How repentant must you be for valid absolution?

If you confess a sin and receive absolution, but are not really repentant of the sin, are you still forgiven?

There are several Catholics I know right now who are having (or recently had) vasectomies and are planning on going to Reconciliation afterwards to “make it OK”. They are clearly not repentant, since the whole thing was pre-meditated.

So, they’re basically going into the confessional and, in a way, lying about being sorry about a serious sin. Does absolution forgive them of that sin??

Peace,
javelin

[quote=javelin]If you confess a sin and receive absolution, but are not really repentant of the sin, are you still forgiven?

There are several Catholics I know right now who are having (or recently had) vasectomies and are planning on going to Reconciliation afterwards to “make it OK”. They are clearly not repentant, since the whole thing was pre-meditated.

So, they’re basically going into the confessional and, in a way, lying about being sorry about a serious sin. Does absolution forgive them of that sin??

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

it was always explained to me that to be forgiven, you must be sorry for your sin… “at least”… at most you must “firmly resolve” to not do it again…

…where visectomy is concerned…OUCH, let’s hope they don’t have to worry about doing it again… sheese, that hurt…

Peace:thumbsup:
http://moblog.co.uk/blogs/54/moblog_c00a206b45670.jpg

[quote=javelin]If you confess a sin and receive absolution, but are not really repentant of the sin, are you still forgiven?

There are several Catholics I know right now who are having (or recently had) vasectomies and are planning on going to Reconciliation afterwards to “make it OK”. They are clearly not repentant, since the whole thing was pre-meditated.

So, they’re basically going into the confessional and, in a way, lying about being sorry about a serious sin. Does absolution forgive them of that sin??

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

If they go in with that attitude they can expect to come out unforgiven and with a good lecture ringing in their ears! If what you say is true, they are commiting the sin of presumption, a very serious sin, indeed!

When I read the thread title, I was going to emphasize the importance of being resolved not to do it again, but I guess that doesn’t apply here. If you repent of a sin it basically means you regret having done it. So, you can’t plan a sin, and simply plan to go to confession afterwards. If you would regret doing it, don’t do it to start with. Unless these friends have a change of heart, I would be afraid they will not be forgiven. Then again, it’s not up to me:). Also, I would be worried about confessing a sin you are not really sorry for. That seems like sacrilege to me. It also reinforces the false idea that Catholics think they can sin all they want, then just go to confession. That irks me.

Invalid indeed!

The mortal sin of presumption is happening, not to mention lying to the priest.

oh my!

=(
Kat

[quote=Fizendell]Invalid indeed!

The mortal sin of presumption is happening, not to mention lying to the priest.

oh my!

=(
Kat
[/quote]

And, so the sin of presumption should be confessed. The person must tell the priest that he knew he would confess it, and hopefully at this point he IS repentant about it.

You know, I got to thinking about this a little more and the bottom line is that GOD knows one’s original intent to sin first and confess later with blatancy.

This really goes to something much deeper - willful disobedience to a church teaching and moral law, probably based on lack of understanding, and lack of acceptance of it based on that understanding.

It is most appropriate to give the Church, the institution that has had 2000 years of refined comprehension, the benefit of the doubt when one’s view conflicts with a church teaching, and then to obey it. This is a way of saying, “your will, Lord, not mine”. We can’t follow those laws and teachings as we like - period. This is called bending the compass needle to another direction and calling it North. You cannot go in any other direction and call it North and that is the point of absolute Truth.

One might be able to hide this sinfulness from a priest, but he cannot hide it from God.

In my mind, if someone did do this, the greater sin was the presumption involved and that is why one would need to fully realize how dangerous the practice is.

But truly, it makes no sense to enter confession to confess something one was intending to confess after they did the deed. Why bother? The only logical conclusion is that such a person is not truly contrite and this, in itself would seem to invalidate the confession.

[quote=space ghost]it was always explained to me that to be forgiven, you must be sorry for your sin… “at least”… at most you must “firmly resolve” to not do it again…

…where visectomy is concerned…OUCH, let’s hope they don’t have to worry about doing it again… sheese, that hurt…

Peace:thumbsup:
http://moblog.co.uk/blogs/54/moblog_c00a206b45670.jpg
[/quote]

surgical steel, eh?

If he was truly repentant following the procedure, he would have the vasectomy reversed.

[quote=Didi]If he was truly repentant following the procedure, he would have the vasectomy reversed.
[/quote]

I’m not convinced that this would be required. OTOH, they could adopt a child needing a family.

I just thought about another case where sin is deliberate, such as missing mass to go golfing or whatever pleasure seems more convenient. Many times the choice is made and* not* regretted, for it was a sunny day, for example, and all your buddies were going, etc.

Later on, the person goes to confession with “imperfect contrition” which is sorrow for the sin based upon fear of hell and punishment, but not for having deeply offended God with impudence in preferring one’s own will to God’s.

Is this person forgiven? Yes. So I would imagine the same ethics could apply in the case of a vasectomy or tubal ligation. How greatly this magnifies the mercy of God in allowing the sin to be set aside in holy confession, even though the penitent is not remorseful. Isn’t it true that the one who misses mass just says to himself, “Oh, well, I can just go to confession later, but today, I’ll golf.”

When I was about 25, I had a hysterectomy due to cancer, and never had to face the birth control issue. I don’t know how I might have been tempted, or what I would have done if I had to wear their shoes, so I judge not. Believe me, I’m grateful to God for never having to face this.

Thank you all for your replies so far, but I’m going to press the point a bit to see what comes of it…

“Those whose sins you forgive are forgiven; those whose sins you hold bound are held bound.”

In this case, if the man is confessing the sin of knowingly having a vasectomy, and the priest doesn’t see dishonesty, isn’t the granting of absolution equivalent to the forgiving of sins talked about in the quote above? Isn’t the miraculous thing about Reconciliation is that, through the sacrament, God’s forgiveness is granted by the judgement of the confessor, who is acting "in persona Christe"? If we truly treat that the way the Church seems to treat it when defending the validity of the sacrament, then the priest’s forgiveness in the confessional through absolution brings with it God’s forgiveness through his promise to the Apolstles.

Now, many of you make a good point that in this case, there are other sins involved: willful dissent from the Church, presumption of God’s Grace, etc. I do not doubt that those sins, if not confessed, remain unforgiven. But I think there would be a good case for belief that the sins confessed would be forgiven, regardless of the true penitence of the person. It would seem that the burden of discerning the true level of penitence would fall on the confessor, who could withold absolution if he deemed it appropriate.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin

[quote=javelin]Thank you all for your replies so far, but I’m going to press the point a bit to see what comes of it…

“Those whose sins you forgive are forgiven; those whose sins you hold bound are held bound.”…

…Now, many of you make a good point that in this case, there are other sins involved: willful dissent from the Church, presumption of God’s Grace, etc. I do not doubt that those sins, if not confessed, remain unforgiven. But I think there would be a good case for belief that the sins confessed would be forgiven, regardless of the true penitence of the person. It would seem that the burden of discerning the true level of penitence would fall on the confessor, who could withold absolution if he deemed it appropriate.

What do you think?

Peace,
javelin
[/quote]

There is something missing tho and that is purposely omitting a piece of information - a sin, when you know it is a sin, a grave sin, invalidates a confession (if somene can find this in the CCC it would be nice). So, lets say that the penitent knows that he presumed he would be forgiven if he sought confession, had the procedure, went to confession, but then willingly omitted the sin of presumption - not telling the priest it was premeditated with intent to confess after committing the act, then I would think that it is invalid. Of course, the penitent would need to know that such presumption is a very serious sin.

This sounds like a question for the “Ask the Apologist” and I think I may do it, framing it in two scenarios - one where the penitent is aware that the premeditation was sinful, and one were he is ignorant of its sinfulness. We’ll see if it is answered.

Diane,

When you get the answer, would you kindly post it here so we can follow up on the topic? Not everyone would remember to look in the Apoligist’s Forum. Thanks!

[quote=VociMike]I’m not convinced that this would be required. OTOH, they could adopt a child needing a family.
[/quote]

I agree. I believe they would need to make some kind of moral reparation such as adopting a child as you suggest. If you are truly sorry for your sins you will express your sorrow in your life in some way. When your sins are serious your sorrow will be expressed in some substantial way.

[quote=javelin]If you confess a sin and receive absolution, but are not really repentant of the sin, are you still forgiven?
[/quote]

You have to be sorry for all your mortal sins (assuming you are guilty of a mortal sin) and have the resolution to not commit them or any other mortal sins again.

There are several Catholics I know right now who are having (or recently had) vasectomies and are planning on going to Reconciliation afterwards to “make it OK”. They are clearly not repentant, since the whole thing was pre-meditated.

They would have had to have had some kind of change in heart between the vasectomy and the confession. They have to be of a disposition such that they can say to themselves and to God: “If I were in that position again, I would not have undergone the vasectomy.” So you have to truly regret the sin.

But even if they come to confession only sorry out of a fear of divine punishment, that is enough for God to work with and bring the person’s heart to a love for Him through the grace of the sacrament.

[quote=Lux_et_veritas]This sounds like a question for the “Ask the Apologist” and I think I may do it, framing it in two scenarios - one where the penitent is aware that the premeditation was sinful, and one were he is ignorant of its sinfulness. We’ll see if it is answered.
[/quote]

Diane,

I actually started this thread because I had asked a similar question there already. My question was in two parts, however, and the apologist didn’t give much in the way of specifics regarding the reasoning behind his response. Here is a link to his response:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=56105

I will freely admit that my question meandered a bit, so if you do post to AAA, use mine as an example of how NOT to phrase the question! :o

Peace,
javelin

[quote=Lux_et_veritas]There is something missing tho and that is purposely omitting a piece of information - a sin, when you know it is a sin, a grave sin, invalidates a confession (if somene can find this in the CCC it would be nice). So, lets say that the penitent knows that he presumed he would be forgiven if he sought confession, had the procedure, went to confession, but then willingly omitted the sin of presumption - not telling the priest it was premeditated with intent to confess after committing the act, then I would think that it is invalid.
[/quote]

My priest puts it this way. If you walk into the confessional with 4 sins, and only confess 3, willingly leaving out the 4th, you walk out of the confessional with 5 sins. The confession for the 3 is invalid now, the 4th consciously unconfessed is obviously not forgiven, the 5th being the sin of presumption, in trying to manipulate the Holy Spirit.

I’ve seen this same attitude with abortion, unfortunately. People signing up for the post abortion healing retreat BEFORE they have the abortion. Horrors!

So my question would be, how long can you keep up with this dichotomy? Ignoring Church teaching, but still trying to receive the sacraments? Wouldn’t your heart eventually be hardened to the point where you were closed to the grace the sacraments are meant to impart?

[quote=space ghost]it was always explained to me that to be forgiven, you must be sorry for your sin… “at least”… at most you must “firmly resolve” to not do it again…

…where visectomy is concerned…OUCH, let’s hope they don’t have to worry about doing it again
[/quote]

Can. 987 To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and *having a purpose of amendment, * the person is turned back to God. *Code of Canon Law *

True, the act of the vasectomy cannot be committed again (unless it failed). But the thing which the vasectomy was meant to enable, the act of a contracepted sexual union, can be repeated again and again.

So until the vasectomy is truly repented, it would seem that the penitant would have to confess again and again each sterile sexual union under the precept of “I engaged in this union with my wife, and I continue to be relieved that it was sterile and not open to life” until he is truly contrite, and no longer thankful that this union was deliberately rendered sterile.

[quote=ames61]My priest puts it this way. If you walk into the confessional with 4 sins, and only confess 3, willingly leaving out the 4th, you walk out of the confessional with 5 sins. The confession for the 3 is invalid now, the 4th consciously unconfessed is obviously not forgiven, the 5th being the sin of presumption, in trying to manipulate the Holy Spirit.

I’ve seen this same attitude with abortion, unfortunately. People signing up for the post abortion healing retreat BEFORE they have the abortion. Horrors!

So my question would be, how long can you keep up with this dichotomy? Ignoring Church teaching, but still trying to receive the sacraments? Wouldn’t your heart eventually be hardened to the point where you were closed to the grace the sacraments are meant to impart?
[/quote]

Actually, that is a pretty good clarification.

One thing I’ve changed about my confession habits is that I now discuss the attitude I had at the time of the particular transgression. Sometimes the attitude itself is a sin.

Lets say that someone uses God’s name in vein, then figures since they need to go to confession already, why bother holding back, and then proceeds to do so several more times figuring they will stop after confession. The attitude that you can sin more since you need to go to confession already must be a sin, itself. Maybe that falls under presumption as well, I’m not sure.

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