Confession

I know that confession is a great gift from God and I go at least once a month. A friend asked me at work today if confession is the only way to be forgiven for mortal sins? I told him I would get back to him.

How’s this: yes, but God won’t condemn you to hell if you die on the way to confession. Mortal sins destroy sanctifying grace. To willfully avoid confessing a mortal sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the only unforgiveable sin).

In the ordinary way, only a priest can absolve you of a mortal sin. HOWEVER, if you are in danger of death, and you make a perfect act of contrition, with the intent (should you survive) of making confession to a priest ASAP, you MAY be forgiven. But making a perfect act of contrition is not at all easy.

It sounds harsh, but you could indeed be on your way to confession with mortal sin on your soul, and could still be in danger of hell. That is why it is MORTAL sin–DEADLY sin–and not venial. That is why regular confession is so important. That is why habits of prayer and penance and begging God for the grace not to commit a mortal sin is so important. That is why education of one’s Catholic faith is so important.

God bless.

From what I understand perfect contrition outside of confession is sufficient to have your sin forgiven, yet confession is still needed for reconciliation to the Church (and receiving the Eucharist.)

For example, I have commited a grievious sin. Confession is not until Saturday. Tuesday in prayer, I was overcome with sorrow and repentence and asked forgiveness. At that moment I am forgiven, yet the Sacrament of Penance is still needed to reconcile with the Church. (In my sin I not only offended God, but also His body the Church.)

God bless!

Ana,

My understanding of the Church’s teaching on forgiveness are a little different than yours, but rather than stating my opinion, I’ve pulled out the CCC and looked up Forgiveness. There are lots of references, so forgive me if I don’t pick the best. I’ll try my best.

In Paragraph 277 it states, “God shows forth his almighty power by converting us from our sins and restoring us to his friendship by grace. “God, you show your almighty power above all in your mercy and forgiveness…” (Roman Missal, 26th Sunday, Opening Prayer).”

Paragraph 1441 states, "Only God forgives sins.39 Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.” 40 Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name. 41"
39 Cf. Mk 2:7
40 Mk 2:5, 10; Lk 7:48
41 Cf. Jn 20:21-23
Paragraph 1442 continues with, "Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the "ministry of reconciliation."42 The apostle is sent out “on behalf of Christ” with “God making his appeal” through h im and pleading: "Be reconciled to God.“43[size=2]”[/size]
42 2 Cor 5:18
43 2 Cor 5:20
I’ll move ahead to 1444, which states "In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ’s solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 45 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.” 46 "
45 Mt 16:19; cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20
46 LG 22 S 2
1445 continues, “The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

Emphasis not mine.

Ana, after finding these passages in the CCC I see you are more correct than I anticipated, and yet still, the final sentence suggests that I wouldn’t rest assured in Divine Forgiveness on the mere contrition for my sins before sacramental confession. I have great hope in the ultimate mercy of our loving Father, but I also accept all that the Church teaches on the matter and wouldn’t want to postpone confession unnecessarily. I encourage frequent use of confession, especially in the event of known grave sin.

CARose

To willfully avoid confessing a mortal sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the only unforgiveable sin).

Um.

Um.

Um…

Please tell me youre wrong.

Please.

Please.

In all lists of mortal sins i have seen, one of those to be confessed is that of withholding a mortal sin in confession.

Surely youre wrong?

:gopray2: :gopray2: :gopray2:

[quote=Ana]From what I understand perfect contrition outside of confession is sufficient to have your sin forgiven, yet confession is still needed for reconciliation to the Church (and receiving the Eucharist.)

For example, I have commited a grievious sin. Confession is not until Saturday. Tuesday in prayer, I was overcome with sorrow and repentence and asked forgiveness. At that moment I am forgiven, yet the Sacrament of Penance is still needed to reconcile with the Church. (In my sin I not only offended God, but also His body the Church.)

God bless!
[/quote]

Ana, you and I are very close but there is a little difference of understanding. In your example, you need to make an extra-ordinary effort to get to Confession. This would include calling and asking for an individual confession. Waiting until the next scheduled time may not be sufficient.

However, in this case, assume you die that evening after your prayer, you probably are covered.

This has been a teaching I’ve held since CCD. "Always have hte words “Oh my God” on the tip of my tongue in the event I face immediate death. As these are the first words of hte Act of Contrition, if these are my last words, I can rest assured that my guardian angel and the saints in Heaven (particularly Mary) will finish it for me. But if I survive, I need to take extra-ordinary effort to recieve a good confession (my obligation because of my invocation of the Saints) as soon as possible (not practical). I think as soon as possible (not practical) is the standard Ana.

Padre’s/theologians here: Is my understanding correct? I’d hate to live in a state of assurance in this matter adn be wrong ala Sola Fide. :smiley:

Orion,

You might want to check out this thread: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=85156, where the same topic came up.

See the Catechism
**

**1452 **

When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible
**
God Bless,
VC

To willfully avoid confessing a mortal sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the only unforgiveable sin).

To willfully avoid confessing mortal sin(s) invalidates the Confession. Now, is witholding a mortal sin during Confession in itself a grave sin? I’m not sure. If it is a grave sin then the person withholding the mortal sins would have to have full knowledge of the fact (or firm belief) and fully consent to it for it to be a mortal sin. However, if they did know that it was wrong to withhold mortal sin(s) during confession, then why would they be there in the first place?

If you have been withholding mortal sin(s) during your confession then simply bring it up to your Priest that you’ve made bad confession(s) in the past and confess all your mortal sins by kind and (approximate) number since your last good confession to receive valid absolution.

A friend asked me at work today if confession is the only way to be forgiven for mortal sins?

From the Catechism:

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm

Now, we cannot know for sure whether or not our act of perfect contrition really was perfect (and acceptable to God) which is why we need to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible.

Was your question from your friend about people who don’t know about the sacrament of penance? The answer is that God can work “outside of the box” so to speak and forgive who He wants when He wants. However, we who know about the sacrament of penance cannot use this as an exuse not to use the sacrament Christ Himself instituted for the forgiveness of sins. The sacrament of penance is the ordinary way of forgiving mortal sins. If someone knows about the sacrament yet ignores it in favor of confessing their sins directly to God then they will have to answer for it on judgement day. Would you like to answer to Christ at judgement day why you didn’t use the sacrament which He Himself instituded for forgiveness of sins?

[quote=Magicsilence]Please tell me youre wrong.
[/quote]

My bad. What I meant was that if you die having willfully not confessed a mortal sin, you are automatically going to hell. I did not mean that a single sinful act can condemn anyone. Wilfully witholding a mortal sin at confession is a mortal sin as you say. I was referring more to avoiding confession altogether, but it has the same effect if you die.

Basically blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not seeking forgiveness. This happens because of spritual pride either in the form of “I don’t need to confess this” or in the form of “this sin is too bad to be forgiven” (ironic that the latter could be prideful, but it is if you think about it).

Again, no single past act can condemn a person should he seek confession.

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