News

Murphy-O’Connor wants reforms to Confession to address decline

13 February 2014 | by James Macintyre

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor believes that Confession is in need of significant reform and should be discussed at a special synod on the sacraments.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster has called for “proper reform to the sacrament” and says Confession has not received “serious reflection by any authoritative people within the Church” despite declining numbers of Catholics making use of the sacrament.

The remarks come in a private letter to the Cambridge academic and author John Cornwell, who is campaigning for a ban on childhood Confession and who sent the cardinal a new book he has written on the sacrament.

Mr Cornwell, who says he was the victim as a boy of sexual solicitation by a confessor, has written an open letter to Pope Francis calling for a ban.

A spokeswoman for the cardinal stressed that he was not endorsing an end to childhood Confession, had not read Mr Cornwell’s book when he replied to the author, and in no way associated himself with the letter to the Pope.

The spokeswoman told The Tablet the issue should be discussed by bishops from around the world. “The cardinal believes that Confession could be considered as a topic for an Episcopal Synod on Sacramental Life. [He] thinks there needs to be much serious reflection in the Church as to why people are not going to Confession and what would encourage them to return to the Sacrament.”

Mr Cornwell, who wrote about Confession for The Tablet in August 2012, estimates that 40 per cent of paedophile offences within the Church around the world have occurred “under the auspices of Confession”.

Accounts of the alleged widespread abuse of children in Confession are collected in a new book by the author, The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession, which is published on 20 February.

Photo: CNS/Gregory A Shemitz



Article List


TABLET WORLD…
Latest Issue

Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Most Read Articles

Both sides in Amoris Laetitia debate are right, says Cardinal Müller19 October 2017 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Pro Francis theologians start petition in support of Pope following 'filial correction' 18 October 2017 by Christopher Lamb

German bishops abandon controversial Missal translation09 October 2017 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Both sides in Amoris Laetitia debate are right, says Cardinal Müller19 October 2017 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Pro Francis theologians start petition in support of Pope following 'filial correction' 18 October 2017 by Christopher Lamb

German bishops abandon controversial Missal translation09 October 2017 by Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Changing minds and hearts: the basic moral test of a society and its laws is the treatment of human life at its most vulnerablePremium18 October 2017 by John Wilson

The book of the people: the laity were reading the scriptures before 1517Premium18 October 2017 by Thomas Kaufmann

When realities collide: A pro-life activist suggests a change of direction for those campaigning for the abolition of the Abortion ActPremium18 October 2017 by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Changing minds and hearts: the basic moral test of a society and its laws is the treatment of human life at its most vulnerablePremium18 October 2017 by John Wilson

The book of the people: the laity were reading the scriptures before 1517Premium18 October 2017 by Thomas Kaufmann

When realities collide: A pro-life activist suggests a change of direction for those campaigning for the abolition of the Abortion ActPremium18 October 2017 by Rebecca Bratten Weiss

Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here

Manage
Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up
Top