Like many churches and denominations, Roman Catholics have adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by offering virtual alternatives to normal religious rituals. And the Vatican recently released a statement from Pope Francis making it clear that confession can now be done at home, according to Fox News.
But what does this say about the Catholic sacrament of repentance? Mike Shreve explores this question in his current series on Catholic beliefs on his Revealing the True Light podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network, where he examines the sacraments, or sacred rites, of the Catholic church.
Shreve points out that the fourth sacrament is reconciliation. But what does that mean? Shreve says, “To be reconciled means to be restored to a former right relationship. And within Catholicism it means being restored to a right relationship not only with God, but with the church. This process is effected by confession, absolution and penance.
“Let’s talk about confession first. The necessity of confessing your sins to a priest is emphasized in Catholicism,” Shreve says. “Now, under the Old Covenant, it was necessary to go through priests who acted as mediators officiating over the sacrificial offerings and the ministry of the tabernacle of Moses and later on the temple of Solomon. However, in the New Covenant, every believer is granted access into God’s presence. And every believer can personally appeal to God for forgiveness.”
But should this only hold true during special circumstances? “If it is allowable during this crisis, why isn’t it allowable at any other time?” asks Shreve.