Thursday, August 30, 2012

Confession: an issue for all denominations

Protect the seal

Just a few thoughts on the seal on the confession, as much to keep the issue 'alive' as it were. I've posted on the issue previously. And indeed I've even had a letter or two in the Irish Times on the matter (is anyone surprised that I wrote a letter to the Times? or would you be more surprised if I said I had not!). One of those letters was read out on the RTE radio one (lucky me). So I feel I have at least tried. 

But one point I think I may have failed to make is that this is not an exclusively Roman Catholic issue. What, you say? Have all those grey hairs finally gone to his head? No really. The Catholic Church is not the only one to practice sacramental confession. There are all the various autocephelous Orthodox Churches to begin with. Quite a number of these are well represented in Ireland. Not to mention those Churches which are in communion with the Catholic Church but have their own unique traditions and are more or less independent of Rome. 

And last, but surely not least, there is the Church of Ireland. I know the Anglo-Catholic spirit is not widespread in Ireland, except in a few pockets here and there, and perhaps among scattered individuals. But the point is it does exist and for those for whom it is an essential part of the practice of their faith it is important ... and part of that practice includes sacramental confession.

So, next time you hear some politician blathering about trying to break the seal, don't just shrug your shoulders and dismiss it as a 'Catholic' issue. It is not. It effects others too. And maybe think about this. Does it matter how many Church groups it affects? To attack the seal is to attack freedom of religion. An attack on one is an attack on all. Even if this one isn't important to you, remember this: the next freedom if they get away with this, or the next, may be something you think of as important ... only by then it may be too late to make your voice heard ... because too much ground has already been lost.

I've put the image above on the sidebar of my blog with the title: 
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION: AN ISSUE FOR ALL DENOMINATIONS. Remember that it is. For more reasons than just the sacrament itself.

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