Forgiveness in the YOUCAT

Hey guys, so I get a daily email with a quick summary of the Catechism’s teachings. So far they’ve been great, and the version they use to summarize is called “YOUCAT.”

But today, I was unsure whether the teaching is in fact articulated in the CCC. Here’s what the YOUCAT says:

“But reading Sacred Scripture, prayer, fasting, and the performance of good works also have the effect of forgiving sins.” (YOUCAT questions 150-151)

They then reference CCC 981-87, but there is nothing here about any of what is mentioned in the quotation. I’d never heard the doctrine that sins can be forgiven outside of the context of the Church’s mediation (power of keys, after all). Do they mean venial sins, I guess? I’ve been taught that those can be forgiven by even saying the Lord’s prayer, so I can see these other things being effective as well.

Thanks for your help! Happy Feast of Saint Anselm =)

I would say they are either talking about venial sins, or I would prefer to think, talking about our sanctification from sin…our purgatory on earth basically, that doing these things helps purify our soul of the effects of sins.

The reference to reference CCC 981-87 appears to be erroneous. The relevant paragraphs might be 1425-1439. Here are a few of those which relate to the YOUCAT lesson you got in your email:

Interior Penance

1430 Jesus’ call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance.

The Many Forms of Penance in Christian Life

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: efforts at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.”

1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, by the admission of faults to one’s brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance.

1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.”

1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father—every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.

Subsequent paragraphs get into the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but the above paragraphs relate to our ongoing (everyday) need to turn away from sin (repent) and direct our lives toward God and good.

I’ve heard that the YOUCAT has included some borderline heretical content.

This is 100% consistent with Scripture.

Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

-Tim-

You’ve heard? Maybe you should read it and see for yourself. From what I’ve seen, it does not deviate from the CCC or its other approved derivatives like the Compendium of the CCC or the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults.

Can you elaborate on this please?
I’m looking for something a bit more explicit in Church teaching that says this substitutes for God’s forgiveness as administered by a priest who actsin persona Christi during the sacrament of confession.

Some of the responses seems to be blurring penance with forgivenes but, to me, penance relates to repenting of what I have done, and absolution would be the forgiveness part.

In this post covers seems to be equated with forgiveness -in modern day usage covers often is equated with hides or obscures.

Thanks so much and may God bless you and all who visit this thread.

This is very helpful. It had actually crossed my mind that the solution would simply be to reference another passage from the CCC, so thank you for calling this to attention!

You raise an important point. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the surest way to obtain the forgiveness of sins. The CCC mentions the possibility of forgiveness of venial sins by “perfect contrition” or with the help of the Eucharist, but consistently teaches the necessity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of mortal sins, and for its many other benefits:

Contrition

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.

Eucharist

1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins.

1395… The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins—that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Some of the benefits of sacramental reconciliation, apart from forgiveness

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit.

1468 “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.” Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament.

1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members.

OP, I noticed this quotation begins with “But.” It might be important to know what came just before. I don’t have a copy of YOUCAT handy, so please give us the whole passage if you can. Thanks.

Good call, here it is:

Fundamentally the forgiveness of sins occurs in the sacrament of Baptism. After that the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance, confession) is necessary for the forgiveness of serious sins. For less serious sins, confession is recommended. But reading Sacred Scripture, prayer, fasting, and the performance of good works also have the effect of forgiving sins. (YOUCAT questions 150-151)

So in this case the “but” isn’t directly juxtaposing to Baptism and Reconciliation–it appears to be expanding on “what to do in the case of less serious sins.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beryllos View Post
OP, I noticed this quotation begins with “But.” It might be important to know what came just before. I don’t have a copy of YOUCAT handy, so please give us the whole passage if you can. Thanks.
Good call, here it is:

Quote:
Fundamentally the forgiveness of sins occurs in the sacrament of Baptism. After that the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance, confession) is necessary for the forgiveness of serious sins. For less serious sins, confession is recommended. But reading Sacred Scripture, prayer, fasting, and the performance of good works also have the effect of forgiving sins. (YOUCAT questions 150-151)
So in this case the “but” isn’t directly juxtaposing to Baptism and Reconciliation–it appears to be expanding on “what to do in the case of less serious sins.”
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It would be helpful to know if they have any references which document support for that contention.
Until then, one can always play it safe and stick to confession and the absolution of venial sins at Mass.
May God bless us all.
Amen.

I think it is correct, if not the most clear and precise. Here are some examples of those things being said to forgive sins in the Church:

[quote=prayer of priest or deacon at Mass]Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away.
[/quote]

[quote=CCC]1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving,31 which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one’s neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one’s neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity "which covers a multitude of sins."32
[/quote]

[quote=Pope Benedict XVI]What is more: Saint Peter includes among the spiritual fruits of almsgiving the forgiveness of sins: “Charity,” he writes, “covers a multitude of sins” (1 Pt 4,8).
w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/messages/lent/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20071030_lent-2008.html
[/quote]

[quote=St. Augustine]71. For the passing and trivial sins of every day, from which no life is free, the everyday prayer of the faithful makes satisfaction. For they can say, “Our Father who art in heaven,” who have already been reborn to such a Father "by water and the Spirit."155 This prayer completely blots out our minor and everyday sins. It also blots out those sins which once made the life of the faithful wicked, but from which, now that they have changed for the better by repentance, they have departed. The condition of this is that just as they truly say, “Forgive us our debts” (since there is no lack of debts to be forgiven), so also they truly say, "As we forgive our debtors"156; that is, if what is said is also done. For to forgive a man who seeks forgiveness is indeed to give alms.

  1. Accordingly, what our Lord says—"Give alms and, behold, all things are clean to you"157—applies to all useful acts of mercy. Therefore, not only the man who gives food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality to the wayfarer, refuge to the fugitive; who visits the sick and the prisoner, redeems the captive, bears the burdens of the weak, leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, shows the errant the right way, gives advice to the perplexed, and does whatever is needful for the needy158—not only does this man give alms, but the man who forgives the trespasser also gives alms as well. He is also a giver of alms who, by blows or other discipline, corrects and restrains those under his command, if at the same time he forgives from the heart the sin by which he has been wronged or offended, or prays that it be forgiven the offender. Such a man gives alms, not only in that he forgives and prays, but also in that he rebukes and administers corrective punishment, since in this he shows mercy.
    ccel.org/ccel/augustine/enchiridion.chapter19.html

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Actually, the CCC references for question number 151 in the YOUCAT (quoted in the OP) is CCC 976-980, 984-987. But, yeah, the paragraphs that Beryllos cited probably fit that portion of the quote a little better. I don’t think I’d say their current citation is erroneous (as those paragraphs tie in to the first portion of the answer in the YOUCAT), but the extra citations would definitely be helpful for that last part.

Thanks for the clarification.

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