monk writing, Besancon, BM 434, 1372
MIDTERM EXAMINATION, 2010
To be (1) sent via e-mail or (2) placed in the
professor’s box within one week
(i.e. on or before October 21, 2010)
Please answer all three questions.
1) You are the recently-installed pastor of a large Catholic parish in an inland city on the West Coast. A thirty-year old parishoner whom you have seen at mass, but whom you do not know by name, has made an appointment to see you. She is a lawyer for the District Attorney’s Office in your city. Her husband is also a lawyer. They have no children and attend mass weekly.
The parishioner explains that she was raised a Catholic, and until the age of twenty she went to confession on average every two or three months. However, several years after her marriage, while attending law school, she began attending “non-denominational” worship services and stopped going to mass and confession. She has not participated in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation since that time. She began attending mass again about four years ago and receives communion each time she goes to mass.
She tells you that during her years away from the practice of her Catholic faith she was taught that God forgives the sins of all who repent. Nevertheless, she has recently begun to wonder whether there might be some value to returning to confession. She asks you why it is necessary to confess her sins to a human being.
What do you tell her? If you choose to recommend that she read something, please summarize or quote - and explain (!) - what she will find in that text.
2) Your next appointment of the morning is a member of the parish council appointed by your predecessor. He is a fifty year-old public high school teacher who is very enthusiastic, but has never studied theology. He tells you he has heard of a neighboring parish where general absolution is regularly offered at penance services. He tells you that he has heard this is approach is very popular, especially among divorced and remarried Catholics who have not obtained annulments. He wants you to offer this at the next scheduled penance service.
What do you tell him? (and again, summarize or quote any information he may find in texts you recommend, and explain what it means)
3) Having finished your explanation of General Absolution, the same parishioner is quiet for a few minutes, then brightens considerably and asks you very enthusiastically whether it would be possible to offer a service of Anointing of the Sick. He explains he has heard that the Sacrament of Anointing can “serve the same purpose” as General Absolution, “but with fewer restrictions”.
What do you tell him? What sort of an Anointing Service would you be willing to offer? As above, summarize / quote and explain any texts you may recommend.