ROME (AP) — One of the Vatican’s most secrecy shrouded tribunals, which handles confessions of sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution, is giving the faithful a peek into its workings for the first time in its 830-year history. [Problem: There are some sins that are so grave that they incur censures which not every priest can absolve. Only the Holy See can absolve the censures that come from certain acts. However, the SPA also handles any matter of conscience. A Catholic always has recourse to the Holy See.]Read all of Fr Z's commentary here.
The Vatican has long lamented that fewer and fewer Catholics are going to confession, the sacrament in which the faithful can receive forgiveness if they sincerely confess their sins to a priest.
To combat the decline, the so-called "tribunal of conscience" invited the public into the frescoed halls of its imposing 16th-century palazzo for a two-day conference that ended Wednesday.
The aim was to explain what the Apostolic Penitentiary actually does, and thereby encourage more of the faithful to go to confession, said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the tribunal’s No. 2 official.
"Even though it’s the oldest department of the Holy See, it’s very little known — specifically because by its nature it deals with secret things," he said. "We want to relaunch the sacrament of penance." [Excellent!]
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Super Tippy Top Secret Tribunal (sic.)
Father "Z" at What Does the Prayer Really Say clears up the sensationalism about what the MSM considers a super-duper, double-top secret Vatican confession tribunal (Fr Z's comments in red):