Course on Confession Under Way

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2005 ( The Holy See is offering a course this week to young priests on the sacrament of reconciliation and the difficulties they might face when imparting it.

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The «Course on the Internal Forum» is organized annually by the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

Among the professors is Conventual Franciscan Father Gianfranco Girotti, the regent of the penitentiary, which has competence in all that corresponds to the internal forum, namely, questions of conscience.

On Vatican Radio, Father Girotti recalled a saying of Pope John Paul I: «After the Council of Trent, confessions increased and Communions decreased; while, after the Second Vatican Council, Communions increased and confessions decreased.»

Father Girotti acknowledged «a crisis of sacramental confession» in some countries, and he attributed its origin to «the loss of the sense of sin.»

Among the other reasons he cited: «There is an ever greater concern not to apportion blame and to limit freedom.» An ethic is increasingly spreading, he said, «which relativizes the moral norm, denying its absolute value, and denying that there can be acts that are intrinsically illicit.»

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