A mother has hit out at the “insane” confession exercise her son had to take part in ahead of his First Holy Communion.
Last week, Lunchtime Live listener Jill’s son and his classmates took part in an ‘examination of conscience’ - when Catholics reflect upon their sinful deeds and words.
The children were asked to think about bad behaviour they had committed at home or school - such as not sharing with their siblings or telling untruths.
“Halfway through, I nearly walked out, quite frankly,” Jill told Lunchtime Live.
“The children had to say, ‘We are sorry,’ while the priest read out all of their bad behaviours and I thought it explained why he was so nervous and anxious going up there.
“It explained to me why he was so scared that he had to own up to things that he hadn’t done - and not only him, but the other children also.
“I know them all; none of them are mean and selfish and none of them do not share with others.”
Overall, Jill thought it an “insane” exercise and a “totally wrong” thing to subject a group of children to.
“They then had to go up individually to the priest and tell him their sins,” she said.
“Up on the altar sitting down on a little table and the two chairs with the priest and the child was silent - you couldn’t hear it.
“But they had to stand up beforehand and say, ‘We are sorry’ - for all of these so-called ‘sins’ that the priest read out.
“It explains to me why he was so terrified as to why he had to do it in the first place. I thought it was totally wrong.”
Jill’s son was so upset by the ordeal he did not go to hurling on Saturday morning.
“He was exhausted from it and I just think, in 2023, with the Catholic Church needing as many people as it can get, this is totally over the top,” she said.
With hindsight, Jill understands why he had not wanted to do it in the first place.
“He was quite anxious about it the whole week… he thought because it snowed he wouldn’t have to do it,” she said.
“I said, ‘No, you’ll have to do it next year - there’s no avoiding this.’
“It’ll be his first confession and his last - because he won’t be doing it again.”
Children usually make their First Holy Communion at the age of seven or eight because the Church believes they have entered the ‘age of reason’ - or are old enough to understand right and wrong.
Main image: A child at First Holy Communion. Picture by: Alamy.com