SAN FERNANDO City, Pampanga, March 6, 2015—Given that the two are often confused, a Catholic Church official has clarified that although similar, confession is not quite the same as consultation, stressing the former is a Sacrament that enjoins one to conversion.
“Actually, confession is the common name for the Sacrament of Reconciliation or penance … And it is only one of its aspects. When we confess our sins, it means we are humble enough to ask the Lord forgiveness for them,” San Fernando Auxiliary Bishop Pablo Virgilio S. David told Church-run Radyo Veritas in an interview.
According to him, the Sacrament has four elements: three on the part of the penitent (contrition, confession proper, and satisfaction), and one on the part of the minister of the sacrament (forgiveness, absolution).
The prelate explained consultation or seeking counsels is what a person in distress consciously or unconsciously does when he or she desires the company and the advice of another, but not necessarily because a mortal sin had been committed.
“Counseling is what we Filipinos most often do. Whenever we feel troubled, it’s normal for us to engage other people willing to listen to our woes. That way we unburden ourselves of our emotional baggage,” he added.
David, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)’s Episcopal Commission on Biblical Apostolate (ECBA), expressed awareness that more and more people are seeking counseling.
The prelate suggested the creation of a separate Church ministry that specializes in and responds to this need.
24 Hours for the Lord
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has called on Catholics worldwide to take part in the 24 Ore per Il Signore” (“24 Hours for the Lord”), a whole day dedicated to confession and the adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Themed “God rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), the event will be held to place the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the center of the Church’s mission of New Evangelization.
In his Lenten message, the Holy Father underscored the efficacy of collective adoration, inviting the faithful to mark March 13 to 14 as “24 Hours for the Lord.”
“Let us not underestimate the power of so many voices united in prayer! The 24 Hours for the Lord initiative, which I hope will be observed on 13-14 March throughout the Church, also at the diocesan level, is meant to be a sign of this need for prayer,” he said.
For updates, interested parties may visit the Vatican website http://www.novaevangelizatio.va/content/nvev/en/news/24h-2015.html. (Raymond A. Sebastián/CBCP News)