Why Go to Confession?

Sister Mary Ann Walsh of the USCCB has ten good reasons here.

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Brendan McGrath
7 years 3 months ago
Why go to confession?  Because in today's world, keeping your soul healthy and pleasing before God can be difficult.  Introducing sanctifying grace - its long-lasting, habitual, Christoform, quasiformal [shout-out to Rahner] justifying action heals your soul and divinizes it, all the way to the tips of its faculties.  This revolutionary entitative habit has the aspects of both created and uncreated grace - so it's strong enough to be God, soft enough for the creature!  Your free, unmerited gift, with confession or any other sacrament... at your local Catholic parish.

What's more, we'll also throw in the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, all together.  No more worrying about having only dead faith unformed by love! 

And for those times when temptation catches up with you, look for all-new actual grace to both illuminate your mind and strengthen your will, so you can perform those hard-to-do salutary acts!  It's both prevenient and subsequent, so you won't even know what hit you!  Now available in both medicinal and elevating classifications.  Guarenteed to be efficacious, or at least sufficient.

Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to make the most of your obediential potency and the always-already installed supernatural existential within it!

''Maybe she's born with it... maybe it's supernatural!''
Crystal Watson
7 years 3 months ago
I can't help thinking that many of those benefits cited would also be benefits to a person who just talked directly to God, without a confessor present.
Anne Chapman
7 years 3 months ago
Agreed, Crystal - a priest is not necessary. God hears, God forgives, the priest has no power to forgive, only God can do that. If I hurt someone, I need to go to that person and tell them of my sorrow and that I hope I can be forgiven and see if it's possible for me to make amends.  A lot tougher than 2 Our Fathers and 3 Hail Marys..  When I need to really talk about my sins and sinfulness I go to my ''confessor''. But, my ''confessor'' is a long-time friend. She is wise, she is deep, she is insightful,  she is well educated in the church and theology (more than the average parish priest) and she is very spiritual.  I can be honest with her and she is honest with me, and because of our long-time friendship she can help me face my sins and weaknesses in a way no priest could ever do.   The practice of examining our consciences is good - most of the other things are good too, but a priest is not necessary but some have no better choice. So it's good to have them available at times.
Crystal Watson
7 years 3 months ago
Anne, I think you're right  :)   I've only been to confession once and it was pretty unpleasant, but it is good to have someone you can trust to talk to.
Beth Cioffoletti
7 years 3 months ago
This is what I think:

We are all daughters and sons of Adam, and at some deep (and long ago) schism in our consciousness we came to know our unworthiness and sinfulness and turned away from an intimate connection with God.

There has to be a way to restore this essential God-connection to our awareness, so that we can again live knowing that God is with us in a most personal and essential way.

The sacrament of confession is the way to reverse that turning away from God that has happened in us.  A way of correcting this terribly wrong orientation and way of seeing ourselves.  All we have to do is say, out loud, our sin.  I picked the apple off the tree and tasted it.  God says: no big deal, it's ok.  No need to hide or run away.

You can go to another person and tell them all the things that you feel guilty about, but that's not going to touch your deeper alienation from God.  You really have to go directly to God.  And telling God in your own private thought and prayer is good, but, in my opinion, you're not going to reach that deepest place in your consciousness/psyche where the wound of turning away from God exists.

Here we get to the mystery of "Sacrament" - that gift where heaven and earth meet, and what is bound on earth is bound in heaven (marriage), and what is loosed here (forgiven), is loosed there.

I admit, it takes an act of faith to get it, but if you take that leap the grace of reconcilialtion is yours.
Brendan McGrath
7 years 3 months ago
Anne and Crystal - I'd object to the idea that confession to a priest isn't necessary.  Certainly it's possible for sanctifying grace to be restored to someone in a state of moral sin without the sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance, but not without the explicit or implicit desire for the sacrament (which desire is always inevitably included at least implicitly in any perfect act of love/charity or perfect contrition, both of which include the other).  Of course as a more "liberal" Catholic I tend to widen the "loop holes" as much as possible, some would probably say too much, to the point where anything and everything could include that implicit desire, but anyway...

I'd ask this: are you denying that there are seven sacraments?  I.e., do you believe that Jesus only "instituted" (though of course not "instituted" a la the founding fathers) six sacraments, or that He did not "institute" any sacraments?  My point here is, how can we reject the sacrament of Reconciliation without upsetting the whole edifice of Catholic doctrine?  To me there needs to be a sharp line between infallible teachings, as opposed to non-infallible teachings on hot-button issues that many have tried to claim are infallible. 

(Ironic, isn't it, that many would not want someone who disagrees on, say, contraception to speak at a Catholic college, but they'd have no problem if George W. Bush spoke there, even though Bush obviously rejects Catholic sacramental doctrine, the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption, infallibility both ecclesial and papal, and come to think of it, probably accepts contraception as well.)

On a closing note, we confess to a human priest because in and as Christ, God has become human.
Crystal Watson
7 years 3 months ago
The Adam and Eve story is hard to take l;iterally - genetics has shown there was no single couple of humans that started the whole race, and evolution would show that there was no Eden where all creatures lived in harmony - so I'm not sure why we must believe that there is not an intimate connection between us and God.  Ignatius of Loyola based his Spiritual Exercises on the belief that "the creator deals directly with the creature".  About the scrament of confession, I don't mean to be offenseive, but is there some reference to Jesus instituting seven sacraments in the NT?  Jesus advised people to pray directly to God as a father. 
Brendan McGrath
7 years 3 months ago
Crystal - You're not being offensive at all!  As for Scriptural references, as I'm sure you know, the usual ones given include "Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them, and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" - of course some say Jesus didn't say a lot of what's in Scripture, etc., but there's the Scripture reference.  To me, I think that if there's a difficult gap that needs to be dealt with, it's not between what Jesus says in Scripture vs. Catholic doctrine, but rather between the historical Jesus vs. what Jesus says in Scripture.  Of course I believe the gap CAN be dealt with if there is indeed a gap.
Crystal Watson
7 years 3 months ago
Yes, the gaps.  I have trouble trying to figure out what to bade my beliefs on.  It seems like the gospels are as close as we can get to primary sources about Jesus, yet I don't doubt there's atuff in them that's untrue.  I try to reepect my own religious prayer experience, but that can be misleading too.  And then there's tradition, writings by Aquinas, etc., and I'm not sure why I should believe them to be any more credible than just commentary.  It's all interdependent and none of it is absolutely for sure ... eek!  :(

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