On Auricular Confession, or Penance

Of the Office of Penitentiary Presbyters and its Abolition. At this time it was deemed requisite to abolish the office of those presbyters in the churches who had charge of the penitences: this was done on the following account. When the Novatians separated themselves from the Church because they would not communicate with those who had lapsed during the persecution under Decius, the bishops added to the ecclesiastical canon a presbyter of penitence in order that those who had sinned after baptism might confess their sins in the presence of the presbyter thus appointed. And this mode of discipline is still maintained among other heretical institutions by all the rest of the sects; the Homoousians only, together with the Novatians who hold the same doctrinal views, have abandoned it. [Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series: Volume II, Chapter XIX (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)1997.]

Does this Father of the Church identify auricular confession as a form of heresy?

How can the Roman Catholic Church, which promises to teach nothing that does not have the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers of the Church, continue to teach and practice Penance when Fathers of the Church consider it a heresy?

sounds to me like the only thing done here was the
abolishing of the "Office of Penitentiary Presbyters"
since now, any priest can hear confession, and
grant absolution…

right??

:slight_smile:

I don’t believe the Church has promised the unanimous consent of the Church Fathers as a base requirement for the validity of its teaching.

Chuck

Unanimous consent of the Church Fathers is sufficient but not necessary towards recognizing doctrine.

[quote=FightingFat]Of the Office of Penitentiary Presbyters and its Abolition. At this time it was deemed requisite to abolish the office of those presbyters in the churches who had charge of the penitences: this was done on the following account. When the Novatians separated themselves from the Church because they would not communicate with those who had lapsed during the persecution under Decius, the bishops added to the ecclesiastical canon a presbyter of penitence in order that those who had sinned after baptism might confess their sins in the presence of the presbyter thus appointed. And this mode of discipline is still maintained among other heretical institutions by all the rest of the sects; the Homoousians only, together with the Novatians who hold the same doctrinal views, have abandoned it. [Roberts, Alexander and Donaldson, James, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series: Volume II, Chapter XIX (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)1997.]

Does this Father of the Church identify auricular confession as a form of heresy?

How can the Roman Catholic Church, which promises to teach nothing that does not have the Unanimous Consent of the Fathers of the Church, continue to teach and practice Penance when Fathers of the Church consider it a heresy?
[/quote]

Actually to the contrary it was against a particular discipline of how penance was done. It was clarified at the Council of Nicea that all could receive forgivness through the sacrament (mysterion) of penance instead of the exclusion of some. In essence what you quote is a matter of discipline and not that of doctrine.

To place it in historical light, at that time there were some bishops who would grant absolution to adulterers and some would not. So, people would travel to a different See to seek forgivness from a Bishop that was more lenient. Sometimes it made the difference from being allowed back tot he sacraments in a week or in ten years. The abolution of the faculty of the priest being able to grant absolution was to help rein in particular abuses of the age. To this day we as Catholic hold that the priest only has faculties to confect the sacraments in so far as they are given him by the Bishop. Hence a Bishop can “restrict” a priest at his discression.

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