Rstitution Dillemma

Hey, folks.

I have several items I intended to make restitution for. The most recent of which is from two years ago. Almost all of them involve financial restitution. I asked my confessor, the local Catholic priest, about how I should approach this. He told me I needed to put it in the past and not worry about it, as some things I just need to “let go”. Unfortunately, I am bogged down by the Catechism teaching that we must make restitution as far as possible. My priest told me not to worry, but I know the Catechism says something different. What am I to do?

Restitution is not always easy. Often it is not even possible to make restitution. Perhaps your confessor is merely making this point, that you can’t reasonably make restitution in this case so you need to accept the penance he gave and move on.

That said, if you think it is possible to make restitution, then why have you not done so already? For example, if you stole $50 from someone, you give them back $50. That’s easy. Some sins are less easy.

Say someone shoplifted. It may be easy to retun the item if it recently happened. But perhaps it was some time ago and so returning it is not possible. In such a case perhaps you could make a donation to the Church or related charity for the equivalent amount of the item.

If the matter is complicated, then you should follow the advice of your confessor. Worrying excessively about sins from the past can be an unhealthy obsession.

As long as you do the penance, your sins are forgiven. You have no obligation to do restitution if the priest did not tell you so. However, I do believe God will give you more grace for going above the minimum requirement for forgiveness. I personally try to pay back what I owe people, but a few times it has been impossible (lost contact with the person). I like underacloud’s suggestion: Donate an equivalent amount of money to charity.

According to the Catechism, we are obligated to as a means of reparation, but my confessor told me I didn’t?!

We don’t know the specifics of your case (and I don’t really want to know), whereas your confessor does and he speaks in the place of Christ.

And there is of course nothing stopping you from offering a greater penance than what your confessor has assigned. If you feel you can reasonably make restitution, nothing is stopping you. If you do not, then follow the advice of your confessor, since assigning a suitable penance is part of his role here.

I would strongly suggest meeting with a priest **outside of the confessional to discuss this. It seems to me that priests will not ordinarily tell someone to issue restitution.

However, just because a priest doesn’t advise one to make restitution when one feels it may be due, it’s really not a good idea to sit around with such doubt.**

Listen to and heed your priest!

Do or do not do whatever your confessor tells you.

If you were absolved, you need to trust that grace that you are absolved.

If you are called privately (by a personal conviction to justice and a well formed conscience) to make restitution, put it I’m the poor box or give to charity and don’t claim it on your taxes.

it is possible that he sees your specific cases as causing more harm than good.:shrug:

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