The Return to the Confessional

In a related note, my to be released book (this week) A Pocket Guide to Confessionwas ranked in the top 400 of all the books that Amazon sold  over the weekend. It continues to be ranked high on the Catholic Bestseller’s list on Amazon.  So it seems that there definitely is a renewed interest. I would only add to it that whenever I go to confession (usually once a month) there is always a line.

 From Sandro Magister:

During the two-day meeting between Benedict XVI and the young people who flocked to Loreto by the hundreds of thousands from Italy and from many other countries, something happened that was unexpected in terms of its intensity and breadth: mass participation in the sacrament of confession.

Between Saturday, September 1, and Sunday, September 2, in the large open plain beneath the town and the shrine of the Virgin Mary, 350 priests heard confessions nonstop from two o’clock in the afternoon until seven in the morning, besieged by twelve thousand young people seeking forgiveness.

But even before the pope’s arrival, the rite of penance had been part of the preparations for many of the young people attending the event. Almost all of the pilgrimage venues on the way to Loreto included opportunities for sacramental confession. Such was the case with the abbey in Fiastra, which at times became one giant confessional. Such was the case with the shrine of Canoscio, in the Apennine mountains. Each time, there were dozens and dozens of priests all administering the sacrament at the same time.

This was not an absolute novelty. Great numbers of young people also confessed at the World Youth Day events held in Rome in 2000: 120,000 in three days, in the immense stadium of pagan Rome, the Circus Maximus, which had been transformed into an open-air confessional.

But what seemed at first like a flash in the pan turned out to be a lasting trend. And it is a growing one, especially at shrines and at large gatherings. Of course, the percentage of young Catholics who go to confession is still small. In Loreto, they were less than five percent of those present. But a trend reversal is underway, considering that reception of the sacrament had almost died out some years ago.

Pope Meets with Israeli Prime Minister

From the International Tribune:

Pope Benedict XVI met Thursday with Israeli President Shimon Peres, as the elder statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate continued his visit to Italy amid an international push for peace in the Middle East.

The meeting took place in the papal summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome. The Vatican did not immediately release details of the talks, the first since Peres became president in July.

Peres, holding five days of talks with political and business leaders in Italy, said Wednesday that recent meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and the flurry of diplomatic activity in the Middle East could be the most promising developments yet in efforts to bring peace to the region.

“The overall atmosphere is encouraging,” he said after meeting in Rome with Italian Premier Romano Prodi.

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