Reconciliation : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

Just a quick question: While I was reading through some sites about Vatican II (trying to find info on the New Mass), I ran across a statement about Reconciliation. I don't recall the exact words, and I read many sites, but it had a tone to it which seemed to say that Reconciliation was changed or altered in some way by the Vatican II coucil. Has Reconciliation always been a sacrament, and if so, what might these "changes" have been?

Thanks. - I'll try to find it myself in the mean time :)

In Christ.

-- Jake Huether (, June 13, 2002


to the top

-- Jake Huether (, June 13, 2002.

Ah, here's the SITE.

And here is the quote from the site:

"Frequently Catholics who are troubled by the New (Novus Ordo) Mass of Pope Paul VI ask whether they are required to attend this Mass and the new Sacraments, e.g., the Rite of Reconciliation (Penance)."

Can anyone confirm that there are "new Sacraments"? what are all the "new Sacraments", and when were they instated?


In Christ.

-- Jake Huether (, June 13, 2002.

Of course there are no "new Sacraments". The Sacrament of Reconciliation is simply another name for the Sacrament of Penance.

-- Christine Lehman (, June 13, 2002.


The Sacraments have NEVER changed at all.

Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Religious Orders, Healing (Last Rites), Confession, Marriage and Holy Death.


-- Fred Bishop (, June 13, 2002.

That is what I thought, but what does is this website refering to?

-- Jake Huether (, June 13, 2002.


Not too long ago, I read an article which said the Pope wants to do away with "General Confessions" where people receive a general absolution instead of going to confession on an individual basis - an entire audience of people can receive a general confession.

The Pope is against that and wants people to return to the confessional on a one-to-one with the priest hearing confessions. Of course, this is the norm and people still do that. But, on rare ocassions, people do have a general confession.

I don't know, but maybe that is what the information you posted is referring to...

MaryLu :)

-- MaryLu (, June 13, 2002.


The use of the General Confession is and will never be accepted by the Church. We do that each and every sunday during Mass now as a congregation But it will never replace individual confessions.

-- Fred Bishop (, June 13, 2002.


I know it will never replace regular confession. However, I don't think the Pope wants general confession used at all, according to the article I read. MaryLu

-- MaryLu (, June 13, 2002.

We all saw an excellent example of the correct use of "General Absolution" on September 11, 2001. Almost all of the firefighters were given General Absolution before they entered the Trade Center buildings, where so many of them died.

That is *exactly* what General Absolution is (and always has been) used for. Another situation where it is often used is for soldiers about to go to battle. Any time there is a large group of people who are about to go into a dangerous situation and don't have time for individual confessions, you can use General Absolution.

There have unfortunately been too many parishes where General Absolution is used just because most of the congregation doesn't want to go to individual confession. That's the abuse that the Pope is trying to curb. (It's sort of like breaking into your community's emergency water rations because you're thirsty and the drinking fountain is broken - just *unnecessary*!)

Hope this help! :-)

-- Christine Lehman (, June 13, 2002.

The General Absolution that was mentioned by Christine is basically an act by the priest to Ask GOD to protect the Men as they were about to perform a dangerous duty. It is NOT the same thing a CONFESSION as we know it at all and it is and will never fully replace the Confession we are familiar with. It is not much didfferent than the "We confess to almighty GOD" prayer we do in the Mass. If anything it is almost a healing rite to offer the protection to the firefighters that Satan will not enter their souls as they work in the dangers they are about to enter. Yes, it has been reportedly abused too.


-- Fred Bishop (, June 13, 2002.

Several times during a Mission in our church, we received General Absolution. I don't know why, there were enough priests serving the Mission to hear confession.


-- MaryLu (, June 13, 2002.

I'm not sure you're completely correct, Fred. Of course, General Absolution is not intended to REPLACE the Sacrament of Penance. If you have a mortal sin to confess, you are still required to confess it at the next possible opportunity.

However, in the situation I mentioned, the firemen, many of them didn't GET a "next possible opportunity." If they made a good Act of Contrition -- if they were really sorry for their sins -- and then went into the buildings and got killed, then the Absolution "kicked in" for them, just like it would have if they'd gone to confession the regular way.

If it didn't, then what's the point of it? Why would the Church permit an essentially useless ritual in such a drastic situation?


-- Christine Lehman (, June 13, 2002.


I really believe considering the general absolution and the circumstances that they were well represented. Besides that we all have prayed well for their souls too.


-- Fred Bishop (, June 13, 2002.

I think we're on the same page, Fred (to use that over-used expression!) -- God bless!

-- Christine L. (, June 13, 2002.

When I went to the Padre Pio Shrine last year, it was very crowded and the priest saying mass gave a general absolution before communion, BUT did say that we must go to confession as soon as possible otherwise we would not receive the grace of the sacrament. MaryLu

-- MaryLu (, June 13, 2002.


Maybe this site is calling the Sacrament of Penance "new" under Vatican II due to the "differences" in the confessional itself. For example, under the "old rite" I don't seem to recall anyone ever going to confession to a priest face to face as they do today. I know that there was always a screen between you and the priest, and you never really saw his face. The older Churches still have the confessionals set up this way, but the majority don't use them as a means to hear confession.

Perhaps that is what this site is referring to when calling the Sacrament of Penance "new." However, you definitely have to be careful when reading those sites because most of them are working off the premise that Vatican II formed a new religion, in a sense, and seemingly divorce Vatican II from previous Councils because they don't accept it. Ironically, the modernists do the same thing, only they divorce the continuity of the Councils and act as though Vatican II is the only Council that matters.

Hope that helps and God Bless

-- Brian (, June 13, 2002.

Can't help getting a kick out of Ooops! Fred. He named us eight sacraments in one post above. Holy death? Is it this, Fred, or Extreme Unction (anointing and last rites) --? Count them, Fred.

-- eugene c. chavez (, June 13, 2002.

Fred wrote:

"Baptism, Communion, Confirmation, Religious Orders, Healing (Last Rites), Confession, Marriage and Holy Death."

Maybe there are only seven in the list. The seventh sacrament is a "Marriage and Holy Death." :-)



-- (, June 13, 2002.


Please notice that Marriage------Holy death are two separate items and they are separated by the word "AND". It is 7 sacraments and they are perfect-7-. I suppose i should have done it this way:

1 Baptism

2 First Communion

3 Confession

4 Confirmation

5 Marriage

6 Holy Orders

7 Holy Death


-- Fred Bishop (, June 14, 2002.


Several times during a Mission in our church, we received General Absolution. I don't know why, there were enough priests serving the Mission to hear confession. MaryLu

I have a huge problem in understanding WwHY this should happen at all. Unless it is an opening prayer of some sort similar to the one we have in the Mass now in the Penitential Rite with Absolution at the end. This form is fine for lessor sins of the venial kind. But it will never lessen Mortal or Grave sin.


-- Fred Bishop (, June 14, 2002.

1. Baptism

2. Confirmation

3. Eucharist

4. Reconciliation/penance


6. Holy Orders

7. Anointment of the Sick

OK? I just don't think "holy death" can be a sacrament in the strict sense, either you're a saint when you die or things get a little hot. Today's counting btw goes back to the Middle Ages. (I'll unearth the precise date.) The last one was renamed because it has to do with healing, not necessarily with death. Of course, it's the Lord's decision how exactly He heals a person.ego te absolvo... was changed after Vatican II, basically to say the same with fewer words.

General absolution: one of the three forms to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Basically, it's reserved for emergencies, e.g. when a ship's about to sink. The confusion we have set in because the same wording that you hear when you receive absolution after confession in the "traditional" way can be used in a penitential service. You don't receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the latter, of course. (OTOH God may, and will if you're disposed for it, forgive your venial sins "through" it.) Hardly surprising, this dual use leads to confusion, the more so if a penitential service is combined with Mass.

And you'd probably be spared that if 2nd person singular and plural weren't identical in English!

-- -- (unknown@a.nonymous), June 14, 2002.

Oops, I apologize again. Some day I'll learn to type. My post should have read:

'... heals a person.

To return to the original question: the wording used by the priest before the ego te absolvo... was changed after Vatican II, basically to say the same with fewer words.


Dear Moderator, in case you can spare a few moments, would you mind to repair my post? Thank you very, very much!

-- -- (unknown@a.nonymous), June 14, 2002.


My post was just a joke...I wasn't being serious.

Anyway, I also have never heard the the sacrament you're talking about be called "Holy Death." I've heard it called:

1) The Anointing of the Sick. (in the CCC).

2) Extreme Unction

From the CCC (see here:

"1514 The Anointing of the Sick "is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived."



-- (, June 14, 2002.

-- (^@^.^), June 14, 2002.

H E L P!!!!!

I am trying to learn about the Vatican II, but don't know what site to choose from. Are some of these sites anti-catholic? I came across this site, which would seem to me to be anti-catholic. Can someone tell me if it is and list a site that I could go to to read about the Vatican II? I would like to learn the history of the Vatican II, what it is about and what came before it.


-- Kathy (, June 14, 2002.

Hello Kathy,

Yes, I believe that "" is anything but a "True Catholic" website! It is a standard practice for unfaithful Catholic groups (both liberal and conservative) to proclaim that they know "Catholocism" more than the Catholic Church, and to attempt to hyjack the name.

That said, here are some links on Vatican II:




I hope this whets your appetite!


-- (, June 15, 2002.


Thank you for listing those sites, I'll add them to my favorites. isn't easy looking these things up in the search engines, because I don't know which ones are giving me truth. But I'd like to learn more. I knew one of you forum regulars would point me the way!!

Thanks again and God Bless,

-- Kathy (, June 15, 2002.


I was merely saying that the last thing we do in our lives is to DIE and then only then are we to be able to be joined with GOD. It is at the point of death is when we make the final decision to accept GoD or to deny him. You are correct in the Annoiting of the sick in that it is to serve basically 2 functions. First to heal the soul so that no harm is done to it by satan by the blessing of the person using the Holy Oils the Priest uses for that sacrament which is blessed anew during Holy Week each year. Also the ill are given the opportunity (IF ABLE) to have a confessional and absolution. So not only is the body and mind are healed but the soul is protected from the evils of satan.

I have seen these actions performed several times by priests for my late wife back 10 yrs ago. And i was fortunate to see all of this happen before my own eyes. It is extremely humbling to witness. Yes even I had a priest give her prayers one night in the hospital when she was only moments from actual death. She actually lived 10 weeks longer after that by a miracle of GOD. The Doctor was surprised that she made it. So you see, God does do things in Mysterious ways.

Thanks for your help too.

Many Blessings.

-- Fred Bishop (, June 15, 2002.

Kathy writes:

"because I don't know which ones are giving me truth."

There's a few ways to find out what a website advocates, even when the content isn't clear. Just as you can learn something about a person by the people he/she hangs out with; similarly, you can tell something about a website by the websites it links to.

For this website, they claim that all of the popes since 1958 have been imposters on this page. They claim that "the last true pope was Pope Pius XII who died on Oct. 9, 1958."

Of course, each web site has its own biases, and there's plenty of gray area to confuse us all.

God bless you,


-- (, June 15, 2002.


You are doing the best thing by asking us for help and you do by now know who to trust.

Hey, hows the Lobster this year? Had my 80 year old Mom here 2 weeks ago in Illinois and showed her the area and she even attended Mass with us for the first time since I was a 6 year old. What a thrill. She also was treated by us to Carribean lobster (Tails)too. It is not too different than the N.E. Mom is about 25 miles from you in N.H..

Hope all is well with all of you back home.


-- Fred Bishop (, June 15, 2002.

Mateo.....thanks, I know I can always count on you guys here for the right info!!

Fred.......had twin lobsters at the Sea Witch a few weeks ago.....all I can say is YUM.

Say hello to mother Carolyn for me, will you. I'll be dreaming of those homemade waffels on Sunday!!!

Happy Father's Day!

-- Kathy (sorry, June 15, 2002.

Kathy --Thanks -- Hope your hubby has a good day too -- Spoil him guys..


-- Fred Bishop (, June 15, 2002.

Hi, Jake H..

As I read through the various replies to your question about how the Sacrament of Reconciliation was "changed or altered" by Vatican II, I saw that you were getting good information, but a few important things were missing. I decided to write this message, telling you about how the one way in which Sacrament was celebrated in the (Latin) Church just before Vatican II -- and then copying in a description of the three ways that it can be celebrated now.

In the Spring of 1958, I had the grace of receiving the Sacrament of Penance for the first time. I was in the second grade then. The older generation referred to it as the Sacrament of Confession, and that is still a valid name. So is the name we were taught, "Penance." Now one will sometimes hear yet another valid name, "Sacrament of Reconciliation" -- and there are also "Conversion" and "Forgiveness." Actually, these names each describe an element of the whole Sacrament -- "conversion" of life, "confession" and "forgiveness" of sins, "reconciliation" with God, and act of "penance" assigned to the penitent by the priest.

Back in 1958, every confession was made anonymously, with the penitent kneeling on one side of a screen/curtain/grill and the priest sitting on the other side. A penitent would enter the confessional and immediately begin to speak to the priest, without a greeting, verse from scripture, etc.. The penitent would normally use a sort of formula in what he said. The priest would then give advice (and/or a reprimand!) and a penance (almost invariably prayers). Then the penitent would pray an "Act of Contrition." (As far as I know, there were only two acceptable forms of this prayer.) Then the priest would grant absolution in Latin. Lastly, the penitent would leave the confessional and do/pray his penance.

Now, in 1974, Pope Paul VI gave to the (Latin) Church the new rites of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Whereas there had previously been one rite, now there were three -- though only two that could ordinarily be celebrated.

The more common of the two ordinary rites -- private, personal confession -- is very similar to the old rite. Here is how the new Catechism describes it: "1480 Like all the sacraments, Penance is a liturgical action. The elements of the [individual, private] celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest's absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest." [I have found that the optional reading from scripture is rarely done, because of time constraints (so many people in line!]

Today, a penitent must be given the option of confessing anonymously (as in the old rite). But now, according to the option of the priest, confession may take place with penitent and priest seated face-to-face. Many confessionals (often called "reconciliation rooms") have been remodeled to allow for this.

Here is what I found at another site -- another way of describing the individual, private rite. I have highlighted a few things that were rarely if ever present in the old rite:

"The following may be helpful in preparing for confession. Above all, do not be afraid. If you are hesitant about what to do, ask the priest for help:
Greeting: The priest welcomes the penitent warmly and greets him or her with kindness.
Sign of the Cross: Then the penitent makes the Sign of the Cross, which the priest may also make.
Invitation to Trust in God: The priest invites the penitent to have trust in God using one of the formulas in the ritual or similar words. If the penitent is unknown to the priest, it is proper for the penitent to indicate his or her state in life (married, single, or clergy), the time of his or her last confession and anything else that may help the confessor in exercising his ministry.
Reading of the Word of God:
Confession of Sins and Acceptance of Satisfaction: The penitent confesses his or her sins and accepts the prayers or deeds that the priest proposes as a penance.
Prayer of the Penitent and Absolution: The priest asks the penitent to express sorrow by praying one of the prayers found in the ritual or in his or her own words. The priest then prays the Prayer of Absolution [in the vernacular], to which the penitent responds: "Amen." [Here is the prayer, which is incredibly beautiful to hear after one has unburdened himself: "God, the Father of mercies, through the death and the resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."]
Proclamation of Praise and Dismissal: The priest continues: "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good." The penitent responds: "His mercy endures for ever."
The priest then dismisses the penitent, using one of the formulas found in the ritual.

Now here is what the Catechism says about the two other new rites of the Sacrament:

"1482 The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a Communal Celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action."

"1483 In case of grave necessity, recourse may be had to a Communal Celebration of Reconciliation with General Confession and General Absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their grave sins in the time required. The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity."
[It is true that the conditions for the third rite almost never exist. Not long ago, the pope again powerfully cautioned against abuses of the third rite, but he has never threatened to do away with it.]

God bless you.

-- J. F. Gecik (, June 15, 2002.

"Holy Death" is not a sacrament. The seven sacraments, according to the names now used are:

1) Baptism 2) Eucharist (Calling it "First communion" is a misnomer, because we experience a sacrament WHENEVER we receive the Body and Blood) 3) Confirmation 4) Matrimony 5) Holy Orders 6) Reconciliation/Penance/Confession As far as the original question, the major changes made to Reconcilation by the Second Vatican Council were the OPTION (NOTE: NOT A REQUIREMENT) to confess face-to-face. The absolution is now given in English, and the Church now encourages a warm, friendly, non- judgemental attitude for the confessor and penitent. 7) Anointing of the Sick

-- Eric (, June 19, 2002.

the Issue of Holy death has been resoloved a LONG TIME AGO. Let's just drag it out and out and out some more, thanks.

-- Fred Bishop (, June 19, 2002.

Speaking of confession, I would like to know your preferences in this matter.

Who prefers the old-fashioned way of confessing in the confessional box talking to the priest through a screen or the face-to-face?

I experienced the face-to-face two times. I am getting kind of used to it now. My pastor told me tha priests like the face-to-face because it is like having a prayer partner.

Curious about your likes and dislikes.


-- MaryLu (, June 19, 2002.

Hello, Mary Lu.
You stated: "My pastor told me that priests like the face-to-face because it is like having a prayer partner."

I think that it would be better for your pastor to say that some (or most) priests that he knows prefer face-to-face celebration. To say something else is to generalize to too great an extent. If your pastor were able to take a poll of all the world's priests, he might be quite surprised at what he would find.

The reason I mention this is the following:
1. The Vatican has made it clear that, while a penitent may choose either way to confess (if both are available), it is up to each priest to decide if he wants to offer both ways or only the anonymous/screen way. [The anonymous way must always be offered.]
2. I have heard that an increasing number of priests, even before the abuse crisis broke, have been opting for offering the anonymous/screen way only. I'm not sure, but I would not be surprised to learn that this has to do with a desire to avoid temptations against chastity.
3. I have been a member of my current parish for eight years. During that time, I believe that only one priest has offered the face-to-face way.

God bless you.

-- (, June 19, 2002.

Dear John,

I may have worded that wrong, it was a long time ago that my pastor told me, you may be right.

Thank you for your detailed answers, as always.


-- MaryLu (, June 19, 2002.

You're very welcome, MaryLu. Thanks for being so gracious.

-- (, June 20, 2002.

Dear Carolyn,

I am 'sneaking' in a non-religious post here :)

Kathy mentioned your home-made waffles and it brought to mind my newly-purchased waffle-maker. I tried making waffles and they came out like cardboard :( They were so awful.

I have to try again. Is there a secret or knack to making good waffles?

I am probably going to get in trouble for this post, accused of trying to make this a cooking forum or something, but so's okay once in a while. Good cooking skills are a gift from God and He wants us to share our gifts..ha,ha


-- MaryLu (, June 20, 2002.

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