[quote="opus101, post:15, topic:319728"]
You put two different topics into one thread, and keep morphing back and forth between them.
First it seemed that you were asking how the priest could "know your heart" and whether or not you were sorry. The second topic was about the above - priests who make different
judgements about the sinfulness of an action. Those are two completely different things.
Which one do you want addressed?
Topic #1: the priest can only take your word for it (about being sorry and repenting).
Topic #2: there might be priests who have different takes on things, but that would not effect absolution if you express sorrow for the sin. In your original post you said that the difference in priests' take on things resulted in absolution being withheld in some instances. I can't think of any instance where this would be true except these:
1.the penitent is not sorry, or 2. the sin is very, very grave and needs to be forgiven by a higher authority.
Yeah, it's confusing, I admit. Your question helped me realize more what is causing me my confusion. I was assuming a Priest A who did not absolve a sin did so only because he thought something was a sin that the penitent either wasn't sorry for or was unwilling to give up. Thus he thought the person was not repenting.
Priest B thought it was not a sin, or felt pastorally perhaps that the person was very sorry and that they should be absolved because they were unable to give it up at this time though they were trying.
I was thinking at the beginning of this thread that Priest A did not grant absolution because he doubted the person's sorrow over the sin and that is why I was wondering who could really know one's heart but God.(Personally, I don't really agree that we always know our own heart even.)
If only life were all black and white, but it isn't always, and thus one priest may see it differently than another does, perhaps seeing different things in the penitent to make him grant or not grant absolution for the exact same thing/same person. Thus, the doubt over the whole sacrament which may all depend upon who you happen to confess to.
Does that help clarify? Either way I'm pretty sure there is no answer. It's just the way it is.