Posted March 12th, 2014 | CRS Rice Bowl, From the Feedbag, Lent, Recipes, Video


Kitchen Confessions

NOTE: Last week, I started off talking about Lent….by referring to it as Advent. Sorry about that! Many readers caught it right away and it has since been corrected. Glad to know that Lent means that much to many of you, so God bless you during this Holy Season of Lent and beyond.

As we like to generate conversation, here is some FOOD FOR THOUGHT: 


  • How do you explain Confession to non-Catholics or non-practicing Catholics?
  • How many times do you think is a healthy number of times to go to Confession?
  • What’s the hardest part about getting to confession?  And how do you deal with it?

Post your questions and comments below.




The soon-to-be SAINT John Paul II giving a much younger looking Fr. Leo and my chalice a special blessing.

Whenever I meet with chefs, I oftentimes get them to make a “confession” about how after a busy dinner shift, instead of cooking something healthy or fancy, they’ll often settle for fast, diner, or comfort foods. Confessions are just a part of life. In this “From the Feed Bag” we go deeper into the purpose of Confessions.

Dear Fr. Leo, 

Why do Catholics HAVE to go to confession? Why can’t they just get forgiveness from God directly? 

Thanks, KT 

Dear KT and everyone who asks themselves this same question,

Christ gave the apostles very clear commands, which I’ll summarize:

“Go into the world and preach the Good News! Baptize nations in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit! Forgive Sins – a sign that we are doing what He wants. And above all, LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”

It’s funny how people forget Jesus created the Church in order to forgive sins. It’s more than a place to go when people need of a social service, a good background for wedding photos, or somewhere to socialize. Most importantly, Church is where we come to know God, and that we are NOT God. It’s a place to know God’s love by receiving His forgiveness.

The Wailing Wall, where Believers understand the wall as a physical manifestation of God’s Presence.

The Confessional is the place where the Alexander Pope cliché confronts our very reality: “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” As we are called to become more like God, Divine Providence has given us the Church to be that place where forgiveness is understood as a sacrament and not just a good idea.

A healthier understanding of sin gives us a healthier understanding of humanity and the Church. God knew humanity so well, he gave us a place where we can be forgiven. In this question, so typical of a fast food mentality of forgiveness, we try to avoid or skip a real, accountable, and practical process of forgiveness.

For example, if we hurt a loved one, do we just say in our own minds, “Please forgive me”, and think,”That’s good enough.”?

Rather, we know a process is required, which includes an examination of what we did wrong, getting enough courage to go to that person, and humbly telling them we know we did something wrong – i.e., actual verbalization of our sins and sorrow. The process continues with hearing those words, I forgive you. Finally, the process of forgiveness requires some action to demonstrate true contrition and a willingness to do better.  

Traditional “Confessional Box” located in the sacristy of the St. John the Baptist Church in Israel.

These are the steps of forgiveness we take with others. It’s the same process we ought to take with God. This is exactly what happens in Church, which is “The Body of Christ” – the very person we hurt whenever we sin. We have to remember that Church is not a hotel for saints but a hospital for sinners.

In this Lenten Season we can keep questioning the process of forgiveness, or we can trust that the Church is God’s answers to our prayers. Remember, studying the history of confession shows that we’ve been doing this since Christ started His Church. A more knowledgeable, humbler, and trusting approach to this particular Sacrament can only help us in our relationship with God, simply by better recognizing the Church as “The Body of Christ.”

Young folks from St. Patrick Church in Oak Grove, Minnesota, who know the importance of Confession.

Let us pray:  


Lord, give us Grace to use this Holy Season of Lent to seek a humble forgiveness of our sins, so that by receiving Your mercy, we can in turn forgive one another.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.



Check out starting this week for Fr. Leo’s weekly recipe from different countries around the world. And be sure to fill your CRS Rice Bowl with change to help those in need this Lent and beyond.


This Week’s Lenten Recipe from CRS Rice Bowl:

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CRS Rice Bowl Global Kitchen: For Lent, For Life
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Posted in CRS Rice Bowl, From the Feedbag, Lent, Recipes, Video | 5 Comments