Review: A Confessor’s Handbook: Revised and Expanded Edition

A Confessor's Handbook: Revised and Expanded EditionA Confessor’s Handbook: Revised and Expanded Edition by Kurt Stasiak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a relatively newly ordained priest one of the great challenges for my priestly ministry has been coming to terms with my role as confessor. It is an enormous privilege, humbling to a degree not possible to imagine, to accompany Christians as they seek to know God’s overwhelming mercy. Because of the nature of this aspect of my ministry as priest I have often reflected at prayer on the encounters that take place within the celebration of reconciliation in an effort to constantly ensure that I am doing what I can to the best of my ability (helped always by God’s grace of course) and so that I can continue to be a loving and grace-filled instrument of God’s forgiveness and peace.

This book, by Kurt Stasiak, provides an accompaniment to that reflective process. This is no definitive blueprint on how to celebrate the sacrament and fulfil the role of confessor. Rather, Fr Stasiak offers the reader some reflections, drawn from his own vast experience and learning, on the celebration of the sacrament as a means of encouraging priest-confessors to engage in the reflective process, to look at how they undertake this very significant part of the priestly ministry. I am immensely grateful, even after seven years of priestly ministry, to come across this book.

From the back cover:

For many years, A Confessor’s Handbook has been the indispensible guide for priests and seminarians on the sacrament of Reconciliation. There are many books for priests on preaching, leadership, liturgy, spiritual direction, and counseling, but A COnfessor’s Handbook focuses specifically on the priest’s ministry as confessor. This essential book is not limited to general principles, but offers a rich trove of practical examples drawn from the author’s decades of experience as a priest and confessor. This revised and expanded edition remains as insightful and faithful to church teaching as the first, but also addresses the challenges of hearing confessions in the twenty-first century. It includes a new appendix on Reconciliation for priests, and contains the whole text of the Pontifical Council for the Family’s Vademecum for Confessors. Priests, seminarians, and even lay people who wish to make the most of their sacramental experience will find that they cannot do without this book.

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