“Repent and Believe in the Good News.” Although the Archdiocese has encouraged pastors to make Confessions available during this time, our situation here at Holy Cross is unique. Our pastor is preparing for surgery on April 14th and he has diabetes; although he is not yet 60 years of age, these two health factors make him especially “vulnerable.” To expose him not only to the coronavirus, but also any of a number of other seasonal illnesses right now would be unwise and imprudent. If Sacramental Confession were needed, other area parishes may have priests and Confession times available. Also, what follows is helpful guidance for when Sacramental Confession is needed in cases where a priest is simply not available.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis has recently issued this reminder to those who do not have access to a priest to make a sacramental confession.
“Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the person is at present able to express) and accompanied by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 1452).
In the current health crisis it may be impossible to go to sacramental confession; the Church provides for such situations. Those who come before Almighty God with sincere contrition for their sins and a fervent desire for forgiveness, can be confident of God’s mercy. Contrition is sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed. When this contrition arises from the love of God, it is called ‘perfect contrition.’
What does this mean in practical terms? In cases when a priest is not available for sacramental confession one should:
- Make an Act of Perfect Contrition; along with,
- A Sincere Request of God for Forgiveness; accompanied by,
- The Resolve to Make a Sacramental Confession at the First Opportunity.
By devoutly and sincerely performing these actions one can obtain forgiveness of all sins.”
Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God,
source of all life, health, forgiveness, and healing,
look with compassion on our world, brought low by disease;
protect us in the midst of the grave challenges that assail us
and in your fatherly providence
grant us your peace. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.