Qs about Church teaching re confession from non-Catholic

Ok. My problem with the need to confess, and for the people who believe we will go to Hell if we die before making our last confession, is as follows:

  1. If imperfect contrition is wrong, and we go to Hell for that, can ANYONE really, honestly say that not even 0.000000001% of their desire to go to confession is because of fear of Hell? If not, how can’t they fear this? I don’t know how I wouldn’t. Doesn’t this mean that as we are all selfish and sinners, that almost all, if not all of us are heading to Hell? If so, why all the teaching of false hope? Is it selfish to want to go to Heaven? If we don’t confess for the reason to go to Heaven, doesn’t that mean we don’t care enough about our salvation? What could be more important than faith in Jesus, what He did and our salvation?

  2. If there is a need to confess, to Jesus or a priest or anyone else, before we die, at what point do we die? What about babies? Do they need to be baptised the moment they are conceived? They could sin while still in the womb, or on the first day they’re born, before or after baptism. Does this mean they’re going to Hell? A one year old could sin after baptism, but be too young to have Christianity explained to them. Does that mean a sinning one year old goes to Hell? What if we THINK someone is a validly ordained priest, but they’re not? Does that confession become invalid? We can’t avoid human error.

  3. As long as there is a need to confess, I don’t understand how anyone in this life can be happy and not live in constant fear, terror and guilt, (I’m not saying we SHOULDN’T live in constant terror, fear and guilt, but if we’re not to, I don’t see how). As long as we think our salvation depends on confession and things other than genuine faith in Jesus, His death for us and His resurrection, how can we not live in constant terror? Are we in 100% control of our sins in the future? How, if we think there is any unforgivable sin, (maybe murder, not sharing the Gospel, suicide, etc), can we not live in constant terror? So you can honestly say you will never murder someone, even if you don’t have the desire to murder anyone? Can we control our bodies and our minds? We don’t know what we’ll do in the future.

  4. If there is a need to confess, how often is enough times? We could confess then sin on our way home, we could maybe not be genuine about the confession in the first place, or not genuine enough, we could sin WHILE confessing, we could confess to a non-priest. What is a “reasonable” amount of research to find a valid priest? Think about this: “We could always have done better or have done more research or have tried harder”.

  5. Does our salvation depend on not being hit by a bus on the way to confession, or anything similar? I don’t understand how any Christian can be happy in this life or not live in constant terror and fear if confession is necessary, with or without perfect contrition.

aaa

I’m not theologian but your questions are all answered in the Catechism.

Here goes from a simple laywoman (some would say “simpleton”:)):

  1. Imperfect contrition is not wrong. For many of us, fear of hell can be the motivating factor to confess sins, do penance, and avoid what leads us to sin. Perfect contrition is the strong and heartfelt desire to never offend God. It is not selfish to want to spend eternity with our Heavenly Father. It is a desire He places in our hearts from our conception.

  2. Confession is not a “one time & done” thing. Confess regularly and your sins will (one hopes) become less frequent and less severe. On babies: sin is possible only after one reaches the age of reason. A baby does not sin, though without baptism will still have the stain of original sin on his/her soul.
    I would think any Catholic priest sitting in a confessional for hours is certainly validly ordained.

  3. We are not to live in fear. See Faint Faustina and Divine Mercy Sunday.

  4. Confess when you have mortal sin on our soul, and it is a good to confess venial sins too on a regular basis. No need to ask priests willy-nilly o n the street if they are “validly ordained.” Simply go to your local parish during posted confession times, or make an appointment.

  5. Get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic church - free at the Local Library - and read it. Take RCIA classes.

  1. If imperfect contrition is wrong, and we go to Hell for that, can ANYONE really, honestly say that not even 0.000000001% of their desire to go to confession is because of fear of Hell?

First, the Catholic Church does NOT claim to know who goes to hell. Only Christ knows our hearts. 2nd, not all sins sentence us to hell, only the sins The Bible calls “deadly sins” or mortal sins. 3rd, it is possible to perform a Perfect Act of Contrition without going to Confession. But it’s a lot easier to do so at Confession. As someone who used to not believe Confession was necessary, I know understand how confessing to Christ via a Priest makes your confession more contrite. Plus, this of it this way. If Christ is God, and God is all knowing, why would Christ tell us to confess our sins to “each other”? God knows what’s in our hearts and what we have done. Confessing to a priest allows us to not just repair our communion with God, but also our fellow humans, and with the Bride of Christ (the Church).

  1. If there is a need to confess, to Jesus or a priest or anyone else, before we die, at what point do we die? What about babies? …

Traditionally, Catholic moral theology has distinguished between a mortal and a venial sin. In the First Letter of St. John (5:17), we read, “…All wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.” The notion of a “deadly” or mortal sin is found in other parts of sacred Scripture as well. For instance, St. Paul in Galatians (5:19-21) asserted, “It is obvious what proceeds from the flesh: lewd conduct, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering, jealousy, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I have warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!” (Cf. Rom 1:28-32; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Eph 4:3-8) Therefore, sacred Scripture explicitly identifies certain sins which kill the grace of God in our soul and deprive a person of eternal salvation.

The Catechism presents the three criteria that must be satisfied for a sin to be mortal. First, the act committed must be considered grave or serious matter. Mortal sins are heinous in the eyes of God. Throughout the moral section of the Catechism, some sins are noted as “gravely sinful” (No. 2268). For example, “The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.” Second, the sinner must have full knowledge of the sinful character of the act; in other words, he must be acting with an informed intellect and must know this act violates God’s eternal law. Third, the sinner must give full consent of the will, meaning that he has reflected on doing the action and deliberately wants to do it.

  1. As long as there is a need to confess, I don’t understand how anyone in this life can be happy and not live in constant fear, terror and guilt, …

No sin is too great to be beyond God’s mercy. That was Judas’ greatest sin. He killed a himself because he felt his betrayal was too big to ask for and accept God’s forgiveness. Judas let pride get in his way after he felt remorse. Salvation does NOT depend on confession. It depends on God’s Grace. Confession is a method to help us become more Holy and more like Christ in order to prepare us to our entry into the Kingdom of God.

  1. If there is a need to confess, how often is enough times? We could confess then sin on our way home, we could maybe not be genuine about the confession in the first place, or not genuine enough, we could sin WHILE confessing, we could confess to a non-priest. What is a “reasonable” amount of research to find a valid priest? Think about this: “We could always have done better or have done more research or have tried harder”.

this statement doesn’t make much sense. We Catholics are call to go to confession at least once a year, unless we are guilty of mortal sin. If our confession is not genuine or sincere, then that is sacrilege (another mortal sin). Catholic Churches are open every day, it’s typically not hard to find a priest. However, we are also thought that after we comit a mortal sin, we should be praying to God immediately and making an Act of Contrition, then get to Confession as soon as possible. We as sinners should feel guilty and ask for God’s forgiveness as soon as we sin. But Confession helps us to know we are forgiven assuming we are contrite and not sacrilegious.

  1. Does our salvation depend on not being hit by a bus on the way to confession, or anything similar? I don’t understand how any Christian can be happy in this life or not live in constant terror and fear if confession is necessary, with or without perfect contrition.

again, what is needed is God’s grace. Not confession. It is possible for a person to receive God’s grace without confession, but it’s a lot easier with it. Also, as I said before, God knows our hearts. If we died on our way to confession, God knows we wanted to confess, and hopefully as a good Christian, the person has already made an Act of Contrition.

Keep in mind, that Confession was not created by humans, it was given to us by God. The Catholic Church was not founded by men, it was founded by Christ and Christ will always protect His Bride from errors regarding Faith and Morals.

God Bless.

Welcome to the forums! I hope your time here is enlightening and joyful.

  1. Imperfect contrition isn’t wrong, it’s just not perfect. We can go to Confession with imperfect contrition and will receive absolution and our sins are completely forgiven. We should strive to go to Confession often enough, and Eucharist as well, so that we begin to transform that imperfect contrition into perfect contrition.

  2. The fate of unbaptized infants has not been taught by the Church because their fate has not been revealed to the Church. The Church entrusts them to God’s mercy and perfect judgment. We recognize that they are without personal sin, but yet still hold the stain of Original Sin. They certainly don’t deserve hell and God would not send them there. He may put them in a place of pure natural joy, without the supernatural joy of Heaven, or He may bring them into Heaven. We don’t know His judgment on their fates.

Babies should be baptized within a very short time of their birth. We don’t need to baptize them 20 seconds after birth, but we shouldn’t delay it unnecessarily. Just as with a Catechumen who is obeying the Church and waiting for baptism at the Easter Vigil, but God forbid gets hit by a bus, God will recognize their baptism of desire. God would recognize the baptism of desire the parents held for a child if the baby were to pass before baptism could be administered.

One year olds cannot sin.

We must remember that we are bound to the sacraments, but God is not. He can apply His grace, mercy, and healing anywhere He chooses. In the case of someone confessing to someone they think is a validly ordained and authorized priest, God would recognize that confession. God is pretty clear in Scripture that He doesn’t hold people guilty when they are acting under invincible ignorance.

  1. Believing in God’s graces through the sacrament of Confession IS genuine faith in Jesus. We are obeying His commands because of our love and faith in Him. Remember, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commands.”

Your question about living in fear is a common one. In reality, the opposite is the truth. With Confession, you have access to God’s promise of forgiveness in a tangible, real way. There is no wondering or worry if you have REALLY asked God for forgiveness properly or with enough faith. There is an explicit, material way to come before God, and obey His commands to confess our sins to His ordained ministers in the way that He wants it done. And once you experience the grace and awesomeness of Confession, you understand how it helps you to be less fearful, and more filled with grace to avoid sinning in the future.

The only unforgiveable sin is the sin of final impenitence. This is the unrepentant refusal to believe in God’s power and wish to forgive.

Of course we don’t know what we will do in the future. And that is why God designed the mechanism of Confession to assure us of a way of reconciling ourselves to Him.

  1. Regular Confession is extremely beneficial. The Church lays down the minimum of confessing at least once a year if we know we have committed mortal sin. And be mindful of that, we only go to hell if we have MORTALLY sinned. Venial sins do harm to our souls but do not cause us to lose our state of grace or be damned to hell. Mortal sins do. There is always the possibility of sinning if we make that choice to do so. But mortal sins require a decisive intent to commit the sin. We can’t accidently mortally sin.

As noted above, God would not hold us guilty for accidently confessing to someone who we thought was an ordained and authorized priest. It’s not very hard to find a priest. Just look up your diocese on the web, and they will list off all the parishes in the diocese. Any of the priests at each parish can hear confessions.

As to always being able to try harder, God doesn’t ask the impossible of us. He asks that we try as best we can to follow His commands and to love Him. Looking up the diocese and finding a parish, and then going to Confession is certainly an acceptable level of effort to obey His command to confess.

  1. No. The Church recognizes that God loves an obedient heart, and someone who gets hit by a bus on the way to Confession will have their sins forgiven by God. That person has their heart set on obeying God’s will and is actively living it out by following His Church’s authority and is going to Confession as He wants.

Confession actually frees us from fear and terror. It is uplifting and freeing. God’s graces pour forth through the priest to our soul. It is wonderful.

Welcome again!

A person who is this obsessed with and in fear of sinning at every turn likely has scrupulosity issues or doesn’t properly understand the difference between mortal and venial sin.

Confession is necessary for mortal sins. A person who is in perpetual fear of committing mortal sins needs professional help. Mortal sins are serious sins that completely sever our relationship with God.

I seriously doubt one easily commits a mortal sin on the way home from confession. Is one going to stop by a bank to rob it on the way home from confession? Pick up a prostitute? What grave sin are they going to commit on the way home from confession?

In such a case, I highly doubt such a person would have been concerned with confession in the first place.

Some people believe that certain books and sources are false, and that only the ones they use are right.

The suggestion about picking up the Catechism of the Catholic Church was more so that you could read and learn what the Church teaches. Even if you disagree, it makes sense to at least understand what you disagree with.

Ok. I was just meaning it’s hard to know who to trust. It’s also hard when people like the Most Holy Family Monastery think it’s terrible to not believe that their way is right, (I’m not sure if they think that we go to Hell for going to another church or believing another church is heretical).

Just judging from this start, it seems to me that you may have some very mistaken ideas about Catholic beliefs.
Confessing - the need to do it - comes right from Scripture…Paul speaks of confessing to one another and Jesus give the authority to the Apostles to forgive sins or hold them bound (How do they do that if one does not confess).

As to the matter of “Going to hell” if you don’t make your last confession…I guess I am a bit confused on what supposed belief you are referring to here. Could you help me understand where you heard this?

Your 4 points are so chock full of questions - I think it best to deal with them individually So I’ll do another post.

Peace
James

  1. If imperfect contrition is wrong, and we go to Hell for that, can ANYONE really, honestly say that not even 0.000000001% of their desire to go to confession is because of fear of Hell? If not, how can’t they fear this? I don’t know how I wouldn’t. Doesn’t this mean that as we are all selfish and sinners, that almost all, if not all of us are heading to Hell? If so, why all the teaching of false hope? Is it selfish to want to go to Heaven? If we don’t confess for the reason to go to Heaven, doesn’t that mean we don’t care enough about our salvation? What could be more important than faith in Jesus, what He did and our salvation?

I have never heard that imperfect contrition is “wrong”…I have never seen a Church teaching saying it was “wrong”. What is it that you think we think is “wrong” about it?

As to the matter of selfishness and fear etc.
I’m sure we are all aware of the verse that says fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, so I think it would be foolish to say that fear of hell, fear of offending God, etc is somehow wrong.
However - we should also note that “fear” is the beginning of wisdom. The culmination of that journey is from fear to Love…Selfishness gives way to desire to be with out of Love.
but this is a journey and fear (and conviction of ourselves as sinners) is often where we start from.

Continued…

I didn’t see anyone saying that imperfect contrition is wrong. The Church explicitly teaches that imperfect contrition is acceptable for going to Confession. We should always strive for perfect contrition, but imperfect is enough.

And that’s their opinion. But they weren’t given the authority to proclaim the Christian faith the Jesus gave the Catholic Church. Jesus gave His authority to bind and loose to His Church.

Additionally, I wonder if they have considered the case of the OT saints. We know for a FACT that Moses and Elijah are in Heaven (because we see them at the Transfiguration), and yet they never received baptism. Obviously God accepted their wish to follow His will, and they would have been baptized if it was available to them. Same as with the catechumen hit by a bus.

They can’t. The Church has proclaimed that we are able to sin once we have reached the age of reason. Usually this is thought to be around 7-8, but even for them it woul be tough to think they could mortally sin. And as another person noted, you may have issue with scrupulosity, of believing that many things are sins which are not (I have a mild case of it myself). This is ANOTHER reason for the sacrament of Confession, so that His ordained minister could help us to determine what things are sins, and what things are not.

Each parish has Confessions every week, and you can call the parish to set up an appointment if you need to go quicker, or at a better time. And most parishes and Diocese set up extra confession times during Advent and Lent. Again, God doesn’t ask more than we can give. If you sin, say a prayer of contrition to God, make an act of perfect contrition to Him right away. And then get to the next available Confession time you can reasonably make it to. God will recognize that you are obeying Him. You don’t need to knock on the priests home at 3AM, because God also doesn’t require the impossible from them as well (they are only human too).

Again, you may have some scrupulosity issues. You would greatly benefit from just talking with a priest and telling him about your fears and worries. He could help you to discern what is sin, and what is not sin.

This is true, it can be difficult to know who to trust. But our God is not a vindictive or mean God. He is a loving God who would not leave us alone or without a shepherd. Thankfully, God gave us His Church, which He gave His Authority to proclaim the Christian faith. He said “He who hears you, hears Me”.

As Scripture says, we will know how we are to behave by remaining in the Church. :thumbsup:

  1. If there is a need to confess, to Jesus or a priest or anyone else, before we die, at what point do we die?

Again - I’m not sure what you mean by “need to confess…before we die”. It is always good to confess if one is in danger of dying. But then it is always good to confess when one has sin on their soul.

What about babies? Do they need to be baptized the moment they are conceived? They could sin while still in the womb, or on the first day they’re born, before or after baptism. Does this mean they’re going to Hell? A one year old could sin after baptism, but be too young to have Christianity explained to them. Does that mean a sinning one year old goes to Hell?

I believe a quick search here will turn up many threads dealing with these questions.

What if we THINK someone is a validly ordained priest, but they’re not? Does that confession become invalid? We can’t avoid human error.

True we can’t avoid human error…the best we can do is act honestly on our conscience.
If I go to a priest and validly confess, then my confession is valid. If it turns out the man I confessed to was not a priest (and he knew it) any sin for this would be on his head - not mine.

More below…

  1. As long as there is a need to confess, I don’t understand how anyone in this life can be happy and not live in constant fear, terror and guilt, (I’m not saying we SHOULDN’T live in constant terror, fear and guilt, but if we’re not to, I don’t see how).

WHY???
Why should I live in fear of God’s Love and mercy for me, a sorrowful sinner?
Why should I fear going to Him in the Sacrament of reconciliation and confessing my faults so that he can give me the grace to improve?
Why should I feel guilt - except to know that such guilt is a grace given to me by a Loving Father so that I may feel sorrow and more firmly resist sin in the future?

If one is in a loving relationship…the can and must be confession…but there need not be fear or terror.

As long as we think our salvation depends on confession and things other than genuine faith in Jesus, His death for us and His resurrection, how can we not live in constant terror?

OK - I see…Well IF a person were to believe this the yes - i can see that they might live in fear.
But you see - this is not Catholic teaching. The Church does not teach that our salvation depends on anything other than Christ.

Are we in 100% control of our sins in the future? How, if we think there is any unforgivable sin, (maybe murder, not sharing the Gospel, suicide, etc), can we not live in constant terror? So you can honestly say you will never murder someone, even if you don’t have the desire to murder anyone? Can we control our bodies and our minds? We don’t know what we’ll do in the future.

Why should I live in terror of what might happen? What I must do is to live my life to the best of my ability in the grace that God gives me to live it.
The only way that the sins you mention above can occur is if I cease to Love God first and Love neighbor as my self…
And if I do this…If I fall away from God…I will not fear Him or be in terror of Him…even if I commit heinous sins…
So you see - a healthy “fear” as well as Love of God is a great comfort to me.

More to come

  1. If there is a need to confess, how often is enough times?

Many say about every other week is a good schedule for formal confession…but one should confess every day directly to God in our prayers.

We could confess then sin on our way home,

Yup - we could - and I have - but thankfully not mortally.

we could maybe not be genuine about the confession in the first place, or not genuine enough, we could sin WHILE confessing,

Highly unlikely - since if a person does not wish to genuinely confess…they would not bother to go.

we could confess to a non-priest.

Again - highly unlikely - but if it did occur the sin (if any) is on him…not on you.

What is a “reasonable” amount of research to find a valid priest? Think about this: “We could always have done better or have done more research or have tried harder”

.
This is generally not difficult at all…just look up the nearest Catholic parish and go there. voila - you will most likely find a priest in charge - and he is validly ordained.

  1. Does our salvation depend on not being hit by a bus on the way to confession, or anything similar?

No it does not

I don’t understand how any Christian can be happy in this life or not live in constant terror and fear if confession is necessary, with or without perfect contrition.

Well I hope the answers you are receiving help you some…
Come on back with any additional questions.

Peace
James

QUOTE=zz912;11906596Jesus gave His authority to bind and loose to His Church.
What do you mean “loose to His Church”?

Let me ask, do you believe Protestants go to Heaven, not Purgatory or Hell?

Additionally, I wonder if they have considered the case of the OT saints.
It was after the resurrection though that confession became an order.

I thought the sacrament is taking Jesus Body and Blood, no?

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