Is the Penitential Act heretical?



Some time reader, first time poster here. I thought I would skip the whole introductory stuff.

Now, I don’t mean to be controversial I’m just looking for an answer.

Is the Penitential Act heretical? Last week at Mass, it just sounded wrong to me.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us

I may be wrong but doesn’t this deny the Truth of the unity of the Trinity? Is this saying that the Son is not equal with the Father? It seems to directly contradict the traditional preface:

Father almighty and everlasting God. Who with Thine only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord; not in the oneness of a single person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For that which we believe from Thy revelation concerning Thy glory, that same we believe also of Thy Son, and of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, we shall adore distinction in persons, oneness in being, and equality in majesty.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to start an argument. Just asking a question.

Also, intercede ing is something the saints do. Not something Our Lord does surely?


Heresies start by trying to be one thing only or taking one thing too far. Jesus is everything else AND interceding for us. It not either or, it’s. it’s both and. He is the prime intercessor.


Christ Jesus that died: yea that is risen also again, who is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

–Romans 8:34


It is not heretical to say that the son is seated at the right hand of the father, as that is exactly what Scripture says in numerous places. Reference some passages that illustrate this:

  • Matthew 26:64
  • Mark 14:62
  • Luke 22:69
  • Acts 2:33
  • Acts 5:31
  • Romans 8:34
  • Ephesians 1:20
  • Colossians 3:1
  • Hebrews 1:3

In the Semitic culture, the right hand was used to symbolize several things. At a feast, the guest of honor would typically sit at the right hand of the host. So in that sense, in some places this is meant to demonstrate the honor and glory of Christ as he has completed his work. The right hand was also the hand you typically used to wield your spear or sword, so it frequently means power or authority. Similarly, a king would hold his scepter in his right hand, and the person who wields his authority would be said to be the right hand or at the right hand of the king. Lastly, the right hand is where the defense advocate would be in a courtroom environment. In that sense Jesus is our advocate and mediator before God.


I would say that Christ’s entire existence as Son of Man was an act of intercession (and reparation) for us before the Father. As Christ is eternal, his intercession for us is eternal also. Might sound like hair splitting, but then it might be a little different slant on the word intercessor.


“There is one mediator between God and Mankind, Jesus Christ” – 1 Tim 2:5.

So, no… there’s nothing heretical in asserting that Jesus intercedes to the Father on our behalf.


Thank you everyone for your input and knowledge.

I was thinking, perhaps I am the heretic then. Perhaps I have always misunderstood the Trinity?

The aforesaid statement seems to me to be asking God to intercede to Himself for us.

I feel I must repeat (I know I’ve already said it 2-3 times, but I also realise that this post sounds kind of argumentative) that I’m not trying to argue. Just trying to get clarification.

Three persons, One Godhead. That’s what I was taught. So the Three Persons can pray to one another?? Also where does the Holy Spirit fit into all of this? I understand the Filioque thing but if the right is so important and it is occupied by the Son, where is the Holy Spirit?

I think I have misunderstood the Blessed Trinity all along.


Jesus is our Mediator with the Father.
This is stated in the Catechism just before CCC 65. Jesus is also called our Mediator in many prayers.

Also in Timothy 2:5

For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:

See also Challoner note 6 to Douay Rheims

He (Jesus) is also the only mediator, who stands in need of no other to recommend his petitions to the Father. But this is not against our seeking the prayers and intercession, as well of the faithful upon earth, as of the saints and angels in heaven, for obtaining mercy, grace, and salvation, through Jesus Christ.

Mediator basically is the same as intercessor.
Not seeing an issue here.


Not understanding, or misunderstanding, doesn’t make a heretic. Understanding, and denying anyway . . . that would be different.


The mission of the Holy Spirit is “conjoined and inseparable” from that of the Son. (CCC 743) Wherever Jesus is, the Holy Spirit also is.
I would suggest you read the section of the Catechism dealing with the Holy Spirit to better understand what the Holy Spirit does.


One more verse to add to the list of others already mentioned that show that Jesus intercedes for us with God…

Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25)


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