What does penance for us?

Is the penance assigned after confession meant to help ‘re-shape ourselves’, or does it also (in addition to this) reduce or omit the temporal punishment in purgatory for the sins we just confessed and had forgiven? I’m reading a book that is confusing me…

[quote=Elzee]Is the penance assigned after confession meant to help ‘re-shape ourselves’,

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Yes.

or does it also (in addition to this) reduce or omit the temporal punishment in purgatory for the sins we just confessed and had forgiven?

Yes.

After my recent surgery I was required to undergo a program of rehabilitation to strengthen weakened systems.

I think penance is the same. It is spiritual rehab.

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Yes.

Yes.
[/quote]

In regard to you second ‘yes’ - does it remit all or just some of the temporal punishment for those sins?
(thanks dave!)

Elzee,

In regard to you second ‘yes’ - does it remit all or just some of the temporal punishment for those sins?
(thanks dave!)

I’m just shootin’ from the hip here, and haven’t really researched the question, however…

It depends, I think. At times it may, and at times it may not. The sacramental absolution (remission of sin) is a grace confered ex opere operato (by virture of the valid sacrament). However, the temporal punishment of the sin still exists even after remission of the eternal effects of sin. Think of King David, who was forgiven by God for his sinfulness, but was promptly penalized severely for his sins.

How much punishment must we endure for our sins? I think only God knows that. The priest gives his judgment, but his facts are limited. He cannot see into your heart and know the impediments (or malice) with regard to your intellect and will. He likely does not have all the details to give the perfect penance for the sin committed. Something in my heart tells me that the one Hail Mary I was given just isn’t enough. Perhaps Father is more merciful in his judgement of me than I am. http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon11.gif

Thus, I don’t believe the act of performing the penance confers grace *ex opere operato *but instead confers grace *ex opere operantis *(by virtue of piety of the person doing the penance). The piety and attentiveness of each person doing the penance varies, so I don’t think we can say that one’s temporal punishment is always totally remitted or not with much certainty.

That’s why we should be doing acts of spiritual and corporeal mercy every day. That’s why partial and plenary indulgences are a blessing. We also have a “day of penance” on every Friday, when Catholics ought to be doing a special act of penance in communion with the Church universal, in rememberance of the passion and crucifixion of Christ on the Friday before he rose from the dead. Such communal acts of penance include abstaining from consuming meat, or some other act of penance as recommended by the Church.

Such acts of mercy are penitential, if not all temporal punishment for your past sins have been satisfied, and meritorious, if all temporal punishment for your past sins have already been satisfied. So, yer either paying off a penalty or building up spiritual rewards when you faithfully perform pious works of mercy. And if you offer your indulgence on behalf of the souls in purgatory, then your works of mercy benefit the Church Suffering as well. :wink:

See here for more:

Ex Opere Operantis
Ex Opere Operato

Thank you!

While the Sacrament of Penance always takes away all eternal punishment, it does not always take away all temporal punishment. It was taught to me that the Sacrament of Penance heals the wound of sin in the will. The wounds of sin in the soul itself are healed by temporal punishment, either in this life or in Purgatory.

However it is important to remember that the Sacrament must be worthily received in order for it to have any value at all.

The reason I’m asking is a friend of mine gave me a book by Fr. John Foley called ‘Believing in Jesus’. I’ve only skimmed parts of it so I’m not sure what it is like overall, but a few things on the Sacrament of Reconciliation are worded strangely to me. It caught my eye that when it talks about the sacrament, it mentions forgiveness, but there is no mention of temporal punishment still being needed for our sins. When it talks about penance, it says it is ‘balm’ for us, but no mention that it impacts our temporal punishment, no mention of purgatory. Anyone know anything about this book? Thank you.

[quote=Elzee]The reason I’m asking is a friend of mine gave me a book by Fr. John Foley called ‘Believing in Jesus’. I’ve only skimmed parts of it so I’m not sure what it is like overall, but a few things on the Sacrament of Reconciliation are worded strangely to me. It caught my eye that when it talks about the sacrament, it mentions forgiveness, but there is no mention of temporal punishment still being needed for our sins. When it talks about penance, it says it is ‘balm’ for us, but no mention that it impacts our temporal punishment, no mention of purgatory. Anyone know anything about this book? Thank you.
[/quote]

I have not heard of this book, but I will say that there is a general growing disbelief in Purgatory and Hell also for that matter, by many in the Church today including many in the Priesthood. From what I have seen the general trend today seems to be towards an acceptance of the Protestant belief of universal salvation and forgiveness of sins for all regardless of condition. I think the general downplaying of the impoirtance of reconciliation among many is further evidence of exactly that.

[quote=palmas85]I have not heard of this book, but I will say that there is a general growing disbelief in Purgatory and Hell also for that matter, by many in the Church today including many in the Priesthood. From what I have seen the general trend today seems to be towards an acceptance of the Protestant belief of universal salvation and forgiveness of sins for all regardless of condition. I think the general downplaying of the impoirtance of reconciliation among many is further evidence of exactly that.
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Palmas85:

What the Magisterium of the Church has to say on this can be found here:

PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
CHAPTER TWO THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING
Article 4 THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION
VI. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4C.HTM
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4D.HTM
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4E.HTM
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P4G.HTM

That comprises sctions 1440-1480.

This is part of it, which seems to be saying the attiude one takes the Sacrament in has a lot to do with whether or not the Temporal Punishment is taken away.

1472 - To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

In Christ, Michael

[quote=palmas85]I have not heard of this book, but I will say that there is a general growing disbelief in Purgatory and Hell also for that matter, by many in the Church today including many in the Priesthood. From what I have seen the general trend today seems to be towards an acceptance of the Protestant belief of universal salvation and forgiveness of sins for all regardless of condition. I think the general downplaying of the impoirtance of reconciliation among many is further evidence of exactly that.
[/quote]

Palmas85:

They deny the existense of Purgatory in spite of the fact that Purgatory can be shown by clear warrant of Scripture, that it is found in the works of the Church Fathers, and that it is reasonable.

Michael

[quote=palmas85]I . . . I will say that there is a general growing disbelief in Purgatory and Hell also for that matter, by many in the Church today including many in the Priesthood. . . . .
[/quote]

A young man told Padre Pio that he didn’t believe in hell. Padre Pio told him not to worry, he would belive in it when he got there. :eek:

Just To Chime In

Penance Remits The Eternal Punishment Of Sin And Restores Our Soul To Receive Sanctifying Grace. As Stated Above, Some Of The Temporal Sin Remains. This Is Why Indulgences Are Still Important, They Lessen The Temporal Punishment (partial Indulgence) Or Totally Remit It (plenary Indulgence). Any “stain” Of Since Left On Us When We Die Must Be Cleansed In Purgatory.

[quote=wuppas]Just To Chime In

Penance Remits The Eternal Punishment Of Sin And Restores Our Soul To Receive Sanctifying Grace. As Stated Above, Some Of The Temporal Sin Remains. This Is Why Indulgences Are Still Important, They Lessen The Temporal Punishment (partial Indulgence) Or Totally Remit It (plenary Indulgence). Any “stain” Of Since Left On Us When We Die Must Be Cleansed In Purgatory.
[/quote]

To clarify, the Sacrament of Penance remits the eternal punishment, but the part called “penance” or satisfaction pertains to remission of the temporal punishment, whereas the part called sacramental absolution remits eternal punishment.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia - Sacrament of Penance:

the ***absolution given by the priest to a penitent who confesses his sins with the proper dispositions remits both the guilt and the eternal punishment (of mortal sin)***. There remains, however, some indebtedness to Divine justice which must be cancelled here or hereafter (see PURGATORY). In order to have it cancelled here, the penitent receives from his confessor what is usually called his “penance” … In theological language, this penance is called satisfaction and is defined, in the words of St. Thomas: “The payment of the temporal punishment due on account of the offence committed against God by sin” (Suppl. to Summa, Q. xii, a. 3). … Satisfaction is not, like contrition and confession, an essential part of the sacrament, because the primary effect, i.e., remission of guilt and eternal punishment – is obtained without satisfaction; but it is an integral part, because it is requisite for obtaining the secondary effect – i.e., remission of the temporal punishment.

newadvent.org/cathen/11618c.htm

Elzee,

I was wrong about how grace is conferred for the penance part of the Sacrament of Penance. It too apears to be conferred ex opere operato.

[satisfaction in the sense of paying off the temporal punishment due to sin by salutary penitential works voluntarily undertaken after one’s sins have been forgiven], by which temporal punishment is removed, consists in this, that the penitent after his justification gradually cancels the temporal punishments due to his sins, either ex opere operato, by conscientiously performing the penance imposed on him by his confessor, or ex opere operantis, by self-imposed penances (such as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, etc.) and by bearing patiently the sufferings and trials sent by God; if he neglects this, he will have to give full satisfaction (satispassio) in the pains of purgatory (cf. Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, can. xiii, in Denzinger, n. 923).

Catholic Encyclopedia - Merit, newadvent.org/cathen/10202b.htm

[quote=Joe Kelley]A young man told Padre Pio that he didn’t believe in hell. Padre Pio told him not to worry, he would belive in it when he got there. :eek:
[/quote]

Great quote, I love it!!! :thumbsup:

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