power given to priests

Hi all and PJM (I hope you see this),

PJM made the following statement in another thread. Unfortunately it got closed.

John 20: 21-23 [Catholic bibles] and verses 22-23 in the KJV on Christ giving to His Apostles and thus His Chruch the Power to “forgive sins.” [Yes only God can forgive sins.] BUT Christ gives His Church the power to decide who should be forgiven and who should not be forgiven. Priest become like conduits directly to and from God.

To make sure I understand what PJM is saying, do catholics believe that if I go into confession in a catholic church and confess a number of sins, the priest has the power, given by Christ, to make a decision NOT to give me absolution for one of the sins should the priest be led to do so?

If this is true then I would go to the altar, say my penance and get up from the altar knowing all my sins have been forgiven but the “one sin” the priest refused to give me absolution for.

Then when leaving the church while stepping off the curb to cross the street, a car goes out of control hits me and instantly kills me.

I would then be facing God with a major sin on my soul that the priest did not offer me absolution for in confession no more than 15 minutes ago.

Am I wrong in my understand of catholic belief here?

Please correct me if I am wrong

God bless you for all your help

Firstly, it takes faith to receive the Sacraments. This is one of the points of Romans 3:21-26. Without baptism, whether ordinarily by water or extraordinarly by blood or desire, there is no salvation, and it takes faith to receive baptism. And unless you a part of Christ’s Body, you cannot receive His Sacraments (save baptism), for the Church is the Sacrament of Salvation and the Sacraments are His gifts to His adopted brothers and sisters. All are called to Christ, to union with Him, in His Church, and hence, all are called to be baptized; this is why He says there will be one flock under one shepherd and why He commissions His Apostles to baptize and teach. Those who cannot receive the Sacraments ordinarly, may receive extraordinary, if they have faith, and if they are open to God, they shall receive faith from Him, for faith is His gift to man, and every gift is for the salvation of mankind.

Secondly, the priest dose not have to absolve you if you are not contrite. For if you do not have contrition, you do not receive God’s Mercy. Peter was contrite and received God’s Mercy. Judas was not contrite and did not receive God’s Mercy. The priest is a servant of God, the instrument of His Mercy, and not His master, not the wielder of His Mercy. God has created all things in such a way that contrition is necessary to receive His Mercy; the Church follows the Lord. So if the priest knows you aren’t contrite, he will not absolve you. Some priests are disobedient, though, and, other times, the sinner dose not disclose his soul’s state, so, the Sacrament is invalid and the sinner is still with his sins.

Thank you for responding but I still do not understand…How does a priest know
i am contrite or not and exactly what is meant by being contrite.

I was raised catholic in my youth years. I remember walking into confession, saying the act of contrition and then stating “Father forgive me I have sinned” after which I would disclose all the sins I had committed since my last confession. after which the the priest would give me absolution and prayers to say for penance… a certain # of our fathers and hail marys and glory be’s.

Has anything changed up to this point?

lets say I am a contrite catholic who commited a major sin and while on vacation I entered a confessional of a catholic church I had never been to.

The priest on the other side of the screen does not know me and i do not know him.

From PJM statement, there could be a chance the priest may not absolve me of my sin even though I disclosed all to him including the major sin.

Is that correct??

And if so what would happen to me if I should suddenly die shortly after with a sin on my soul that i confessed and the priest did not forgive??

thank you

You know what contrition: sorrow for sin and resolution, by God’s grace, to sin no more. The loss of your soul is your doing, not the priest’s. You alone can make yourself not contrite. If you tell the priest you aren’t sorry for your sin, than he won’t absolve you. And if you die that day, you will go to Hell: By not submitting to God, by not being sorry for your sins, which is necessary to receive His Mercy, you have chosen to go to Hell, you have chosen yourself over God, who is Mercy itself. God wills your salvation, but if you choose not to be saved, if you choose not to do what is necesary to be saved, than you won’t be. But this doesn’t mean God is indifferent to our difficultieis and limitations, for example, disabilities and inconvienencies; on the contrary, He is understanding and He deals with each man according to his love.

While I dont disagree with the sentiments above, its worth noting that saying to someone they WILL go to hell is declaring the mind of God for him. Better to say you increase your chances perhaps, but not that you WILL. That is God’s decision alone.

Also worth noting that God’s mercy and forgiveness is not restricted to the sacrament of reconciliation or the mediation of a priest in dispensing God’s forgiveness although this is ordinarily the manner in which catholics say sins are forgiven.

yes,i also disagree with the sentiments above, its worth noting that saying to someone they WILL go to hell is declaring the mind of God for him. Better to say you increase your chances perhaps, but not that you WILL. That is God’s decision alone.

While we cannot know the state of another person soul, if a person is willfully denying God is it not clear that they will not join God in Heaven after death, with the likely possibility of cleansing before hand?

From what I read just earlier, not accepting God’s mercy and refusing to repent are sins against the Holy Spirit and so are not forgiven. With mortal sins on your soul and an unwillingness to repent would separate one from God.

Note, a person that may repent at the last few moments of death is very different than one that is willfully refusing to repent.

Also I found Eucharisted answers to be very insightful. Thank you E.

Thanks. Satan has been tormenting my soul this evening over my posts today.

thank you all for your responses

I do not want to come across as a pest but my concern was not exactly answered yet.

Eucharisted,

agree

The loss of your soul is your doing, not the priest’s.

agree

You alone can make yourself not contrite.

ok

If you tell the priest you aren’t sorry for your sin, than he won’t absolve you.

agree
How can a priest give absolution for a sin that I did not disclose or express to him remorse for committing in confession?

[quote]And if you die that day, you will go to Hell:

or which has been posted by kasey and guyonthestreet…

you increase your chances perhaps, but not that you WILL

That is God’s decision alone.

[/quote]

agree

By not submitting to God, by not being sorry for your sins, which is necessary to receive His Mercy, you have chosen yourself over God, who is Mercy itself.

here is where my concern was not answered

I agree with you if…
I do not submit to God
I do not say I am sorry for my sins in confession
I have chosen myself over God and I will stand a good chance of going to hell because I did not tell the priest in confession I was sorry for a mortal sin.

here’s the question, hopefully the last time,

If I had a bad week with a lot of mortal sins and I went to confession

said …
the act of contrition
"father forgive me I have sinned terribly this week"
I am very sorry that I comitted abortion, I will try my hardest not to commit abortion again
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #2
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #3
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #4
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #5

My question is,

Does the priest have the power to deny me absolution for me committing abortion if he is led to do so?

God wills your salvation,

absolutely agree

But this doesn’t mean God is indifferent to our difficultieis and limitations, for example, disabilities and inconvienencies; on the contrary, He is understanding and He deals with each man according to his love.

I agree God is merciful

but if you choose not to be saved, if you choose not to do what is necesary to be saved, than you won’t be.

hmmmmm???
if I choose not to do what is necesary for me to be saved???

Can you tell me what I need to do to be saved?

thank you and God bless

mpjw

Hi guyonthestreet,

You made an interesting comment that I did not want to be overlooked…

I agree with you, I wonder how catholics feel about your comment

Thank you and God bless

You can cheat a priest, but you can’t cheat God. God is the One who gives you forgiveness; the priest is only His minister, as I said. So if you secretly aren’t sorry for a sin, the sacrament is invalid, God dosen’t give you forgiveness. You can give a list of sins, and make the act of contrition, but if you really aren’t contrite, God will know, so He won’t give you forgiveness. The priest has power, but ultimately, that power is the Lord’s.

here is where my concern was not answered

I agree with you if…
I do not submit to God
I do not say I am sorry for my sins in confession
I have chosen myself over God and I will stand a good chance of going to hell because I did not tell the priest in confession I was sorry for a mortal sin.

here’s the question, hopefully the last time,

If I had a bad week with a lot of mortal sins and I went to confession

said …
the act of contrition
"father forgive me I have sinned terribly this week"
I am very sorry that I comitted abortion, I will try my hardest not to commit abortion again
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #2
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #3
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #4
I am very sorry that I comitted sin #5

My question is,

Does the priest have the power to deny me absolution for me committing abortion if he is led to do so?

No. If you are contrite, he must give you absolution.

hmmmmm???
if I choose not to do what is necesary for me to be saved???

Can you tell me what I need to do to be saved?

thank you and God bless

mpjw

If you are Catholic and have mortal sin, the necessary thing is to go to Confession. The Sacraments are God’s ordinary way of impart grace on souls, for the Church is the Sacrament of Salvation.

thank you Eucharisted

you have answered my point:)

You can cheat a priest, but you can’t cheat God. God is the One who gives you forgiveness; the priest is only His minister, as I said. So if you secretly aren’t sorry for a sin, the sacrament is invalid, God dosen’t give you forgiveness. You can give a list of sins, and make the act of contrition, but if you really aren’t contrite, God will know, so He won’t give you forgiveness. The priest has power, but ultimately, that power is the Lord’s.

absolutely agree the Lord is the only one who can totally forgive sins not the priest

Does the priest have the power to deny me absolution for me committing abortion if he is led to do so?

[quote]No. If you are contrite, he must give you absolution.

[/quote]

that was my concern which you just answered, thank you again :slight_smile:

the reason I asked is that as a youth and I will never forget the feeling I had…

a priest in confession, after I expressed remorse and repented, denied me absolution for throwing stones at another kid.

He told me in confession that I could have caused serious injury to the other kid

is it ticky tac? yes, but nevertheless it was a personal experience that left me feeling the church that day “unclean”

[quote]if I choose not to do what is necesary for me to be saved???
Can you tell me what I need to do to be saved?

If you are Catholic and have mortal sin, the necessary thing is to go to Confession. The Sacraments are God’s ordinary way of impart grace on souls, for the Church is the Sacrament of Salvation.
[/quote]

thank you and God bless
mpjw

ok now back to my OP concern…

when PJM made this comment…

BUT Christ gives His Church the power to decide who should be forgiven and who should not be forgiven.

the way I see it…that power is limited based on how truthful a sinner is in confession.

if a sinner is

contrite, expresses remorse for committing lets say abortion, repents never to commit abortion again,

a priest has to offer absolution.

he does not have the power to deny absolution in this case under any circamstance,
am I correct?

if I am in confession and the priest **does not hear remorse **in my tone of voice, then I can see where he might deny me absolution.

but if I am sincere and do everything God wants me to, then the priest does not have power to **deny me absolution **

correct??

thank you and God bless

Code of Canon Law:

§2. In administering the sacrament, the confessor as a minister of the Church is to adhere faithfully to the doctrine of the magisterium and the norms issued by competent authority.

Can. 980 If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.

Can. 982 Whoever confesses to have denounced falsely an innocent confessor to ecclesiastical authority concerning the crime of solicitation to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is not to be absolved unless the person has first formally retracted the false denunciation and is prepared to repair damages if there are any.

So I guess according to 982, if you falsely denounced a confessor of selling themselves for sex, you must first do something before receiving absolution. I’m no canon lawyer, so I don’t know exactly how it works.

hmm …interesting

I am not exactly sure what is being said here either.

lets try another subject which may be similiar to what is suggested

lets say I out of rage I commit sin which results in monetary damage and my arrest by police

extreme I know but lets go with it…

I go and make a sincere confession to a priest.

he acknowleges me being contrite, remorseful, and repentant, but before giving
me absolution he asks me… did I pay for the damages?

I let him know that I would if I could but I am buried in debt and that paying for damages is impossible at this time

Do you believe the priest, at this point, can deny me absolution?

What do you think?

am I off base??

thank you

No, not according to Canon Law. But I’m not a canon lawyer. There are plenty online, though, like George Wiegel.

I don’t speak for all Catholics, but I think the comment about forgiveness not being confined only to confession is correct. Catholics are encouraged to do an “examination of conscience” every night. This means looking back over your day to realize where you sinned and where you succeeded and to ask God to forgive those sins.

I see confession as a gift to us. It is a time where the Jesus, working through the priest, tells you definitively that your sins are forgiven (provided that you are truly sorry for your sins). It is also very beneficial because it forces you to think about what your sins are. I feel that if I didn’t go to confession, it would be very easy to forget about my sins or not realize how often I commit a certain sin. For example, when I go to confession and keep confessing a certain sin over and over every time I go, I just get tired of confessing the same thing all the time. This makes me realize the changes I need to make in my life. So I think God instituted the sacrament of confession for practical reasons as well as theological.

As for refusing absolution for sins, I don’t think priests are looking for reasons not to grant absolution. Very rarely will a priest ever refuse absolution because someones tone of voice doesn’t sound sincere. An example of when a priest could refuse absolution is something like this: Say you stole a large sum of money from the company you worked for. Then you go to confess this to the priest. The priest could ask, well did you give the money back? If you say yes, then the priest would most certainly grant you absolution. If you say no, I’m keeping the money, the priest could very easily say that you aren’t really sorry for your sin and refuse absolution.

Excellent point.

Another good example of this would be if you confess the same sin over and over and over.

Many Catholics have their favorite priest to go to for confession. If I were to go to my confessor every week and tell him I am living in sin with a woman, and having sex outside of marriage. He may absolve me once or twice, but there will come a time when he will not absolve me, and he shouldn’t. If I am repeating the same sin over and over, he is going to come to the conclusion that I am not remorseful no matter how I may “sound” in the confessional.

This is how I understand confession.

Since last night I saw a short quote or heard one on the radio (I just remember the content, not the source) that talks about this and the other Sacraments.

All sacraments are done by the work worked. So a priest absolving your sins is able to do so by the power of God through the physical act of listening to your sins, the sign of the cross, and the associated prayers. There may be more for the priest to do but this is all I can see as a penitent.

And the priest is there to help you make a full, faithful, fruitful and free change of heart. You have to reach inside yourself and bear all that you know, do it with faithful trust in God, do so to gain the fruits of holiness, and do this because you yourself wish to. The priest is there to hear your confession and if you do this, he can perform the necessary absolution as a physical stand in for Christ. If he sees there is more you need to do, need to learn, or you are not contrite then I think he is obligated to protect your soul by saying no he cannot forgive you. I have not have this happened to me but I would hope the priest will give me advice on how to change my life to make a proper confession and change of heart.

I think this may have applied to your situation with the throwing a rock. Did you end up going back to the guy and apologizing and checking to see if he needs medical help or wounds patched? My brother once threw a rock at our neighbors and I’m not sure he ever went to confession. However, I think he is okay because he was a child and I think he did it to protect himself. He never did it again that I can tell since we moved away from that dangerous area.

Lastly to comment, it is healthy for the soul and helpful to reach a greater level of holiness to also confess venial sins. At the same time, there exists the possibility to confess venial sins directly to God and then do what God tells you to grow without going to confession. Mortal sins need to be confessed in a confessional with a priest ordinarily. There exists extraordinary forgiveness of sins such as a full contrition, baptism, and other means I may not be familiar with. Just to note, I would imagine full contrition is nearly if not impossible for me. If I am fully contrite I probably would not need to go to confession over and over every month. But I do and I am so glad that God is willing to work with me in little steps that I can handle.

:)ababbidg…

thank you so much for you honesty and sincerity,

let’s rock and roll I agree with you totally here :clapping:

God bless and thank you again

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