If Christ paid for our sins then why


#1

do we need to do penance for them after confession?

If he is the sacrifice that covers our sins, doesnt that make Him the “penance doer” 2000 odd years ago.

This is puzzling me.

In Christ.

Andre.


#2

not temporal punishment.


#3

Lets see here, Christ had to come to earth and die on the cross to remedy the sin and seperation caused by Adam and Eve. He was the most perfect sacrifice, us humans would not be so capable of completing this sacrifice. Jesus death caused the temple curtain to be torn in two, thus signifying that the separation of us with God has been repaired. Ancient Jewish belief was no-one was worthy enough to go directly to God with their concerns, they must have the high preist make the offering in their behalf. While these offerning were good to God, they were not good enough to repair the bond with God. Christ had to show us the way to God, by denying our own motives for the sole purpose of doing God’s will regardless of how difficult it would be. Being that he was pure, he had no alterior motive for his bodily sacrifice, he had no stain on him that must be removed. Therefore being with out satin, he could be the perfect sacrifice pleasing to God.

So, where does that leave us? We are not pure, we are weak and fall to temptation. We choose our own desires over that of God’s, so we must ask for forgivness. For nothing unclean can be in the presence of God. So, how do we remove that stain on our soul, we confess our sins. This is not easy, for we must humbly admit to a servant of God, the priest, that we have disobeyed God. You must be in complete knowlegde that you did wrong and very sorry for your actions. You must try to the core of your being to refain from doing the sin again. (Like when you discipline a child and he says he is sorry, but later does the same wrong deed, was he really sorry?) Then the priest gives you your penance, not as punishment but as a way to repair the damage you have caused with your relationship with God. To indulge in his sanctifying grace and become closer to him. For the closer to God we are, the less likly we will fall to our temptations to sin.

I hope this helps! You should read some of the tracts on this website on confession and Salvation for a more theologican answer.


#4

Penance isn’t about “paying for our sins”. You’re right - Christ took care of that.

If I have an addiction to gossip, for instance, and I confess it, I am forgiven and Christ has payed for that sin.

But, I have done damage to my mind and body. I have created this psychological attraction to gossip (it’s easier to sin in a certain way after doing it the first, second, third time).

I sometimes might crave the high gossip more than I crave God.

Penance is not about “paying for my sin”, but about undoing the damage I’ve done to myself so I can avoid that sin in the future.

If I wreck my father’s car (or the body my father lent me), he will forgive me. The damage is still done on the car (the body) - say a headlight is busted out (my self-control is weakened). The insurance (Christ’s sacrifice, God’s grace) will pay for it. But if I don’t take that money (grace) and repair that damage (do penance), the headlight is still out (my self-control is still weak), making it easier to wreck an additional time, especially at night (my weak moments).


#5

But aren’t we taught as Catholics that we are still punished for our sins? Although our sins are forgiven we can’t get into heaven until “the last penny is paid”? From what I understand that’s where indulgences come in to play? I’m not speaking of penance, so much as “penalty due to sin”.


#6

Just to be clear, penance is NOT repayment of temporal punishment. If that was the case, there would be no need for partial and plenary indulgences. Penance is just your way to show God you meant it when you said you were sorry and your sins were absolved. That is why sometimes they are a very small token for a very large set of sins - it is not the repayment of temporal punishment.

Jesus died to save our souls, which were dead with Original sin. When we are baptized, our souls are in a state of grace. However, since we are creatures of God that can make choices, and given the satanic-ruled world we live in, we have a disposition to sin, and we do. Minor sins (venial) will not keep us out of heaven, major sins (mortal) are grave, separate us from God, and will keep us from heaven if not forgiven. Think of it as a relationship we have with God; the act of confession is our choice to reconcile with God again, and that act is mandatory if we are not in a state of grace due to mortal sin. That’s why the sacrament is more popularly called Reconciliation now, whereas when I grew up it was called Penance or Confession.


#7

[quote=awalt]Just to be clear, penance is NOT repayment of temporal punishment. If that was the case, there would be no need for partial and plenary indulgences. . .it is not the repayment of temporal punishment.
[/quote]

But awalt, the penance performed after a confession DOES remit temporal punishment, and so it IS a repayment, but usually it is NOT payment in full. Hence the need for voluntary penance in this life, or involuntary suffering in purgatory.

Absolution forgives the guilt of sin. Penance (whether imposed or voluntary) addresses the temporal punishment due to that sin.

Furthermore in no way does ANY of our penances (small or large)merit forgivness for sin. We are incapable of meriting forgivness. Christ merits that for us. He takes away our guilt, but not our temporal punishment.

Please see my posts here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=80332
and here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=72022

In answer to Magic’s original question: the penance imposed in the sacrament is **integral **but is not essential to the validity of the sacrament, thus forgivness of guilt is not conditioned on the performance of the penance per se (in the sense of cause and effect; however resistance to the performance of penance may indicate an antecedent lack of true contrition which IS integral, i.e. necessary, for the validity of the sacrament). Performance of the penance imposed makes a start in remitting the temporal punishment due to sin.

I hope that helps.
What do you think?

VC


#8

[quote=awalt]Just to be clear, penance is NOT repayment of temporal punishment. If that was the case, there would be no need for partial and plenary indulgences. Penance is just your way to show God you meant it when you said you were sorry and your sins were absolved. That is why sometimes they are a very small token for a very large set of sins - it is not the repayment of temporal punishment.
[/quote]

Actually I was always taught that the penance you receive from the priest is given according the priest’s opinion as to what you have to do in order to make reparation for the sins you have confessed. Now his penance MAY NOT BE all that is required. The penance IS to pay for the temporal punishment due to sin, yet sometimes the penance given may only pay part of it.

The partial and plenary indulgences received also pay for the temporal punishment due to sin. The idea that Penance does not pay the temporal punishment due to sin is a Protestant error.

Ken


#9

[quote=Magicsilence]do we need to do penance for them after confession?

If he is the sacrifice that covers our sins, doesnt that make Him the “penance doer” 2000 odd years ago.

This is puzzling me.

In Christ.

Andre.
[/quote]

Our Lord paid for all our sins 2000 years ago. Yet after we have been baptized and commit actual sins there is a “temporal punishment” due to the sins we commit.

EXAMPLE- we are paying the temporal punishment for the Original sin- our bodies die…

Also, let me put it into your mentality here…

Let’s say a non-believer comes home, finds his wife in bed with another man and kills him and her. The man’s children hear of the man’s death and they are devastated, one even commits suicide. The woman’s sister hears of the murder and she dies of a heart attack devastating her mother and father.

Then, while walking away from the crime truly repents of it and accepts Jesus.

Then after accepting Jesus he is killed by an oncoming car.

Will he go directly to heaven? Of course not because the man has to pay for the damage he has caused.

Ken


#10

I don’t know if his teaching on this subject is still acceptable but St. Thomas Aquinas talks quite a bit about Penance in his Summa Theologica and in the Supplement to the Third Part.

For instance, St. Thomas Aquinas discusses this in Summa Theologica (III, 86, 4):
Whether the debt of punishment remains after the guilt has been forgiven through Penance?

Reply to Objection 3. Christ’s Passion is of itself sufficient to remove all debt of punishment, not only eternal, but also temporal; and man is released from the debt of punishment according to the measure of his share in the power of Christ’s Passion. Now in Baptism man shares the Power of Christ’s Passion fully, since by water and the Spirit of Christ, he dies with Him to sin, and is born again in Him to a new life, so that, in Baptism, man receives the remission of all debt of punishment. In Penance, on the other hand, man shares in the power of Christ’s Passion according to the measure of his own acts, which are the matter of Penance, as water is of Baptism, as stated above (84, 1,3). Wherefore the entire debt of punishment is not remitted at once after the first act of Penance, by which act the guilt is remitted, but only when all the acts of Penance have been completed.

A related topic is discussed, for instance, in Supplement to the Third Part( 5, 2) of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica:Whether contrition can take away the debt of punishment entirely?
**.
…**
I answer that, The intensity of contrition may be regarded in two ways. First, on the part of charity, which causes the displeasure, and in this way it may happen that the act of charity is so intense that the contrition resulting therefrom merits not only the removal of guilt, but also the remission of all punishment. Secondly, on the part of the sensible sorrow, which the will excites in contrition: and since this sorrow is also a kind of punishment, it may be so intense as to suffice for the remission of both guilt and punishment.
Reply to Objection 1. A man cannot be sure that his contrition suffices for the remission of both punishment and guilt: wherefore he is bound to confess and to make satisfaction, especially since his contrition would not be true contrition, unless he had the purpose of confessing united thereto: which purpose must also be carried into effect, on account of the precept given concerning confession.


#11

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