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  #1  
Old Sep 7, '10, 5:41 am
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Pilgrim1701 Pilgrim1701 is offline
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Default Absolution and Forgiveness.

What is the difference between absolution and forgiveness of sins. I know I saw a thread related to this before, but cannot find it when I search. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old Sep 7, '10, 6:17 am
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

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Originally Posted by Pilgrim1701 View Post
What is the difference between absolution and forgiveness of sins. I know I saw a thread related to this before, but cannot find it when I search. Thanks.
Catholics often either confuse these two words, or just don't understand that they are 2 different (but intricately related) concepts.

Forgiveness: this one is the easier to define. Forgiveness means that God Himself has remitted the sin, forgotten it, etc. Forgiveness is the pardon of God. Forgiveness reconciles us to God. Forgiveness can and does occur at any time.

Absolution: absolution is a juridic act of the Church. Absolution is the pardon of the Church, and reconciles us to the Church. This is the one that needs some further explanation. Absolution reconciles us to the Church. It's a "juridic act" of the Church, meaning that it is a judicial sentence passed by the priest as a minister (ie judge or representative) of the Church--and that sentence is "you are pardoned." Absolution, because it is a juridic (ie a legal) act of the Church, only a priest with faculties to stand as the minister of the Church can ever absolve. That's why a validly ordained priest who lacks faculties can never absolve (in danger-of-death, the Church grants to any priest these faculties, but without that "granting" he could not absolve.)

God forgives, the Church absolves, and these two together from the complete reconciliation that we receive in sacramental reconciliation (the Sacrament of Confession, Reconciliation, Penance, or whatever other word we might call it). The priest is both the minister of Christ (forgiveness) and the minister of the Church (absolution).

The priest's power to forgive and absolve sins is as a minister of Christ and the Church. The priest forgives&absolves ministerally, while God forgives&absolves absolutely.

Forgiveness comes from John 20:23 (after the Resurrection) "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them."

Absolution comes from Matthew 16:19 "Thou art Peter ..." and the power to bind and loose.

The important thing to keep in mind is that even though forgiveness and absolution are distinct, the two together form complete reconciliation.

God can and does forgive sins all the time--there are no limits or restrictions on His mercy. So sometimes God forgives us even without the Sacrament of Confession. In that we can be "forgiven but not absolved"

That's a start, at least.....

edit: see question 84 in the Summa (esp. article 3) http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4084.htm#article3
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  #3  
Old Sep 7, '10, 2:25 pm
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Pilgrim1701 Pilgrim1701 is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

Thanks for the answer Fr David96.
This something along the lines as I recalled it. God can forgive anytime, if one is truly repentent. As I recall the absolution aspect is tied up with the rest of the sacramental life of the church, that is receiving communion etc?
But that just gives me more questions. If you are truly repentent, but haven't been to confession, can one assume Gods forgiveness (or is that more of a Protestant belief).
But seeing as one can not truly know if God has forgiven you, even if you do feel sorry/guilty, and presuming on Gods mercy can be viewed as sinful itself, I suppose its better to stick with confession. But if God has not forgiven you, can a priest over-ride that on the basis of "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them."?
I know, stop being so scrupulous and go to confession!
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  #4  
Old Sep 7, '10, 2:31 pm
ConstantineTG ConstantineTG is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

We can't assume God's forgiveness. What if its just our own subconcious justifying that we have been forgiven? God has given us a way to know that we are forgiven, by giving authority to forgive sins to the Apostles, who then has passed this on to the bishops and priests.

Can a priest grant absolution where God has not forgiven yet? Absolutely! God Himself (Jesus Christ) has made this promise that when the priest forgives sins, they are forgiven. God will not contradict Himself. He made this promise and we can count on it.
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  #5  
Old Sep 7, '10, 7:50 pm
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Catholicben Catholicben is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

So, put simply,

Absolution is the forgiveness of sins within the context of confession, by a priest. '

Forgiveness is a much broader term, which someone else should define, if you want it done accurately ...
__________________
"If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful."

Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, paragraph 92.
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  #6  
Old Sep 7, '10, 8:26 pm
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FrDavid96 FrDavid96 is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

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Originally Posted by Catholicben View Post
So, put simply,

Absolution is the forgiveness of sins within the context of confession, by a priest. '

Forgiveness is a much broader term, which someone else should define, if you want it done accurately ...
Actually no.
Absolution is a juridic act of the Church--the key word is "juridic." In confession, the priest (as minister) imparts both forgiveness and absolution. Absolution is not a "type" of forgiveness. However, forgiveness is always included within absolution. (I missed that part and had to go back to edit).

Absolution is a "legal judgement" made by the priest, as minister of the Church, which reconciles the sinner back to the Church.

Perhaps if I put this in more practical terms:

Let's say that someone commits murder. I'll pick that one because it's an act that's known to the public, and which obviously excludes the sinner from Communion.
The sinner sincerely repents. God forgives him (this happens in God's mind, but of course, no mortal knows this, not even the sinner who has hope but not certainty). He still can't go to Communion.
The sinner then goes to confession.
The priest forgives him (as minister of God), and now he can be certain that he's been forgiven; and also absolves him. The absolution is the reconciliation to the Church which allows him to once again receive Communion. It reconciles him to the Church.

That might very well need a lot more in the way of explanation, but it's a start.
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  #7  
Old Sep 8, '10, 11:56 am
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Pilgrim1701 Pilgrim1701 is offline
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Default Re: Absolution and Forgiveness.

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