137 – “If someone comes to you and feels something must be removed from him, but perhaps he is unable to say it, but you understand … it’s all right, he says it this way, with the gesture of coming. Have open arms, to understand what is inside that heart that cannot be said or said this way … somewhat because of shame … you understand me”

In his diabolical quest to destroy the Church at its very foundations, the infernal enemy has made varied and frequent onslaughts against all the Sacraments, from first to last. The heretic Wycliffe attacked that of Penance, which is a powerful aid for sinners to reach heaven: he denied the divine character of the institution of auricular confession while also affirming that it is of no use to the contrite. Following in his footsteps, Peter Martinez of Osma taught that contrition is all that is needed to attain the pardon of sins. Luther, in turn, discarded confession altogether as a ‘slaughter of consciences’. His contempt for auricular confession would be shared by Protestants to this day. Rationalists and unbelievers alike also never cease to insist that confession is nothing but a priestly invention for tormenting souls.

Today, other means and affirmations are employed to challenge this Sacrament and the sound doctrine that the Divine Savior bequeathed to us, lovingly safeguarded by Tradition and the Church’s infallible Magisterium.

Is the sacrament of Penance valid without the confession of one’s sins? It is known that only the mute and hearing-impaired are permitted to confess by means of signs and gestures. But does that make it licit to omit the verbal declaration of our sins in confession out of shame, fear, or some other difficulty we may be experiencing? Can we receive God’s pardon by simply presenting ourselves to the priest with contrition?
Let’s review what pure and sound doctrine has to teach on the matter. And let’s recall exactly what evils await those who profane this sacred Sacrament, and the end they will meet in eternity.

Francis

confesores

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors
I – The Sacrament of Penance requires the accusation of faults to be validly administered
II – The penitent who conceals mortal sins while confessing commits a sacrilege
III – The consequences of bad confessions
IV – The obligations of confessors in ministering the Sacrament of Penance


I – The Sacrament of Penance requires the accusation of faults to be validly administered


Sacred Scripture

Mercy is obtained by confessing, not concealing, one’s sins

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Neglecting to confess one’s sin is opposed to Penance
Confession of faith should be made ‘with the mouth’; likewise, the confession of sins
Even in the case of a language barrier accusation of sins is still required
Our Lord admonished men, pointing to the particular manner of actions required for this Sacrament
Three parts of the Sacrament of Penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction
Confession should be an ‘accusation’ on the part of the penitent
Sin is taken away by the power of Christ’s Passion, operating through the priest’s absolution and the acts of the penitent
The acts performed outwardly, both by repentant sinner and priest, are part of the cause of forgiveness of sin
The perfection of Penance is integrated by the aforementioned three parts
If man lose his integrity through sin, may he regain it by means of Penance

Catechism of Saint Pius X

Confession is called an accusation, because it must be a true and sorrowful manifestation of our sins

Catechism of Trent

Confession is a sacramental accusation of one’s sins to obtain pardon
The matter of the Sacraments of Penance is the confession of sins, and it is required, on the part of the penitent, for the full and perfect remission of sin
Contrition and confession are required to constitute the essence of Penance
Reasons for the necessity of confession to obtain pardon for our sins
Our confession should be plain, simple and undisguised
According to the doctrine of the Catholic Church, for the sincere penitent, all his sins are forgiven on the condition that he confess them properly to the priest

Saint Thomas Aquinas

It is necessary for confession that man confess all the sins that he calls to mind

Catechism of Saint Pius X

Our confession ought to be entire and sincere
We are bound to confess all our mortal sins in order to get absolution

Lateran Council IV (Ecumenical XII)

Let everyone of the faithful confess all his sins at least once a year

Catechism of Trent

The priest should dismiss the penitent he has found lacking in diligence in examining his conscience or sorrow in detesting his sins

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

The Church has always understood that the complete confession of sins was also instituted by our Lord

John Paul II

From the earliest Christian times, the Church has included in the sacramental sign of penance the confession of sins

Council of Trent (Ecumenical XIX)

Condemned: those who maintain that the parts of the Sacrament of Penance (one of them being confession) are the terrors of conscience and faith
Anathema: to deny that contrition, confession, and satisfaction are required for the full and perfect remission of sins
Anathema: to say that in the Sacrament of Penance it is not necessary, by divine law, to confess each and all mortal sins

II – The penitent who conceals mortal sins while confessing commits a sacrilege


Catechism of Trent

The penitent who willfully neglects to accuse himself of certain sins, does not profit by confession, but involves himself in new guilt, a sacrilege

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Those who confess some sins, and others not, sin by doing so, because they intend to deceive God

Catechism of Saint Pius X

He who, through shame or some other motive, willfully conceals a mortal sin in confession, profanes the sacrament and is consequently guilty of a very great sacrilege
What reflection should a penitent make if tempted to conceal a sin in confession?

III – The consequences of bad confessions


Catechism of Trent

Through the agency of the ministers of his wicked designs, the enemy of the human race has assailed the Sacrament of Penance with all his might

Saint John Bosco

The devil will try to make you conceal your sins in confession
The snare with which the devil commonly traps souls and steals them from God consists in making them feel great shame when they go to confess a sin
Shame, rather than leading to salvation, leads to perdition
‘Labor, sweat and fervor’ is necessary to remove the devil of shame
A great number of Christians are eternally lost for not having declared certain sins with sincerity in the confessional
The number of those who are condemned for going to confession is greater than those who are condemned for not going to confession

Council of Trent (XIX Ecumenical)

Those who knowingly conceal certain sins, lay nothing before the divine bounty for forgiveness

Saint Augustine of Hippo

God does not cure those who cover up their sins out of shame

Saint John of Avila

He who does not go with good dispositions to the Sacrament of Penance does not receive the effect of Christ’s sacred passion

Gregory I the Great

Dead in his sin, the sinner will only ‘come forth’ like Lazarus if he freely confesses his wrongdoing

Saint John Chrysostom

To know the greatness of pardon, the greatness of sin must be first declared
To be justified, first tell your sins
He who accuses himself of his sins will have no accuser at the judgment seat of the Lord
The perfect confession opens Paradise

Leo I the Great

In accusing ourselves in our confessions we stir up the enmity of the author of sin, but secure indestructible peace with God

Catechism of Trent

Abolish sacramental confession, and you will deluge society with all sorts of secret and heinous crimes
Nothing is so useful for the reformation of morals as disclosing one’s secret thoughts, words and actions
When a person is in mortal sin, nothing can be more salutary than to have immediate recourse to confession

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Individual and integral confession of grave sins remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church
By confession, the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion

IV – Obligations of confessors in ministering the Sacrament of Penance


Saint Cyprian of Carthage

A new kind of devastation has appeared under the title of mercy; and the wounds of the dying are covered over

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

A confessor exposes himself to danger of damnation by too much rigor as well by excessive indulgence to penitents
Great fortitude is necessary in correcting penitents and in refusing absolution to those who have not the requisite disposition

Saint John Bosco

The priest ought to help penitents to reveal the state of their consciences

Catechism of Trent

Priests must rebuke, teach, encourage and exhort penitents in difficulty
The minister of this Sacrament should be gifted not only with knowledge and erudition, but also with prudence

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The minister of this Sacrament must love the truth and be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

The office of confessor the most important and difficult of all. It demands knowledge, prudence and sanctity
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One thought on “137 – “If someone comes to you and feels something must be removed from him, but perhaps he is unable to say it, but you understand … it’s all right, he says it this way, with the gesture of coming. Have open arms, to understand what is inside that heart that cannot be said or said this way … somewhat because of shame … you understand me”

  1. When we spit out out sins we show our detest for them. There is no shame in that. Without this, and within the Holy Sacrament only, we have no healing possible. I am testament to that. A good confession brings all that we desire and need to desire most. Francis it must be confessed with the tongue-that spurious, rebellious member of the body!! But he knows that and that is precisely why he seeks to prevent it.

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