Imperfect contrition is contrition motivated by fear of hell.
Perfect contrition is contrition motivated by love of God.
If you are sorry for your sins because you love God, that is perfect contrition.
If you are sorry for your sins because you fear going to hell, that is imperfect contrition.
One may have both perfect and imperfect contrition at the same time.
That makes it seem easy. I thought it was difficult, something people would have to work at. Am I simply misinformed or is this a theological issue that is not fully resolved, or have attitudes changed? Or is it still something difficult and I am underestimating it?
It need not be difficult.
People just don’t understand it. They hear the word “perfect” and they think of a different meaning of the word, then they think it’s difficult.
I guess if you say so, it’s just that that would mean a perfect contrition is part of confession usually, since you almost always are told to say an act of Contrition, which involves being sorry most of all for offending God, even though usually it is said to have a valid confession one needs at least an imperfect contrition.
It’s just a tad odd to me, but I guess if you say so.
1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.”
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.
1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.
Christians use the forumala of
This Christian also relies on John 20:22-23.
People like myself have always believed that perfrct means 100% rather than motivation for live of God.
Some people like myself are born worriers. If I fall into mortal sin I cannot focus on anything over than getting to confession, I become more hesitant of even crossing the road.
That is exactly why I am quoting the Catechism here in this thread. People do not understand the phrase “perfect contrition” although people use that phrase quite frequently. It is very easy to misunderstand it–the choice of words is very confusing to the English speaking person.
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