The name given, after Vatican II, to the Sacrament of Penance. Although is

has been streamlined, Protestantized and made less formal, the new Rite has

the same function as the Old Sacrament. It requires full confession, firm

resolve not to sin, priestly absolution and the intention to satisfy the

penance. This Rite is conducted in a Room of Reconciliation. Roman Catholic

churches are gradually doing away with the Confession boxes they have had

for just over 400 years.


From TIME, 2/18/74. (Reasons given for adopting the Rite of

Reconciliation). "The Sacrament of Penance, more familiarly known to

Catholics as `confession,' has fallen on lean years. The reason for the

sacrament's neglect are probably many: a severe drop in church attendance,

a new theology of sin that does not stress damning `mortal' sins of pre-

Vatican II days, an avoidance of confession by some who practice

contraception, or an increasing reluctance to enter dark, closed quarters

to recite one's sins to an unseen judge.

"Despite church disapproval, some Catholics have chosen to think of the

new penitential prayers in the Mass as their `confession.' Others have

taken part in unauthorized communal rites of penance, acknowledging their

sins while the priest gives `general absolution' - a sort of blanket

forgiveness - to the entire group."

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