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    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Another reason for not going to Confession

    Who hasn't traveled around looking for a good place to go to Confession? I know I have.

    Perhaps this story exposes a real reason that Catholics have abandoned the Sacrament since Vatican II. There is no consistency. And if every Priest has varying moral advice, why not just depend on your own moral conscience and privately confess to God as one sees fit?

    The stock answer to the decline of Confession has always been that people no longer think they commit sins. That answer has always made sense, but this wavering of the Priests's morality makes much more sense to me.

    What a mess. As Father Neuhaus says, the problem in the Church is fidelity, fidelity, fidelity. And again, I agree.


    A yawning gulf between the stern doctrines preached by Pope Benedict and the advice offered by ordinary Roman Catholic priests has been exposed by an Italian magazine which dispatched reporters to 24 churches around Italy where, in the confessional, they sought rulings on various moral dilemmas.

    One reporter for L'espresso claimed to have let a doctor switch off the respirator that kept her father alive. "Don't think any more about it," she was told by a friar in Naples. "I myself, if I had a father, a wife or a child who had lived for years only because of artificial means, would pull out [the plug]."

    Another journalist posed as a researcher who had received a lucrative offer to work abroad on embryonic stem cells. With the extra cash, he said, he and his wife could think about starting a family. So should he take up the post?

    "Yes. Yes. Of course," came the reply.

    The church's official teaching is that homosexuality is "disordered" and that homosexual behaviour is wrong. Yet a practising gay man in Rome was told: "Generally, the best attitude is to be yourself - what in English is called 'coming out'."

    On one issue alone - abortion - the priests all stuck firmly to official doctrine. A reporter who said his wife had discovered their child would be born with Down's Syndrome, and that they were preparing to terminate her pregnancy, was told: "I swear to God: if you do it, you'll be a murderer."

    But on other issues, that "moral relativism" so detested by Pope Benedict was the order of the day.

    A journalist who said he was HIV-positive and used condoms to protect his partner was told it was "more of a personal problem, one of conscience".


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