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Featured Must Confession be Catholic?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Tree of Life, Dec 7, 2017 at 12:23 PM.

  1. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    As a Reformed believer I've always admired the Catholic practice of confession. I think that it ends up having some theological pitfalls and my Catholic brothers are welcome to correct me if I'm misunderstanding them. But to me, the pitfalls are:
    1. A notion of penance which appears to be a form of re-payment for our sins.
    2. The insistence that an ordained priest must hear confession in order for a person to receive forgiveness (extenuating circumstances aside).
    Reformed types, and by extension most Protestants, have rejected these theological pitfalls, but why have we rejected the practice of confession altogether? The idea of fixed hours wherein parishioners may come to the pastor or elders of the church in order to confess their sins seems to me to be a wonderful help against the corruptions of the flesh. Yet this is not advertised, encouraged, or even practiced among reformed believers and protestants alike.

    Why not? Wouldn't we benefit from it?
     
  2. Tom Farebrother

    Tom Farebrother Active Member Supporter

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    I tend to confess my sins fairly regularly to a Christian friend. I find it helpful to say the least, I think it’s part of maintaining your spiritual health
     
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  3. Winken

    Winken Jonah !!! Supporter

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    I've been a member / teacher / etc. in several Christian assemblies, so my vote is "no".
     
  4. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    Could you clarify what you're saying "no" to?
     
  5. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member

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    It would seem by 'Catholic' you mean Roman Catholic.

    So the answer is , 'no', confession does not have to be RCC.
    There is confession in the Orthodox Church that does not have the pitfalls you mentioned.
    Generally confession is made to the parish priest but there are exceptions.
    Confession in the Orthodox Church (OrthodoxWiki article)

    From the Greek Archdiocese on the Sacraments:
    According to Orthodox teaching, the penitent confess to God and is forgiven by God. The priest is the sacramental witness who represents both Christ and His people. The priest is viewed not as a judge, but as a physician and guide. It is an ancient Orthodox practice for every Christian to have a spiritual father to whom one turns for spiritual advice and counsel. Confession can take place on any number of occasions. The frequency is left the discretion of the individual. In the event of serious sin, however, confession is a necessary preparation for Holy Communion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 12:48 PM
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  6. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Confession could be helpful in same cases. Maybe pastoral counseling has filled that role to some extent in Protestant churches. Having said that though, there may be a reason for a confessional booth in Catholicism. Some personal struggles are best confessed to God.
     
  7. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    We--and perhaps you in your church, too--practice confession. It's done by the whole congregation as a part of the worship service and as a prelude to receiving Communion. The idea of creating a new sacrament in addition might be seen as superfluous.

    The Roman Catholic Church would deny, however, both of the points you had reservations about. The prayers given to be said after the absolution are merely a token of your penitence, not something that makes the confession effective or something that 'pays for' the remission of sin. And, strictly speaking, a private confession to a priest is not considered absolutely necessary in order to be forgiven of your sins.
     
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  8. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    As a massive sinner i am constantly in confession.

    It is a wonderful sacrament. It means so much to me. I yearn for it when I have sinned. I truly believe that God gave us this wonderful sacrament.

    Jesus sent out His Apostles to forgive sins. Our priests are doing that. But, not on their own merit but through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Believe me. When one has confessed and been absolved and leaves the confessional, it is such a very special moment indeed. You can feel God's forgiveness straight away!
     
  9. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    This is what I doubt. What personal struggles would be made worse if we confessed them to a mature brother or a pastor? What wouldn't be made better?
     
  10. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    Thanks. I'll look into this.
     
  11. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    I'm not for creating a new sacrament. But I am for picking up a useful spiritual discipline. There's something about personal confession which does more damage to sin than the communal confession that occurs in the church service.

    This is not what I read when I read their section on penance in their catechism. Maybe I'll review it again.
     
  12. Goatee

    Goatee Jesus, please forgive me, a sinner.

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    But, one does not confess to the priest! One confesses to God! The priest is just a vessel.
     
  13. FenderTL5

    FenderTL5 Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome.
    Note while you were responding, I edited my initial post adding a statement from the Greek Archdiocese.
    God bless
     
  14. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Possibly. It depends on a level of trust with the mature brother or pastor. As I've heard a Nazarene professor/pastor remark, he did not want people to tell him their stories (embarrassing ones, I assume), because he had to look at them next Sunday.
     
  15. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    Aw :(.

    That sounds to me like a bad case of not understanding the gospel and the depth of ones own sin.
     
  16. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you appreciate confession, though I think for many Catholics its simply a mechanistic thing, much as how they view other sacraments, and they do not see it as a moment for Jesus, through the priest, to declare their sins are forgiven. That's why I prefer the Lutheran understanding that it is more like a form of preaching, one applied to the individual. Not for the purpose of being your judge, but to strengthen your faith.
     
  17. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    I don't see why confession to an individual would be necessary in order to rightly partake of communion. But I see why it would be very useful.
     
  18. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Chillbro Swaggins

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    I was not aware that the Lutherans practiced confession. What does this look like in the Lutheran church?
     
  19. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, hearing confessions can be a heavy burden and it is not to be taken lightly. And some churches do not have the spiritual discipline to hear confessions. Giving a confession should not be done lightly, either. It requires complete secrecy and no one should feel compelled to confess their sins when they do not have the assurance the confession is sealed.
     
  20. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    Not you personally. Obviously, the formal sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession exists, depending on the church. I was referring to the fact that private confession as we know it and as you were referring to it was not practiced in the Apostolic church but came along later in time.


    It is something of a technicality, but certainly the church admits that a person might come to Christ while a prisoner in North Korea, let's say, and not have any opportunity to receive any of the sacraments. But if he's repentant, would he be lost if he were killed by the authorities? The church would not say that. On the other hand, the church does require members to go to sacramental confession on a certain schedule.
     
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