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Catholic Activity: Attitudes on Confession

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You must emphasize the importance of the sacraments, especially Confession, and give your child ample opportunity to receive this sacrament, but never force or ridicule him in this matter. These are suggestions on maintaining the balance between privacy and following the parental role of making the sacraments readily available for your children.

DIRECTIONS

Most Catholic parents fully respect their child's right to privacy in regard to confession. Of course, you should not question him about what he told the priest, or what the priest told him. To do so would be depriving him of the right to privacy in confessional matters which is his. His decision to receive or not receive the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist also must be his to make.

While you must stand guard over your child's spiritual welfare, never place him in a position where his failure to confess or receive Communion will make him conspicuous. The reason for this warning is that a child who is unworthy to receive Communion or fears to confess his sins may be tempted to partake of the Holy Eucharist sacrilegiously if his failure to receive will make him stand out in the crowd. Before the rule for the Eucharistic Fast was relaxed, a person who did not wish to receive Communion might create an excuse by saying that he had inadvertently swallowed water. Since beverages one hour before Communion are now permitted, and water is permitted at any time, such an excuse is no longer valid. The person who does not wish to receive may find it more difficult to hide the fact that he may not be in a state of grace. Be doubly cautious, therefore, that you do not use pressure upon your child so that he receives unworthily to hide the existence of another sin.

Parents should be alert for opportunities to suggest the reception of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, however. If a child consistently resists the sacraments, they may fairly assume that he is troubled by some moral problem. Without mentioning the matter directly, a parent might tell him anew that God will forgive any sin and that any problems brought to the priest in the confessional will receive sympathetic consideration. Children may need to be reassured that they have nothing to fear in confessing their sins and that their secrets will be kept from all mankind. If your own attempts to encourage your child to frequent the sacraments prove unsuccessful, you should discuss the subject with your pastor.

Activity Source: Catholic Family Handbook, The by Rev. George A. Kelly, Random House, Inc., New York, 1959

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