Say a person commits a mortal sin…missing Mass…and goes to confession, confesses it and the priest absolves them of their sin. However, as an example, the same person has never forgiven his wife having an affair. From the Our Father, I understand our sins are not forgiven if we do not forgive others. Does this person still retain the mortal sin they thought was absolved in the confessional? How about if this person is unaware of this petition in the Our Father? If they are aware of the meaning, I would imagine the absolution didn’t “take” and the person may be adding on another mortal sin. Anyway, any insight would be great to hear…thank you in advance!
In your hypothetical you have not said if the wife was sorry for the affair and asked for forgiveness.
Remember, forgiveness is not unconditional. If someone who has wronged you and is not sorry you may forgive them but you are not required to.
You dont say if the person wishes to forgive the wife? that is the first thing. It is difficult to forgive someone, especially fi they dont ask for forgiveness. I am sorry but I dont agree with the above poster. We are required to forgive people even if they dont ask for it or dont want it. Forgiveness is as much about our salvation as the other persons. We should forgive people even if they dont know they have hurt us and wouldn’t care if they did know, and even if they would hurt us again if they could. This is forgiving our enemies. We however, don’t have to put ourselves out there to be hurt again once we have forgiven the person. This is perhaps what the poster before me means. The first step to forgiveness is to ask God to help us. We just need to want to forgive and we need to give our hurt to God. Forgiveness is a difficult thing cos we are broken ourselves and we are hurting, we give your hurt to God to keep for us and to help us deal with it. We cannot do it on our own and shouldn’t try to. God wants to help us. Forgiveness may have to be done many many times over. It may be the person forgave his wife, then the hurt came back and he has to do it again. The wife has been forgiven, but the ‘affair’ has not been forgotten. It has been forgiven but not forgotten. So because we are too broken to forget it, we must keep on and one forgiving again and again. Does this make sense? God who is perfect hears us confess our sins and knows we are sorry so he forgives and forgets our sins. So he never has to forgive us again cos he has forgotten them. How wonderful is that!!! But we are not perfect , we cant forget so we must keep on and on forgiving over and over again. So yes your sins are forgiven and forgotten by our most Merciful and wonderous God and in all likelihood you have forgiven you wife (if you are that person) at one point or another, but it is just that it keeps coming back and must be done again and again. With God’s grace one day you’ll forget. Ask for God’s help, ask for the grace to forget and the grace to forgive and the grace of patience in the mean time. And thank him for his mercy. Also I don’t know if it helps, but God knows how weak we are, when I pray the Our Father, I often add in my head when we get the part about forgiving others, ‘with your grace’ and in any case God knows we need his help. Ask for it, often. That’s my advice, call on God often. He is just waiting to be asked for help and he will help you. God bless you.
Sorry but your comment that I bolded is not correct. We are not required to forgive someone who is not sorry and does not want forgiveness.
Good article here by Catholic Answers own Jimmy Akin.
Scroll down to Preemptive Forgiveness.
It is about lack of charity. If a person is voluntarily seeking vengeance then it is a sin against the fifth commandment.
2262 In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, "You shall not kill,"62 and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies.63 He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath.64
50 Jesus answered him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then stepping forward they laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. 51 And behold, one of those who accompanied Jesus put his hand to his sword, drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its sheath, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
It’s a difference between forgiving someone and forgetting something. I may forgive my neighbor for doing something, but as serious as an affair is, we are not expected to forget about it.
Something that could help is thinking about forgiving someone for your own sake, and not for theirs sake. Walking around with hard feelings aren’t constructive and are mostly bad for yourself.
I don’t have much good answers to offer you, but the person struggling with this should try to work with the forgiveness. He should pray a lot and pray that God will help him forgive. He should also pray that God could make the anger go away. He should also seek some guidance from a priest to get some concrete advise.
Ok, well I am sure this person Jimmy is great.I am sure my wording is the error I am not good with words as I have said before. Here’s what the Catechism say’s about it :
. . . as we forgive those who trespass against us
This “as” is not unique in Jesus’ teaching: “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”; “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful”; "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."139 It is impossible to keep the Lord’s commandment by imitating the divine model from outside; there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make “ours” the same mind that was in Christ Jesus.140 Then the unity of forgiveness becomes possible and we find ourselves “forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave” us.141
Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end,142 become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: "So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."143 It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.
Christian prayer extends to the forgiveness of enemies ,144 transfiguring the disciple by configuring him to his Master. Forgiveness is a high-point of Christian prayer; only hearts attuned to God’s compassion can receive the gift of prayer. Forgiveness also bears witness that, in our world, love is stronger than sin. The martyrs of yesterday and today bear this witness to Jesus. Forgiveness is the fundamental condition of the reconciliation of the children of God with their Father and of men with one another.145
**[There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness,146 whether one speaks of “sins” as in Luke (11:4), “debts” as in Matthew (6:12). We are always debtors: "Owe no one anything, except to love one another."147 The communion of the Holy Trinity is the source and criterion of truth in every relation ship. It is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.148
God does not accept the sacrifice of a sower of disunion, but commands that he depart from the altar so that he may first be reconciled with his brother. For God can be appeased only by prayers that make peace. To God, the better offering is peace, brotherly concord, and a people made one in the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.149
It is my opinion that this is required as an absolute minimum to be a Christian, by virtue of the fact that we are told to love our enemies and our neighbours we can’t do that by not forgiving them their real or perceived wrongs. Forgiving them is for us at that point, they would not know
No. If they met the basic requirements for absolution, such as contrition, sinning after Confession does not nullify the absolution. It’s just another sin.
In response to all the conversation about whether it is necessary to forgive in all circumstances, including that in which forgiveness was not asked for, I would only add that the fundamental requirement is to love.
Forgiveness is important though. Failure to forgive may be a sign of self-absorption or self-centeredness, which is not the most healthy spiritual condition. It may fall under the category of shortcoming of charity.
Sometimes one may fail to forgive due to circumstances beyond one’s control. One may not have the strength to forgive. Then if unforgiveness is a sin, it is surely not mortal. In time, God may give us the grace to forgive.
I would suggest that forgiveness may be more necessary for one’s own spiritual and emotional benefit than for the good of the wrongdoer. A grudge chiefly harms its bearer, and it would be best to let it go, if it is possible.
I am not sure I understand the need to reserve (or hold back) forgiveness when the wrongdoer is not remorseful. Is this based on justice? Everything must equate? Is forgiveness a transactional matter? Somehow I doubt it. Perhaps I should read that Jimmy Akin article and see if he addresses this point.
Please note everyone that nowhere did I say we should not forgive someone who has wronged us but is not sorry and does not want forgiveness. I said that in such a circumstance it is not required to forgive them. There is a difference.
Forgiveness is not unconditional. Just like us when in a state of mortal sin. We are only forgiven at Confession when we are sorry and ask for forgiveness. God is always ready to forgive us but does not do so until we are sorry and ask him.
If you aren’t sorry for particular mortal sin(s), it/they are NOT forgiven.
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