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The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"To Confess" or "Not to Confess", that is the question

Whether you are a cradle Catholic or came to the faith as an adult through RCIA, we have all been taught the teachings of the faith. Confession is one of those teachings that even some Catholics struggle with.

For many, they have a problem with having to tell their sins to a Priest as they see him only as a man and not as a representative of Christ. But let's not forget the instruction given to the disciples in John 20:21-23, "(Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

It is just very difficult for some to divulge there hidden secrets to what they believe is just a man like themselves. But again, if you look at the television you can see people confessing to hosts such as Oprah, Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and the list goes on and on. No Catholic believes that a priest, simply as an individual man, has power to forgive sins. This power belongs to God alone; but He can and does exercise it through the assistance of men.

Even the Early Church Fathers believed in confession:

The Didache: "Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . . On the Lord’s Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure" (Didache 4:14, 14:1 [A.D. 70]).

The Letter of Barnabas: "You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]

Out of all of the Parishes here in the New Providence there are only but two that I know of who offer scheduled Confession times. St Francis Xavier Cathedral, West St and Sacred Heart, Shirley St. I personally feel that confession should be made available at all Parishes at certain times of the day. This would allow more persons to frequent the sacrament that is much needed in our lives. More persons would take advantage of the sacrament instituted by Christ if they knew that they could just walk into the confession booth and confess their sins. It is very difficult for some to call a Priest and ask him if he can hear confession. They may feel that the Priest will always remember what was confessed and look at them differently from that point onward. So a closed, behind the curtain session is always more freely used. This is also why many only ever go to confession during the yearly Penance Service. At that time you can pick which Priest you want to hear your confession. For some they would never let their Parish Priest hear their confession.

From experience I can tell you that your spirit is lifted when you hear the words ""I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." I would like to see confession made available prior to the start of Mass so to allow one to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist without fear of receiving unworthy.

CCC1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.
Confession times at St Francis Xavier Cathedral and Sacred Heart are as follows:

St Francis Xavier Cathedral
Tuesdays and Thursdays - 11:30am to 12:00pm
Saturday - 5:00 to 5:45pm and by appointment

Sacred Heart Parish
Saturday - 5:15pm to 6:00pm (Mass at 6:30pm)
Resolve to return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation often. We Catholics are fortunate to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is the ordinary way for us to have our sins forgiven. This sacrament is a powerful help to get rid of our weaknesses, grow in holiness, and lead a balanced and virtuous life.
Take advantage of this great Sacrament today!

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