Tuesday 23 March 2021

Why go to Confession? - Father John Flader - CTS Living the Sacraments Series

Why go to Confession?
CTS Devotions
Father John Flader
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784694982
CTS Booklet D716

Over the last several years, I have read almost 200 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. I have read several books that are part of the CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. This was the second by Father John Flader that I have read. A few years ago, I stumbled across the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society quite by accident. I was researching an author I had run across, and was trying to track down all of her works. Soon I had a long lost of books from the CTS on my Wishlist, and it seems that for everyone I read I end up with 1 or 2 more on my wish list. The description of this booklet is:

“The purpose of this booklet is to help those who make use of the sacrament to appreciate it more, and to encourage those who do not, to reconsider its many benefits. Describing the sacrament as 'one of the greatest treasures of the Catholic Church', this booklet considers both the human and spiritual perspectives of Confession. It includes notes on examination of conscience and a helpful Rite to Confession itself.”

The chapters in the book are:

A gift from Christ
Why did Christ institute a sacrament for the forgiveness of sins?
The dedication of priests
The benefits of Confession
The frequency of Confession
Helping others to go to Confession
Recourse to Mary, refuge of sinners
Examination of Conscience
The Rite of Confession

The book was first published by the Catholic Adult Education Centre, Sydney, Australia in 2008. That same year the CTS edition released, and the eBook was released in 2017. I read this booklet in a single sitting; I could hardly put it down. And I know it is a book I will return to and read again and again. The first time I read this book I highlighted 21 passages. A sampling of the passages I highlighted are:

“This situation is most unfortunate, because, in my opinion, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the greatest treasures of the Catholic Church.”

“The answer must surely be that Our Lord instituted a sacrament for the forgiveness of sins because he knew human nature and he knew we needed it.”

“Cardinal Silvio Oddi, the then Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, said in Philadelphia in 1982: “It would be consoling to be able to maintain that there are now more Communions and fewer confessions because fewer sins are being committed. The headlines of the daily papers, however, do not permit us to be satisfied with that explanation. What has happened, of course, is that the people’s sense of sin has been eroded systematically.””

“Pope Pius XII summed it up graphically in a radio message in 1946: “The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.””

“In a pastoral letter for Advent 1998, Archbishop George Pell, at that time Archbishop of Melbourne, elaborated on this aspect of the sacrament: “It would be ironic in an age where we are encouraged to verbalise our problems, and speak about our concerns, when so many more people are helped by competent counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, that the personal exchanges necessary in individual confession to a priest should be falling into disuse. Many people are helped wonderfully in the First Rite of Penance, because the combination of personal confession, sincere repentance, absolution, advice and penance are the best means to deal with guilt.” Indeed, it has often been said that many people would not need to have recourse to a counsellor or psychologist if they made more regular use of the Sacrament of Penance.”

“Commenting on the difference between human tribunals and the tribunal of God, a 20th century champion of the Sacrament of Penance, St Josemaria Escriva, writes in his popular book The Way, “What depths of mercy there are in God’s justice! For, in the judgments of men, he who confesses his fault is punished; and in the judgment of God, he is pardoned.” (TW 309) This sacrament is truly, in the words of St Josemaria, “a miracle of God’s love”.”

“Also, in confession we grow in sincerity or truthfulness. In confessing our sins we cannot beat around the bush – we have to be clear. To acknowledge to ourselves and then to tell the priest in clear terms what we have done, is an exercise of and a means of growth in sincerity.”

“And finally, as the fruit of all we have mentioned, confession invariably gives great joy and peace of soul, through the knowledge that we are forgiven and that the burden that was weighing on us has been lifted.”

One of the most important is:

“If confession offers so many benefits, and if Christ gave this sacrament to the Church as a gift, it is only natural that we should want to take advantage of it often. We need it and it will give us the vitality, the self-knowledge, the humility, the sincerity, the grace, etc., that we need to be truly effective leaven, salt and light in society.”

I hope those few passages will pique your interest and challenge you to pick up the book and give it a heartfelt read. This is one of the best booklets I have read from the Catholic Truth Society, and I have read many. It is an amazing read. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews of other books in the CTS Living the Sacraments series click here.

Books by Father John Flader:
A Tour Of The Catechism - The Creed

Question Time Series: 
150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith
150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith Volume 2
150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith Volume 3
150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith Volume 4
150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith Volume 5

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