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« "Behold My Works, Ye Mighty, And Despair!" | Main | Hebrews 6:4-6 and 1 John 1:9 »

October 05, 2006

Comments

John

So does that mean that we can not ask Jesus directly to forgive our sins? I'm fine with the concept of a priest, as God's instructed servant, pronouncing the forgiveness of a penetant's sins on behalf of God after a good confession, but does Catholic practice render moot the concept of confessing sin directly to Jesus and Jesus forgiving the sin? Confession seems more like an additional blessing/option God gives Catholics, than a mandatory single method for getting one's sins forgiven. Anyone know how this works? As a new Catholic, I plan I doing both priest managed Confession as well as personal/direct confession to Jesus.

Sincerely asking

Brother Cadfael

John,

So does that mean that we can not ask Jesus directly to forgive our sins?

No, we should do that all the time. Your plan is a wise one.

And notice that we do ask (and receive) forgiveness, for example, at the beginning of each Mass. But it should not replace sacramental confesion.

Four men went to great efforts to bring a paralytic man to Jesus. Jesus "saw their faith" and said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2)

Jesus pointed to a woman and said, "She wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair... I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much." (Luke 7:47)

"I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD' - and you forgave the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5)

"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10:43)

Tim J.

Jesus to the disciples:

"If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

John 20:23

chris-2-4

I know that this is not the true meaning of the occurence, but I have often observed it as symbolic of God ripping his garments. Early in the "trial" of Jesus he says something that the priests deem to be blasphemy and they rip their garments as a reaction.

At the moment that God's own son is put to death, the ultimate blasphemy, God rips the garment that covered his holy place.

Thoughts?

Tim J.

I'm no theologian, but I like that a lot, Chris.

It also doesn't preclude other symbolic meanings.

StubbleSpark

As a OSAS Christian, I never had a need to confess to anybody, priest or God. But my observation is that very few Protestants actually perform some sort of one-to-one confession. Part of this is because the necessity is not pressing (compared to Catholicism) but part of this is also because of lack of guidance from the Holy Spirit and not understanding what exactly is a sin and how grave it may be.

As for John's comment, I would like to remind you the Church teaches that her priests act in persona Christi when administering the sacraments (hence the priests must be male as Christ is male). Therefore it would be redundant to perform two confessions for the same sin.

Not only that, but such an attitude demonstrates a lack of faith in the Sacramental nature of the Church Christ established for the salvation of man and undercuts the very reason the Messiah would found a religious organization before ascending into Heaven.

Confession to a priest IS direct confession to God.

Sacramental confession is part of Jesus' plan for our sanctification and therefore we should not be tempted to muck with Sacred Tradition with (admittedly well-intentioned) traditions of men.

I

Jesus to the disciples:

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Matthew 6:14-15)

Who are the disciples?

Jesus said, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples." (John 8:31)

Maureen

There is a difference between me forgiving your sins against me (something every human being can do) and me forgiving your sins against Joe Bob, Mary Sue, and God. Jesus doing the latter was a shocking and blasphemous thing to the crowds, because only God had the power to forgive sins in such a way.

So when Jesus spoke to the crowd, he told them to forgive each other for their sins against each other. But when Jesus spoke to the Twelve, he delegated to them, through Him as God, the power to forgive and retain sins committed against anyone.

Confessing your sins in prayer to God and telling Him you're sorry and intend to do better is, in Catholic terms, an act of contrition; and many Catholics say one every day (or make a less formal mental one several times a day!). Also, there is a group confession of sins at the beginning of Mass, as a previous commenter noted. And Baptism wipes away all previously committed sins, too, and you don't even have to name them.

But if you want all your sins forgiven in the method instituted by Jesus Christ, with the power passed along by the Holy Spirit since that first Pentecost... well, that's Confession, with the priest acting in persona Christi. Now, that's not saying other methods won't work. But it seems kinda silly to snub Jesus' own plan.

Old Zhou

Personally, I had never heard the "tearing of the veil" used as a proof-text to reject confession to a priest. Maybe I need to get out more.

That veil, separating the Holy Place from the Holiest Place, separated the area where the priests could enter freely and frequently, with the lampstand and the bread of the presence, from the place where only the High Priest could enter once a year, with the blood of atonement, the place with the ark of the covenant and God's glory.
See: Exodus 26:31-35; Leviticus 16:1-14; Hebrews 9:1-28; Hebrews 10:19-25.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, we now have access to God. No more veil.

Tim J.

""If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Matthew 6:14-15)"

This verse gives no reference at all to the confessing of sins, to Jesus or anyone else. It doesn't even refer to the necessity of faith in Christ.

So, "Anon", from the verses you have quoted, are we forgiven because of our "faith", our "great love", our belief in Christ, our forgiveness of others...? Which one? Or all of the above? If I have enough love, is it okay that my faith is weak? If I believe in Jesus, but don't forgive others, am I forgiven or not?

I mean, if confession to a priest isn't how it happens (even though Jesus clearly gave this power to the Apostles), then how DOES it happen?

If you're going to quote proof texts, then you had better be able to harmonize them.

I

So, "Anon", from the verses you have quoted, are we forgiven because of our "faith", our "great love", our belief in Christ, our forgiveness of others...? Which one? Or all of the above?

Do you see faith, love, forgiveness and belief in Christ as different?

I mean, if confession to a priest isn't how it happens (even though Jesus clearly gave this power to the Apostles), then how DOES it happen?

When you truly meet the source of the power, then you will know.

bill912

Enjoying the jello-wrestling, Tim?

Tim J.

Our resident gnostic again? Or merely a random comment generator?

I see you weren't able to answer any of my questions, "Anon", except for the "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" silliness.

I claim victory, and claim this combox for the King of all Londinium!

I

I see you weren't able to answer any of my questions, "Anon", except for the "what is the sound of one hand clapping?" silliness.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for, including the answer to your question. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

If you believe.

Paul Hoffer

I was once taught that the tearing of the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple was symbolic in that the spirit of God no longer resided in the temple. The Jews believed that His Spirit resided in the Holy of Holies. At our parish, the Blessed Sacrament was placed inside the tabernacle behind the altar and that after the doors were closed, the veil around the tabernacle was then drawn close to show that Our Lord was present.

While it is true that only one priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on Yom Kippur to offer a sacrifice for the general forgiveness of sins, various sacrifices were made at the Temple, not just sin-offerings. Korban sacrifices were made there to seal a vow or in fulfillment of a vow or to atone when vows were not kept. Sacrifices were also offered as a part of the Nazarite vow, when women gave birth, when lepers were cured, or in thanksgiving,etc...

Until today, I have never heard of anyone claiming that the tearing of the veil signified anything else. According to my understanding, a devout Jew would not go to "confession" and tell a priest offering a sacrifice his sins. A devout Jew was required to make an oral confession, but it was not directed to anyone but God. (See e.g. Luke 18:10-13). Afterwards, the devout Jew would atone for his sin by offering a sacrifice to God and if possible, would attempt to make right by the person who he transgressed against.

If my understanding is in error, please correct me.

Tim J.

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for, including the answer to your question."

Believe WHAT, 'zackly?

If I believe Tinkerbell will LIVE???

If I believe in Magic in a Young Girl's Heart?

If I believe I'll have another beer...???

bill912

Yes, Tim, that last sounds like an excellent idea.

Tim J.

Skol!

J

Believe WHAT, 'zackly? If I believe I'll have another beer...???

Jesus replied, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

bill912

Slante, Tim

Terah

"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for, including the answer to your question. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Isn't the Scriptural verse you're alluding to more indicative of an assurance of faith rather than an actual guarantee that God will grant you anything you ask of Him, being that many times, what we ask of Him may not always be the Will of God? Thus, we many times witness and experience unanswered prayers.

Doesn't it speak more about having a faith that moves mountains rather than the more worldly view that if we ask God whatever it is we want of Him, he'll grant us it?

This seems as if we're belittling God in this way and reducing him to a "Genie-in-a-Bottle" kind of relationship rather than that which is a firm belief in Him and His Son as Lord and Saviour.

I

Isn't the Scriptural verse you're alluding to more indicative of an assurance of faith rather than an actual guarantee

No, not "more" indicative. In true faith, the "guarantee" is as true as can be.

many times, what we ask of Him may not always be the Will of God? Thus, we many times witness and experience unanswered prayers.

If you have faith, i.e. if you are faithful to God, there is no discrepancy between your will and God's.

Doesn't it speak more about having a faith that moves mountains rather than the more worldly view that if we ask God whatever it is we want of Him, he'll grant us it?

Yes, if you're talking about the granting of selfish wishes, but no otherwise, as Jesus said to the disciples, "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

This seems as if we're belittling God in this way and reducing him to a "Genie-in-a-Bottle" kind of relationship rather than that which is a firm belief in Him and His Son as Lord and Saviour.

No, it's recognition that God has given power to his true disciples. As true disciples, they are not apart from the Word. As Jesus said, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples."

Terah

"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

But did not Christ tell this specifically to his Apostles and, therefore, this applies only to them and those who would succeed their office and come after them (i.e., his bishoprick let another take - ACTS 1:20)?

If He meant the general Christian community, he would have announced this to the crowd and not specifically to his Apostles.

I

But did not Christ tell this specifically to his Apostles and, therefore, this applies only to them

You take a look yourself at Matthew 18 and see who you think the audience is. If you think the words apply only to the 12 Apostles, then the surrounding passages and other huge chunks of the gospels would only apply to them as well:

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
....
....
"If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
....
....
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."
...
...
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

David B.

I, You are therefore saying that unless a FINITE being forgives his brother, his brother will not be forgiven by God. That is completely unbiblical.

It makes no since to say that the authority of binding and loosing are given to ALL, because that would mean that A remorseless killer could tell himself his sins and then forgive himself. Only those who have been ordained by the Bishops of Christ's Holy Catholic Church and who are in communion with the Rome can validly forgive grave sins.

Terah

To 'Posted by: I | Oct 5, 2006 7:02:03 PM', you seemed to have glossed over two important things:

(1) The passage begins with: "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus..."

but most importantly, you did not pay attention to the important passage:

(2) "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

This passage is significant as it describes the severity of disobeying the Church.

The Greek word used here for hearing or not hearing the Church is parakouo: it means to disobey. In fact, it's from this Greek word that we get the Greek word parakoe which is used to refer to Adam's disboedience in Rom 5:19. This is quite significant since there's another word for which could have been used for disobedience which is the Greek word: apeitheia.

Thus, this appears to indicate that the severity of disobeying the Church is of the same severity as that of Adam's disobedience.

In fact, Jesus uses the strongest language possible to communicate the severity of disobeying his Church as he uses two groups of people that the Jews held as the worse possible. He who rejects the Church is to be treated as a heathen or a publican. Other translations say a gentile or a tax collector.

(This means that if one does not accept the teaching or the proclamation of the Church, this person ought to be excommunicated.)

The choice of these terms suggest that Jesus requires a policy of non-association with those who are discplined by Church leaders. (1 Cor 5:9-13, 2 Cor 6:14-15 in reference to the man guilty of incense).

Further, the words binding and loosing were well-known in the teachings of the rabbi of the time. Their regular meaning was to impose or to remove obligation by an authoritative decision or teaching.

Christ in Mt 18:18 is promising to ratify in Heaven anything that the Church declares here on earth when it is in reference to faith and morals.

Some Day

Mr. Jimmy, can you bad this "I"?
She/he is precisely doing what heretics can't do, promote errors. And it is getting annoying on how on a Catholic blog, were the law is not challanged but discussed is being forced to spotlight consistint error, possibly sin.
This is disgusting already. And I have too much respect for the fellow Catholic bloggers here to allow this to go on without flashing the light on the thief.

 Some Day

ban

Terah

'Some Day',
Though I appreciate your sentiment here but I'd rather have 'I' reveal his disagreements here as we, the Catholic Faithful, continue to refute his erroneous arguments and try to clarify his misconception rather than s/he to go elsewhere planting seeds of error all around without giving him/her the chance to come to learn of the Truth, that is, the Catholic Faith.

I

The passage begins with: "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus

Yes, and Jesus when speaking to a wide audience in John 8:31 says, "If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples."

Christ in Mt 18:18 is promising to ratify in Heaven anything that the Church declares here on earth when it is in reference to faith and morals.

The footnote in the NAB (Catholic approved!) says, "Except for the plural of the verbs bind and loose, this verse is practically identical with Matthew 16:19b and many scholars understand it as granting to all the disciples what was previously given to Peter alone."

She/he is precisely doing what heretics can't do, promote errors.

I'm not trying to promoting any heresy. I'm inviting each person to look and see what he/she sees for him/herself and participate in a discussion. Is that not what a discussion forum is for?

I

You are therefore saying that unless a FINITE being forgives his brother, his brother will not be forgiven by God. That is completely unbiblical.

I didn't say anything but to quote the Bible on that. I didn't propose to claim in any way that whatever means might be specified in any particular verse must be the only answer.

It makes no since to say that the authority of binding and loosing are given to ALL

Well, you know, I don't recall saying the word "all". I pointed to the context of the verse where it says it was given to the disciples.

because that would mean that A remorseless killer could tell himself his sins and then forgive himself.

Yes, that would seem pretty wild. Good thing Jesus only gave that verse to his disciples as they'll be sure to do the will of God.

Terah

To 'I':

You neglect 'typology'.

Mt:18:17: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be

unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

In Mt 18, the Church is revealed as the New Israel!

Mt 18 parallels with the Old Israel living authority in Dt 17:6, 8-12 / the same language in Mt 18 is used Dt 17:6, 8-12:

6 By the mouth of two or three witnesses shall he die that is to be slain. Let no man be
put to death, when only one beareth witness against him.
7 The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to kill him, and afterwards the hands
of the rest of the people: that thou mayst take away the evil out of the midst of thee.
8 ¶ If thou perceive that there be among you a hard and doubtful matter in judgment
between blood and blood, cause and cause, leprosy and leprosy: and thou see that the
words of the judges within thy gates do vary: arise, and go up to the place, which the
Lord thy God shall choose.
9 And thou shalt come to the priests of the Levitical race, and to the judge, that shall be
at that time: and thou shalt ask of them, and they shall shew thee the truth of the
judgment.
10 And thou shalt do whatsoever they shall say, that preside in the place, which the Lord
shall choose, and what they shall teach thee,
11 According to his law; and thou shalt follow their sentence: neither shalt thou decline
to the right hand nor to the left hand.
12 But he that will be proud, and refuse to obey the commandment of the priest, who
ministereth at that time to the Lord thy God, and the decree of the judge, that man shall
die, and thou shalt take away the evil from Israel:

Notice the Parallel:
If there’s a dispute, you must take 2 or 3 witness with you; that on the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses, every word may stand; and

you must take it to that appointed priest or judge that God has appointed for that time and if the individuals refuse to hear

and obey the judgment of the priest and judge, they are to be put to death.

Since the Church is the new Israel, then it is truly fitting that the New Testament fulfillment has a living authority here

on earth for the people of God. It would not make sense for the old testament “type” to have a living authority to guide the

Old Testament people of God and not have a living authority to guide the New Testament people of God.

Now, in addition to trying to combine several passages together in order to provide something out of context, you're now

implying that Peter's authority was the same as any other?

Check out the following:

Mt:16:18: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell

shall not prevail against it.

Mt:16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound

in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Who did Christ give the Keys of the Kingdom to?
Did he give these Keys to others as well?
To my recollection, I believe this was given solely to Peter.

What is the significance of this?

Let's look at the passages in Isaiah:

Is:22:21: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his

hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

Is:22:22: And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall

shut, and none shall open.

Isaiah 22:22 is 'KEY' to this!

Thus, Peter is Father (i.e., 'Papa' or 'Pope) to the New Jerusalem, which is the Church.; As the Prime Minister in this

Isaiah passage was chosen by God to have such authority on behalf of the King, so is Peter the Prime Minister chosen by

Christ to have authority on behalf of his Kingship here on earth.

No other person was given the Keys of the Kingdom except Peter, the rock upon which Christ built his Church!

Jared Weber

Oh, by the way, "I" ... I see that you've decided to finally give yourself a moniker.

...

I win.

I

Notice the Parallel

Yes, that's a wonderful parallel.

you're now implying that Peter's authority was the same as any other?

No. I was only pointing out the footnote that said "many scholars understand it as granting to all the disciples what was previously given to Peter alone."

Who did Christ give the Keys of the Kingdom to? Did he give these Keys to others as well?

Some contend that Mt 18:18 is a giving of keys to the other apostles as well, but others suggest as the NAB does: "It is disputed whether the image of the keys and that of binding and loosing are different metaphors meaning the same thing. In any case, the promise of the keys is given to Peter alone. In Matthew 18:18 all the disciples are given the power of binding and loosing, but the context of that verse suggests that there the power of excommunication alone is intended."

Oh, by the way, "I" ... I see that you've decided to finally give yourself a moniker... I win.

Didn't Jimmy issue a combox request for monikers? Ask and you shall receive is the byword. Why should Jimmy's request on his own forum be dishonored? When one wins, we all win.

Terah

To 'I'

Mt:16:19: And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

I don't think Jesus was saying in this verse: And I will give y'all the keys of the kingdom of heaven -- no.

It follows the Isaiah passage:

Is:22:21: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.

Is:22:22: And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Notice, all this is in the singular.

Just as in the Isaiah passage, the Prime Minister is a single person chosen by God to have authority on behalf of the King, to be like a Father to his people, just as it is in Mt 16:19 that the Prime Minister is chosen by Christ to have authority on behalf of his kingship here on earth, being the Church; this Prime Minister chosen by Christ is Peter, the rock upon which Christ built his Church, the One who would be like a Father to his people, our Papa, our Pope.

Cory

Okay, I'm very late to add a comment here, and I'm actually utterly amazed that I missed this the first time 'round, since I normally catch things on this blog that divide the Catholic/Protestant theologies.

As I have already declared that I am a Protestant, and that I disagree almost completly with Catholic theology, my reacation to this will probably surprise everyone: I'm not against confession to a priest. I actually think that this a great idea that is severely lacking in Protestant circles.

The most reasonable interpretation of the tearing of the Curtain, at least to me, is that the division between God and man has been healed, and that God is no longer separated from man. This healing, this unification where only separation once existed, was accomplished by Christ alone.

Now all sins have been forgiven--past, present, and future! We live in grace, not Law.

But, alas, Jesus came not to destroy that pesky Law; He came to fulfill it. Not one letter, says Jesus, will pass from the Law. This indicates that we have to at least try to live in obedience to it, but the grace of God exists for us if we reptent--if we truly are sorry--from our sins (e.g. transgressing the law).

There is no harm in confessing our sins, to a priest or to a trusted friend or to our spouses. This fact is downplayed in Protestant circles quite a bit, to the detriment of the movement as a whole, I think. Confession is good, for the enemy feeds on our desire to bottle sin up and hide it from prying eyes. If we commit to confessing our sins, to not hiding them from everyone, then the secret will hold no power over us and we have closed off one avenue of attack.

So I say that we Protestants, though we disagree with the Catholic interpretations of Matthew 16:17-19 as it regards to the forgiveness of sins and what the foundation of the church is, I still think that the spirit of confession is a wonderful thing.

At least in this area, we Protestants could definately take a page out of the Catechism. :)

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