Is There A Catholic Alternative To Confession?


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Christopher Adam Profile
Confession, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is one of the most important sacraments of the Catholic Church. While there are no alternatives to confession for Catholics who wish to receive pardon and be in full communion with the Church, there are several alternative forms of confession itself.

During the Lenten Season, some parishes will organize communal and/or general confessions. The two are not always the same. In a communal confession, you will meet together with other parish members at the church, at a set time, and you will contemplate all your shortcomings silently, while assembled together. You will then have the opportunity to meet individually with one of several priests in a separate room.

At general confession, the priest will absolve the unspoken sins of everyone gathered together at Mass. This means that you will not have to actually verbally confess your sins to a priest to be forgiven, but instead you must confess them silently to God and you can receive general absolution from the priest. It is a little rare for this form of confession to be practised in the US and it is usually employed when there is an acute shortage of priests to hear all confessions individually. If you are at Mass and you find that general confession is offered by the priest, you may certainly take part in this. Nevertheless, you should usually only do this if your intention was to actually speak with a priest, but you were unable to do so, due to the circumstances.

In terms of actual, verbal confession, you are permitted to do a little "shopping" before you decide where you will confess. You need not confess at your own parish, if this makes you feel uncomfortable. You can go to any parish and you can confess to any priest. Additionally, you may ask for an anonymous confession (behind a screen), or you may confess face to face with the minister.

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