I think that the priests and sociologists who offered theories in the Feb. 22 front-page article "A Call to Confession, for It Is Fading" missed a significant point.

With the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Roman Catholics not only gained a greater understanding of their faith, they also learned to use the intellect God gave them. For many people, confession had been less an occasion to feel cleansed than an obligation.

With a new awareness of our responsibilities, today's Catholics recognize themselves as a "priestly people" (1 Peter 2:9). The rejection of the confessional has little to do with time and family obligations, therapists' couches, Oprah Winfrey or personal responsibility -- and it most certainly does not demonstrate a people unaware of their sins.

It reflects the decisions of deeply spiritual individuals who recognize their personal relationship with the God to whom they pray daily and who understand that true confession and absolution occur when they tell their children they're sorry they made them pay for a bad day at work and their children say, "It's okay."

JUDY TAIBL

Burke

As a former Roman Catholic teaching brother, I was appalled to read that the Archdiocese of Washington is launching a marketing blitz in an effort to get people back to the confessional.

The modern Catholic follows his or her own conscience when it comes to confession. Confession was instituted by men in the church, not by God.

Why not take the money to be spent promoting confession and use it to help needy families in the region?

JAMES J. WOLAN

Burke