Here’s a look at the decline of regular confession in parishes in the Fall River, Mass., diocese attendant with a rise in confessions at other venues.
But since the 1970s, the number of Catholics regularly confessing their sins to a priest has diminished dramatically.
As a result, hours have been reduced at churches over the last couple of decades, and pastors, who these days are usually handling the duties of their parish alone, are relegating only an hour or so a week to confession.
Among the Catholics who still confess regularly, many of them find their way to places such as LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro, where the numbers have been holding and even rising some years.
I know lots of people who don’t go to confession at their home parish. For some, it’s because the times are inconvenient, but for many it’s because they don’t want Father to know their sins. As fewer and fewer people go to confession, it’s easier for the priests to recognize the individuals, I think.
I know that I don’t go to my parish for confession, but to the Carmelite Chapel in the local mega-mall. (Yes, you read that right.) Mainly, it’s because I used to live at the rectory with Fr. Murphy and we became close friends, and it would feel awkward to also go to confession with him. I think it might create a funny vibe. Hey, if he were the only priest available, then he would be the one I’d confess to. Fortunately, I have options and I take advantage of them.