From Mr Philip J Butler SIR – Donal Anthony Foley’s response (January 8) to my letter on the practice of Confession (December 11) quite fails to address the issues I raised.
Apart from his questionable way of reading Scripture and the intentions of Christ, he seems to assume, as people usually do, that the way we are used to doing things must be the right way and the only way and that it can never be changed. This completely ignores historical development and the fact that auricular confession is a latecomer on the scene.
If the Church has the authority to pronounce God’s forgiveness of our sins it could decide to exercise that authority in any number of ways, eg through general absolution. Since most Catholics will no longer practise Confession in the way popes want them to, would it not be sensible to offer them another way that will really answer their needs? The sabbath is made for man, after all, not man for the sabbath – so too the sacraments.
Yours faithfully, PHILIP BUTLER London N10