Switzerland: Reactions to the Bishops’ Decree on Confession

Source: FSSPX News


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Even before the publication of the Swiss bishops’ Decree, on Christmas Eve at penitential services with general absolution, organized in the parishes of St. Peter, in Fribourg and Villars-sur-Glane, more than 200 people had signed a petition addressed to the diocesan bishop, Mgr. Bernard Genoud, asking that penitential services with general absolution be maintained. The authors of the petition pointed out that: “Our priests are not opposed to our initiative.”

Responding to questions in the Neue Luzerner Zeitung of January 26, Mgr. Kurt Koch, president of the Conference of Swiss Bishops, said that the real problem lay not in general absolution, but in the general confession of sins. Because the personal confession belongs to the very nature of man, and constitutes an essential part of the sacrament of reconciliation. The reception of the sacrament demands the physical presence, he explained, and a confession “on line” is not real.

Bishop Koch described the terms “progressive” and “reactionary” as of little use, because they are “matters of personal opinion”: in fact, “someone who considers something good because it was introduced at one time, will consider any modification as a retrograde step.

But someone who is prepared to look self-critically at past experiences, to re-orientate and to carry out some modification will be in a better position to make an appropriate judgment.”

The bishop went on to explain that “the pastoral service of Reconciliation was a particularly demanding service of the priesthood, to such an extent that it is perhaps necessary to review the question of priorities.” Which means it would be a good idea to consider also the creation of “confession centers where priest can be available principally for this task.”

He confirmed that “the gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is linked to priestly ordination, which is not for women.”

(Sources: apic / Neue Luzerner Zeitung )