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Unread 20th February 2012, 02:08 PM
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10 Random Thoughts on Confession

A post over at Fr. Z's place got me to thinking about confession. Since we're heading into Lent, I though I type out some random thoughts on the subject. . .

1). Confession is all about receiving the forgiveness we have all already been given. We cannot earn forgiveness by works, attitude, or even confession itself; if we could, it would be a wage not a grace (i.e. a gift).


2). Penance is not a punishment for sin. Completing the penance you've been given is a sign that you have received God's forgiveness and resolved not to sin again. This is why I always assign sin-appropriate psalms as penance.


3). Priests rarely remember the sins of individual penitents. Some believe that this is a grace from God given so that the confessor is spared the difficulty of carrying around the memories of sin. Sounds good to me. Frankly, I think the explanation is more mundane: priests have heard it all and sin is boring.


4). Explaining your sins in the confessional is unnecessary and time-consuming. Just say what you did and leave it at that. If more info is needed, your confessor will ask. Explanations generally come across as attempts to excuse the sin.


5). Ask for counsel if you need it. Most experienced confessors will know when counsel is needed, but it never hurts to ask. Just keep in mind that there are others waiting to confess!
Continued- 10 Random Thoughts on Confession...
__________________
The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, itís more than that. Itís a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.


- Fr. Gregory Jensen
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