After my previous post on forgiveness and confession, some people have raised some arguments. Not that these arguments deserve a response in themselves, however I have taken the liberty to script a reply in order to further help those who wish to learn to truth.
Now, before you argue against a theological or doctrinal position, you must first have studied that same fact and come up with real arguments from CCC or from theology. The way to learn is: when you hear a new thing you never knew before, you are meant to either ask questions or go and find out for yourself maybe by research or from another professional in this case a theologian or a priest.
CONDITION FOR RECEIVING A SACRAMENT
There are always conditions attached to the reception of all sacraments. No one can just prepare and be ordained a priest for instance, you must first be a man, and of certain age, and have some formation and theological learning. So it is with marriage, you must reach certain age, meet certain requirements to receive. Therefore, in receiving the sacrament of penance there are three conditions:
This means that a person is internally converted to God, and not just in exterior signs. This interior conversion is what makes the exterior sign meaningful. For instance, fasting and prayer is meaningless when one has refused to repent from his heart. The first thing to do is to convert and return to God, then other exterior signs of repentance will have meaning. Contrition also means that one, in repenting, has put all his sins behind him, he has “risen and returned” he is no longer lying in his sins, he has risen and has accepted the call of God to come home. By “rising” he does away with every instrument of his sin.
Someone who confesses being guilty of pornography for instance, but has them stored on his phone even while he confesses has not repented, one who confesses fornication but still houses an illicit sexual partner is not repentant. Repentance means a “turning away” and a “turning to” , a “conversio” and an “Aversio”. A turning to God (conversio) and a turning away from (aversio) from sin (conversio ad Deum and Aversio a creaturis). These two are inseparable. You cannot be both sorry and keep your sins. You must throw them away to be really sincere in being sorry.
Means a person tells his most secret sins to the priest without consciously withholding anything. Such a person is to confess as though he is talking to God in his conscience. For only through such openness can God’s light penetrate his entire being and set him free.
Means that one PAYS BACK or makes up for the sins he has confessed. If you have other remaining materials from the sin you already confessed, this is when you either return or destroy them. If for instance you have left-over contraceptives, and you have confessed this to the priest, this is when you discard them and do away with them. You cannot have a diary of sins, where you plan and say :
Monday : I will fornicate with Ms A
Tuesday: I will fornicate with Ms B
Wednesday: I will steal form my office
Thursday: I will get drunk
Friday: I will go for confession
Saturday: I will refuse to see Ms A and B so that on Sunday I can receive communion.
OH GOD !
This is not repentance for heaven’s sake. Repentance means that you at least do not plan sins ahead of time, that when you say “I PROMISE NEVER TO SIN AGAIN” that you are being sincere about it. Even though you do not always keep this promise, but you never keep the intention to hurt God again when you confess. When you have it in mind to hurt God again by sin, even while you are confessing to him, you are not sincere and the confession you are receiving isn’t complete, your sins are only forgiven when you are truly sorry and wish with all your heart to make amends.
When St Bernadette was asked “Who is a sinner” she replied “A sinner is one who LOVES sin”, and this has a very deep theological significance. Not just anyone who falls into sin is regarded as the sinner worthy of God’s punishment, but the one WHO LOVES HIS SINS. Loving sin means one has decided never to let go of them, and is carefully preserving them, promising himself pardon from confession, and God’s mercy. And forgetting that God only pardons the contrite and the humble.
When someone is addicted to something, and he is really disturbed about this, and struggles to be free, God helps him and he is forgiven every time he kneels to ask in the confessional to be pardoned. God knows he is weak BUT SINCERE, and God does not chase such people away. God however despises the proud, who think they can “cheat” him, by hiding their sins and trying to lie to him in the confessional.
When another addict, who isn’t sorry for his sins is compared to this other man, the difference is clear. God is merciful and Just. He is merciful to the sincere, but doesn’t forgive those who are proud. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church, and is totally in accord with the entire scripture. Anyone who denies this is either not a catholic or is just lying to themselves.
CHASING SINNERS AWAY?
Someone unjustly accused me of chasing sinners away. And this is not true because I made it clear that anyone who sincerely seeks mercy, and struggles to overcome his sins, receive God’s pardon no matter how many times they make the same mistakes. God pardon them because they are ALWAYS SINCERE before him. The main reason why the other kind of people isn’t forgiven is because they CLOSE their hearts, and open only a portion of it to God’s light. His light cannot forcefully penetrate you, therefore he cannot force pardon on someone who doesn’t sincerely want it (and work for it).
I invite everyone to learn on their own and not rely on what they think out. Many of the people arguing here only have that basic first holy communion catechism in their minds, and never try to develop any further. They still argue and tell you that “the Church DOES NOT teach this and that” when in fact they neither know the colour of the Main Catechism of the Catholic Church, nor the colour of any theological texts on morality. How can you argue if you are not informed? How can you come and make comments about such profound doctrinal truth if you have not first researched?
I have always said: Whenever you are not okay with what we have said, and you do not trust our theological or doctrinal strength, copy our post and show to your priest whom you trust, let him tell you the truth you deserve to know. There is no priest, and I repeat, no priest who doesn’t know of these conditions, but many of them forget to talk about them as much as they should in order to help the congregation. So when we say something this elementary, many people argue like we have even said anything lofty. These things are BASIC CATECHISM, you do not even need to have a degree in theology to know them. You only need to be sincere, and be interested in knowing your faith.
So, go today, buy the Big Catechism of the Catholic Church, turn to No 1430 and read properly on Repentance and Sacramental pardon. Help yourself and those around you to know and live out the truth.
This article was originally posted on “Catholic and Proud” Facebook page, about three years ago, hence the language and the choice of words.
Share this as many times as you can on people’s walls, everyone deserves to know the truth.