The Church has urged Irish Catholics to opt for confession over reality TV and radio shows in a major new initiative.
Priests were available to hear confession overnight across the country as part of the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ global program.
And one leading Irish bishop urged the faithful to think again before they lift the telephone to reveal their innermost secrets to radio and TV programs.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty claimed many people were ‘dragged’ into telling their story on air to radio programs or elsewhere in the media.
As he heard confessions in Carlow, the Bishop said the Catholic sacrament of confession was sacred and what was said to the priest was absolutely confidential.
He added that the ‘24 Hours for the Lord’ initiative was about promoting the mercy and forgiveness of God.
And he also told the paper that he was shocked by suggestions last year that priests would be required by the law to break the seal of confession and reveal what had been confessed to them if it related to abuse of a child.
The Bishop urged Catholics to get away from the squirm factor around confession and see it as something that could make their lives whole again.
He said: “There are many people who are very lonely in life, who tonight will realize that the lights are on in Bagnelstown church and they can go down there and say a prayer.
“Those people will see that the church doors are open all night and there is a priest there to hear their story.
“Whatever baggage, wound or healing needs to be done in their life - that is available to them this evening.”