I think the biggest opposition to the 1:1 Confession/Communion ratio is that Confession is "required" as a prerequisite to Communion.
We see that the Fr Schmemann Report to the bishops was accepted and approved by them. Does it still remain the recommended practice in the OCA?
It lays down 2 sets of circumstances and two varying prerequisites for Confession before Communion.
1. If Communion is less frequent than once a month, Confession is strictly required to precede each Communion.
2. If Communion is once a month or twice a month (at the discretion of the parish priest), Confession is required not less than once a month.
One should note that Fr Alexander (and the bishops of the OCA in approving his Report) wishes to preserve in both cases what he describes as the "fruitful spiritual connection" between the two Sacraments.
But it is not a 1:1 ratio.
I disagree. Fr Schmemann refers to the majority of the Church as requiring a 1:1 Confession before Communion. He insists this requirement must be observed in all its strictness.
For those who commune seldomly, e.g. once a month. For those who commune more often, the ratio is at the discretion of the priest. One could commune 4 times a month and confess 2 times, according to this rule, if the priest allows. Not a 1:1 ratio. So, overall, Fr. Alexander is not recommending a 1:1 ratio.
I do not follow your logic. Fr Schmemann says that the majority of the Church are those who commune less than once a month (and in this he is absolutely right) and it is strictly required that they confess before each Communion.
Please read again what he wrote, in paragraph 1, in msg 194.
What you are saying was true when Father Alexander of blessed memory wrote those words. Since the 1970s, frequent communion has become the practice in many churches. However, it would be useful to start with the reasoning behind the paradigm shift. The Report to the Holy Synod makes the following key points (all quotations are from http://www.oca.org/DOCencyclical.asp?SID=12&ID=3
"Let me repeat once more that it is simply impossible to find in Tradition a basis and justification for our present practice of extremely infrequent, if not yearly, communion of laity; all those who seriously and responsibly have studied our Tradition, all the best Russian liturgiologists and theologians, have seen in this practice a decay in Church life, a deviation from Tradition and the genuine foundations of the Church. And the most dreadful aspect of this decay is that it is justified and explained in terms of respect for the holiness of the sacrament, in terms of piety and reverence. For if it were so, the non-communicants would experience at least some sadness during the Liturgy, a frustration, a feeling of lacking fullness. In reality, however, this is simply not true. Generation after generation of Orthodox "attend" the Liturgy totally convinced that nothing more than attendance is required from them, that communion is simply not for them.
When the communion of the entire congregation at each Liturgy, as an act expressing their very participation, in the Liturgy, ceased to be a self-evident norm and was replaced by the practice of a very infrequent, usually once-a-year, communion, it became natural for the latter to be preceded by the Sacrament of Penance i.e., confession and reconciliation with the Church through the prayer of absolution.
This practice, natural and self-evident in the case of infrequent, once-a-year, communion, led to the appearance in the Church of a theory according to which the communion of laity, different in this from the communion of clergy, is impossible without the Sacrament of Penance, so that confession is an obligatory condition - always and in all cases - for communion. I dare to affirm that this theory (which spread mainly in the Russian Church) not only has no foundation in Tradition, but openly contradicts the Orthodox doctrine of the Church, of the Sacrament of Communion and of that of Penance.
To be convinced of that, one has to recall, be it very briefly, the essence of the Sacrament of Penance. From the very beginning this sacrament was, in the consciousness and teaching of the Church, the sacrament of reconciliation with the Church of those excommunicated from her and this means of those excluded from the eucharistic assembly. We know that, at first, the very strict ecclesiastical discipline allowed for only one such reconciliation in one's lifetime, but that later, especially after the entrance into the Church of the entire population, this discipline was somewhat relaxed. In its essence, the Sacrament of Penance, as the sacrament of reconciliation with the Church, was for those only who were excommunicated from the Church for definite sins and acts clearly defined in the canonical tradition of the Church. This is still clearly stated in the prayer of absolution: "reconcile him with Thy Holy Church in Christ Jesus Our Lord..."
All this, however, does not mean that the "faithful," i.e., the "non-excommunicated," were considered by the Church to be sinless. In the first place, according to the Church's teaching, no human being is sinless, with the exception of the Most Holy Mother of God, the Theotokos. In the second place, a prayer for forgiveness and remission of sins is an integral part of the Liturgy itself (cf. the Prayer of the Trisagion and the two prayers "of the faithful"). Finally, the Church always considered Holy Communion itself as given "for the remission of sins." Therefore, the issue here is not sinlessness, which no absolution can achieve, but the distinction always made by the Church between, on the one hand, the sins excommunicating a man from the Church's life of grace and, on the other hand, the "sinfulness" which is the inescapable fate of every man "living in the world and bearing flesh." The latter is, so to speak, "dissolved" in the Church's liturgy, and it is this sinfulness that the Church confesses in the "prayers of the faithful" before the offering of the Holy Gifts. Before the Holy Chalice itself, at the moment of receiving the Mysteries, we ask for forgiveness of "sins voluntary and involuntary, those in word and in deed, committed knowingly or unknowingly," and we believe that, in the measure of our repentance, we receive this forgiveness.
It is therefore of paramount importance for us to understand that the transformation of the Sacrament of Penance into an obligatory condition for communion not only contradicts Tradition, but obviously mutilates it. It mutilates, in the first place, the doctrine of the Church by creating in her two categories of members, one of which is, in fact, excommunicated from the Eucharist, as the very content and fulfillment of membership, as its spiritual source. But then it is no longer surprising that those whom the Apostle called "fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19) become again "worldly" (kosmiki, miriane), are "secularized" and their membership in the Church is measured and defined in terms of money ("dues") and "rights." But also mutilated is the doctrine of communion, which is understood then as the sacrament for a few "worthy ones" and no longer as the sacrament of the Church: of sinners who, by the infinite mercy of Christ, are always transformed into His Body. And finally, equally mutilated is the doctrine of penance. Transformed into a formal condition for communion, it begins more and more obviously to replace the real preparation for communion, that genuine inner repentance, which inspires all the prayers before communion. After a three-minute confession and absolution a man feels "entitled" to communion, "worthy" and even "sinless," feels, in other terms, that which is in fact the very opposite of true repentance."
Therefore, Father Alexander recommends the following:
"The question, in my opinion, must be formulated as follows: how can we both encourage a more frequent, more regular participation by the laity in the eucharistic sacrament, the "focus of Christian life," the sacrament of the Church and her unity, and, at the same time, assure a proper preparation for this sacrament, thus preventing communion from becoming as much a "custom" as was, until now, the practice of "non-communion"? The answer to this question can be reduced to three fundamental principles:
1. First of all, if the desire for and the practice of a more frequent and, ultimately, regular, communion is to be encouraged, it is nevertheless obvious that it would be spiritually wrong and very harmful to impose it in any way. This practice cannot and must not become either a "fad" or the result of any kind of pressure. Therefore, for those who receive communion seldom (even once a month) - and such will no doubt remain for a long time the majority - one must keep in all its strictness the obligation for confession before communion.
2. For communion more often than once a month, one needs the permission of the rector of the parish. This permission will be given only to those persons who are well-known to the rector and after a thorough pastoral examination of the seriousness and rectitude of such person's attitude towards the Church and towards Christian life. In such a case, the relationship between the rhythm of confession and that of communion must be left to the decision of the priest, confession remaining regular, however, and heard not less than once a month.
3. For a deeper understanding of the Sacrament of Communion as well as that of Penance and for a more fruitful spiritual connection between them, the practice of general confession would be permitted. Inasmuch as this practice raises misunderstandings and questions, I will conclude this report with a few words of explanation about its nature and form."
So, Father Alexander's goal is for the entire church (clergy and laity alike) to take communion each time that is offered. The recommendations above, which were indeed adopted by the Holy Synod, seem to me to be transitional in nature. For example, in my OCA church, we do not have General Confession. Each individual member avails himself of the Sacrament of Penance on a regular schedule (usually four to eight weeks, determined by the priest) and as often as needed (the communicant may choose to go to confession as often as he pleases or in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the priest). Each communicant is expected to prepare for and attend Divine Liturgy, and take Holy Communion, at least on a weekly basis unless there is a valid reason such as illness or travel out of town. Indeed, the one common shortcoming that triggers the Sacrament of Penance is to miss church with no good reason. As for the regular schedule for the Sacrament of Penance, my priest believes that (a) confession is good because it allows the person to regularly take an inventory of his sins and shortcomings and assess where he stands on the narrow road, and (b) allows to priest to function as a spiritual guide, to "comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable" (as the sign on his door says). So, it is for practical reasons that we have confession on a regular basis.