What did I do?

Here where I live also lives a young woman and since we both have dogs we talk about dogs, we are not friends, only acquaintances, and a while ago she did look sad so I did ask her if she want to talk about something. She said yes, and she told me what was on her mind, a sad story, and in that moment, she knows I am Catholic, she is Lutheran I think but she hardly practice her faith, I think, I saw that I needed to give her a advice that is against the teachings of the RCC, I did tell her that. Well, it did bug me a bit, so I did confessed it as a sin, which it was, and even got a penance for it. But here is the problem, she did tell me her story because she trusted in me. It was very personal and told to me in confidence, trusting that I will not mention it to anyone. (As I did write, in that situation I saw no other possibility to give her a advice that was against the teachings of the RCC, any other answer would have been wrong at that point, and it was not actually a religious dilemma.) So, did I sin twice? First giving the “wrong” answer and then again when I told it to “my” priest? To me it very important that if I give a advice I do so making sure it will cause more damage if possible and also that what ever people tell me in confidence I will never mention it to anybody. Should I confess also that I did tell “my” priest that I told him a thing I should not have been talking about?

It really depends on what is going on. Did you advise her to get an abortion, or to tell a white lie? If it was venial sin, I’d just let it go.

You probably shouldn’t give advice if you feel it necessary to stray from the teachings of the Church.

No, you did not sin by confessing. I hope that you did not identify your neighbor during your confession, but even if you did, the priest cannot repeat anything.

No, I did not tell who she is, actually, I don’t know her name but she live nearby. And I did not tell her to get an abort or lie. Her problem is not a problem as a Lutheran but I am Catholic, but in the circumstances, considering her state of mind, well, I am lay-person, but it was obvious for all that she was not thinking straight at that moment, and I did feel that I had to say something (this I did explain in my confession) to calm her down and give a bit of hope, and my advice did not in anyway put her in any kind of jeopardy but was [in my mind] and still is, the right thing to do.

People sometimes ask for my advice, why I don’t know, but I take it very serious every time, keeping in mind the person, his/hers mental state, is he/she maybe drunk or use any drugs, legal or illegal substances, what ever may affect the state of the person at that moment. I try to not give direct advises what to do or not. Most of the time they do not have anything to do with religion, and I try to stay away from religious issues because people in Finland, sad to say, seem to have some problems with some teachings the RCC teach, mostly it is only lack of knowledge and therefor they are not able to see the whole picture. This however was a matter where the Catholic doctrine and the Lutheran have a different view on the issue. Sometimes though, this I have learn by myself, it is not always a proper time to involve religion in the problem, and this was one of those times, I did tell her that I will pray for her, and I did send a prayer request to the Carmelite nuns in the convent we have here, but I did not give any specific details, only a reason why I wish they would pray for her. I still feel I did wrong when I did confess it, but I needed to be in peace with my life. I did not give any specific information to “my” priest neither, a very vague view and he was smart enough to not ask because I think he did understand I was not so happy about the whole thing. I still feel that my advice was right at that moment, I do regret I gave it, but there are times in your life when it is more important to say what your heart tell to speak then what you know is right. Right can be wrong, and vice versa, as I have said before, it is better to be a Christian first and then a good Catholic. She had nobody to talk with, and I happen to be available, why I don’t know, but I was.

It is no sin to tell the priest what you did/said but it definitely not okay to give somebody advice you know contradicts Church teachings. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are.

Why do you think I did confess the matter? I was aware of what I did say was against official teaching. And I have made up my mind, I will confess also the thing that I did tell somebody else what she thought was safe only me knowing it. Do you really think I did like to say what I did? I try not to sin on purpose. If I would have explained the whole thing to “my” priest he most likely would have absolve me without a penance but even in confession I did my best to keep what she did say to myself. And I also think that sometimes it is right to do wrong if the situation is critical and someone need to say/do something. The world we live in is not black and white.

You are wrong. It is NEVER right to do the wrong thing.
The Church teaching is very clear that you cannot do an evil even if the intent is to do good.
There are no exceptional circumstances.

This is true, and the church knows this.
Perhaps you misunderstand the church’s teaching on the subject. Perhaps she didn’t explain her situation fully.
I would have to see to believe that the teaching of the church is not the best advice for anyone. Of course, sometimes people are not ready to hear it, or it may be very difficult.
Impossible to say without knowing the situation, which you can’t tell us.
It looks like you did the best you could to be responsible under the circumstances. But think about whatever-it-is a little more, because the teaching of the church is meant for our good, to help us get to heaven.

Absolutely. :thumbsup:
Falls under the banner of ‘enduring truth and the absolute’.

Without reveal any details, if I would have given any other advice there would be one more in heaven. And no, I am not better then you or anyone else, not even close, but I try to do my best.

I do understand the teachings, and I agree with them all, otherwise I would not be Catholic. They are not only important, they are all we really need to know. Sometimes though one must do what is wrong in order to get it right. This was one of those times.

I seldom give any advice, except for this forum, but this is very different, problems we read are sometimes serious but the difference is that here those who answer have the luxury of time. A OP wait for more then one answer, and with time he/she also have time to calm down and maybe see that it maybe is not so bad as it first did look like.

We must follow the “rules”, that is very important. The “rules” are there for a very good reason. We maybe not always like them, but the truth is that we are supposed to fit The Church, not the other way around. And that is a thing I agree 100%. But I would just like to say this: once, a long time ago, I was not even Catholic then, it must be thirty years and more since, there was a neighbour who wanted to talk, she was a mess and all over the place. I did not listen, I did not say anything that would have been useful for her, well, I should have. I try to not make the same mistake twice.

I understand you very well, but I wish you would understand me, and where I live, and that not all people are religious, it is no use to talk about God to a person who have no faith. I don’t understand how you do it, but I meet and know more people who are not Catholic then those who are, in fact, I know only one and he did move to Switzerland a while ago. In Finland there are 12.000 Catholics and the population is if I remember right, over five million so what are the odds that I meet another Catholic? I can’t even attend Mass so…please don’t be angry at me, I do what I can, and I did what I could, and I am not sure if it was enough, haven’t seen her around for a while. Would I do the same thing in a similar situation again? Yes, I would, but don’t be angry, I have a hard time to get along right now, but it will be OK in a while I hope. (Family problems.)

Almost the entire population of Finland is Christian, so are you saying that the advice you gave the person not only contradicts Catholic Church teaching but Christian teaching in general?

When you say you can’t attend Mass where do you live? Finland has Catholic churches.

You saw someone in pain and responded with what you thought you needed to do at that moment. As time passed, you had a remorse that you offended God, so sought His gift of Confession.

But here is the problem, she did tell me her story because she trusted in me. It was very personal and told to me in confidence, trusting that I will not mention it to anyone. (As I did write, in that situation I saw no other possibility to give her a advice that was against the teachings of the RCC, any other answer would have been wrong at that point, and it was not actually a religious dilemma.) So, did I sin twice? First giving the “wrong” answer and then again when I told it to “my” priest?

You did not sin in making your confession. You confessed your sin, you did not “tell” your priest the issue of the hurting young lady, you were describing your sin which involved speaking to a hurting young lady.

If you described information to the priest so that he understood what you were confessing and in that you said “a young lady told me … and I told her…”, you were not “telling the priest the lady’s confidential issues”, you were seeking Sacramental Confession.

If I were you, when your priest comes back next month, talk with him about this. Let him know, “I confessed to you that I told a person … as I was sorry to have sinned in telling someone this. As time passed, it concerned me that I may have sinned against the person since the information they shared with me was in confidence. It hurt me that maybe I had sinned against that person when I spoke with you about it since it was in confidence they spoke to me. Father, help me understand if what I did was a second sin.”

(If the priest believes this is a second sin - confess it in the Sacrament. However, I think the priest will help you understand that you did not sin a second time when making the confession about being sorry you gave someone advise against the Teachings of the Church.)

To me it very important that if I give a advice I do so making sure it will cause more damage if possible and also that what ever people tell me in confidence I will never mention it to anybody. Should I confess also that I did tell “my” priest that I told him a thing I should not have been talking about?

I’m not sure she is remorseful. She stated in her last post that given the same situation arising again she would commit the same sin. Did she tell the priest that? Valid Confession and absolution is based on sincere Confession and firm intent NOT to sin again. She is openly saying here she would do the same thing over again.

First of all, I am a HE, not a SHE.

I suffer from severe depression and panic-attacks, that is why I am retired even though I am only 53. A priest come every month to her my confession and bring me Communion.

My advice did not contradict Lutheran teaching, the “official” Church in Finland. (I will not comment on how right or wrong it maybe, I will not slander any Church on this earth. I respect the fact that here are some Lutheran members.) Do you really think I would say something against Christian teaching. We must however accept the fact that all Christian Churches have a bit different view on what is right or wrong.

I really don’t like your harsh and absolutely not necessary hostile approach toward me. You have been like that all the time. I did commit a sin, I did confess and I got my penance, so I am forgiven so you have no right to judge me. You better stop. Do you try to provoke me? If you are, you will not succeed so stop NOW!

And yes, in order to help someone in need, or in real danger I would do it all over, and I think many here would. Remember the story about the Samaritan. If I can help or do good I will, no doubt.

I am simply querying if you were remorseful when you went to Confession as you have publicly stated here that given the same situation happening again you will commit the same sin again. You said that, not me.
It is NEVER acceptable to do an evil to achieve a good. There are no circumstances that make such a thing acceptable. The Church teaching is very clear on this.

I also don’t understand your comment “Do you really think I would say something against Christian teaching”. Catholics are Christians and you said you did say something contrary to Church teaching.

I was remorseful, and I did confess because I did something that was to a certain point against the teaching of The RCC, however, it was not against Lutheran doctrine practiced by The Lutheran Church in Finland. What is very important to recognize is that all Christian Churches have their own doctrine that may or may not be against the official teaching of The RCC. As you very well know The Roman Catholic Church do recognize many Sacraments The Lutheran Church administer as fully valid. This particular issue had nothing to do with any Sacrament in any given Christian Church in the world to my knowledge. Make no mistake, I have not and will never say or do anything against the Sacraments of The RCC. In this specific matter it was a question that in it self had nothing to do with any Christian teaching as such, but it was against, up to a certain point, against the official Teaching given by The Roman Catholic Church. It did not however violated any Christian doctrine.

I fully understand that it may be impossible to understand, completely, that there are other Christian Churches and that they have different teachings even if they do not teach anything that is against Christian teaching and faith if you live in a land where The RCC is the majority Church. If separated, some doctrines are interpreted in different fashion but are still loyal to the understanding of The Holy Bible. We simply must face the fact that all are not Catholics. I am Catholic, and I follow the official doctrine, because I am Catholic. Christ did teach us that it is always charitable to do a good deed. So I ask you this: a person is standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, (this is not the circumstances in the event where I did not follow the teachings) and to be able to save that person is to say something, as a advice, that are against official doctrine of The RCC. What would you do?

You do not try to save them by lying. You try to find another way, and yes there is always another way.

By the way, if the Lutheran Church or any other one teaches something that contradicts the teachings of the Catholic Church then it is the teachings of the other churches that are wrong. You are not permitted to agree with any teaching of other Christian churches that contradict the Catholic Church.

The OP is a man.

**thistle: “I’m not sure she is remorseful.” **

You have no need to be sure or call into question if the OP is remorseful.

We should not doubt that the OP was sorry. He stated it in the following way:

, and even got a penance for it.

So, did I sin twice? First giving the “wrong” answer and then again when I told it to “my” priest?

It is not my place to know if the OP, or anyone but myself, is remorseful when they make their confession. It is not my place to question anyone, but myself, to ask or call into question if they are sorry. The OP said that it “bugged” him and he sought the Sacrament of Confession because it was a sin.

When a person seeks the Sacrament of Confession - they are telling God and the priest that they are sorry. They normally pray an Act of Contrition out loud, before the priest as part of the Sacrament of Confession.

Your message about a valid confession is a form of implying that the OP possibly did not have a valid confession. We are not called to question others on if they made a valid confession. Nor should you and I be discussing among ourselves if the OP made a valid confession.

Implying that someone may not have made a valid confession - therefore still unrepentant - is a form of judging, and we are not to do that.

To me, it is important that anyone reading the message in which you quoted me, is not lead to think “I will question if someone made a valid confession.” If someone tells us they confessed something, it is not our place to think “was it valid, were they remorseful, did they tell the priest all their thoughts.”

To me, there should be no conversation here questioning the validity of the OPs confession. He told us that his action bugged him and he confessed it as a sin. The statement that you, thistle, are “not sure she (correction: he) is remorseful” does not matter.

The point I am trying make and it is a general one and that is if someone has no intention of not committing again the sin they are confessing how can there be contrition?

While you may be making a general point, your post below is about a specific person making a specific confession and it is not for us to make statements.

No one needs to explain to another person that they have contrition when they confessed their sins to God through the priest in the Sacrament of Confession.

We do not need to understand the contrition of another penitent, nor question “how”.

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