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Tuesday, May 31, 2011



Thanks for the article, Dr. Peters.

The idea of the Canon Penitentiary is excellent. The force to effect such a move in any diocese is of course the Bishop. As a part of his teaching office I would also think that it might be time for a widespread emphasis on moral teaching so that everyone can at least be on the same page, priests and laity alike.

Certainly, confessors must have clarity regarding their counseling in the course of the sacrament, yet when the laity still have a confused or inadequate understanding of basic moral precepts practically applied, their expectations in the sacrament may well be far out of sync with the priest. It seems to me that while education or refinement of that education may well be a natural part of the sacrament of penance, the bulk of that education should be done from the pulpit, emanating where necessary from the throne of the bishop.

In fact, it would be no surprise if the laity were not confessing at all through ignorance of its necessity for specific sins, not solely from bad advice in the confessional but lack of advice from without. We have all heard the lament about woefully inadequate catechesis over the years. Perhaps it is time also to do something about that at the diocesan level, as a companion to the Canon Penitentiary, not only to repair CCD, which has been done in many places already, but to begin to repair the damage of the past.

That is, of course, not the job of Canon Law per se, but Canon Law does specify whose job it is to educate in the faith.

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