From the bad old days when moral theologians considered almost everything to be sinful in one way or another, we have come to a time when some theologians consider hardly anything to be a sin in any way at all. Surely, as in all human affairs, the truth lies somewhere between those two extreme positions, and there is no contemporary Catholic theologian more capable of, or more authoritative in, pointing out that middle ground than Bernard Haring. In Shalom, Father Haring re-examines the Catholic position on the sacrament of confession and reconciliation in the light of Vatican II, and finds that, rather than the occasion of fear and gloom that has traditionally been associated with the confessional, the Catholic has every right to regard penance as a joyful, peace-giving reconciliation with God and with humanity. For it to become so in fact, however, requires a thorough understanding of the mechanics of the sacrament, and it is to that task that Haring devotes the major part of this book, examining the conditions for confession, its elements, the matter to be confessed, and the concept of sorrow or penance. Much of this section, of course, is devoted to a determination of what is sinful and what is not sinful, and in this all-important matter Haring's position is one of reasoned middle-left moderation which banishes many of the specters conjured up in childhood by well intentioned but uninformed priests and teachers, particularly in sexual matters. As a vade meoum for the confessional, Shalom is absolutely indispensable for the diligent priest and nearly so for the mature Catholic layman.