Forgiveness of sins: How do I answer this anti-Catholic argument?

So someone keeps saying you can for example be a pedophile and do all this wrong and ask for forgiveness and be forgiven that’s what’s wrong with Catholics and I don’t know how to answer that I only said God knows when you do something wrong and try to get forgiveness after without changing your ways but is that true?

One has to be contrite when asking for forgiveness and have the desire to amend their life in order for the sins to be forgiven.


You can ask for forgiveness but you MUST be truly sorry and repent (Change)


Does this person think the same is true of all Christians?

Ultimately, it takes a great deal of anger, resentment, hate, and/or other unpleasant and unhappy-making feelings to go for years and years without being able to forgive. This person sounds miserable to me.

He brings up priests that are molesting kids a lot but I don’t know what to say about that he mostly just says it about Catholics

Are they a protestant? If so, one could just as easily “go straight to God”, as they like to call it, and “be forgiven that way”.

In any case, if all this person wants to do is slander the Church, then you are not responsible for answering their “questions” (which are actually just thinly veiled insults). Merely tell them that they can come back to you if they start to feel sincere about wanting to understand, but from what you’ve mentioned, that’s not where they’re at right now.

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Except most pedophiles choose not to repent. This is what we see in practice. The path is there, but most choose to reject God. Only a few choose the good path, and it has been so since the beginning of humanity.

Go forth and sin no more…that’s how Jesus forgave.
But we do penace, so pedophiles need penance (jail) and rehab.

They don’t believe in forgiveness?

First: asking forgiveness is useless if you don’t repent. The words alone are not enough.
Second: God knows what is in your heart. God knows whether you mean it or not.
Third: you can be forgiven even after many sins (if your repentance is sincere) but you will still face consequences. Punishment in this life and/or Purgatory in the next.

Fourth: perhaps this person thinks the Church teaches you can go on sinning all your life in the expectation that when death comes you can just say “I repent” and all is forgiven.
It does not work that way. Repentance must be real.

You can’t game the system with God.

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Let those without sin cast the first stone.

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This is not a specifically anti-Catholic argument, it’s an anti-Christian argument. All Christians profess to believe that “Though your sins be scarlet, you shall be washed as white as snow.” and that there is no sin that’s so bad that it can’t be forgiven (except to sin against the Holy Spirit, i.e. to think either “my sin is so bad that God isn’t powerful and loving enough to forgive me” or “I’ve done nothing really wrong so I don’t need God’s forgiveness”).

C.S. Lewis (protestant) said that the hardest thing for people to accept about Christianity is the concept of forgiveness.

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Contrition and repentance are required for forgiveness. If they are not sorry for what they’ve done wrong (even an imperfect contrition born from the fear of Hell is sufficient for the sacrament of confession), then they will not be forgiven. similarly, if they intend to continue sinning they will not be forgiven.

Other than those two circumstances, it’s really a stupid argument. “You’ve done bad things so God shouldn’t forgive you.” By that metric, no one should be forgiven and everyone should be damned.

Jesus forgave the people who had just whipped, beaten, and mocked him. The people who had literally just driven nails through his hands and feet. The people who sat, laughing at him as he slowly bled to death suspended on a cross. He forgave the adulterous woman, and the good thief. St. Paul was a murderer, yet Jesus chose him to become one of our greatest saints.

Where there is contrition there should always be forgiveness. To claim otherwise is to place a false limit on God’s mercy. It is, simply put, anti-Christian.

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You can apologize all day long but God knows if someone is truly sorry and wants to change. If they are saying they are sorry just to make themselves feel better or to get out of trouble it will come back to get them because actions speak louder than words. In Confession the Priest is only a human man acting in the person of Jesus. He can only know of someone’s sorrow with human senses but God knows down to the soul and God will address all of that in His time.

So, a question because I’m not that familiar with how Catholic communities deal with this.

Say Person A horribly abused Person B to the point that Person B will have lifelong physical and mental scars from the encounter. Years later, well after the statute of limitations has passed, Person A shows back up having confessed and been forgiven. Let’s assume it was a sincere confession with the intent to change their life.

Obviously God can forgive the sin, but the sin was also against Person B. Is Person A completely off the hook? The window in which they would have suffered temporal punishment by the law is gone. Is there any requirement that Person A compensate Person B in some way as part of their contrition?

Cardinal Sarah seems to have forgotten that Jesus forgave the unrepentant crowd.

Assuming that Person A has escaped the law, and what you are talking about is the afterlife, then A’s rehabilitation is between him and God.

I don’t know if a priest hearing that confession would recommend that or not, there must be some protocol. For example, a priest would not want to be in a position where he recommends that A compensate B, and then during the interaction A abuses B again. This is a very tricky area, I think. But I get the gist of your question, I think; in an ideal world, “redressing the disorder” (the purpose of punishment) should involve A compensating B in some way.

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