What Pope Francis forgot to tell you: Before exiting the confessional, make sure you’ve been properly absolved of your sins

confessionforget

“Father, I’m waiting for absolution.”

“Oh. Okay. Jesus forgives you. Go in peace.”

“Would you please give me absolution Father?”

“I just did.”

“No. I’m sorry you didn’t. Maybe I’m being a bit fussy Father, but I really would like to hear you say the words of absolution.”

“Okay, if you insist, Go in peace and be forgiven.”

“I’m sorry Father, but those weren’t the words of absolution.”

He’s annoyed with me now. “Well what do you want me to say?”

“You could say the full words from the rite, but if you want you could just say, ‘I absolve you from your sins.”

Now much annoyed he said, “I absolve you of your sins.”

Has this happened to you? I’m curious because some friends of mine say the same thing happens to them. They are given a great long piece of advice which they don’t’ really want because they have a spiritual director for that, but then the priest doesn’t give them absolution.

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Editor’s note: Catholics who rarely go to confession are unlikely to even know about such sloppy practices. Even good, thorough, well-intentioned priests may get a bit “loopy” after hearing an hour or two of confessions.

Know the words of absolution and before you leave the confessional, make sure you hear the priest say them:

“I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 

A Guide to the Sacrament of Penance

The whole point of Christmas: Jesus Christ came to free the faithful from the “curse” of the Law.


Glory to God in the highest:
and on earth peace to men of good will.

(Luke 2:14)

by Doug Lawrence

Days after the annual Christmas celebration, people continue to ask, “What’s the point?”

Aside from the modern emphasis on mass consumerism, the main point of Christmas is fairly simple, if you happen to like mysteries:

Jesus Christ, who is God, took on flesh and became man in order to save us from our sins, which under the old Mosaic Law, or the more recent Muslim variation known as Sharia, still carry with them the penalty of death and hell.

Since no naturally born human being is without sin, all are uniformly and irrevocably cursed to the same, decrepit fate. In fact, things are actually much worse than anyone could possibly imagine.

Satan was the supernatural entity in charge of enforcing the death penalty … ruling ruthlessly over an evil earthly dominion that we brought down on ourselves, through Adam’s fall from grace.

The incarnate Jesus, the divine Son of God, who is also the Son of Adam (man) was infinitely good, just and holy … and he was also more than powerful enough to destroy Satan’s evil dominion … making possible the reconciliation of sinful mankind, with God.

Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary satisfactorily atoned for Adam’s (mankind’s) sins. Christ’s glorious resurrection three days hence, furnished absolute proof of Christ’s (and through him, man’s) victory over the powers of death and hell.

According to the grace and power of Jesus Christ … King of Kings … Lord of Lords … the new and perfect head of all mankind … eternal salvation would now be freely offered to every generation … through the Catholic Church that Jesus personally founded.     

Thanks to Christ and his Church, baptized Christians are no longer under the curse of the law … no longer under Satan’s evil dominion … but are instead, living temples of the Holy Spirit, adopted children of God and citizens of heaven … subject only to the gracious and merciful judgment of Jesus Christ.

But what of the Ten Commandments? Aren’t Christians still “bound” by these?

Under the terms of the Old Covenant, there was no remedy for the “curse of the law”. Any sin, no matter how minor, would suffice to permanently and irrevocably condemn. But when we fail today, Christians have Jesus and the grace-giving sacraments of the New Covenant (Catholic) Church on which to rely … so condemnation under the law (breaking a commandment) no longer need be permanent or irrevocable. Hence, Jesus Christ is now the final recourse for every Christian. Not any law.

Does that mean Christians (and particularly Catholics) get some sort of a free pass?

No. If anything, we’ll be judged to an even higher standard than our Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan friends.
(See Luke 12:47-48)

When Jesus came, he did all that was necessary to free mankind from eternal slavery to Satan, sin and death. The last thing he did, just before he ascended to Heaven, was to appoint and empower the leadership of his universal (Catholic) Church, which from the Day of Pentecost forward, according to the power of the Holy Spirit, would continue to be the universal sacrament of salvation for the world, until Jesus comes again, at the end of time.

It is through the sacraments and good offices of the Catholic Church, paid for by Christ’s own blood, that we might be permitted to freely receive absolute forgiveness for even the most heinous violations of God’s law, and hope to experience a total restoration of the sanctifying grace that was lost through our illicit and sinful acts.

The Catholic Church, and particularly the Catholic Ministerial Priesthood, acts in Christ’s stead until he comes again … exercising God’s awesome authority, according to his inestimable love and abiding favor (grace) … for the benefit of the “People of God” (members of the Church).

Non-Catholic Christians (and others) should note that for all of this, there is no known substitute.

The only sure way for anyone to hope to escape the curse of the law and render his/her soul pleasing and acceptable to God, is through full, faithful, and constant participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church, of which Jesus Christ remains the “head”.

In short … if Jesus didn’t come, we would all still be hopelessly caught up in our sins and destined for an eternity in hell. Now, thanks to Jesus, it’s possible for anyone to receive forgiveness of sins and hope to spend eternity in heaven with God, simply by becoming a faithful and active member of his one, holy, apostolic and universal church … the Catholic Church.

That, my friends, is the whole point of Christmas … and it also pretty much explains “the meaning of life” as well.

“Deep” background

A Most Mysterious Moment of Mercy

Read how God went to a lot of trouble to provide for one of his own.

For those unalterably opposed to confessing sins to a priest

Never go see a doctor for a body ailment, and don’t tell him where it hurts; Just pray to Jesus to heal you, because Jesus can heal much better than any man, and he’s free!

Link

The Confession

Dad, I’m sorry. I’m afraid I made a mess of things.

I didn’t plan ahead.

I didn’t read the manual.

I used the wrong tools.

I was in a hurry.

I cut corners.

I let my emotions get the best of me.

I though I knew what I was doing.

I bit off more than I could chew.

I did it my way.

I realize now that I can’t fix the mess I made, and I need you.

“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

This week’s Ask Alice: Catholic Church teachings on homosexuals attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion. (Or anybody, for that matter.)


Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

John Asks: What does the Catholic Church teach about an active gay/homosexual attending Catholic Mass and receiving Holy Communion?

Alice replies: The Catholic Church welcomes all properly disposed gay and lesbian persons to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. The exact same policy applies to heterosexual persons, as well.

The rules regarding the reception of the Holy Communion are the same for all Catholics, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual.

That Holy Communion may be received not only validly, but also fruitfully, certain dispositions … both of body and of soul … are required:

For the former, a person must have fasted for at least one hour, from everything in the nature of food or drink. (Water and medicine are permitted, if necessary.)

The principal disposition of soul required is freedom from (at least) mortal sin … and from ecclesiastical censure.

For those in a state of grievous (mortal) sin, confession is necessary.

It is important to note that engaging in sexual relations outside of the sacrament of matrimony is (objectively) a mortal sin.

When a person commits a sexual sin due to weakness or other occasional circumstance, it may be ordinarily confessed and routinely absolved through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Conversely, sexually active couples who are permanently living together (without benefit of marriage) MAY NOT typically receive sacramental absolution, since as long as their present living circumstances prevail, there would be no real prospect of repentance (turning away from the sin) … something which is always necessary for a good confession.

While heterosexual couples can always get married in order to eliminate this particular problem, such permanent living arrangements will … for homosexuals … always remain mortally perilous to the soul.

For homosexuals, one significant part of the solution is to avoid cohabitation, always maintaining one’s very own, private residence. This would, at least in theory, make possible a good, sacramental confession.

See “A Last Chance for Lost Souls”

“God shows personal favor to no one.” (Galatians 2:6) And God commands us to love one another. Often, my homosexual friends have shared their joys and sorrows. Here are some tips, based on the lessons I’ve learned.

TIPS FOR LOVING ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN

1) DON’T ASSUME. If two male or two female friends are living together or spend every day together, don’t assume that they are engaging in sexual activity. No one except God knows what goes on behind closed doors.

2) DON’T BE A COMMUNION COP. Even if our friend is engaged in homosexual behavior, only God knows the true state of his soul. (Unless perhaps, he is a public advocate, loudly proclaiming, promoting, and/or lobbying for his particular brand of sexual perversion.)

3) DO SPEAK THE TRUTH. If our friend asks us what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality, we must tell him the facts honestly and compassionately.

4) DO LOVE EVERY PERSON UNCONDITIONALLY! The best way to help our homosexual brothers and lesbian sisters get to Heaven is by being faithful, loving friends to them.

5) LEAVE THE JUDGING TO GOD! “The Lord does not look at the things men look at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Additional comments by Doug Lawrence: Catholics are under no obligation to “knuckle under” to the ill-considered, unholy demands of militant, openly homosexual persons or groups. We are called to resist them.

Nor are Catholics permitted to act in opposition to authentic Catholic Church teachings in regard to homosexuality, which is a seriously disordered practice that has always been defined as gravely sinful and contrary to the natural law.

We are reminded however, to scrupulously avoid any type of unjust discrimination.

In this general context, two provisions of Catholic Canon Law are worthy of note:

Canon 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Canon 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible.

For all the reasons stated above, as well as many others … no matter what the government may decide … the practice of homosexuality will always remain morally wrong, and (objectively) gravely sinful.

The support and/or promotion of certain types of “gay rights” … particularly, any form of homosexual marriage … is never permissible … since that type of arrangement would typically prove deadly to the souls of all who might be involved.

The greatest acts of charity we Catholics can perform … for all our brothers and sisters … is to pray for them, treat them with respect, stand firmly on God’s truth, proclaim that truth with love, and be there for them, in their time of need.

This Week’s Ask Alice: Confusion about communal penance services, and a philosophical question about the soul and spirit.

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Helen K. asks: If you attend a communal penance service does this absolve you from sins both venial and mortal, or do you still need to go to confession, one-on-one with a priest? I am confused on this matter.

Alice replies: A communal penance service is no substitute for the sacrament of Penance. Absolution for a mortal sin can ONLY be obtained when a penitent confesses his/her sin individually to a priest.

Sin separates us from God. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is fully restored. Since Penance is a sacrament, the person who goes to confession receives pardon for every mortal and venial sin as well as a wealth of graces. The purpose of a Communal Penance service is to prepare the Faithful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Why should I settle for a Communal Penance Service and pass up the treasury of healing graces that the Lord longs to shower upon me in the Confessional?

It is recommended that Catholics receive the Sacrament of Penance once a month. Although I have committed no mortal sins, going to confession refreshes my soul. Confessing my sins to a priest (who represents Jesus) helps me to clean out the junk that accumulates in my soul. A monthly soul cleaning, keeps me spiritually strong and focused, patient and loving. When God forgives me, His grace fortifies me to forgive others. For me going to Confession is like taking vitamins. God’s gracious mercy pumps me up when I am weak and stumbling.

A communal penance service, general confession and general absolution can suffice only in case of dire necessity, such as imminent danger of death without adequate time for a priest(s) to hear each person’s confession. Or if there are not enough priests available to hear each person’s confession in a reasonable time. In this instance, the individual must have the intention of confessing his/her sins as soon as possible. The bishop of the diocese typically decides whether or not the conditions needed for general absolution exist.

****

Peggy G. Asks:

We have been discussing Soren Kierkegaard’s philosophy of the soul in theology, how we are not souls and that we have this ability to bring our souls into existence by the choices we make. So, here I am pondering about it at 2 a.m.

I have always believed that God gives us our soul from the time of conception. As Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). Without God’s breath, man would only exist in the physical form and we would all be robots. The breathing individual is alive, living and full of LIFE. I believe that the soul is a little piece of God within us. I have believed that the soul is an inner, vital, and spiritual principle which is capable of existence apart from the body. The freedom to make our own decisions has everything to do with free will, not with the existence of our souls or bringing our souls into existence like Kierkegaard believed, for they already exist prior to our ability to decide for ourselves. I do believe our choices here on this plane of existence will affect what is going to happen to our souls at the end of our existence.

So here are my questions…just because I am curious….

What is a soul?

What compromises the spirit within someone? Is that spirit within us the same as The Holy Spirit?

Are our souls and spirits connected?

Can we alter the soul that was given to us by God through our choices?

Does God judge our soul on judgment day, or does he judge our deeds? Is it possible to judge our deeds without looking upon our souls?

Alice replies:

Your reflections on the theology of the soul are spiritually insightful.

Every human being is created in the image of God. Our soul is the essence of our being. It is spiritual, immortal and will be united with our resurrected body in Heaven. Although the Catholic church uses the words, “soul” and “spirit,” interchangeably, St. Paul refers to “body”, “soul,” and “spirit” separately. Theologians contend that his comments were Trinitarian (spirit-Holy Spirit, soul-Father, and body-Son) in nature.

The Holy Spirit indwells every baptized person.

The state of our soul can be altered through serious sins. “Do not fear those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” (Matthew 10″28) Mortal sin endangers the state of our soul. God will judge the state of our soul when we face Him at our particular judgment day. God does not condemn people to hell. We choose where we will spend eternity. Even the worst sinner has an opportunity to repent and beg for God’s Divine Mercy when he/she dies. The only people in hell are those who choose to refuse His mercy.

Since Soren Kierkegaard is considered the father of the existentialist movement, theologians such as St. Augustine present the soul from a Catholic point of view. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church” is a sound source that clarifies soul questions. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote about the soul and spirit in, “Summa Theologica.”

Hope these ideas provide a bit of inspiration for future 2 a.m. discussions.

Doug Lawrence adds: You’re supposed to ponder this stuff, until it drives you nuts (just like Kierkegaard, with his multiple personas.) It drives me nuts just trying to remember how many a’s are in his name!

Anyway, here goes:

Q: What is a soul?

A: The soul is the receptacle of our human intellect … the “home” of our spirit (and our rational self.) Together with our body, these three (body/soul/spirit) constitute the essence of our eternal, human “person hood”.

Q: What comprises the spirit within someone? Is that spirit within us the same as The Holy Spirit?

A: The spirit is the personal, rational essence which animates the human soul and gives us our distinct, identifiable personality.

The Holy Spirit is God. God’s “essence” is pure spirit and divine, while our essence is human and intended to be composite … consisting (ideally) of body, soul and spirit.

It should be noted that Jesus’ divine essence always existed, as a pure spirit … in the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity.

When he became man, Jesus also “took on” a human body, complete with a human soul, all of which will continue to endure into eternity, as a permanent aspect of his divine person hood. (Also a composite, but as God … with a divine spirit … plus human body … plus human soul.)

Taking on flesh to become man, Jesus never ceased to be God, nor did he become some sort of an amalgamated “mixture”.

Jesus remains true God and true man … and that is suitably demonstrated by the fact that he forever retains: 1) his eternal, divine spirit; 2) his eternal, human soul; 3) and (since the resurrection) his glorified, transformed, eternal and incorruptible human body.

So, under the proper circumstances, the two different essences can and do co-exist.

In particular, at baptism, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in the human soul, and we become temples of the Holy Spirit.

This begins the process of actual spiritual transformation (theosis) which should (eventually) lead us to become like God (although still fully human).

Q: Are our souls and spirits connected?

A: Yes. Just like your body and your brain are connected.

Q: Can we alter the soul that was given to us by God through our choices?

A: God’s grace and his actual presence in the soul (or the lack of it) determines the state of the soul … and whether it will be pleasing and acceptable to God and worthy of/compatible with heaven.

God does not hang around in our soul when we choose to do seriously evil stuff. That’s why mortal sin leaves the soul in danger of hell.

The most practical aspect of this:

God is love. Love is just another name for charity. Anyone who departs this earthly existence with at least a modicum of charity remaining in their soul is not likely to see eternal damnation (although we would expect a whole lot of remedial work to be necessary for those who just “squeak” by.) Alternatively … Mary … full of grace … now in heaven … complete with her spotless soul, forever untainted by sin of any kind … along with with her (already) transformed and glorified human body … practically runs the place! (By the grace of God, of course.)

Q: Does God judge our soul on judgment day, or does he judge our deeds? Is it possible to judge our deeds without looking upon our souls?

A: See the preceding answer regarding God, love, charity, and eternal damnation/reward.

This may not all match up with what is being covered in your philosophy class, but that’s the way philosophy works.

Philosophy is the search for truth, while Jesus IS the truth, and the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church faithfully reflect that truth.

Seen on the web: The critically important role of Catholic priests as U.S. military chaplains

Anonymous writes:

I served 20+ years as an Army Airborne Catholic Chaplain.

In Nam I offered 8-10 Masses just on Sunday; 23 during Christmas week and had 50 troops under instruction.

I held Catholic and Protestant troops in my arms as they were dying and gave absolution to both-the Protestant Chaplain asked me to do this.

On more than one occasion, a Protestant Chaplain said “If you guys go, we’re finished.”

I could tell you many stories of “divine intervention.” By the way, four Catholic Chaplains received the Medal of Honor!

Read the article

Visit CatholicMil.Org

About the photo:

With a canvas tarpaulin for a church and packing cases for an altar, a Navy chaplain holds mass for Marines at Saipan. The service was held in memory of brave buddies who lost their lives in the initial landings. Photo by Sgt. Steele, June 1944. Source: US Marines

Get in … Confess … Get absolved … Get Out. See a spiritual director some other time.

Father Z shares some tips for going to confession (courteously and efficiently).

Link

Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest?


Q: Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest? Doesn’t God forgive Christians when they ask?

A: There are a number of very good reason why Catholics confess their sins to a priest. As to whether or not God is willing to forgive Christians … just for asking: It’s not quite that simple!

1) Grave or serious sins (or as St. John would call them, “sins unto death”) are always best confessed with the help of a priest, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, since outside that great sacrament, less than perfect contrition for such sins typically results in NO forgiveness from God, leaving the sinner subject to the possibility of eternal damnation.

Similarly, anything short of authentic and full repentance (complete turning away from the sin) would, under the same circumstances, also typically leave a soul in a state of eternal jeopardy.

2) Outside the Sacrament of Reconciliation, there is no specific “mechanism” available for restoring the divine grace that was lost through sinful acts. Abundant grace is absolutely critical for ultimate success, in the Christian life.

3) The priest, through the great Sacrament of Reconciliation, is empowered by Jesus and the Catholic Church, to provide absolute and unconditional forgiveness for all our sins, and to replenish the grace that had been lost, as well.

Within the Sacrament of Reconciliation, neither perfect contrition or anything more than a firm purpose and real possibility of amendment is required, in order to obtain God’s complete forgiveness, and restore lost grace. This is a great blessing, a huge advantage, and a tremendous spiritual gift that is simply not otherwise available.

4) Confessing all our sins to a priest, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, allows us to proactively avoid divine judgment and the corresponding eternal penalties. Once properly pardoned and absolved, we can be certain that God will never raise that particular “issue” with us, again!

5) Sacramental Confession is probably the greatest “bargain” of all time … since expert counseling (in absolute confidence) plus total reconciliation with God, remains absolutely free!

Faithful Catholics who take Jesus at his Word and accept the divine authority the Catholic Church in this matter … instead of attempting to presumptively define the mysterious tenets of divine justice … not only get to enjoy supernatural peace of mind in this world, but need have few concerns about their glorious and eternal future, in the next.

We have Jesus’ word on that:

John 20:21-23  He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

Finally … and this applies to Catholics and non-Catholics alike … when we ask God to forgive our sins … OUTSIDE of the Sacrament of Reconciliation … it is typically necessary for us to wait until Judgment Day to find out if God has actually accepted our plea.

Who (in their right mind) would want to expose themselves to the risk of Hell … let alone the prospect of having our particular “case” publicly adjudicated … in front of God … all the angels and saints … and everybody else, who ever lived?

Study the Biblical Basis of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Read more

A Guide for Confession

Remember

If you need help–especially if you have been away for some time–simply ask the priest and he will help you by “walking” you through the steps to make a good confession.

Before Confession

Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance, on the part of the penitent, is contrition, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, together with a resolution not to commit it again, out of the love one has for God and which is reborn with repentance. The resolution to avoid committing these sins in the future (amendment) is a sure sign that your sorrow is genuine and authentic. This does not mean that a promise never to fall again into sin is necessary. A resolution to try to avoid the near occasions of sin suffices for true repentance. God’s grace in cooperation with the intention to rectify your life will give you the strength to resist and overcome temptation in the future.

Read more

Minnesota homosexuals reject Catholic church’s attempt to help them

Gay and lesbian Roman Catholics who contact the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for spiritual guidance can find themselves directed toward programs aimed at helping them become celibate (chaste).

Evidently, this upsets some local homosexual activists.

Editor’s note: Every unmarried Catholic, whether gay or straight, is expected to remain chaste, refraining from any type of sexual activity, under pain of grave sin. The Church really has no choice in the matter, which has been settled for around 2000 years.

Furthermore, the rules governing the sacrament of reconciliation require both contrition for sin, as well as a good faith effort at authentic repentance. Absent both of these, it is impossible to make a good confession, and impossible to receive valid absolution for one’s sins.

This is why the church counsels chastity for all those who request help, since chastity is the first step towards repentance, while true contrition and at least a firm purpose of repentance is required in order for sins to be forgiven.

Again, the same rules apply to gay and straight, alike.

What could be more fair?


What constitutes a “good confession”?

BpKaffer 

Q: Regarding the Catholic sacrament of reconcilation, what’s the difference between a “good confession” and some other kind?

A: The only type of confession that is typically acceptable to God and effective for the forgiveness of sins is a “good” one. The late Auxilliary Bishop of Joliet, Roger L. Kaffer, who was known to hear lots and lots of confessions throughout his more than fifty year priesthood, once explained it to me like this:

It is absolutely essential for the penitent to confess every mortal sin that they can remember, since deliberately holding back even one grave sin, no matter what the reason, typically results in the penitent remaining in a state of mortal sin, still deprived of God’s grace, still unforgiven, no matter how many other sins they might have confessed … whether the priest provides absolution … or not.

(By definition, a mortal sin must be gravely serious, the person committing the sin must KNOW that it is gravely serious, and the sin must have been committed with the full consent of the sinner.  An experienced priest is the best guide for evaluating and explaining the “fine points” of these matters.)   

Deliberately holding back serious sin(s) in the confessional may also constitute another grave sin … the sin of sacrilege … which is defined as the abuse, deliberate misuse, or profanation of a holy thing.

If one actually forgets about a particular serious sin(s) and so fails to confess for that reason alone, there is no real problem … but if the “forgotten” sin one day comes to mind again, it should be properly confessed, as soon as possible.

The circumstances which lead a person to commit sins are also often important. If and when a priest inquires about such details, it is important to respond honestly.

For example, someone confesses the sin of fornication or adultery: Under normal circumstances, it might be a “one time event”. But if the sin is the result of an unmarried couple “living in sin”  under the same roof, without benefit of matrimony, then absolution (forgiveness) is typically NOT available unless and/or until the illicit living arrangement is terminated.

This would apply equally to ANY unmarried couple who might be living together … whether straight or gay … without distinction.

Minor or venial sins may also be confessed to the priest in the confessional, but since those can also be routinely forgiven through reciting a good act of contrition, by attending Mass, and in other ways, confessing venial sins is laudable and recommended, but not required.

Assuming that the penitent has accurately confessed ALL the mortal sins of which he/she is aware, then, acting in and through the ministerial priesthood of the Holy Catholic Church, in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the priest prescribes an act of contrition, assigns a small personal  penance, absolves the penitent of all sin, and dispenses the graces necessary to fill any spiritual “void” that the sin(s) might have caused.

The whole idea behind confessing one’s sins in the great sacrament of Reconciliation and subsequently receiving absolution (the absolute assurance that ALL of one’s sins have truly been forgiven by God) is to avoid the prospect of divine judgment, and to truly be at peace with both God and man, since once sins have been properly absolved through a “good confession” God will never bring them up again. 

For this reason, it is also advisable for the penitent to listen carefully, after his confession has been completed … to make certain that the priest does not fail to provide the necessary absolution.  The “formula” for absolution (at a minimum) sounds like this, “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” 

So, a “good confession” is one where we properly prepare by conducting a through examination of conscience, we subsequently confess every mortal sin without exception, providing details to the priest/confessor as necessary, we recite a good act of contrition, do our assigned penance, and we receive absolution and grace from the priest, who acts in the person of  Jesus Christ, for the purpose of our salvation.

Any confession other than a “good” one is simply unacceptable … and may actually be worse than no confession at all!

For a complete, Traditional Catholic study of this entire matter, click here.

“Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them: and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”

confessionfinalenh1

Q: There’s a movie where Jesus …before he leaves he blows out a wind or something and gives all his closest disciple’s the holy spirit and then Jesus tells them something like….”Whoever you forgive will be forgiven and whoever you don’t forgive will not be forgiven.”

My question is this (and I want the real answer): Does what Jesus left these disciples have some kind of power over us? And if so, what does it do? Also… What happens if these guys don’t forgive us and what happens if they do? Jesus trusts these guys with our souls? Why?

A: The first thing Jesus did after he rose again from the dead was to give the power to forgive sins to the apostles, who were the first bishops of the Catholic Church.

That power has been handed down to the current day bishops and priests of the Catholic Church, and it is known as the sacrament of reconciliation.

It is the most provocative, “in-your-face” attack against the forces of evil that the world has ever seen, or ever will see.

The power to forgive sins comes from grace that Jesus obtained for us on the cross … power that Jesus entrusted to his authentic Church, for the purpose of our salvation.

Through the power of God, priests and bishops provide absolution (absolute forgiveness) for sins if one is contrite (sorry for them) and repentant (willing to make a good attempt to avoid committing the same sins in the future).

Absent both of these, sins typically are not forgiven.

Once sins have been forgiven, there is no need for divine judgment, and God will never bring them up again.

It doesn’t get any better than that, this side of Heaven.

https://douglawrence.wordpress.com/?s=reconciliation

http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Sin/Sin_010.htm

How to absolve my sins?

Q: How to absolve my sins?
OK.. so Ive been a bit of a sinner lately.. not that I want to make a public confession or nothing… but I was thinking that I ought to be able to swing a chicken around my head three times or something like that…

So what ways are there to get my sinnyness tidied up a bit around the edges?

A: I suggest you go ahead with the chicken idea.

There’s probably only a few other souls spending eternity in hell, while swinging chickens over their heads.

They could use a little entertainment, down there.

Follow up about World Youth Day, in Australia, from this poster:

Subject: Chickens!

Message: Hi mate,

The chicken swinging idea is the Jewish method for atonement. True, I did think it was entertaining.. but seems I wouldn’t be alone in hell if I took up the practice… lol!

World Youth Day! – The Pope is in Sydney today~ should I go and try to get a look? The trains are full of Pilgrims… and the city streets are chockablock with people singing! Very exciting!@

Best wishes

G.