Pope Leo the Great and Confession

I have read somewhere this claim:

**“In 459 (Leo I - The Great) forbad public confession, as never having been commanded by the Church” He says that public confession was a “presumption against the Apostolic rule, secret confession being sufficient”


Has anyone heard of this claim against the Catholic Church before? Anyone know where i can find more information on it?


Thanks

Enter the quote into Google and if you come up with an answer you can tell us about it.

[quote=alh5184]I have read somewhere this claim:

***“In 459 (Leo I - The Great) forbad public confession, as never having been commanded by the Church” He says that public confession was ***a “presumption against the Apostolic rule, secret confession being sufficient”


Has anyone heard of this claim against the Catholic Church before? Anyone know where i can find more information on it?


Thanks
[/quote]

I think we need the source of the claim before we can discuss it.

To me it smacks of anti-catholicism.

I would say that this goes against the constant Teachings of the Catholic Church and the proof falls on those who supplied this “statement” to show that it is true.

[quote=alh5184]I have read somewhere this claim:

***“In 459 (Leo I - The Great) forbad public confession, as never having been commanded by the Church” He says that public confession was ***a “presumption against the Apostolic rule, secret confession being sufficient”


Has anyone heard of this claim against the Catholic Church before? Anyone know where i can find more information on it?


Thanks
[/quote]

Even if these words are directly attributable to Pope Saint Leo the Great, they make no claim at all against the Church. What conflict are you seeing that I am not? Public means in front of everyone, does it not? So, were I to stride into church, walk to the priest in front of everyone gathered there, and begin shouting out that I am a sinner and listing my sins out loud, that is what public means. We don’t do that. We confess to a priest in private.

I found information on Pope Leo here at New Advent newadvent.org/cathen/09154b.htm

I typed it into a general search engine and the first on the list was an Anti-Cathlic site.

I tried to find the source of the quote, and was unable to.

The truth is that yes, Christians used to have very public confessions. However, since Christ gave the Church the authority to make and change the rules, the procedure of confession being public to private was made. Catholic Christians still confess to God in front of “one another” ie a priest, but no longer are forced to stand and make a public confession to all.

And unless you belong to some very minor denominations, most Protestants do not require public confessions of sin. Most I went to never even required any confession at all except in your bedroom between you and God. And that definitely goes against confess your sins to one another.

God Bless,
Maria

p.s. I just went to CA. I may be wrong about confessions used to be public. But either way it doesn’t matter, they have always had to be done before a priest.

You may wish to spend some time in the CA tracts. They are short and easy to read and can answer many of your questions if you are seriously considering Catholicism.

catholic.com/library/Forgiveness_of_Sins.asp

catholic.com/library/Confession.asp

or more generally here catholic.com/library.asp

[quote=alh5184]“In 459 (Leo I - The Great) forbad public confession, as never having been commanded by the Church” He says that public confession wasa “presumption against the Apostolic rule, secret confession being sufficient”
[/quote]

Here you go:

I also decree that that presumption against the apostolic regulation, which I recently learned is being committed by some through unlawful usurpation, be banished by all means.

With regard to penance, what is demanded of the faithful, is clearly not that an acknowledgment of the nature of the individual sins written in a little book be read publicly, since it suffices that the states of consciences be made known to priests alone in secret confession. For although the fullness of faith seems to be laudable, which on account of the fear of God is not able to blush before men, nevertheless since the sins of all are not such that those who ask for penance do not dread to publish them, so objectionable a custom should be abolished. . . . For that confession is sufficient, which is first offered to God, then also to a priest, who serves as an intercessor for the transgressions of the penitents. For then, indeed, more will be able to be incited to penance, if the conscience of the one confessing is not exposed to the ears of the people. (St. Leo the Great, Epistle “Magna indign.”, to all the bishops throughout Campania, March 6, 459 AD, in Denzinger-Rahner, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, trans. Roy J. Deferrari, no. 145)

Thank you Damascene for finding the actual quote. In Sacraments class at seminary, we’ve been told that indeed public confession for “serious sins”, was a rule in the Church from 3rd. century; the penitent made his confession to the bishop (later allowed to the priest due to shear numbers) and then the penitent entered into a “process” whereby he/she actually entered into an “order of penitents”; this was a public grouping of known major sinners (their sins were not necessarily public but their penance was). Penances were rigourous and often lengthy (even for life) and Eucharist was forbidden to them until accepted “back into good graces of the Church” by the bishop. Note, this process was only good for one time in the penitent’s life! Pope Celestine I in 428 ordered that no one was to be denied Eucharist if dying, and Viaticum and reconciliation were always to be offered in such cases. This lasted until Leo, first in 452 allowed penitents to repeat reconciliation and penance, if having fallen again in serious sin; then in 459 changed all to private confession and penance, and always repeatable.

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