In a new commentary, NCR contributor Flora x. Tang, writes about a recent social media post in which a Catholic woman described a horrible experience in the confessional. Countless other women and men, many of them anonymous, followed suit by sharing similar incidents of verbal abuse, sexism and inappropriate conduct of priests in the confessional.
"This outpouring on social media marks one of the first recent public — albeit virtual — discourses where everyday Catholics are sharing their lived experiences of harm during confessions," Tang writes. "Given the inherently secretive nature of the sacrament, it is not often discussed publicly. Priests are bound by the seal of confession, preventing them from sharing the content of anyone's confessions even under duress. And confessants, likewise, are normally not in the business of telling others the details of their specific sins."
Given initial reports that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and many U.S. dioceses seemed less than enthusiastic about Pope Francis' synod, NCR contributor Sr. Christine Schenk decided to do an informal review of the websites of major U.S. dioceses and archdioceses — especially those with large populations.
Schenk discovered that of the 67 websites she visited over Oct. 15-17, more than half indicated a comprehensive process was planned or already underway (34) or said plans would be announced soon (3). Most featured the synod logo and the detailed resources so helpfully provided by the Vatican's synod website.
"My impromptu mini-survey is obviously not conclusive," Schenk writes. "But it does provide a snapshot of where things are right now. The initial picture is perhaps a bit more promising than first feared."
ICYMI: The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments published an executive decree formalizing the responsibility of bishops' conferences for judging the accuracy and suitability of liturgical translations and adaptations.
ICYMI: Pope Francis said he hopes to continue traveling next year, including making visits to countries in Oceania and Southeast Asia.