Communal Confession Takes Hours
Chris Radloff, Pukekohe, New Zealand – I sympathise with the Open Door query posted by Mildred (January 18) about the length of a communal penitential service.
I sympathise even more because of Michael Shackleton’s reply which missed the point and ended up being rather condescending.
I have a similar problem in our parish in New Zealand. I also had to walk out/“back out” from a confession queue due to time constraints. I had set aside an hour and a half, knowing there were three priests, and left after an hour. I heard others had left “unrepentant” as well.
The answer, I suspect, lies in establishing expectations. If the priest indicates in the first part of the service that he is available for any prolonged discussion or advice at some other time, then penitents will not be frustrated.
Mr Shackleton’s simile with a doctor is valid, and being a GP myself, I do have to gently prioritise a veritable shopping list of complaints, attend to the most important, and have a management plan for the rest.
Perhaps the clergy would like to comment.