Penance and confession?


#1

If I think I did my assigned penance but I didn't then what happens?

I think that for any confession, it is sacramentally valid even though the person doesn't perform his penance. Is that true?

Should I go back later and ask for a new penance even though I pretty sure but not 100% certain that I did mine?


#2

The validity of a confession and absolution does not depend on the penance. However, if you refuse to do your penance then you sin, if you forget or if you are not sure then it is a different story.


#3

[quote="fakename, post:1, topic:288218"]
If I think I did my assigned penance but I didn't then what happens?

I think that for any confession, it is sacramentally valid even though the person doesn't perform his penance. Is that true?

Should I go back later and ask for a new penance even though I pretty sure but not 100% certain that I did mine?

[/quote]

Cristiano is correct. Absolution is NOT conditional upon any penance being done.
If you forget to do your penance that is not a sin. If you forget what penance you were given that is not a sin but you can easily do a penance on your own.


#4

[quote="thistle, post:3, topic:288218"]
Cristiano is correct. Absolution is NOT conditional upon any penance being done.
If you forget to do your penance that is not a sin. If you forget what penance you were given that is not a sin but you can easily do a penance on your own.

[/quote]

I had a good impression that I did my penance though but I wasn't fully sure.

Is that strong enough epistemic grounds for being sure?


#5

If you think you did your penance but are not sure that’s not a problem.
However, if it still bothers you then just say a prayer as a voluntary penance.


#6

[quote="thistle, post:5, topic:288218"]
If you think you did your penance but are not sure that's not a problem.
However, if it still bothers you then just say a prayer as a voluntary penance.

[/quote]

Even so, would you say that I had good enough reasons to be sure?

Is it normal and legitimate to sometimes be sure but not fully sure?

I think that it is normal but far be it from me to not seek the advice of others.


#7

[quote="fakename, post:6, topic:288218"]
Even so, would you say that I had good enough reasons to be sure?

Is it normal and legitimate to sometimes be sure but not fully sure?

I think that it is normal but far be it from me to not seek the advice of others.

[/quote]

One usually knows if one has done their penance. Just as one usually knows if say they took their medicine that day. But it could happen that one may forget. So one can simply repeat the penance.

Now I will note for those out there that who struggle with scruples --that their doubt may be unreasonable. If they genuinely do not know if they did the penance they too could simply do it. But it can happen with some that they will start fretting about if they did it right ..or if that was really 5 Our Fathers that they prayed or was it maybe only 4 and they will start all over again...and then worry was I distracted there..and start all over again....they need a regular confessor to assist them with their scruples. They ought not scruple over their penance....even if they got distracted a moment ..they still did their penance. They can often be instructed not to repeat such unless they know that it was not done (then it is not repeating :))


#8

[quote="Bookcat, post:7, topic:288218"]
One usually knows if one has done their penance. Just as one usually knows if say they took their medicine that day. But it could happen that one may forget. So one can simply repeat the penance.

Now I will note for those out there that who struggle with scruples --that their doubt may be unreasonable. If they genuinely do not know if they did the penance they too could simply do it. But it can happen with some that they will start fretting about if they did it right ..or if that was really 5 Our Fathers that they prayed or was it maybe only 4 and they will start all over again...and then worry was I distracted there..and start all over again....they need a regular confessor to assist them with their scruples. They ought not scruple over their penance....even if they got distracted a moment ..they still did their penance. They can often be instructed not to repeat such unless they know that it was not done (then it is not repeating :))

[/quote]

So is that a "yes, it's a good foundation for being sure" answer or a "no, it's not a good foundation for being sure" answer? And plus, this forgets that some people have naturally better memories.

In any case, a person sometimes is not fully sure that he took his medicine, but he does have a good impression that he did it nonetheless and this can be enough to cause certainty.

Would you say that this is a safe way to be sure about things?


#9

[quote="Bookcat, post:7, topic:288218"]
One usually knows if one has done their penance. Just as one usually knows if say they took their medicine that day. But it could happen that one may forget. So one can simply repeat the penance.

Not always so clear in that one penance I was given a book to read and I did read it and the priest had plenty of proof I worked my way through it... etc but it is much harder carrying out what the book basically telling me of which I often forget. Now was the penance simply to read the book or was the penance to do what was in the book I do try, still try when I err remember. From the Anglican perspective or at least from my own perspective with that priest between us I know what he will say without asking but which is the penance, reading the book or doing the book. He didn't say, just talked about the author when he gave me the book. So knowing whether you have done your penance isn't so straight forward if this had been given in a Catholic Confession. But I do faithfully try when I remember and it is part of the journey in a way... but just to highlight not so easy to know whether you done it or not. If in doubt if possible go back to Confession with the Priest who set it and ask them.

Now I will note for those out there that who struggle with scruples --that their doubt may be unreasonable. If they genuinely do not know if they did the penance they too could simply do it. But it can happen with some that they will start fretting about if they did it right ..or if that was really 5 Our Fathers that they prayed or was it maybe only 4 and they will start all over again...and then worry was I distracted there..and start all over again....they need a regular confessor to assist them with their scruples. They ought not scruple over their penance....even if they got distracted a moment ..they still did their penance. They can often be instructed not to repeat such unless they know that it was not done (then it is not repeating :))

[/quote]


#10

[quote="fakename, post:8, topic:288218"]
So is that a "yes, it's a good foundation for being sure" answer or a "no, it's not a good foundation for being sure" answer? And plus, this forgets that some people have naturally better memories.

In any case, a person sometimes is not fully sure that he took his medicine, but he does have a good impression that he did it nonetheless and this can be enough to cause certainty.

Would you say that this is a safe way to be sure about things?

[/quote]

Each person needs to "know themselves".

For example --lets take the case of a person who struggles with scruples about their penance. They will often be told "unless your certain you did not do the penance --do not repeat it". To do it only once no matter what fears they may have.

Of lets take someone with OCD --they may want to repeat and repeat ....never feeling that they have done it. They need to address it like the rest of their OCD (we cannot give such advice here ...) and they may be told to do it only once and resist anything further.

Or someone with memory problems-- they will address it the way they do their other memory problems--like use a medicine box for every day of the week. They can for example to their penance right away or if it is a longer one -- keep track of it --or even ask for a different one.

But yes even a person without such struggles can ask --did I do it? if it is simple they can just do it then and there and since they are not dealing with the above --that will be all there is to it. They will go on with their life. If it say a long one or more involved one --they can discuss it with their confessor or of they do not have one -- with the Priest in the next confession.. Penances can be changed for example.

They still intend to do what is needed --they are simply waiting now til the next confession to find out what to do. He may just say -- ok just add an Our Father to todays Penance to cover anything lacking.


#11

[quote="fakename, post:8, topic:288218"]
So is that a "yes, it's a good foundation for being sure" answer or a "no, it's not a good foundation for being sure" answer? And plus, this forgets that some people have naturally better memories.

In any case, a person sometimes is not fully sure that he took his medicine, but he does have a good impression that he did it nonetheless and this can be enough to cause certainty.

Would you say that this is a safe way to be sure about things?

[/quote]

Why are you trying to analyse things down to an atom? You are making a mountain out of a molehill. Either you forget, you don't forget, or you are not sure (not of which are sins). It is completely bonkers to try to analyse "not sure". If you do this with everything little thing you will just make your life miserable.
You really seem to suffer from scrupulosity.


#12

Well although I'm now pretty sure that I did do it I'm just asking now, if you think that I had a good reason to be sure. I would like to know so that I'd know that I'm in agreement with the norm of how people go about being sure, after all one should not be too afraid of getting others to analyze your spiritual life and give you feedback on how lax or strict you are.

"Why are you trying to analyse things down to an atom? You are making a mountain out of a molehill. Either you forget, you don't forget, or you are not sure (not of which are sins). It is completely bonkers to try to analyse "not sure". If you do this with everything little thing you will just make your life miserable.
You really seem to suffer from scrupulosity."

Well as long as it's just an opinion of my personality and not a judgment then I'm good with that. But scrupulosity is a sin and so to judge someone who has always said that he wasn't scrupulous, with scrupulosity again, seems unreasonable and downright judgmental. But if you were putting more emphasis on the "seem" than the "scrupulosity" then what do I care except to say thanks for the concern.

Personally I just think the unexamined life is not worth living so I do not find it beneath me to examine each atom. I rather enjoy it.


#13

[quote="fakename, post:12, topic:288218"]
Well although I'm now pretty sure that I did do it I'm just asking now, if you think that I had a good reason to be sure. I would like to know so that I'd know that I'm in agreement with the norm of how people go about being sure, after all one should not be too afraid of getting others to analyze your spiritual life and give you feedback on how lax or strict you are.

"Why are you trying to analyse things down to an atom? You are making a mountain out of a molehill. Either you forget, you don't forget, or you are not sure (not of which are sins). It is completely bonkers to try to analyse "not sure". If you do this with everything little thing you will just make your life miserable.
You really seem to suffer from scrupulosity."

Well as long as it's just an opinion of my personality and not a judgment then I'm good with that. But scrupulosity is a sin and so to judge someone who has always said that he wasn't scrupulous, with scrupulosity again, seems unreasonable and downright judgmental. But if you were putting more emphasis on the "seem" than the "scrupulosity" then what do I care except to say thanks for the concern.

Personally I just think the unexamined life is not worth living so I do not find it beneath me to examine each atom. I rather enjoy it.

[/quote]

Trying to analyse the expression "not sure" has nothing to do with spiritual life. It could be applied to anything.

To answer your question my stress is on the word "seem" because you give the impression of being scrupulous but it would be up to your priest to tell you if you actually are scrupulous or not.
The reason scrupulosity concerns me is that I have some friends who are scrupulous and they basically make themselves miserable. They think whatever they do or don't do, say or don't say, think or don't think is a sin of some kind. They examine all of that in minute detail. That is not a way to live.
That's why I bring it up here because I would not wish that on you.
Its a concern I have for you and not a judgement about you.


#14

[quote="fakename, post:12, topic:288218"]
But scrupulosity is a sin .

[/quote]

I would not suggest putting Scrupulosity in the category of sin.


#15

[quote="fakename, post:1, topic:288218"]
If I think I did my assigned penance but I didn't then what happens?

I think that for any confession, it is sacramentally valid even though the person doesn't perform his penance. Is that true?

Should I go back later and ask for a new penance even though I pretty sure but not 100% certain that I did mine?

[/quote]

The sacrament is valid if (a) the priest has valid faculties (i.e., permission from his ordinary to absolve sins) and (b) if the priest pronounces the words "Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis" ("I absolve you of your sins") or a reasonably accurate translation thereof.

Priests are required under canon law to assign penances and you are required under canon law to complete them, but this has no affect on the validity of the sacrament. You are restored to grace already. Now, violating canon law is a mortal sin under the usual conditions, so you are still obligated to do the penance, and refusal to do it means you lose that state of grace; but forgetting to do it, or sincerely trying to do it but unknowingly failing to do it according to the letter of what your priest assigned you, etc., means the conditions for mortal sin are not satisfied.


#16

[quote="sw85, post:15, topic:288218"]

Priests are required under canon law to assign penances and you are required under canon law to complete them, but this has no affect on the validity of the sacrament. You are restored to grace already. Now, violating canon law is a mortal sin under the usual conditions, so you are still obligated to do the penance, and refusal to do it means you lose that state of grace; but forgetting to do it, or sincerely trying to do it but unknowingly failing to do it according to the letter of what your priest assigned you, etc., means the conditions for mortal sin are not satisfied.

[/quote]

Hum. Refusing the penance at the time of the Sacrament -- that is one thing (one should never refuse it --but rather ask for another if it is not what one can do etc).

Later refusing to do it is another--and I would imagine the sinfulness of such admits of parvity of matter (smallness of matter) ..depending...(as would I imagine violating canon law...)


#17

[quote="thistle, post:13, topic:288218"]
Trying to analyse the expression "not sure" has nothing to do with spiritual life. It could be applied to anything.

To answer your question my stress is on the word "seem" because you give the impression of being scrupulous but it would be up to your priest to tell you if you actually are scrupulous or not.
The reason scrupulosity concerns me is that I have some friends who are scrupulous and they basically make themselves miserable. They think whatever they do or don't do, say or don't say, think or don't think is a sin of some kind. They examine all of that in minute detail. That is not a way to live.
That's why I bring it up here because I would not wish that on you.
Its a concern I have for you and not a judgement about you.

[/quote]

Although I suspect that scrupulosity is a sin, I looked back at the definition and there's nothing to suggest that it actually is so, and so I take back my admonition.

But I think that being sure is pretty important to the spiritual life (if by spiritual life you mean anything doing with morality). After all under normal conditions a person is obliged (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering this correctly) to fulfill his moral duties with complete certainty which I take to mean, to do a duty without reasonable doubt. By gauging everyone else's standards for "being sure" I'm just making sure that my standards are reasonable. Of course this assumes that I already implicitly have a standard that I believe is reasonable but that's a logical problem for another day.

Let me just put it this way: do you think that my means of being sure are within the normal bounds?


#18

[quote="fakename, post:17, topic:288218"]
Although I suspect that scrupulosity is a sin, I looked back at the definition and there's nothing to suggest that it actually is so, and so I take back my admonition.

But I think that being sure is pretty important to the spiritual life (if by spiritual life you mean anything doing with morality). After all under normal conditions a person is obliged (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering this correctly) to fulfill his moral duties with complete certainty which I take to mean, to do a duty without reasonable doubt. By gauging everyone else's standards for "being sure" I'm just making sure that my standards are reasonable. Of course this assumes that I already implicitly have a standard that I believe is reasonable but that's a logical problem for another day.

Let me just put it this way: do you think that my means of being sure are within the normal bounds?

[/quote]

Sorry but there are no degrees or standards of "not sure". Either you are sure or not sure.


#19

The first part of your reply is correct.
The second, not so much.

Here is a link to the Code of Canon Law Please show me where it says anything at all about penance.

Assigning a penance is an option The priest is not obligated to assign one, and absolution cannot be withheld "in lieu cof penance".

Take it from someone who knows,
sometimes no penance is the hardest penance of all!! ;)

[quote="sw85, post:15, topic:288218"]
The sacrament is valid if (a) the priest has valid faculties (i.e., permission from his ordinary to absolve sins) and (b) if the priest pronounces the words "Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis" ("I absolve you of your sins") or a reasonably accurate translation thereof.

Priests are required under canon law to assign penances and you are required under canon law to complete them, but this has no affect on the validity of the sacrament. You are restored to grace already. Now, violating canon law is a mortal sin under the usual conditions, so you are still obligated to do the penance, and refusal to do it means you lose that state of grace; but forgetting to do it, or sincerely trying to do it but unknowingly failing to do it according to the letter of what your priest assigned you, etc., means the conditions for mortal sin are not satisfied.

[/quote]


#20

[quote="Oneofthewomen, post:19, topic:288218"]
The first part of your reply is correct.
The second, not so much.

Here is a link to the Code of Canon Law Please show me where it says anything at all about penance.

Assigning a penance is an option The priest is not obligated to assign one

[/quote]

Yes the Priest is to impose a penance --

Can. 981 The confessor is to impose salutary and suitable penances in accord with the quality and number of sins, taking into account the condition of the penitent. The penitent is obliged to fulfill these personally.


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