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Old 10-07-2001, 10:31 PM   #1
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The Act of Confession in the Catholic Church

As I was sitting through mass today (a weekly routine) I had a few questions arise in my mind regarding the process of Confession--it's not the first time I had considered them, but anyway, I thought I'd put them before you all.

It's concerning Confession and the Eucharist. The Catholic Church believes that if you are in the state of mortal sin (premarital sex, for example) you are not to receive the Eucharist. However, before the distribution of the Eucharist, the congregation declares "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

It seems that by saying this you are in effect confessing your sin or "unworthiness". Also by saying this you realize that you are healed. Therefore, it wouldn't exactly make sense to claim you are not in the state to receive the Eucharist (or would it?)

Also, let's say you are truly sorry for your sin, and ask forgiveness in the privacy of your own home. Is it necessary to have the priest as the middle man? I understand that not every religion has an organized process of confession, and may be taken up between you and God. By being Catholic, does that entitle you to follow their organized confession? These may be questions man cannot answer, but we can atleast speculate. I believe God is just and realizes our intentions, thus it seems to me that the organization of confession may be unnecessary if your heart and mind is truly where it ought to be.

What do you think?

[This message has been edited by Achtung_Bebe (edited 10-07-2001).]

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Old 10-08-2001, 03:14 AM   #2
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Beebs, thats somehting I have wondered meself. And what I decided (cos I really have no clue either) was that if what I belive about God is right, then He knows where your heart is, He knows yur intentions, etc. And that the middle man is actually unessecary. I reckon church is in place to add credence to the whole religion thing. I personally dont go for religion very much, but thats cos I see a huge chasm between God and Religion. People will prolly reply here quoting a whole heap from the Bible etc, but not knowing these passages etc, does it make you less of a person in God's eyes?

I doubt it. If its all true, it will all come out in the wash so to speak.


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Old 10-08-2001, 03:45 AM   #3
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I do believe these things are between God and the individual, I cant say I agree with the catholic way of doing things as far as requiring a mediator between yourself and me the mediator is Jesus, and our sins are confessed and forgiven by God thru him, something that can be done anywhere, provided the person knows the actions and their implications...Church is great as a place of prayer, worship and communion/community...but Confessing one's sins and having them forgiven does not require a member of the clergy as mediator- Jesus is that mediator.

[This message has been edited by brettig (edited 10-08-2001).]
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Old 10-08-2001, 06:56 AM   #4
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Hey Bebe -
I'm Episcopal (catholic light - all of the sin, none of the guilt ) i'm just kidding before anyone flames me.

Anyway, in our Eucharistic service, we have "the confession" prayer right before communion that is supposed to take care of that. Of course, we don't have formal confession but maybe the thought process is the same I don't know.


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Old 10-08-2001, 07:39 AM   #5
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Just a thought... Sometimes if I have some sort of a problem and I can't figure it out, I start writing a letter about it to myself or someone else, and by the time I'm done, a solution may have presented itself, or I'm at least seeing the situation more clearly. So I'm thinking, maybe confessing to a priest is helpful in really examining your sin and becoming aware of what you need to do to better yourself.

Just my 2 Eurocent.
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Old 10-08-2001, 08:52 AM   #6
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That's something I've always wondered. Why do I have to go to church to confess my sins? What's wrong with doing it in my own home or wherever?

We talked about this during my confirmation class at church. We played a game where we were paired off. We had to argue different viewpoints on certain things involving the church, one with the positive, church-y side, the other with the negative anti-church side. Whoever felt that they lost the debate had to sit down and leave the other standing. In every case, the pro-church side won. My partner and I were the last to go. I was paired with the girl in our class most faithfully devoted to the church, and we had to debate that topic (her positive, me negative). Well, she couldn't find any holes in my argument, and she had to sit down and let me "win" the debate.

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Old 10-09-2001, 10:47 AM   #7
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no it's not necessary to have the priest as the middle man.

confessing is like going to a shrink now a days. before psychology was en vogue, people went to church, and talked to their priests, and confessed their "sins"... as much as people have appointments with their shrinks, and talk about their problems today.

shrinks have replaced the priests' role in society.

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Old 10-09-2001, 12:08 PM   #8
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The term "Big Catholic Guilt" comes to mind.
Being raised Catholic, I too questioned th e whole confession process. It is a rather frightening process to experience as a child, and gives one the impression that the priest wields an amazing power to absolve one of one's sins. My opinion is that the priest serves only to make confession a formal ritual, which sadly turns many people away from that ritual. If the church deemed it acceptable to confess your sins in quiet prayer at the altar, many more people would participate.
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Old 10-09-2001, 11:58 PM   #9
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I'm Catholic too so I can understand the confusion over the necessity of confessing one's sins to a priest in a formal setting.

Here's my take:
At my previous church (I have since moved to another state) the priest encouraged people to go to confession but never made the statement that it was absolutely the only way to be forgiven. He acknowledged the fact that confession could be awkward and embarrassing but he still encouraged it.

That may be just my former local priest, but from the things he said, I think that you are right in saying that confessing our sins directly to God, privately, is acceptable. However, I can see how there are advantages to formal confessions.

First, it is one thing to acknowledge to yourself that you have sinned. It is a whole nother ballgame to have to admit to another person that you have sinned. By confessing, perhaps the sin becomes more real to us and we may feel some shame (or Catholic guilt--I hate that stereotype) for our sins when we admit to another person what we have done. If a person truly experiences feeling bad for what they have done, they might be less likely to do it again in the future.

Another reason that formal confession may be good is that priests can sometimes give advice. This advice could range from ways to stop sinning (stop hitting your little sister, alright?) to ways you can grow spiritually (say the rosary and meditate on the life of Jesus, or read such and such passage in the Bible). These are just examples, but I remember times when I went to confession where the priest gave me earnest, unbiased advice or spiritual guidance which was beneficial to me.

Also, like someone else said, the priest can act as a psychiatrist. There are certainly people who have committed sins that are quite bad or secretive for some reason. It can be very uplifting to get something off your chest by telling another person. Who better to tell than someone sworn to secrecy? I even remember as a child being amazed that priests couldn't even help the police in crime-solving. All info told to the priest is ideally kept confidential.

Anyway, that's just my take on why the church encourages formal confession. I guess I could have just easily looked it up in the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" book that I own for the "official" reasons, but that would be too easy.

Not that having these beliefs makes it any easier for me to go to confession. I think the main point is that a person must be sorry for their sins and truly intend to change for the better in order for them to be forgiven, regardless of whether they talk to a priest or directly to God. Sorry for blabbing so much!

[This message has been edited by HeartlandGirl (edited 10-09-2001).]
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Old 10-11-2001, 05:26 PM   #10
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LOL! Guess I killed this thread!

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