The Cycle of Confession and Sin


#1

I have heard many, many people scorn Catholics in the following way:

“They think they can sin all they want to as long as they go to confession.”

There is certainly a cycle one can get into of either conciously or sort of subconciously thinking, “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I’ll just make sure and confess it until I get a handle on it.”

How is it that Protestants think Catholics can get in this cycle but Protestants can’t? I would think it would be harder for Catholics to get into this cycle because they have to say their sins out loud to another person and not just directly to God. Accountability seems greater.

Both can fall into this way of thinking of course, I just think it’s ridiculous for Protestants to act like only Catholics can fall into this trap.


#2

I agree. One of the values (only one, mind you) of the confessional is that if a person is having a problem with recurring sin in a particular area, the confessor will soon become aware of that. There’s an element of embarrassment associated with going back repeatedly to confess the same thing, which helps to remind the sinner why he shouldn’t be doing it again. Of course, one can always shop around for a different priest (I’m sure I’m not the only one who ever did this). But in the case of habitual sin, or sin that results from a lifestyle set-up that keeps one close to the near occasion of sin, it takes a long time to come out of that, and it seems to me that the process may involve repeated visits to the confessional, so that even when one is shopping around for different priests to avoid the embarrassment, the process is yet in operation.


#3

Actually, I usually correct people who present this by saying that as humans, we can not live up to the expectations God has for us, but when we fail, as Catholics, we trust that His mercy and love is greater than our sin, and He will always grant His forgiveness through the Sacrament of Confession that He gave us to express our repentance.


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