Register Radio - Making a Good Confession and the New Evangelization

Last week on Register Radio, Dan Burke discussed the challenges of making a good confession with Catholic author Marge Fenelon. In the second half of the show, Jeanette De Melo interviewed theologian Scott Hahn about the New Evangelization and Franciscan University’s outreach.

Marge Fenelon on Making a Good Confession

Marge Fenelon is a Catholic wife, mother, author, columnist, and speaker. She’s a frequent contributor to a number of Catholic publications and websites and is a regular guest on Catholic radio. She’s written several books about Marian devotion and Catholic family life and has touched the hearts of audiences in a variety of venues. Her latest book is Imitating Mary: Ten Marian Virtues for the Modern Mom (Ave Maria Press, 2013).

Be sure to read the recent post by Fr. Dwight Longenecker and Fenelon’s recent post in the Register about how to make a good confession.

What should we do when we have priests who may (incorrectly) not give us the words of absolution? Fenelon advised her son recently to pray very hard for the priest.

It’s “concerning” to have priests who play down the sin and maybe even tell people “it’s no big deal,” Fenelon and Burke discussed.

“If you are seeking absolution, you do actually need to hear the words, ‘I absolve you of your sins,’” Burke reminds us, and if you don’t hear those words, you “may need to exit the confessional and find another one as soon as possible” in order to receive absolution. Fenelon added, “Please do go back” and mention this to the priest. “Maybe he doesn’t know what he’s doing.” They won’t be able to know or improve without having it pointed out to them.

Remember that the Church is filled with humans, so we can’t give up on the Church when we have these situations arise, Burke said.

Fenelon shared a few tips for making a good confession:

 - Be objective.

 - Find a priest who will help you grow spiritually.

 - What’s most important is that we are looking for absolution: don’t let obstacles stand in the way of that.

Burke also recommends visiting for further support and information about making a good confession this Lent (or any time!).

Scott Hahn on the New Evangelization and Franciscan University

Dr. Scott Hahn is an exceptionally popular speaker and teacher has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. He has been awarded the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990, and is the founder and director of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. From 2005 to 2011, he held the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dr. Hahn is also the bestselling author of numerous books. 

This month we celebrate the canonization of two recent popes, John XXIII and John Paul II, and both of them had an influence on what we now call the New Evangelization.

John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in 1962, and with that, he “began a whole new chapter in Church history,” Hahn said, “with evangelizing.” When Vatican II ended, Paul VI had started making apostolic journeys to other lands to evangelize for the first time; “no pope had ever done that before,” according to Hahn.

John Paul II picked up where Paul VI left off and was the first to use the phrase “New Evangelization” in his homeland, Poland, in 1979, and he used it again in 1983 when he was in America. He explained that New Evangelization is new because of the inroads of secularization. “We have to re-evangelize the de-Christianized…those who have wandered off,” Hahn said.

John Paul II emphasized that the New Evangelization is based on the Eucharist. “A personal relationship is only the beginning for Catholics,” Hahn said. “The goal is a covenant relationship.” John Paul II’s teaching on the Eucharist is about falling in love, growing in love, and staying in love, like what happens with courtship, engagement, and marriage, Hahn explained.

“You don’t stop evangelizing when you start catechizing. If anything, the second stage takes you to a whole new level of Good News. And you don’t stop evangelizing when you start celebrating the sacraments; if anything, it’s more like the Gospel’s on steroids now, because you’re actually receiving Christ’s Body, Soul, Blood, and Divinity,” Hahn said.

Hahn pointed out that another breakthrough with the New Evangelization is the concept that conversion isn’t over and done when you accept Jesus in your heart. Conversion is, instead, ongoing.

A great way to grow in your own conversion is to attend the conferences at Franciscan University of Steubenville. If you register now and use the code RADIO, you can get a signed copy of one of Dr. Hahn’s books for free in addition to early bird registration rates. Go to and look at your schedule and consider whether you can invest in your faith journey.

Listen to last week’s show online or on your mp3 player.

a young parishioner prays inside St. Thomas Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Church Membership Falls Below 50% (April 17)

America’s political divide grew a little wider this week with the announcement by leading Democrats in the House and Senate that they were introducing a bill to pack the Supreme Court by adding four more Justices. This week on Register Radio we talk to Register legal analyst Andrea Picciotti-Bayer about the implications for the high court and American culture. And then, church membership in the U.S. fell below 50% for the first time ever. What are the factors in play, and what does it mean for the Church going forward? We are joined by Register writer Jonathan Liedl.