BY MARK GREAVES
BISHOP KIERAN CONRY of Aiundel and Brighton has suggested it is not a good idea to go to Confession regularly.
The bishop made the comment in a frank interview with The Catholic Herald in which he defended "green" youth liturgies and said Humanae Vitae, the encyclical that forbade married couples from using contraception, "could be" wrong because it was not infallible teaching.
When asked if he thought regular Confession was a good idea, the bishop said: "No, because my own experience when we had Confession every day at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham was that regular penitents came back with exactly the same words week after week. So there you would say, actually, there is no conversion taking place."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages regular Confession but says that Catholics are only required to confess once a year.
Bishop Corny also suggested that there should be a greater emphasis on charity rather than on contraception.
"The birth control issue becomes easy because it's measurable. You do it or you don't do it. But love: you do it or you don't do it, how can you measure that? We fight the easy battles but we ignore the bigger ones," he said.
But Bishop Corny criticised
environmentalists who attacked the Church's teaching on contraception.
He said: "You get people like George Monbiot saying: 'If the Pope changes his position tomorrow, the world would be rid of the scourge of Aids.' He's talking nonsense."
On the traditional Latin Mass the bishop said he thought it was'"a bit over the top" but that he had never tried to restrict it in any way.
He said that traditionalists in England and Waies were "a small group of very vocal people" and that Summorum Pontificum, which allowed priests to celebrate the traditional Mass without the permission of a bishop, did not introduce "significant change".
Bishop Conry, who is supervising youth ministry after the closure of Catholic Youth Services, also said the Church had to speak to young people in their own language.
He argued that talking about faith in the context of climate change was likely to be more effective than addressing salvation or repentance. "You can't talk to young people about salvation," he said. "What does salvation mean? My eternal soul? You can only talk to young people in young people's language. If you're going to talk to them about salvation, the first thing they will understand is saving the planet."
Supplement: Page 13