I think I’m on my way back to the faith after about 10-15 years (with some Protestant churchgoing in that time), and one of the things I’m having to re-learn - or indeed understand properly for the first time - is the concept of reparations, partly for myself but particularly for the sins of others.
This is all a bit foreign to me after my incomplete formation in the Catholic faith as a child, and after some significant Protestant influence.
I am just about on board with the idea of me doing penance for my own sins, as a kind of temporal justice for them. I still have a bit of trouble understanding why - after Confession and penance - I would still have to offer things up in atonement for my sins (wouldn’t God’s mercy have covered it by now?). Is this where indulgences come in? Are they our way of trying to go the extra mile to heal our relationship with God? I’m not trying to cop out here, just trying to understand what Jesus’ part has done and what our part should be,
What I’m having a bit more trouble is the concept of reparations for other people’s sins. My understanding is that I will have to give an account to God for my sins, but not others’ (unless, perhaps, I led them into sin somehow). Why do we have a responsibility to make reparations for the sins of others? Is it supposed to be an act of charity to ask for forgiveness for our brothers and sisters within the church (and those outside of it)? Is it praying that they will seek mercy and stepping in for them where they can’t/won’t see the error of their ways?
Again, I suppose it’s that Protestant mentality of feeling that Jesus has covered a lot of this.
Gotta dash to work, hope this makes sense!