The Sacrament of Confession


#1

I would like to look into the Catholic Churches Sacrament of Confession and why you beleive such an interesting thing, do any of you have any books or what not to suggest that one could look into?


#2

The scriptures for starters - begin at the verse where Jesus tells the Apostles ‘whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you retain they are retained’. And the verse where James commands us to confess our sins - and not to God alone!

Do you think Jesus gave the Apostles such a power and intended for them not to use it? Do you think they would know whose sins to forgive and whose to retain without audible confession of those sins? So audible confession to a priest was necessary. And why do you think the power died out with the Apostles? Did the power to baptise die out with them? To preach? To celebrate the Lord’s Supper in his honour?


#3

Well, if I am not mistaken (and correct me if I am), in Catholicism Public Revelation stopped with the death of the last aposlte so it stoping at the last aposltes death wouldn’t seem out of the question and Baptism, which is also a sacrament in Catholicism, can under certain circumstances be given by anyone, so there seems to be another plauseable outlet. So please understand the ambigueity of what I know and my desire to what to know better your postion of why you beleive what you do. Would you have anymore information?


#4

The Catechism gives a good high level summary of the Church’s teaching regarding Sacraments in general and the Sacrament of Reconciliation in particular.

Click the link & scroll down to the section on Sacraments.

Scott Hahn has a series of books on the Sacraments. His book on Confession is called Lord Have Mercy and it’s an excellent book. It’s very easy to read.


#5

You know it’s only in emergencies (danger of death) that just anyone can baptise. And anyone can preside at the Lord’s Supper? I doubt it. I don’t know of any denomination that will not only permit ordained ministers to do so.

It doesn’t make sense for the authority to forgive to stop at the last Apostle’s death. Any more than it makes sense for baptism or the Lord’s Supper to stop then.

People would still be born after the last apostle died (and hence need baptism), and would still need to ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’ at the Lord’s Supper after the time of the Apostles. And people still sin and need forgiveness of that sin as well, via an Apostle or their successors to whom they conferred the authority to do so.

Of course you can take a look at a book called Lord Have Mercy by Dr Scott Hahn :smiley:


#6

You might also have a look at a couple of older threads on this sacrament.

“I Find No Sacraments In the Bible” he said.

Alfie’s Assertion That Confession is Optional.

Scripture Catholic has a number of Biblical references and other things that might also help you with this.

Pax tecum, :slight_smile:


#7

If you’d like to receive something in the mail, I’d suggest listening to a talk by Fr. Larry Richards on the topic of “Confession.” Very insightful and very witty.

catholicity.com/cds/confession.html


#8

Leviticus 5:5-6
5 " 'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned 6 and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.

“The priest shall make atonement.” Clearly in the Old Testament, the priesthood existed to offer sacrifices and make atonement for the sins committed by the people. Does this idea continue in the New Testament?

Hebrews 10:1
1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.

The Old Testament prefigures and foreshadows New Testament truths; the Old is revealed more fully in the New. So, what does the New Testament teach us about confession of sin?

1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We should confess our sins to one another. But do we confess our sins to just anybody?

James 5:13-16
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Here the word of God tells us to call the elders (the Greek word is presbuteroi, or “presbyter”, from which the English word “priest” is derived. So, in this context, James is telling us to send for the priests who will pray over someone who is sick, and if he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Recalling the passage from Leviticus above, we see there is a strong parallel between the priests of the Old Testament who made atonement for sin and the presbyters or priests of the New Testament to whom we confess sins for forgiveness. But this sounds like blasphemy! Can men really forgive sins? The Bible itself asks this question.

Mark 2:5-7
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7"Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

So, does the Bible teach that “God alone” can forgive sins? Not at all! This quotation is from the scribes who did not accept Jesus. So what does the Bible actually teach? Let’s consider the same incident from the book of Matthew.

Matthew 9:1-7
6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…" Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

The Bible teaches that God had given the authority to forgive sins “to men”. Note that this is not “to a man” but “to men” – plural. So, it is not only Jesus who has authority to forgive sins – “men” have this authority, also. This sounds like a “hard teaching”…is there confirmation of this in the Bible?

John 20:21-23
21 Again Jesus said,"Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

How did God send Jesus into the world? With the authority to forgive sins as we saw in Matthew 9:6. How does Jesus send the Apostles? In the same way that the Father had sent Him…with the authority to forgive sins as we have just seen in John 20:23. How could the Apostles obey the commandment of Jesus to forgive sins unless they heard these sins confessed?

Only God can forgive sins, but he has chosen to do so through the ordained men of the priesthood and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that He Himself instituted.


#9

Great, Randy! I was hoping somebody would provide more meat…gobble, slurp…

Toten, you said

(regarding Confession) Public Revelation stopped with the death of the last aposlte so it stoping at the last aposltes death wouldn’t seem out of the question and Baptism, which is also a sacrament in Catholicism, can under certain circumstances be given by anyone, so there seems to be another plauseable outlet.

I wish I understood better what you are asking! Did LilyM’s answer cover it for you?


#10

What I was trying to get at in my quote was, Mr. Toaslan, was that there were certian circumstances Apostolic peropotives either died out (as was the case of Public Revelation when John the Beloved died, which the Catholic Church holds to) and Bishops can’t continue and some sacraments which don’t nessesarly need be done by the Catholic Clergy (The Catholic Church if I am not mistaken will except baptism of any church, group or whatever as long as it is done in the Trinitiarian form). I brought that up to demonstrate that the bible, and even in the Catholic Church there seem to be things which don’t seem to imply Apostolic Succesion or the Bible would have kept going past Acts of the Apsotles and Revelation and Methodist (as well as Baptist, Adventist, and others) Baptism would not be “Valid”. I hope this explains what I meant.

As far as Mrs.(?) LilyMs Answer, it did raise interest but, I fear I usually lay short answers as a thing that sparks interest and not settles a subject. So if there is any more resource Material to be had, would you be as so kind as to give me a list so I could aquire them by some means?


#11

Wow! I can’t even begin to compete with what these people said. But I can tell you this: however embarassing, difficult, and inconvenient it may be to go to confession… there is nothing like hearing those words, “I absolve you…”

Granted, if you’re not Catholic that’s a bunch of tripe. But wow! If you ain’t done it, you should!


#12

Public Revelation ended with the death of the Apostle John, yes. Apostolic Perogatives (is that it?) would not be the same thing as Public Revelation.

Catholics say Apostolic Succession-- the authority (real power) that Jesus gave to Peter and the Apostles-- was passed on by them to their successors, those they laid hands on and made leaders in the baby church.

If this is what you mean by Apostolic perogatives, then these perogatives **did not die out **with the Apostles.

some sacraments … don’t nessesarly need be done by the Catholic Clergy…there seem to be things which don’t seem to imply Apostolic Succesion, **otherwise? **the Bible would have kept going past Acts…and Revelation; which would mean that? …Methodist (as well as Baptist, Adventist, and others) Baptism would not be “Valid”. I hope this explains what I meant. (and I hope you don’t mind my inserting for my own clarity those bits in bold)

yes, I think you are fusing Public Revelation with Apostolic Authority/Succession.

We say the one ended, the other didn’t.

As for the Sacraments, and which require a priest and which don’t, and why, maybe later!

if there is any more resource Material to be had, would you be as so kind as to give me a list so I could aquire them by some means?

Were any of the resources posted for you in prior links of interest to you? If not, maybe you would specify more exactly what you want to research? Do you want to know why a priest is necessary to “confect” the Sacrament of Confession? but not necessary to confect the Sacrament of Baptism? What it takes to make a valid Confession? Apostolic Succession? Authority? Perogatives?


#13

Confession and Forgiveness

Some people object to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (commonly called “Confession”) on the basis that they only need to confess their sins directly to God rather than to a priest. Is this perspective correct? Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

Leviticus 5:5-6
5 " 'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned 6 and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.

“The priest shall make atonement.” Clearly in the Old Testament, the priesthood existed to offer sacrifices and make atonement for the sins committed by the people. Does this idea continue in the New Testament?

Hebrews 10:1
1 The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.

The Old Testament prefigures and foreshadows New Testament truths; the Old is revealed more fully in the New. So, what does the New Testament teach us about confession of sin?

1 John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

We should confess our sins to one another. But do we confess our sins to just anybody?

James 5:13-16
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Here the word of God tells us to call the elders (the Greek word is presbuteroi, or “presbyter”, from which the English word “priest” is derived. So, in this context, James is telling us to send for the priests who will pray over someone who is sick, and if he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Recalling the passage from Leviticus above, we see there is a strong parallel between the priests of the Old Testament who made atonement for sin and the presbyters or priests of the New Testament to whom we confess sins for forgiveness. But this sounds like blasphemy! Can men really forgive sins? The Bible itself asks this question.

Mark 2:5-7
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7"Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"

So, does the Bible teach that “God alone” can forgive sins? Not at all! This quotation is from the scribes who did not accept Jesus. So what does the Bible actually teach? Let’s consider the same incident from the book of Matthew.

Matthew 9:1-7
1 Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. 2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? 5Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 6But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” 7And the man got up and went home. 8When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.

The Bible teaches that God had given the authority to forgive sins “to men”. Note that this is not “to a man” but “to men” – plural. So, it is not only Jesus who has authority to forgive sins – “men” have this authority, also. This sounds like a “hard teaching”…is there confirmation of this in the Bible?

(cont.)


#14

John 20:21-23
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

How did God send Jesus into the world? With the authority to forgive sins as we saw in Matthew 9:6. How does Jesus send the Apostles? In the same way that the Father had sent Him…with the authority to forgive sins as we have just seen in John 20:23. How could the Apostles obey the commandment of Jesus to forgive sins unless they heard these sins confessed?

Only God can forgive sins, but he has chosen to do so through the ordained men of the priesthood and the Sacrament of Reconciliation that He Himself instituted.


#15

Toten, it occurred to me, maybe you’d like to see “how to make a good confession”, that is, what exactly goes on in the confessional. There are tons of leaflets and little books on this. One suggestion is, you can drop by a Catholic Church on a Sunday morning, and browse through the racks in the lobby. Chances are there will be a leaflet or such on Confession, available for a quarter or whatever. You know that you can just drop in to a Catholic church when it’s open without explaining anything to anybody? No one would look twice at you.

But basically, the procedure is: before going into the confessinal, you examine your conscience against, say, the Ten Commandments, and pinpoint in what ways you have offended against them. In the confessional, the priest acts in persona Christi–it is Christ’s forgiveness he is ready to release to you. You state how long since your last confession. You list your sins–you accuse yourself of them, without any frills, no blaming and usually without context, no details. The priest may or may not ask for clarification and give advice or encouragement. He asks you to say an act of contrition, to hear that you do repent. Then he gives you some penance to do later, like some prayers. Then he says the words of absolution, releasing to you Christ’s forgiveness. Then out you go, with your sins “loosed” on earth and in heaven, and a sense of renewal.


#16

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