“Hoover Dam Breaks – People Urged To Bring Buckets and Towels”

“Giant Asteroid Headed For Manhattan – People Advised To Hide in Basements”

“Use of Confession at All Time Low – Vatican To Publish Handbook”

A Handbook? Yeah, that ought to do it.

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A Vatican official is lamenting that many faithful no longer confess their sins, and says some confuse a psychologist’s couch for a confessional booth.

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza has told Vatican Radio the sacrament of penance has been experiencing a “deep crisis” for decades. Piacenza, an official for the Vatican office on clergy, says fewer people distinguish between good and evil, and as a result don’t go to confession.

The archbishop said in the interview Tuesday that if faithful don’t have a sense of sin, they might “confuse” confession with “the couch of a psychologist or a psychiatrist.”

He says the Vatican plans to publish this year a kind of handbook on confession to drum up enthusiasm among Catholics toward the sacrament.

Perhaps if they use the handbooks to beat people over the heads, that might be a start.

I think Archbishop Piacenza is right to lament the lack of use of this very important sacrament and also to point out that the psychologists couch is no replacement. However, I don’t think a handbook is going to cut it. Nothing is going to change until every priest in every diocese preaches relentlessly about the need to return to this sacrament. Oh, and as an added incentive why don’t we try having confession more often than 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon or by ‘appointment.’ How ’bout every Bishop makes sure that nobody in the Diocese must drive more than one hour from 7am to 9pm to have their confession heard. How ’bout a handbook for that?

Actually, there is an idea. Why not create handbooks for Bishops, Priests, and Pastors about the need to preach on the subject (often) and make it more readily available. Then maybe, just maybe, we might get somewhere.