m sorry.

 

Your apology for not making yourself available to hear my confession is joyfully accepted.

 

 

 

 

I have not held any rancour or animosity against you. I did what I did because I had to, both as a Catholic lay person and as a lay person in a ministry that is unique in its nature.

In response to your kind letter, I will not use either your name or your email id in the final draft of my report which I had held up until now, while waiting to hear from you.

I am confident that after reading the letters of the 60 priests and 7 seminarians, you will never turn away a penitent in future.

As you could not open it yesterday, I am once again attaching the final draft of the report here for your perusal.

If you are still unable to open it, I will send you the URL for it after my web master uploads it at our web site tomorrow.

 

You did not respond to me on the matter of your liturgical innovations/abuses in the Holy Mass. The issue still remains…

Since you kindly inquired, my ministry continues to grow in its reach, acceptance and impact. It will help if you go to the section captioned “LITURGY”. [However, the attached file will be found in the “REPORTS” section]. Our web site is www.ephesians-511.net.

In my ministry, I am always at your service, Father.

Let us pray for each other.

God bless you,

Michael

 

See

CONFESSION-THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

http://ephesians-511.net/docs/CONFESSION-THE_SACRAMENT_OF_RECONCILIATION.doc



Categories: Liturgical Abuses

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ephesians-511.net Testimonies

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai – 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

EPHESIANS-511.NET- A Roman Catholic Ministry Exposing Errors in the Indian Church

Michael Prabhu, METAMORPHOSE, #12,Dawn Apartments, 22,Leith Castle South Street, Chennai - 600 028, Tamilnadu, India. Phone: +91 (44) 24611606 E-mail: michaelprabhu@vsnl.net, http://www.ephesians-511.net

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