Sunday, August 11

The Sacrament of Reconciliation has a long and varied history. Variations around a theme, that is - the theme of Jesus' gift of the power to mediate God's forgiveness to the apostles. Public, private, severe penances, light ones, in boxes in the open air. It's all been done.

My comment below about the Diocese of San Jose wasn't intended to come down on any single side of the debate (what there is of it) on which environment is "best" for celebrating this sacrament. I'm not a particular devotee of the box nor an enemy of "face-to-face" celebration of the sacrament. 'Sup to you, penitent.

But what I do believe is this: this mandate by the bishop has nothing to do with protecting the penitent, and everything to do with (as it states in the article) protecting priests and diocesan pockets. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this window-cutting spree was required by an insurance company or, at the very least, recommended by lawyers.

Our intrepid reporter, Victor Lams, has his Our Lady of Good Counsel report up, including pictures, discussions with protesters and a link to a letter that Jennifer Granholm's husband allegedly passed out to people coming into Mass last week.

Let's keep up with this story and see what the Church in Michigan has to say about it....

An article about controversial retired bishop Daniel Ryan of Springfield.
Peter Vere is taking some time off.

Today, I went down to the beach to relax in the nice warm salt water. We live about a five minute walk from the Gulf of Mexico. Spending time at the beach with my family has stabilized my mood, and I'm now kicking back, drinking beer, and watching old ECW videos. I've got a nice collection of classic matches, including Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer; Sandman vs. Shane Douglas; and Rob van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn. Roadkill, everyone's favorite Amish Warrior, has just clothes-lined Spike Dudley through a table. Anyway, I don't need to point out this has hit the canon law world hard. So I'm taking the next week or two off from canon law Blogging, Catholic writing, and journalism in general

You know, if I lived a five-minute walk from the Gulf Of Mexico, I don't think I'd ever blog, to tell the truth.

This one is for all you uptight folks out there who think that tattoos are the sign of the apocalypse and the Decline of All That's Civilized.

In Jerusalem, there is a long tradition of pilgrims getting tattoos as a symbol of their journey

For 250 years the Razzouk family in Jerusalem's Old City has offered Christian pilgrims a Holy Land souvenir they can carry to their graves — a tattoo.
Their simple designs of Christ on the cross, his resurrection, the Virgin Mary or elaborate decorative crosses in black ink have adorned the forearms of the likes of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie and King George V of England. "We print designs which are a certificate of pilgrimage," said Anton Razzouk, 58. "I do believe, like those pilgrims who tattoo themselves, that a Christian design on the arm is a pathway and a ticket to heaven." While Judaism and Islam strictly forbid permanent body markings, tattoos with a religious theme are popular among Christians of Eastern origin such as the Coptics, Armenians, Ethiopians and Syrians
Coptic priests in the Old City pull back the sleeves of their black robes to reveal dramatic tattoos on their inner forearms done by the Razzouks, while many other Arab Christians also sport religious designs on their bodies. A researcher for the exhibition, Mordechai Levy, attests to the long history of tattoos in the Holy Land. "With a continuous tradition of 400 years, the custom of tattooing pilgrims has proven extraordinary resilient," he said.

Forget the fact that Cardinal Law was there. To be obsessed by that fact gives power to the ability of sin to distract us from the reality of good. Let's just concentrate on the fact that on Saturday around 40,000 Vietnamese Catholics gathered in Missouri to celebrate their faith. Very, very impressive.
Hmmm...what can a good bishop do to guard against the possibility of sexual assaults by clergy?

Reform the seminary? Ensure that all priests are faithful and honest? Read the riot act to priests on the edge?

Nah....let's just order windows installed in all reconciliation rooms, instead.

Now anyone passing by a confessional or room where one-on-one counseling takes place will be able to gaze inside. McGrath admits the cost could be a loss of some privacy in that most personal of rituals, the ancient sacrament of penance. But the bishop says he has no choice: The recent sexual-abuse scandals demand that parishioners feel safe while alone with clerics during confession and counseling -- and that priests be protected from false accusations.


The only confessionals which will not undergo renovation are the most traditional ones, a fading model that's found in perhaps a quarter of local parishes. The traditional confessional box contains three separate doors leading to three separate chambers: The priest sits in the middle chamber, the penitent in a chamber on either side of him.

And this issue, of course, was one of the motivating forces behind the development of that particular model of confessional in the first place, proving, once again, that there is nothing new under the sun and that maybe all those old coots knew what they were doing lo those many years ago.


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