English, Pastoral

Holy communion in the hand (Sinag-Tala, 1977; Position Papers, no. 45, 1977)

           What are the serious arguments in favor of holy communion in the hand? I say 'serious', because at times one hears arguments which can scarcely be termed serious; for example, the argument that this way of communicating is more in accordance with the adult Christianity which is supposed to characterize our having 'come-of-age'. Adult Christianity? Christians come of age?...: these may be useful catch-phrases. But I have yet to come across any theology-based explanation of what they are supposed to mean. In particular I have yet to see anyone successfully attempt the task of squaring them with our Lord's insistence on his followers becoming like children.

General absolution: Some pastoral considerations (Homiletic and Pastoral Review, May 1984, 24-31)

[A conference given at Tigoni Study Centre, Limuru, Kenya, in 1983.]


            A perplexing pastoral problem, for many priests throughout the world, is that of general absolutions.

Is Penance on the decline? (Homiletic and Pastoral Review, April 1984, 53-57)

            [A priest in the confessional is like a continuous call from God to sinners. His presence there preaches the availability of God's mercy.]


            Is Penance on the decline? Well, it seems undeniable that the frequentation of the Sacrament of Penance is on the decline almost everywhere. The facts speak for themselves: deserted confessionals, reduced hours for hearing confessions, priests saying people do not come for Confession, people saying that priests are not available for Confessions...

The pastoral character of Church law (Homiletic and Pastoral Review, March, 1988, pp. 26-32)

            The Second Vatican Council, to quote the opening words of its first document, "set out to impart an ever-increasing vigour to the Christian life of the faithful" (SC 1). The renewal envisaged by the Council was to be pastoral; in other words, it was to be a renewal of the Church's role in caring for souls, as it carries on the work of Christ the Eternal Pastor (cf. CD 1). A pastorally renewed Church, according to the mind of the Council, should therefore be a Church where souls are cared for better, where the care they receive is more according to the fullness of Christ's design.

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