Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre
Volume 3, Chapter XXIV

Frequent Confession


The Remnant-18 April 1980

Pope John Paul II, in outdoor beatification ceremonies for a Franciscan known for hearing confessions, condemned the idea that frequent confession is “old fashioned.”

The Pope repeated his frequent call to priests to see the “capital importance” of their ministry of confessors. About 10,000 people listened as the Pope praised Capuchin Father Leopold of Herceg Novi,Yugoslavia, who died in 1942 and had spent hours each day hearing confessions for forty years.
The Pope objected to "certain critical currents which would like to relegate frequent confession to a position of being considered old-fashioned.” He said that those who held this view “are certainly not inspired by mature Christian wisdom.” Today more than ever, the Pope said, "individual confession is a font of grace and peace, a school of Christian life and of incomparable comfort for the earthly pilgrimage toward eternal happiness.”

On Good Friday of this year, Pope John Paul II himself entered a confessional in St. Peter’s Basilica and heard private confessions for an hour and a half. A spokesman for the Holy See declared that the Pope did so to emphasize the importance of individual sacramental confession. L’Obbervatore Romano likewise reported that the Holy Father meant to emphasize “the importance which the Church gives this Sacrament, especially at Easter, as a means of reconciliation with God and with one’s brothers.”

Meanwhile, in the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese, Archbishop John Roach had instructed his priests to dispense with the Sacrament of Penance “except for serious pastoral reasons” from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. The Archbishop’s reasoning for this was, to say the least, quixotic. In a lengthy letter to his priests, the Archbishop pointed to a “separation” of the Easter Triduum from Lent’s call to conversion and penance. The ‘ritual process’ of the Easter Triduum, said the Archbishop, “enunciates a new spiritually and it invites another form of participation” distinct from the “season of Lent (which) ends on Holy Thursday…At this time the call to conversion is ended,” he maintained.
As one lady remarked, in a "mail” letter to the local daily, “ Christ crucified forgave the penitent thief on Good Friday. Was not this the reason He suffered the Passion and death – to unite sinners with God? The horror of sin was never more manifest than on Good Friday. Sinners have been moved to repentance on that day. It is difficult to understand why the opportunity for reception of this grace should be denied them.”

Apparently, however, Pope John Paul II was of a different mind when, precisely on Good Friday and over looking the fine distinction between” Lent’s call to conversion” and the “ritual process of the Easter Triduum,” he himself heard confessions at St, Peter's.

19 April 1980

Archbishop Lefebvre in Spain

On 19 Apri1 1980 Mgr, Lefebvre was in Madrid, Spain, where he gave a conference to more than eight hundred people concerning the present situation in the Church. This conference was delivered in French and immediately translated into Spanish by Father Phillipe Pazat, a priest of the Society.
The Society presently has a priory in Spain, located in Madrid, with an ever-increasing weekly and daily attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the mass, and constant requests for more Spanish-speaking priests.


Chapter 23

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