Perfect Contrition?


#1

What exactly is “perfect contrition?” Is it pouring your heart out to Christ with sincerety that you are sorry for your sins and want to live from now on His way? If it is sincerity of heart, then that same matter applies when we confess before a priest because if we are only doing it just to “do it” because it’s how we were raised or something, then I don’t believe God will forgive us because our “hearts” are not “sincere” in the confession even though the priest may say we are forgiven. God knows and judges the heart.


#2

[quote=J.W.B.] What exactly is “perfect contrition?” Is it pouring your heart out to Christ with sincerety that you are sorry for your sins and want to live from now on His way? If it is sincerity of heart, then that same matter applies when we confess before a priest
[/quote]

review confession & reconciliation in the CCC, it gives quite beautiful explaination, and you are correct it must be from your heart.

[quote=J.W.B.] if we are only doing it just to “do it” because it’s how we were raised or something, then I don’t believe God will forgive us because our “hearts” are not “sincere” in the confession even though the priest may say we are forgiven. God knows and judges the heart.
[/quote]

I certainly can’t speak for you in the confessional, but I don’t confess “because if we are only doing it just to “do it” because it’s how we were raised or something”, you’re absolutely correct, “if” someone, yourself for example, is confessing with this attitude, you’re not seeking absolution, nor are you making a good confession. Great points on a sincere confession.


#3

HI JWB,

Perfect contrition is regretting your sins because of the love of God.

Imperfect contrition is regretting your sins because of the punishmnet you might incur. Imperfect contrition is enough for receiving the sacrament of reconciliation.

The problem with perfect contrition is that we never know whether we have it or not. I can SAY that I regret my sins because I love God above all things. But is that my intimate state? Am not really a lilttle bit or a big bit afraid of hell?

We should therefore make an act of perfect contrition if we think we might have lost God’s friendship. But we should also plan to go to confession as soon as possible.

Anyway, if we are consicous of a grave transgression, the Church requires that we go to confession before we receive the sacraments of the living (Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders).

Verbum


#4

So perfect contrition means when you are completly trusting in God 100%? If you have a fear of hell then that’s evident that you feel like you’ve sined before God?


#5

Hi JWB,

I’m not sure the way you put is correct. Here is the act of contrition, which puts into words what one should genuinely feel:

O 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 are all good and
deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve,
with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins,
to do penance,
and to amend my life.
Amen.


#6

so if i go to confession cuz i know i cant receive the sacraments, and because if i die, ill go to hell, (those are the driving reasons) that would be considered imperfect? and if i went soley because i kenw i offended God, it would be perfect?


#7

Perfect contrition is contrition (being sorry for your sins) because you offended God and you know he deserves all your love above all things. Perfect contrition forgives mortal sins and restores us to grace.

Imperfect contrition is being sorry because you’re angry at your weakness, afraid of punishment or some other less than pure motive.

We need to go to confession because (1) it’s the ordinary means of forgiveness of mortal sins and (2) too often we cannot attain perfect contrition, and so the sacramental grace “makes up” for what is lacking in our repentance.

In order to receive the sacrament of reconciliation worthily we must have at least imperfect contrition, with the resolve never to commit the sin again.


#8

Perfect contrition also implies that you are completely detached from your sin. If you hold to your sins, you are not perfectly contrite.

Example: A ‘christian’ man has a one night stand (fornication), and prays to God for forgiveness…but he is still glad that he did it, he is not perfectly contrite. I may not be wording this very well…

The problem with perfect contrition is that it Sin is usually pleasurable in some way…you become attached to your sins. Many people express their regret for sinning, but deep in their hearts they still enjoyed the sin & remember it fondly. I find it hard to believe that many men can honostly say that they don’t remember past ‘nights of passion’ with at least some fondness. If this is the case, then you have to ask if they are truly forgiven for the sin…

I hope that this makes sense… :rolleyes:


#9

[quote=Isidore_AK]Perfect contrition also implies that you are completely detached from your sin. If you hold to your sins, you are not perfectly contrite.

Example: A ‘christian’ man has a one night stand (fornication), and prays to God for forgiveness…but he is still glad that he did it, he is not perfectly contrite. I may not be wording this very well…

The problem with perfect contrition is that it Sin is usually pleasurable in some way…you become attached to your sins. Many people express their regret for sinning, but deep in their hearts they still enjoyed the sin & remember it fondly. I find it hard to believe that many men can honostly say that they don’t remember past ‘nights of passion’ with at least some fondness. If this is the case, then you have to ask if they are truly forgiven for the sin…

I hope that this makes sense… :rolleyes:
[/quote]

Hey Isidore_AK,
I have a question pertaining to your first line. What if the sin is venial??? Can one have perfect contrition while working towards detachment from the venial sins??? Thanks and God Bless.


#10

[quote=slinky1882]Hey Isidore_AK,
I have a question pertaining to your first line. What if the sin is venial??? Can one have perfect contrition while working towards detachment from the venial sins??? Thanks and God Bless.
[/quote]

Yes indeed for as long as you firmly intend with your will not to do it again, even if you know that one time or another it may happen again.

Remember though the venial sin does not separate us from God, but it weakens our relationship. That’s why confession of venial sins is a good practice as well.


#11

[quote=J.W.B.]What exactly is “perfect contrition?” Is it pouring your heart out to Christ with sincerety that you are sorry for your sins and want to live from now on His way? If it is sincerity of heart, then that same matter applies when we confess before a priest because if we are only doing it just to “do it” because it’s how we were raised or something, then I don’t believe God will forgive us because our “hearts” are not “sincere” in the confession even though the priest may say we are forgiven. God knows and judges the heart.
[/quote]

Imperfect contrition is when one’s primary motivation for receiving the Sacrament is out of a sense obligation, or a fear of being cut off from “heaven.”

Perfect contrition is when one’s primary motivation for receiving the Sacrament is out of a sincere desire to grow in the grace of God, and out of sorrow for the sins committed which one acknowledges are offenses agaist the love of God.

One who is perfectly contrite intends to do ALL that God wants done for the forgiveness of sin. God extends to the one who is perfectly contrite the remission of all temporal punishment due to all of the sins they have committed.

It is important to keep in mind that modern Catholic scholarship DOES NOT consider physical suffering or disasters such as tsunamis, epedemics, terrorist attacks, wars, as God’s punishment for our sin. These are the realities of the present material world. They are not the consequences of “Adam’s sin,” but were the conditions that existed before the first tribes of men and women evolved out of the lower by degree and now extinct primates. God’s “punishment,” if you will, is found in the degree of intimate fellowship that is extended with God in Christ. The perfectly contrite person is extended an intimate fellowship with God in Christ and with the Church God established in Christ. The imperfectly contrite has forgiveness of sin, but does not share in such a degree of intimate fellowship with God in Christ and with the Church God established in Christ.

Both forms of contrition arise from supernatural motive. Both forms of contrition are sufficient for the forgiveness of serious sin when joined together with absolution in confession. Both forms of contrition are sufficient for forgiveness of venial sin outside of confession.

When we speak of God, and the Risen Christ, we are NOT speaking of physical realities. God is Spirit. We speak in physical terms because in the here and now that is where we find ourselves. We are created spirits expressed in material bodies that are constantly in transition.

From conception to physical death, we remain in those material bodies. That is why embryonic stem cell research, abortion, euthanasia (such as the murder of Terri Schiavo) is so offensive. Through these, men and women play God with the lives of others. They assume a role that has not been formally extended to them…that is to determine who is to live and who is to die. They arrogantly assert that they know better than God under the guise of making the world a better place to live for humanity.

Friends, the material universe is subject to futility and humanity is ultimately headed for termination.No scientific progress can stop the inevitable. If we really want to make the world a better place for humanity, we should seek the face of God and point others to Him, not destroy the lives that He has created. For where our treasure is stored, there our hearts will be.


#12

I think the story of the prodigal son has a good picture of imperfect contrition. The wayward boy who misspent his father’s inheritance was imperfectly contrite when he returned home to his father.

Luke 15:17 shows us his heart. "But when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired men in my father’s house have bread in abundance, while I am perishing here with hunger!”

Hunger and deprivation was his primary motivation for going home, not the fact that he grievously offended his father. We know, too, from the parable, that this was sufficient contrition, though imperfect, for the father embraced him and threw a party celebrating his return home.


#13

[quote=Joysong]I think the story of the prodigal son has a good picture of imperfect contrition. The wayward boy who misspent his father’s inheritance was imperfectly contrite when he returned home to his father.

Luke 15:17 shows us his heart. "But when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired men in my father’s house have bread in abundance, while I am perishing here with hunger!”

Hunger and deprivation was his primary motivation for going home, not the fact that he grievously offended his father. We know, too, from the parable, that this was sufficient contrition, though imperfect, for the father embraced him and threw a party celebrating his return home.
[/quote]

And the father ran out to meet him even before he was able to confess. God forgives all sin, confessed or unconfessed, if we are contrite. It is in contrition, an act of God’s grace upon our consciences, where we are forgiven. We do not need to run to confession to be forgiven. The Sacrament is there to enable us to receive God’s grace completely and to solidify our bond with the Church community.

If any man/woman is in Christ, he/she is a new creation. If a man/woman is in Christ, he/she DOES NOT SIN.


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.