Germany Wants to Suspend Children’s Confession

A commission in the diocese of Freiburg is discussing a proposal to suspend children’s confessions, with the supposed aim of reducing the risk of abuse.

Newsroom (27/03/2024 20:17, Gaudium Press) Il Messagero reports that in the diocese of Freiburg in Germany, a commission tasked with dealing with abuse has recommended that young people’s confessions be suspended and reserved for adulthood. The article in the Catholic news agency KNA, highlighted by Il Messagero, revealed that a study by the diocesan commission showed that the administration of this Sacrament to first communion children could be an “initiation point for sexual abuse” and for this reason the commission recommended abandoning this practice.

According to the commission, confession at this age involves a close relationship between the child and the priest, which could “open up the possibility of manipulative behaviour towards children and minors, to the point of violating their boundaries.”

It is clear that this absurd recommendation by such a commission of the German diocese shows a disrespect for the role of grace and an ignorance of the real moral situation of a minor, as well as a break with the tradition of the Church.

St. Pius X fought hard for children to receive the Sacraments of Penance and Communion as early as possible and “when they reach the age of reason”.

Children can also commit mortal sin, which is the greatest evil on earth: “The custom that exists in many places of not confessing children who have not been admitted to the Holy Table, or of not absolving them, is worthy of censure, with the result that it is very easy for them to remain in a state of sin for a long time, with grave danger for their salvation,” warned Pope Sarto in Quam Singulari.

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From the moment a minor is able to distinguish between good and evil, he is capable of committing grave sin and, therefore, the Church must encourage access to the Sacrament of Confession. St. Pius X deplored “the custom existing in many places of forbidding confession to children not admitted to the Holy Table, or of not giving them absolution,” as well as the custom in places where “the age of first communion was fixed at ten or twelve years, and in others at fourteen or even more,” with the result that “the innocence of the child, torn from the caresses of Jesus Christ, was not nourished by any inner sap; and – disastrous consequence! – youth, deprived of effective help and surrounded by snares, lost its candor and slipped into vice before it had tasted the Holy Mysteries.”

These conceptions were “a remnant of Jansenist errors”. Now, Jansenism is, in essence, naturalism, that is, a disregard or contempt for the role of grace in virtue and eternal salvation.

It is necessary to combat the plague of abuse and minimize the risks as much as possible – as is already done in many places – without, however, cutting off the channel of grace, which is necessary if baptismal innocence is not to be lost even at a very early age, causing lifelong damage, since vices acquired at a young age can hardly be eradicated. In addition, there is a real risk of damnation.

Sadly, as is now universally known, the German Church is in a calamitous situation, heavily influenced by naturalistic worldliness and in serious danger of schism. These opinions reflect that situation. Let us pray for her (SCM).

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Compiled by Teresa Joseph


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