City In certs: COMMENTARY:
Forgiveness of Sins, the confessional is one of the greatest gifts God has given man. Man must humble himself, acknowledge he has been unfaithful, broke his word, and hurt his relationship with God, without EXCUSE. Out of pride man makes excuses, but scripture is clear. Jesus came to free us from the bondage of Spiritual Slavery – Sin. First Baptism eliminates Original sins from our father and mother (Adam & eve, parents).[Gn2:16-17; 3:11-19; Rom5:12-19;1Cor15:21-23] Then
Son of Man has power to forgive Sins : Mt9:2-8; Mk2:1-12; Lk5:17-26
Son of Man delegates, All authority from the Father to His Church (the Apostles-to, their Priests) : “go spread the gospel to all Nations and WHATSOEVER sins you bind are bound, and sin you loose are loosened:” [Mt18-18; Jn20:23; 2Cor5:17-20; Jm5:16]. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you.” (Jn20:21)
Augustine said, “Confession breaks the binding of Sin.” Every time we receive Absolution from the Church/Creator, something greater than the Creation of the world takes place. …. in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Tim3:15 )…. Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear. I charge thee before God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, (1tim5:20-21) …..
ON THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND CONFESSION Chapter #1
Q. For what end was the sacrament of Penance instituted?
A. For the remission of sins committed after baptism.
Q. Is it a true sacrament?
A. Yes; because it has all the essentials of [pg. 233] a sacrament,—the outward sign in the sentence of absolution pronounced by the priest—the inward grace in the sanctifying grace of God, by which our sins are forgiven,—and it is evidently instituted by Jesus Christ.
A. In Matth. chap. ix, Jesus heals the: man sick of the palsy, and says to him: “Be of good heart, thy sins are forgiven thee.” The Jews say: “He blasphemeth.” Jesus replies, that he works this miracle, that they might know “that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” “And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God who had given such power to men.” Here Christ works a tremendous miracle to prove that he, as man, can forgive sins, and the people glorify God who had given such power to men.
Q. What do you conclude from this?
A. That Jesus Christ, even as man, had this power from his Father.
Q. Does he communicate this power, which he certainly had to the pastors of the Church?
A. On the very day of his resurrection, he says to them—John xx, 21: “As my Father hath sent me, I also send you;” but he himself, even as man, had, by the above text, power from his Father to forgive sins, therefore he gave this power to his Apostles. [pg. 234]
Q. What does he immediately add, to clear all doubt as to this power?
A. “Breathing upon them, he said: Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained. “Again—Matth. xviii, 18—Christ says: “Amen, I say to you, whatsoever ye shall bind upon earth, Shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.”
Q. What says St. Chrysostom on these passages?
A. “To the priests is given a power, which God would not give to angels or archangels; earthly princes have the power of binding the body, but the binding of the priest reaches even to the soul:….what the priests do below, God ratifies above, and the master confirms the sentence of the servants.”
Q. Can the priest forgive or retain sin as he pleases?
A. No; he is bound to act as St. Paul did when he pardoned the incestuous Corinthian. The Apostle declares, that what he did, “he did in the person of Christ” 2 Cor. ii. The priest acts in the person of Christ, and does only what Christ would do for the sincere penitent. [pg. 235]
Q. Is it not blasphemy to say that man can forgive sins?
A. Certainly it is blasphemy to say, that men, not commissioned by God for that purpose, can do so; but it is no blasphemy to say that men may have that power, and have that power from God, since the Apostles were men, and yet they certainly had such power.
Q. On what conditions can the lawfully-ordained and commissioned priest exercise this power?
A. The penitent, to be absolved, must detest his sins;—he must be firmly resolved to avoid sin and its occasions in future;—he must be willing to submit to whatever penance the priest imposes;—and, if able, he must confess all his sins.
Q. Is the confession of sin a modern practice?
A. No; it is as ancient as revealed religion.
Q. How do you prove this?
A. In the first place, from the clearest testimony of the Old Law—”When a man or woman shall have committed any of all the sins that men are wont to commit, and, by negligence, shall have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, they shall confess their [pg. 236] sin and restore the principal, and a fifth part over and above.”—Num. v, 6. Here we have not only confession, but penance and restitution.
Q. Quote other passages on this important matter.
A. “He that hide his sins shall not prosper; but he that shall confess and shall forsake them shall obtain mercy.”?—Prov. xxviii, 13 “Be not ashamed to say the truth for the sake of thy soul; for there is a shame that bring sin, and a shame that bring glory and grace.“ see also Ecclus. vi. 24, 31.
Q. Did the practice of confession exist immediately before the coming of Christ?
A. Certainly; for it is said of the immediate forerunner of Christ, St. John the Baptist, “That there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all they of Jerusalem, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.“—Mark i, 5.
Q. But did not this confession merely mean confessing sin to God?
A. Protestants must be blind indeed, not to see the absurdity of this subterfuge; do they consider that a culprit, about to be hanged, makes a real confession, if he merely confess his sin in his own mind or heart to God? No, every execution that takes place proves that [pg237] he does not. Confession is the revelation of sin to man. The confession of sin to God is in itself, without contrition, a matter of little consequence; for God knows all things; we confess to him in spite of ourselves. Besides in (Num. v), you see that the confession must have been to men, as the restitution of the principal, and the fifth part over and above, must have been made to men.
Q. In the New Law, is confession instituted by God or by the Church?
A. Confession is a Divine institution, but the church has fixed the time for the performance of that duty.
Q. How do you prove that confession is a Divine institution?
A. From John, chap. xx, 22, where Christ says to his Apostles: “Whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained:” and from (Mt18:18)
Q. What do you conclude from these passages? A. That before the pastors of the Church can exercise this power the sinner must confess his sins to them. [pg. 238]
Q. Why so?
A. By the above text, the priest has power to forgive or to retain sin, according to the disposition of the penitent; now, without confession, the exercise of this power is impossible, because, in that case, the priest cannot know what sins to retain, or what to forgive.
Q. Throw a little more light on this.
A. The priest is a judge who must decide what sins he ought to forgive, what he ought to retain: now, no judge can pronounce a decision without hearing the whole case.
Q. May it not be said, that the priest is not a judge, but is appointed merely to declare the sins forgiven?
A. No; for the keys are given, to open and shut the gate, not to declare that it is open. Hence, the power which Christ gave to his Apostles and their successors, was the power of binding and loosing, not the power of declaring the penitent bound or loosed.
do you find in 1 John, i, 8?
A. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.”
Q. May not Protestants say, that this saying, we have no sin, and this confession of our sins, merely regard God and not the priests? [pg. 239]
A. They must regard the priests; for who would dare to say to God that he has no sin? And does not God know all our sins already without having recourse to our confession?
Q. Have you any other remark to make on this passage?
A. It says, if we confess our sins, God a faithful and just to forgive us. God is here said to be faithful and just, because he promised to forgive us our sins on the condition that we confess them. The words of the Apostle are the same as the following: “If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will keep the promise he made in these words: Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven.”
Q. Can you produce any other texts of Scripture on this subject?
A. St. James, chap. v, 16, says : “Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray for one another, that you may be saved.” Here we have confession to man laid down as a condition to salvation.
Q. May not this mean public and general confession, not to the priest, but to any neighbor?
A. It means confession of sin either public or private, for either will be sufficient, and it means to the pastors of the Church who are declared to have power to absolve, for what [pg. 240] would be the use of confessing private sins to the public who cannot forgive them, and who would be scandalized by them? Besides, who would confess to those who might divulge his sins and destroy his character?
Q. Is there any example in Scripture to prove that the first Christian confessed their sins?
A. Yes; the 19th chapter of the Acts tells us, that many who believed came, “confessing and showing their deeds.”
Q. What did the Apostles require of them besides confession?
A. “That many of them who had followed curious arts,” should bring their books together and burn them.
Q. What do you infer from this passage?
A. That St. Paul and the converts of Ephesus were thoroughly Catholics in this matter, seeing that they did exactly what the pastors of the Catholic Church and their people do at the present day, in the same circumstances.
Q. Is it clear, from the Fathers of the Ancient Church, that private confession was always practiced?
A. Yes; St. Cyprian, in his Sermon, [pg. 241] (deLapsis) says: “My dear brethren, let every one, whilst he is yet in life, and in a state to profit by the advice and assistance of the priest confess his sins.” St. Basil (in Quæst. Brev. Reg. 228, 229) remarks: “Our sins must necessarily be confessed to those to whom has been committed the dispensation of the mysteries of God.”
Q. What are St. Ambrose’s words? Lib ii de Poenit. chap. 6.
A. “If you obtain grace, confess your sins, for an humble confession bursts all the chains of sin.”
Q. What says St. Chrysostom? Lib. iii de Sacerd.
A. “The Jewish priests could not cure the leprosy of the body, they merely declared it cured; but the Christian priest does not merely declare, but effects the cure of the leprosy of the soul.”
Q. What says St. Augustine? Hom. xlix, T. 10.
A. “Let no one say, I sin secretly; I do it before God, he knows my heart and will pardon me. Did Christ then say without reason; ‘What you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed in heaven?’ Were the keys then given to the Church for no purpose?” See also St. Jerome, Expos. in Ezech cap. 10.[pg. 242]
Q. Why did the Lutherans abolish confession?
A. Because, says the Confession of Augsburg, “no man can remember all his sins.”
Q. Is this a good and valid reason?
A. Certainly not; since the Catholic Church only requires, that her children be sorry for all their sins, and confess all that, after earnest and careful examination of conscience, they can bring to their recollection.
Q. Was the above the real reason why Protestants abandoned confession?
A. No; they abolished it, first, because it was troublesome, and they did not wish to carry their cross; secondly, because their pastors were not lawfully ordained and commissioned priests, and hence, as they had not the power to absolve, confession to them was useless; thirdly, the thing which they called the Reformed Church taught them, that faith alone was quite sufficient to save them,—hence, it was useless to practice confession or any other Scriptural precept; fourthly, these ministers were bound by no law to keep secret the sins confessed to them,—hence, their people would be fools to put any thing in their power.
Q. Does the Church of England teach any thing on this subject?
A. Yes; the Book of Common Prayer teaches [pg. 243] both confession and the power of absolving; and even the Kirk of Scotland, (see Confess. of Faith, Visit. of Sick,) whose ministers have certainly no ordination, would willingly lead their people to confess. But these spurious churches have never succeeded in this attempt.
Augustine “City of God” #7 of the death which is unbaptized suffer for the confession of Christ. pg #417.
For whatever unbaptized persons die confessing Christ, this confession is of the same efficacy for the remission of sins as if they were washed in the sacred font of baptism….He no less absolutely said : “whosoever shall confess me before men, will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven; and in another place, ” Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” For what is more precious than a death by which a man’s sins are all forgiven, and his merits increased an hundredfold? For those who have been baptized, when they no longer could escape death, and have departed this life with all their sins blotted out, have not equal merit with those who did not defer death,….but chose to end their life confessing Christ, rather than denying him to secure an opportunity of Baptism….. Precious therefore is the death of the saints, to whom the grace of Christ has been applied with such gracious effects, they do not hesitate to meet death themselves, if so be they might meet Him. Death was originally proposed as an object of dread, that sin might not be committed …or if committed, be remitted and the award of righteousness be bestowed….. [next MATRIMONY 13d on July 1, 2019]