Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

26 February 2011

Catholic hierarchy believes confession can help faithful get to better spiritual place

Catholic hierarchy believes confession can help faithful get to better spiritual place

As my 15 minutes of fame dwindle (barring absolute knowledge of God's plan, I suspect I have about 5 or 6 left), I refer the patient reader to the above article. One friend wryly noted, "At least you're not in the police blotter." True, that; but even with the front-page shot I would direct props to the Sacrament I am, qua confessor, simulating in the photo. To someone (maybe Mr. Posten) I jokingly admitted that I wanted to feign shouting at the supposed penitent on the other side, as if to exclaim, "You did what??" I thank God that (1) no priest ever did that to me, and that (2) I've never done that to anyone. Alas, such horror stories still abound.

With due respect to the good author, the articles could never have covered every point exhaustively or with complete accuracy. I would refer the reader to the three (3) conditions for a sin to be mortal, to wit:
(1) The proposition must concern grave matter (serious stuff);
(2) The agent must in real time possess full understanding of the gravity of the bad choice; and
(3) The agent must in real time choose with full consent of the will (without interior or exterior constraint).
These considerations correct the categorical assertion not actually made in our parish Reconciliation pamphlet, that lying is a venial sin. It can be, no doubt, but that depends on the gravity of the matter. The so-called "little white" variety may not be a one-way ticket to Gehenna, but it sure as hell starts the fire. Best to avoid lying.

Noteworthy, too, is the phrase "self-help personal improvement quest for perfection." Quotation marks are appropriately absent, although all of those words escaped my lips in the delightful dialogue. Lord knows that penitents may approach Reconciliation with that false expectation--the desire to shed personal flaws or sinful habits singlehandedly, with God playing the role of an approving mentor. "Look how good I'm becoming for You!" It happens, believe me. No one, not even a priest or consecrated religious, is immune from the tempter's trap in this regard. "Lord, you search me and you know me" (Ps 139)--and yet You love me...

May the article be beneficial for all and for each to engage more deeply and more often this great treasure of the Church, that applies the merits of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection to all who need it.

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