Fr. Francis Randolph takes a practical and personable approach to the sacrament of confession. This is a helpful book for Catholics who have been away from the sacrament for some time, or for Catholics who are wondering if they go too often ("scruples").
The book is structured into eleven chapters, encompassing the entire form of the sacrament. From "Bless me Father for I have sinned" to "the merits of the Blessed Virgin Mary," Fr. Randolph explains both the form and meaning of each part of the sacrament.
Mixed in with the theological and canonical discussions, Fr. Randolph brings in the practical experience he has, from ministering to a large congregation in England. Fr. Randolph shares humerous and poignant stories, engaging the reader in an otherwise dry topic. Fr. Randolph takes pains to explain the changes since Vatican II, and encourages Catholics to engage in the new forms. He also addresses common questions such as, "how often should I go to confession?" and "what is a sin?".
This is a worthwhile read for all Catholics who want to understand confession. At 185 pages, it is a short but valuable addition to Catholic studies.
Fr. Randolph has written a highly useful work for Catholics who regularly use the sacrament of penance and for those Catholics who are coming back to the sacrament after much neglect. He provides topical advice relevant for today's society. For example, he gives guidance on the common situation in which people realize years later that their prior lifestyle was in fact gravely sinful. His recommendation is that, in spite of their lack of knowledge, they should still bring these sins to confession. This situation in which many people can actually be ignorant of gravely sinful conduct, especially sexual conduct, is common today among younger generations because the wider society now accepts as normal what the Christian moral tradition has always viewed as seriously wrong. This particular situation is but one example of the instances where Fr. Randolph gives needed advice for today's Catholic. When so many pulpits are unfortunately silent on the need for the regular use of this sacrament, Fr. Randolph has written a guide that is sorely needed in order to renew the role of this sacrament in the Church.