Thursday, February 01, 2007
According to a CNS story sent in by a reader, L'Osservatore Romano has berated an Italian journalist who wrote a story on confession for L'Espresso magazine, one of Italy's leading weeklies, calling it a "shameful scoop." The journalist made false confessions in order to track priests' response:
The reporter made his false confessions to 24 different priests in five Italian cities, including Rome. The magazine said the idea was to see how priests handle difficult pastoral situations and whether they followed the strict norms laid out by church teaching.
The reporter, for example, told two priests he was HIV-positive and wondered whether he should use a condom when having sexual relations with his girlfriend. One told him no, and the other said it was a question of conscience, the magazine reported.
More than once, the magazine said, priests gave quite different advice on his supposed "sins," which included matters relating to homosexuality, divorce, stem-cell research, euthanasia and prostitution.
One issue that found unanimous condemnation by confessors was abortion, the magazine said.
While the Vatican paper refers to sacrilege and "violation of sacred space", one has to wonder if it wasn't the evidence unearthed that really had the Vatican in a lather. Pick your priest and get either heaven or hell depending upon the choice. Not a good image at all, at all. But it's much easier to condemn the messenger than to address the message, I guess.