Monday, October 16, 2023

A 1971 Proposal for a New Form of First Confession for Children

Bishop Pieter Jan Antoon Moors of Roermond, who in 1964 became one of the first bishops to revise how the Sacrament of Penance was administered to children.

[Oct. 15, 2023] Franz Heggen (b. 1930) is a Dutch theologian who was a peritus for Bishop Pieter Jan Antoon Moors of the Diocese of Roermond, Netherlands. Before the Second Vatican Council had even ended, Bishop Moors (1964) issued directives in his diocese for a reevaluation of how penance was administered, asking priests to consider preparing children for confession in stages through prayer and song rather than traditional catechesis (1). Franz Heggen was a part of these discussions and an advocate for a restructuring of the sacrament in such a way that absolution was conferred collectively in order to stress the communal character of the sacrament.