Mortal sin and Confession/Penance

Hi,

I just want to be straight on something here.

Once a person is baptized, they are a member of Christ’s Body, the Roman Catholic Church, I understand that from *Mystici Corporis Christi, Mortalium Animos, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, *St. Augustine’s On Baptism Against the Donatists, and Scriptures such as Galatians 4:27, Ephesians 4:4-6, and Romans 12:4.

So, understanding that moral sins must be absolved in sacramental confession (or am I wrong?), how can somebody be saved, who is baptized, knows that they are outside of the one catholic body of Christ, commits mortal sins, and does not have them absolved?

Thanks.

[quote=Reformed Rob]So, understanding that moral sins must be absolved in sacramental confession (or am I wrong?)
[/quote]

For a Catholic, you should go to confession with your mortal sins. BUT, if that should fail for some reason, there are other ways to have the eternal debt of punishment remitted. You could be near death and unable to confess but had expressed a desire to receive the sacraments. Then the priest gets there and give you the sacrament of the sick (this is when he anoints you with oil and prays over you). This remits mortal sins. Or, you could be in a remote place and be perfectly contrite for your sins (based in charity or love) but die before you reach a priest. The mortal sins were remitted. Nevertheless, a Catholic should intend to go to confession when he has mortal sins that are unconfessed. There is an intention to confess that is sort of an underlying thing here.

I’m not sure what you intend in your scenario. If it is a Protestant who doesn’t know he should confess his sins to a priest, then the perfect contrition option might work for him. But if it is a person who knows better somehow, or can be characterized by, “Hell will freeze over before I have anything to do with a priest,” well, they may not qualify for the perfect contrition option.

With God, all things are possible. He can invite, call, grace whomever. It is not like you can live half your life and then God just ignores you for the rest, having consigned you to a heap of rubbish. He stands with his arms open all day long.

I am thinking here you are asking about intentions or what is in the person’s heart. God knows this, I don’t. If a person is actually sitting there wondering if they are crossing or toeing a line that could lead to their destruction, I say, give it up! Stop! Do something different.

[quote=Reformed Rob]Hi,

I just want to be straight on something here.

Once a person is baptized, they are a member of Christ’s Body, the Roman Catholic Church, I understand that from *Mystici Corporis Christi, Mortalium Animos, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, *St. Augustine’s On Baptism Against the Donatists, and Scriptures such as Galatians 4:27, Ephesians 4:4-6, and Romans 12:4.

So, understanding that moral sins must be absolved in sacramental confession (or am I wrong?), how can somebody be saved, who is baptized, knows that they are outside of the one catholic body of Christ, commits mortal sins, and does not have them absolved?

Thanks.
[/quote]

You can also see it in the council of Florence in session 8 where they declare that it is baptism that makes you part of the Church.

With protestants there is a degree of ignorance. If you do not have knowledge that you are in error then you are not held to the same responsibility that a person is that knows they need confession.

A person is forgiven as soon as they repent with a contrite heart. A Catholic is expected to go to confession though as soon as possible even though they may be forgiven. If you have this intent then you are forgiven of all sins.

A protestant can not recieve the sacrament of penance and does not know that it is what is necisary. God is mercyfull.

[quote=Pug]For a Catholic, you should go to confession with your mortal sins. BUT, if that should fail for some reason, there are other ways to have the eternal debt of punishment remitted. You could be near death and unable to confess but had expressed a desire to receive the sacraments. Then the priest gets there and give you the sacrament of the sick (this is when he anoints you with oil and prays over you). This remits mortal sins. Or, you could be in a remote place and be perfectly contrite for your sins (based in charity or love) but die before you reach a priest. The mortal sins were remitted. Nevertheless, a Catholic should intend to go to confession when he has mortal sins that are unconfessed. There is an intention to confess that is sort of an underlying thing here.

I’m not sure what you intend in your scenario. If it is a Protestant who doesn’t know he should confess his sins to a priest, then the perfect contrition option might work for him. But if it is a person who knows better somehow, or can be characterized by, “Hell will freeze over before I have anything to do with a priest,” well, they may not qualify for the perfect contrition option.

With God, all things are possible. He can invite, call, grace whomever. It is not like you can live half your life and then God just ignores you for the rest, having consigned you to a heap of rubbish. He stands with his arms open all day long.

I am thinking here you are asking about intentions or what is in the person’s heart. God knows this, I don’t. If a person is actually sitting there wondering if they are crossing or toeing a line that could lead to their destruction, I say, give it up! Stop! Do something different.
[/quote]

You beat me to it. Great post.

Ok, well, yeah, ok thanks.

Makes sense. Yeah, intention was where I was coming from, but also in regard to being outside the Church too.

Ok, so, if a Catholic has perfect contrition, and his sin(s) is forgiven for that, then why go to confession? Isn’t it kind of reduntant? Obviously I’m missing something here, but it seems kind of overly-simple to say “If he’s not wanting to go to confession, then he’s not perfectly contrite.”

Does that make sense?

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok, well, yeah, ok thanks.

Makes sense. Yeah, intention was where I was coming from, but also in regard to being outside the Church too.

Ok, so, if a Catholic has perfect contrition, and his sin(s) is forgiven for that, then why go to confession?
[/quote]

Perfect contrition includes the will to go to confession.

Isn’t it kind of reduntant?

No because going to confession is the will of Christ and doing the will of Christ is never redundant. The Church is not a factory. The Church consists of people who are wedded to the will of Christ.

And besides that, you will receive more grace in confession even if your sins have already been forgiven through perfect contrition.

Obviously I’m missing something here, but it seems kind of overly-simple to say “If he’s not wanting to go to confession, then he’s not perfectly contrite.”

It’s not overly simple since being perfectly contrite consists in being sorry for all the sins of one’s past life for a pure love for God. If one loves God in this way, he will do all that God requires of him, including going to confession. Jesus said: If you love me, keep my commandments.

Confession is for our sake, not for God’s. It is to give us assurance of forgiveness, and peace of mind. How can I know for sure whether I have perfect contrition? The sacrament removes all doubt of forgiveness, whether I have perfect contrition or only imperfect.

[quote=Reformed Rob]Makes sense. Yeah, intention was where I was coming from, but also in regard to being outside the Church too.

Ok, so, if a Catholic has perfect contrition, and his sin(s) is forgiven for that, then why go to confession? Isn’t it kind of reduntant? Obviously I’m missing something here, but it seems kind of overly-simple to say “If he’s not wanting to go to confession, then he’s not perfectly contrite.”

Does that make sense?
[/quote]

Yes and no. I mean, you are clear enough, but I like going to confession and find it healing, so I never really think about it in terms of why. I think in terms of when. I like the graces received, so I go. I find it helpful to have something to do out of obedience (like the penance assigned), rather than always deciding for myself. Somehow I am freer that way. Not sure how to describe it, but I find it easier not to deceive myself that way, so it is freer from the traps that await the fallen man. I actively recognize the sacrament as a benefit to me, so that is a reason for me to go even if I am not in “a state of mortal sin”.

Perfect contrition means a sorrow for sin based on our love for God and is a gift from God that we can pray to have. If we are granted this gift, then out of our love for God, several things should follow: a desire to please our Beloved, a trust that he has established ways that are for our benefit in cases when we offend, a desire to draw close to him, etc. If one is Catholic, one will thus express all this by a wish to go to confession as we know God would want us to go, we will receive grace there to increase our closeness to him, and that he made confession for our benefit in these situations. There would be no particular reason not to go, really, assuming you know about the existence of the sacrament and understand its nature.

A Protestant, however, might well have the perfect contrition, but not have the doctrine in his head that would lead to an active desire to go to confession. But if he had the doctrine, he would desire to go because his Beloved has provided the sacrament for these occasions.

Many things in love are redundant, but then again, they are not redundant. There is the spiral closer together, sort of a dance:hmmm:

[quote=Reformed Rob]Ok, well, yeah, ok thanks.

Makes sense. Yeah, intention was where I was coming from, but also in regard to being outside the Church too.

Ok, so, if a Catholic has perfect contrition, and his sin(s) is forgiven for that, then why go to confession? Isn’t it kind of reduntant? Obviously I’m missing something here, but it seems kind of overly-simple to say “If he’s not wanting to go to confession, then he’s not perfectly contrite.”

Does that make sense?
[/quote]

The understanding is that if you have perfect contrition, then you will be willing to do what ever necisary to be forgiven. You will go to confession if necisary. So, for a Catholic, perfect contrition is with the understanding of the intent to confess.

It doesn’t matter whether you “want” to go to confession; what matters is whether you are “willing” to go to confession. I do not enjoy confession or like it, but I am willing to go because I know that if I am sorry I will do what is necisary.

Further, by going to confession we are being obedient to the Church which Christ set up. Ultimately our obedience is to Christ and to God.

Thanks all for the responses.

I see what you’re saying. Pretty much.

If you asked me “What don’t you understand?” I’m not sure I would be able to say.

Maybe I’m better at trying to answer questions than at asking them??

ok, thanks again

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