Tag: Sacrament Of Confession

15 Reasons To Go To Confession And Why Catholics Confess Sins To Priests

15 Reasons To Go To Confession And Why Catholics Confess Sins To Priests

Can You Go Straight To God?

Yes and no. We are told, as we see clearly in Scripture that we are to confess our sins to one another. Thus, the ordinary way we have our grave sins forgiven is through the Sacrament of Confession. Thus, this is the way that Christ has established as the ordinary way to forgive grave (i.e. mortal) sins. But, there are extreme situations where God may forgive grave sins outside of Confession if the person has perfect contrition (sorrow) for their sins, but these are extraordinary.

Can Only Catholics Have Sin Forgiven?The simple answer is no. While confession is the ordinary way to have your sins forgiven, it is not the only way. The Catechism says:

“When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible” (CCC 1452).

If someone is not Catholic (thus they do not have recourse to the Sacrament), then they can be forgiven, with perfect contrition and confession of their sins to God. If a non-Catholic is in situation of death, they can receive the Sacrament – if they are a baptized Christian.

“If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other Christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they show the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.” (Code of Canon Law, canon 844.4)

Here are 15 Reasons Why You Need To Go To Confession!

  1. God commanded we confess our sins to one another in the scripture. (James 5:16).
  2. We receive grace to resist sin through the Sacrament, as well as forgiveness.
  3. We learn humility by having to confess to another person.
  4. We receive counsel from the priest.
  5. We can be comforted hearing the words of absolution.
  6. Helps give you the strength to forgive others.
  7. We may not be positive that we have “perfect” contrition without it.
  8. Assists us to go deep within and think about how we can improve.
  9. When we realize (again) we are sinners, it is easier to be patient with others.
  10. Always confidential – what is said in the confessional stays in the confessional.
  11. No more guilt.
  12. We are better prepared to receive the Eucharist.
  13. Forgiveness is an essential part of growing in holiness.
  14. Our consciences can be better formed.
  15. If we have mortally sinned, then Confession brings us back into the family of God – The Church as well as restores sanctifying grace in our souls!
Don’t Be Afraid or Ashamed To Go To Confession Says Pope Francis

Don’t Be Afraid or Ashamed To Go To Confession Says Pope Francis

Trusting in God’s infinite mercy, people should not be afraid or embarrassed to go to confession, Pope Francis said.

“There are people who are afraid to go to confession, forgetting that they will not encounter a severe judge there, but the immensely merciful Father,” Pope Francis told thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square Aug. 2 for the midday recitation of the Angelus prayer.

The pope also told the people gathered under a scalding sun that “when we go to confession, we feel a bit ashamed. That happens to all of us, but we must remember that this shame is a grace that prepares us for the embrace of the Father, who always forgives and always forgives everything.”

In his main address the pope commented on the day’s Gospel reading from the Gospel of St. John, which recounts how the crowds followed Jesus after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.

“Those people followed him for the material bread that had placated their hunger the day before,” Francis said. “They didn’t understand that that bread, broken for many, was the expression of the love of Jesus.”

“They gave more value to the bread than to the giver,” the pope said.

Feeding the crowd, he said, Jesus wanted to lead people to the Father and to a life that was about more than just “the daily worries of eating, dressing, success or a career.”

Every person has within him or her a hunger for life, for meaning and for eternity, Francis said. Jesus satisfies that hunger with the gift of himself on the cross and in the Eucharist.

“Jesus does not eliminate preoccupations and the search for daily bread,” the pope said. However, “Jesus reminds us that the real meaning of our earthly existence is the end — eternity — the encounter with him, who is gift and giver.”

In giving himself, Pope Francis said, Jesus also gives people a task: “that we, in turn, satisfy the spiritual and material hunger of our brothers and sisters by proclaiming the Gospel everywhere.”



6 Lessons I’ve learned Going To Confession

6 Lessons I’ve learned Going To Confession

 

Pope Francis has made it his mission to try to coax people back to confession.

“There are people who are afraid to go to confession, forgetting that they will not encounter a severe judge there, but the immensely merciful Father,” he’s said.

In my own trips to confession, I have learned that — and more.

I learned to take some sins more seriously.

I once wrote about the priest who heard my first confession in college after many years away. Five years later, when I was engaged to be married, I was back in the same confessional with the same priest. I went through a rote list of sins including, “I held a grudge against my fiancé for about a week,” and then moved on to “Also, I didn’t help my roommates out around the house as much as I should.”

The priest spoke sharply to me for the first time in five years.

“You did what?” he said.

“I didn’t help my roommates around the house enough?” I said.

“You didn’t forgive your fiancé! Son, you are going to be married soon. You had better get your moral life in order!”

I was a little stung by the comment, but the more I thought about it — and I thought about it a lot, for weeks, and then years — the more sense it made. There I was, looking for forgiveness and not willing to give it. Jesus himself warned against that.

I learned to take some sins less seriously.

A caring priest in the confessional can be a great blessing. But sometimes an unconcerned priest can be a blessing, too.

Once, when I was working in San Francisco’s financial district, a sin I no longer remember weighed heavily on my soul, and I was convinced it was a terrible thing. I think I even refrained from receiving Communion over it. I went to the French parish by Chinatown and shudderingly unburdened my soul.

“That’s it?” said the priest, nonplussed.

“Yes?” I said, already realizing how underwhelming the sin was.

“Well, this kind of thing happens,” he said, assigning me a Hail Mary and then hurrying through absolution.

His indifference was a balm to my soul, convincing me that my sin had been no big deal after all.

I learned that you can’t negotiate with sin.

I once confessed to a great priest in New Haven, Connecticut. I had looked where I shouldn’t on the internet, but my rationalization made perfect sense to me. It was related to a news story, I was a journalist, and it was my duty to know what I was writing about.

I mentioned it in confession, then hurried on to, “Also, I didn’t help around the house enough …”

“Wait, let’s talk more about that,” he said.

“About not helping around the house?” I asked.

“No, the sin before that.”

The priest then subjected me to a cross examination that revealed that my rationalizations were weak and self-deceptive. I did not, in fact, need to see first-hand the darkest part of the story I was covering.

“You can’t play games with Almighty God,” he told me. Those words have come back to interrupt my rationalizations many times since.

I learned that priests are sometimes willing to negotiate.

My desk is a perfect illustration of the second law of thermodynamics — that disorder increases over time unless order intervenes.

I know the only sins I must confess are the grave ones, but I felt bad enough about my desk to confess its messiness once to a parish priest in Washington, D.C.

“For your penance,” he said, “I want you to clean your desk.”

I balked. “Um, Father, I don’t think I am capable of that,” I said. “Could I get a different penance?”

The priest relented, but I learned that I needed to be actually repentant about sins I confess, and not just use the confessional to alleviate the guilt while keeping the sin.

I also learned that some priests won’t negotiate.

Actually, I learned this through a college friend’s experience. Let’s call him Doug. Doug was going to confession way too often. I try to go monthly — he was going more than once a week.

The priest strongly recommended he come less often, but Doug kept coming. Finally, the priest got fed up, and had a great idea: He started giving Doug 10 push-ups as penance every time he came to confession.

Doug hated physical exercise and begged for 10 Hail Marys instead. “No. Push-ups,” said the priest.

Doug decided to stop going to confession quite so often.

I learned that you don’t need to “feel forgiven,” either.

I once confessed a sin that continued to bother me after I confessed it. So I brought it up in confession again, explaining, “I don’t think I said this right the last time.”

The priest said, “That’s already forgiven. Don’t doubt God. Get over it.”

One of my favorite confessional stories makes this point powerfully. It happened after Jesus appeared to Margaret Mary and told her to establish devotion to the Sacred Heart.

Her confessor wanted to make sure Jesus was really appearing to her, so he said, “Next time our Lord appears to you, ask him to tell you the last mortal sin I confessed.”

She did, and when she returned to confession, he asked her what Jesus answered. “He said, ‘I don’t remember,’” she told him. He had forgiven and forgotten it.

And with that, the confessor knew that she had really seen Jesus.

That kind of total forgiveness is an experience every one of us has in the confessional.



The Sins That I Must Confess

The Sins That I Must Confess

If we are always in sin, how can we recognize which ones to confess? Should we confess only the ones we are conscious of?

These questions are rather interesting, because normally when discussing the Sacrament of Confession, people want to know how little they can confess, not how much they should confess. So the reader is at least approaching the sacrament with the right intention.

Still, there’s something about the second question that indicates that he may be suffering from scrupulosity—that is, in the words of Fr.

John A. Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, “The habit of imagining sin where none exists, or grave sin where the matter is venial.” When the reader asks, “Should we confess only the [sins] we are conscious of?” one might be tempted to reply, “How can you confess sins you’re not conscious of?” But that is precisely the condition that those who suffer from scrupulosity find themselves in.

MORTAL SINS

Wanting to do what is right—to make a full, complete, and contrite confession—the scrupulous person begins to wonder if perhaps he has forgotten some of his sins. Perhaps there are certain sins that he has often fallen prey to in the past, but he doesn’t remember indulging in them since his last confession. Should he confess them anyway, just to be on the safe side?

The answer is no. In the Sacrament of Confession, we are required to list all of our mortal sins by kind and frequency. If we aren’t aware of committing a mortal sin, we cannot confess such a sin without bearing false witness against ourselves.

Of course, if we go to Confession frequently, the likelihood of forgetting a mortal sin is fairly low.

VENIAL SINS

Venial sins, on the other hand, are often easier to forget, but we aren’t required to list all of our venial sins in Confession. The Church strongly recommends that we do so, because “regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1458).

If we often fall prey to a particular venial sin, confessing it (and going to Confession frequently) may help us eradicate it. But if confessing venial sins is not technically required, then forgetting to confess one is not something we need to worry about.

Indeed, while we should avoid all sin, venial as well as mortal, scrupulosity can pose a grave danger to our spiritual growth, especially because it can lead some to avoid Confession out of fear of making a bad confession. If you find yourself worried that you have forgotten sins you should confess, you should mention that concern to your priest during your next confession. He can help set your mind at ease and give you some tips on how to avoid the danger of scrupulosity.



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