Page 7, 4th February 2000

4th February 2000
Page 7
Page 7, 4th February 2000 — The pastoral disadvantages of general absolution

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The pastoral disadvantages of general absolution

From Revd. Christopher Jackson

Sir, All priests want to do the best they can for the people in their care. Will someone please explain then, why it is better pastoral practice to give general absolution than to give people the time and the help they need to make a good confession? Why, when the value of oneto-one counselling is well attested, do some priests want to draw back from a ministry which not only forgives but can do much to reaffirm a person's sense of self-worth? In the centre church where I work there is a day before Christmas and a day before Easter when the sacrament of reconciliation is available from early morning until evening. Experience shows that many people appreciate space in which to open their hearts without pressure to confine themselves to "one sin only" — sometimes a feature of penitential services. It is also valued by priests from the deanery who arc glad to have the opportunity to exercise the ministry for which they were ordained. Why do we try to sell people short when we have so much to offer?

Yours faithfully, CHRISTOPHER JACKSON Sunderland.

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