SPLIT: Making a mockery of confession?


#1

I know someone who converted to Catholicism in order to marry a man who was Catholic. She was found in bed with someone else and that killed the marriage after only a few months. She regularly has sex outside marriage and yet won’t forgive others when they upset her. How can she keep being forgiven and re-offending. Does that not make a mockery of things?


#2

aaa


#3

I'm not sure how this is your business.

Since you are not privy to her conversations in the confessional, you do not know what she does or does not confess, whether she is absolved, or whether she has mental issues contributing to her situation.

So, again, why is this your concern?


#4

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:344130"]
I'm not sure how this is your business.

Since you are not privy to her conversations in the confessional, you do not know what she does or does not confess, whether she is absolved, or whether she has mental issues contributing to her situation.

So, again, why is this your concern?

[/quote]

Exactly


#5

If this is your wife, you need to talk to your Priest for counsel.

If this is not your wife, you need to let it go.


#6

This person used to be a friend of mine , I'm not really concerned as to whether she is absolved or not or what she says in confessional. She is supposed to be a Catholic yet acts this way then as a Catholic I'm assuming that she goes to confession and confesses. My point was that if you persist in repeating the same offence only to go back to confessional does this not just make a mockery of the whole process? It didn't necessarily have to be my ex friend I just happened to know about her. Take her out of the example then if it troubles people here. If someone persists in offending and then reoffending with the same offence going back each time to confess and hopefully being absolved does it not make a mockery of the process? This was my question, I am not a Catholic but am trying to understand the processes and rules hence the questions. Thanks though for your answers.


#7

I confess the same things over and over as well. I grant it isn't adultery but still I am a sinner and I am so happy I have a forgiving God.
We have no way of seeing into another's heart. We have no way of judging how much a person fights temptation before giving in. It is easy to sit in judment over a sin that frankly doesn't tempt me at all.
It is offensive if any of us doesn't take sin seriously and are flippant about confession. But only God knows our hearts.

This woman could be truly sorry everytime and trying to do better but keeps falling


#8

Same here. I confess the same sins over and over. Not adultery, no, but even if I confess speaking angrily to people or whatever, is it not the same concept? The world, influenced by evil, likes to point out that some people repeatedly commit the same sins. We cannot excuse sin, of course, but neither can we judge, and we certainly cannot speculate about what someone else does or does not confess. The world likes to call confessing the same sin over and over hypocrisy, because it believes that it then is justified continuing its own sins, without confessing them ever.

Pray for the other person. If it is a friend, and you are comfortable with her actions on a regular basis, tell her so. If she persists, and you do not feel that you can continue the friendship, then you have the option not to do so. But continue to pray for her. Something else to consider is: Is this something new, or has this friend always been this way? That raises questions about your friendship, too.

On an unrelated note, this is my 3000th post on CAF! :tiphat:


#9

Hi Chatter163 sadly our friendship ended some time ago. When I commit to someone I stay committed whether it be marriage or friendship. However one Christmas she decided to end ours for no apparent reason and with no warning. On your other point she has behaved like this for some time but as you have all said she might well be sorry for what she does but not be able to help herself. I will pray for her though I have been doing this already. Thank you all for helping me understand the process of confession/forgiveness etc:)


#10

21 Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
22 Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
23 That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
24 When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
25 Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.
26 At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.'
27 Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.
28 When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.'
29 Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
30 But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt.
31 Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
32 His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
33 Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?'
34 Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.
35 So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart."

Zeus,
only the Father knows for sure whether this woman is penitent or not. If she is, she is forgiven each and every time. If not, then she is not forgiven. Your job is not to determine whether she is or not, but to not be like the wicked servant in the above parable.


#11

[quote="zeus1958uk, post:6, topic:344130"]
This person used to be a friend of mine , I'm not really concerned as to whether she is absolved or not or what she says in confessional. She is supposed to be a Catholic yet acts this way then as a Catholic I'm assuming that she goes to confession and confesses. My point was that if you persist in repeating the same offence only to go back to confessional does this not just make a mockery of the whole process? It didn't necessarily have to be my ex friend I just happened to know about her. Take her out of the example then if it troubles people here. If someone persists in offending and then reoffending with the same offence going back each time to confess and hopefully being absolved does it not make a mockery of the process? This was my question, I am not a Catholic but am trying to understand the processes and rules hence the questions. Thanks though for your answers.

[/quote]

As our priests always say:

Pray for her.


#12

Based on your description of the situation, you probably shouldn’t assume that.


#13

I don't see how her sins/what she confesses are any of your business. If you are worried about it, pray.


#14

High Sighguy and Kendra DZ1902. I wasn't saying it was any of my business. As I said I was curious about the process and merely wanted to understand why someone could keep reoffending and then just confessing to make it 'ok' without making a mockery of the process. It was more of a general question as I've said but as I knew about this person I just used her as an example. My question was amply answered by Chatter163 and the others for which I've thanked them for helping me understand as a non Catholic. I thank them again anyway. As far as my question goes now it is answered, I will pray for her as I was already doing but was also suggested anyway. Thanks:)


#15

I would wonder if this woman actually went to confession. Often it seems that when someone joins the Church because they want to marry a Catholic, they don't have a real commitment to the Faith. That is why the Church doesn't insist that a non-Catholic convert to marry in the Church, unless they truly believe in it. RCIA, the most common program for accepting converts into the Church today, is a long involved process which some complain about. One of the reasons that it is so long is so that prospective converts will know and understand what Catholic Church is so that they can make a informed decision whether or not they believe that it is the true Church started by Jesus Christ, and that they believe and accept it teachings. To me it sounds like the woman you described never truly accepted the Faith, and probably wouldn't have bothered with the Sacrament of Penance.


#16

Hello Marysann, I happen to know that she sends her son to her local Catholic school but don't really know how serious she was about the faith herself. As my question was answered I won't comment too much further and open it all up again but it's possible that you could be right and that converting was just a convenience but it's not really for me to judge or comment so I won't but thank you for your answer. Best wishes Barry


#17

Zeus, I realise your question has been answered, but I have a suggestion for further help. I'm a convert to Catholicism from Church of England. I'm currently reading 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn. This has given me a whole new perspective on Confession. If you really want to understand it, I recommend this book.

A couple of quotes from early in the book:

Sin is turning your face away from God.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Sin sets itself against God's love for us and turns our hearts away from it. #1850

When we sin, we turn not only our faces away from God, but the rest of us as well - our minds, our hearts, our spirits.

This book is transforming my whole concept of and approach to Confession.


#18

[quote="zeus1958uk, post:14, topic:344130"]
High Sighguy and Kendra DZ1902. I wasn't saying it was any of my business. As I said I was curious about the process and merely wanted to understand why someone could keep reoffending and then just confessing to make it 'ok' without making a mockery of the process. It was more of a general question as I've said but as I knew about this person I just used her as an example. My question was amply answered by Chatter163 and the others for which I've thanked them for helping me understand as a non Catholic. I thank them again anyway. As far as my question goes now it is answered, I will pray for her as I was already doing but was also suggested anyway. Thanks:)

[/quote]

I think part of the confusion lies in the fact that to make a good confession you have to really be sorry for what you did. So, no matter how many times you fall into the same sin if you come to confession and are truly repentant you will be forgiven and there will be no mockery of the sacrament. Whereas it sounds like you are imagining a case where someone comes to confession, pretends to be sorry so they can receive absolution, but actually has no intention to try to stop sinning. If that were the case then yes, they would be making a mockery of confession and doing so would itself be sinful. The thing is, though, that we cannot tell whether a person is truly repentant when they go to confession by judging whether or not they fall into that sin again. They could be truly sorry for what they did and really plan on trying to stop sinning and then later come up against a temptation that was too strong for them and fall again by giving in.

I know you were already satisfied with the answers, but I hadn't seen anybody bring up this distinction explicitly, so I thought I should point it out just in case it was helpful. :)


#19

Thank you VivienneJ and thewanderer for your comments. VivienneJ I will try and read this book as I do wish to try and understand. Hello, thewanderer to be honest I hadn't considered that so thank you for your comment too. I had imagined myself saying 'sorry' for something then going out and repeating the act I'd said 'sorry' for again and again which would have looked as if I hadn't meant 'sorry' when I said it. I applied this theory to my ex friends situation and I realise now that this could have been erroneous. Thank you and all the others for clearing up this question for me.


#20

[quote="thewanderer, post:18, topic:344130"]
... Whereas it sounds like you are imagining a case where someone comes to confession, pretends to be sorry so they can receive absolution, but actually has no intention to try to stop sinning. If that were the case then yes, they would be making a mockery of confession and doing so would itself be sinful.
...
I know you were already satisfied with the answers, but I hadn't seen anybody bring up this distinction explicitly, so I thought I should point it out just in case it was helpful. :)

[/quote]

I also noticed that this point had not been made, namely that the OP's question is based on a very sound premise, so composed my response before I saw yours. I don't want to discard my efforts.. :), so here are my own thoughts....

To repeatedly sin and to confess without repenting and amending one's life would indeed make a mockery of the confessional.

The priest in the confessional is obliged to judge whether the person is sufficiently repentant, and if there are serious doubts should withold absolution.

So, if the penitent (seriously) lies about their true sins or contrition, then they are committing sacrilege. If the priest gives absolution for repeated serious sins while observing that the penitent is not contrite then he also is abusing the sacrament.

As others have observed we do, in practice, repeat the same sins and the same confessions, but the purpose of the confessional is to bring us face-to-face with our sins and our sinfulness, and God's Mercy, and bring us to perfection in God's time - it is not to give us licence to sin. In modern terms, it gives "accountability".

I heard Fulton Sheen say on a tape long ago:

Why does God permit us to sin? So that we can forgive others!

For me, one of the effects of repeating the same sins in the confessional has been to make me understand the debt I owe God for his repeated forgiveness, and hence to oblige me forgive others.


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