Perfect and imperfect Contrition


#1

Is it true we will be absolved of mortal sins if we make an imperfect contrition in Confession. I always thought that our repentence must come from the heart and not out of fear of going to hell for us to be forgiven in the Sacrement of Reconcilliation.

Can any Catholic explain this to me please? Thanks.


#2

I can’t find it, but one version of the Act of Contrition follows the lines of
…I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things…
… fearing the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell…

While God certainly wants our love, he also wants our obedience. Fear of Hell is an honest emotion that can bring about obedience. Why is it imperfect if we confess out of the fear of going to hell?

God Bless,
Maria


#3

[quote=MariaG]I can’t find it, but one version of the Act of Contrition follows the lines of
…I have sinned against you, whom I should love above all things…
… fearing the loss of heaven and the pains of Hell…

[/quote]

The one I say is as follows:

“Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the Pains of Hell;
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly intend, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and avoid the near occasion of sin.”

Same basic idea, yeah? I think it would be bad to lie in confession and not acknowledge the fact that I fear Hell, because I do. Let’s be honest, the threat of eternal punishment is a really good motivator :yup: .

Eamon


#4

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the Pains of Hell;
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly intend, with the help of thy grace, to sin no more, and avoid the near occasion of sin."

Well, i just can’t get by the fact that confessing “ONLY” because you fear hell is good enough to get a valid absolution. If we do that, the the parts above that i put in bold, is a lie is it not? It just seems to me that we are not sorry for hurting God but sorry out of fear of going to hell. That really isn’t very sincere.


#5

[quote=MariaG]. Why is it imperfect if we confess out of the fear of going to hell?

[/quote]

Catechism of the Catholic Church.

**Contrition **

**1451 **Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50

**1452 **When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51

**1453 **The contrition called **“imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). **Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.


#6

**

Q. 769. Is imperfect contrition sufficient for a worthy confession?

A. Imperfect contrition is sufficient for a worthy confession, but we should endeavor to have perfect contrition.

**
catholic.net/RCC/Catechism/3/l18.html


#7

[quote=Genesis315]** **
catholic.net/RCC/Catechism/3/l18.html
[/quote]

Then what does the CCC mean when it says the following in bold.

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance


#8

[quote=Des]Well, i just can’t get by the fact that confessing “ONLY” because you fear hell is good enough to get a valid absolution. If we do that, the the parts above that i put in bold, is a lie is it not? It just seems to me that we are not sorry for hurting God but sorry out of fear of going to hell. That really isn’t very sincere.
[/quote]

I would like to build on what I said earlier and ask a quick question. I’m a fan of analogies so here it goes.

I love my mom, and will do things for her simply out of love. I know, however, that if I didn’t do some of these things (which I do choose to do out of love), she would get mad. Now, my mother mad scares me.

Thus, I do thing for her out of love, and would do them regardless of whether she would get mad if I didn’t or not, but I acknowledge the fact that I’ll be sorry if I don’t do some of these things (eg: parking far enough over in the garage so she can fit her car in. I do it so she has room, and I want her to have the room. It is a matter of respect that I leave her space to park, and I don’t want her to have to leave her car outside. A nice addition is the fact that she isn’t mad at me. If I don’t, she gets mad, but that is not my motivation for doing it in the first place).

Isn’t this a lot like say “Hey, God, I love you, and this is why I’m asking for forgiveness and saying I’m sorry. You are powerful, and I’d venture to guess that Hell sucks. I don’t want to go there, and the thought of going there is a bit scary. But, nonetheless, I am in fact going to confession out of love for you. Not going to Hell is an added bonus.” ?

If I sin, my reaction is not, “Shoot, if I die, I’m going to Hell. Confession time!!” It’s, “Hmm, I haven’t been to Confession in a month, and I think that it’s time to reconcile with God, since I’ve slipped up a bit.”

I will admit that, a few months ago when I decided to get active with my faith, I scared myself into it when I was joking with friends. We were kidding, and I said, “Let’s face it, we’re all just going to Hell.” Then it hit me that I should change lots of things in my life. Now, it’s not a matter of Hell but a matter of my relationship with God, not taking all my gifts forgranted, and showing Him the proper respect. The thought of Hell can sure light a fire under someone (pardon the pun) to change.

Eamon


#9

Then what does the CCC mean when it says the following in bold.

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance

It means that imperfect contrition, together with the sacrament of Pennance can obtain forgiveness of grave sin. An imperfect Act of Contition alone cannot. An imperfect Act of Contition is an act of the will and intellect, sorrow for sin, even if you are mostly sorry because you fear the consequence, allows grace to work within you and for you to receive forgiveness.


#10

Then what does the CCC mean when it says the following in bold.

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance
I think this might mean that if you have a grave sin on your conscience, you only have imperfect contrition, and you die before getting to confession, you’re going to Hell. On the other hand, if you have perfect contrition and you die on the way to confession, you’re fine. That’s my interpretation, although that doesn’t really sound right either.


#11

[quote=Genesis315]I think this might mean that if you have a grave sin on your conscience, you only have imperfect contrition, and you die before getting to confession, you’re going to Hell. On the other hand, if you have perfect contrition and you die on the way to confession, you’re fine. That’s my interpretation, although that doesn’t really sound right either.
[/quote]

Sorta makes sense, though. Don’t we regain our severed bonds with God when we are truly sorry (selflessly sorry) for sinning?

Eamon


#12

[quote=turboEDvo]I would like to build on what I said earlier and ask a quick question. I’m a fan of analogies so here it goes.

I love my mom, and will do things for her simply out of love. I know, however, that if I didn’t do some of these things (which I do choose to do out of love), she would get mad. Now, my mother mad scares me.

Thus, I do thing for her out of love, and would do them regardless of whether she would get mad if I didn’t or not, but I acknowledge the fact that I’ll be sorry if I don’t do some of these things (eg: parking far enough over in the garage so she can fit her car in. I do it so she has room, and I want her to have the room. It is a matter of respect that I leave her space to park, and I don’t want her to have to leave her car outside. A nice addition is the fact that she isn’t mad at me. If I don’t, she gets mad, but that is not my motivation for doing it in the first place).

Isn’t this a lot like say “Hey, God, I love you, and this is why I’m asking for forgiveness and saying I’m sorry. You are powerful, and I’d venture to guess that Hell sucks. I don’t want to go there, and the thought of going there is a bit scary. But, nonetheless, I am in fact going to confession out of love for you. Not going to Hell is an added bonus.” ?

If I sin, my reaction is not, “Shoot, if I die, I’m going to Hell. Confession time!!” It’s, “Hmm, I haven’t been to Confession in a month, and I think that it’s time to reconcile with God, since I’ve slipped up a bit.”

I will admit that, a few months ago when I decided to get active with my faith, I scared myself into it when I was joking with friends. We were kidding, and I said, “Let’s face it, we’re all just going to Hell.” Then it hit me that I should change lots of things in my life. Now, it’s not a matter of Hell but a matter of my relationship with God, not taking all my gifts forgranted, and showing Him the proper respect. The thought of Hell can sure light a fire under someone (pardon the pun) to change.

Eamon
[/quote]

But this main point of your answer here is your doing it out of love for your mom even if also out of fear.
But my real question is based on somebody going to Confession for the pure fear of Hell without the love.

It means that imperfect contrition, together with the sacrament of Pennance can obtain forgiveness of grave sin. An imperfect Act of Contition alone cannot. An imperfect Act of Contition is an act of the will and intellect, sorrow for sin, even if you are mostly sorry because you fear the consequence, allows grace to work within you and for you to receive forgiveness.

That makes sense.


closed #13

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