Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Confession of sin

By c.pio

Luke 15:7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!

Clive John Panglao URot
ahhh.... I suggest pls. also post about "Sacrament of Reconciliation" esp. CONFESSION I like to read that topic.

Before we begin to discuss this wonderful sacrament [which is commonly misunderstood by other religion], allow me first to post here an excerpt from the book Psychiatry & Confession written by John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., L.L.D. University of Notre Dame, June 19, 1948

Origin of Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis seeks to relieve tensions, to dissolve complexes, to release strangulated emotions and thus to restore mental calm. We can probably enable a reader to secure the best insight into the nature of this new science by showing how it arose. Psychoanalysis had its origin in the discovery of the therapeutic effects of confessing or revealing the secret causes of inner discords to a sympathetic auditor or father confessor.

In 1880 a young woman, Anna O., age twenty-one, came into the office of her family physician, Dr. Joseph Breuer of Vienna. She was an intelligent and refined young woman suffering from a severe case of hysteria. Though a man of great learning, recognized in Europe for his scientific attainments, Dr. Breuer found the case an exceedingly difficult one. His patient suffered a paralysis of the right arm, disturbance of eye movements, a loss of the power to drink, almost complete aphasia and states of "absence”.

Briefly, Anna's story was this: she had been in almost constant attendance at the bedside of her father during a long illness which proved fatal. While waiting one night for the surgeon who was coming from Vienna to operate on her father, she fell asleep, exhausted, with her arm hanging over the back of her chair. When she awoke, the arm had become numb. She could not move it or feel it. Paralysis set in.

Her visual disturbances were traced to a painful experience in which a strong emotion was repressed. With tears in her eyes she was sitting at the bedside of her dying father when suddenly he asked what the time was. Trying to suppress the tears which blinded her and to conceal them, she raised her watch very close to her eyes, so that the dial seemed very large and distorted. The resultant symptoms were an abnormal enlargement of the objects she saw and severe strabismus.

"If You Would Let Me Talk"

After diagnosing the case as hysteria, Dr. Breuer tried to remove the symptoms through hypnosis, but with no success. Treatments by some of the most prominent neurologists in Europe brought no better results, and the patient returned to Dr. Breuer. Noting that the patient in her states of "absence" mumbled strange words, Dr. Breuer hypnotized her and had her repeat those words many times causing her to reproduce for him the fancies which dominated her mind in her "absence." After relating those fancies she would be restored for several hours to a normal condition.

One day she said to him: "Dr. Breuer, if you would only let me talk to you and if I could tell you how my difficulties started, I think we could do something." The doctor was sympathetic and encouraged her to talk freely, unbosoming herself of her inner discords. They commonly had as their starting point the situation of a young girl confined to the sick bed of her father. She narrated not only the circumstances leading up to the various paralyses she suffered, but gave him an intimate account of her life, revealing her secret dreams, her frustrations, her repressions. She went into matters which a doctor would not generally think of listening to. After such visit, wherein she simply talked freely, she manifested an appreciable improvement.

When reminded that her talking was consuming much of his valuable time, the patient would make an appointment for the "talking" hour. She called it the "talking cure" and insisted upon calling on him just to talk. Despite the tax on his time, Dr. Breuer permitted her to return repeatedly, and sympathizing with her emotional difficulties was rewarded by seeing her symptoms gradually disappear. It all seemed very strange to Dr. Breuer. He had given this woman all sorts of medicine. Another distinguished neurologist had given her hot and cold baths. A third had treated her with electricity. Now he merely listened to her and she was getting well!
As Dr. Breuer pondered the significance of this case, he found himself asking repeatedly: Why should this woman be getting well by merely talking? Gradually he became convinced of one fundamental principle, namely, the importance of getting the patient to go back to the origin of the symptom and to relive the experience with the proper emotional expression. For the strangulated emotion would thus be released and the symptom would disappear. This constitutes the basic principle underlying psychoanalysis as well as that part of psychiatry which deals with the removal of phobias, complexes, tics, and other forms of Lebenswund.


From what has been said it is evident, first, it was the unbosoming or confessing of certain unpleasant experiences in the past by his patient that revealed to Dr. Breuer the rich therapeutic effects of the cathartic method, the housecleaning of the soul. Psychoanalysis may be said to be but the confessional technique developed by the psychiatrist in the probing of psychic disturbances and in effecting their removal. Secondly, it is evident that the ideal agency for obtaining such disclosures with complete candor is the confessional of the Catholic Church. Here the patient is conscious that his revelation is protected by an inviolable secrecy. He knows that the confessor would gladly sacrifice his life rather than disclose one single word whispered in the confessional.

Furthermore, he is free to enjoy a complete anonymity by going to a confessional where both confessor and penitent are perfect strangers. Every human consideration calculated to prove helpful to the penitent in unbosoming himself of his troubles, sins and disturbances will be found in the regulations governing the administration of the sacrament of confession.

In addition, there are spiritual considerations which no psychoanalyst can provide. There is the religious faith which reminds the penitent that he is confessing to God, and that the confessor is acting merely as the human ambassador of the Most High, extending mercy and forgiveness in His name. He realizes that the concealment of a grievous misdeed would not only nullify the confession but would add to the penitent's soul the guilt of sacrilege. That is why the confessional in the humblest Catholic Church in the world is a more efficacious agency for complete catharsis than the office of any psychoanalyst, no matter how many technicians it may have and no matter how persuasive they may be in pleading for a frank dislodgment of the disagreeable and painful out of the buried past.
Increasing Recognition

This is the conviction not only of those who have had actual experience of the sacrament, such as priests and penitents, but it is also the conclusion reached by those outside the Church who have made careful observations on the effects of the confessional upon the lives of those who frequent it.

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent." [Luke 5:32]

The Healing for the Soul

Through Baptism, we are cleansed of Original Sin and receive sanctifying grace, the life of God within our souls. But we are still imperfect and still capable of sin. We cannot deny the fact that as long as we sojourn on this earth we shall always be vulnerable to personal sin [Rom.7:14-20], so the sins committed after baptism needed a different sacrament: The Sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation.

For the Catholic Church, the intent of this sacrament is to provide healing for the soul as well as to regain the grace of God, lost by sin.

1422 "Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion." [Catechism of the Catholic Church]

Confession: Restoring friendship and harmony after unrighteous offense.

The Scriptures repeatedly prescribe confession of sin as a means to expiation and atonement. "It shall be that when he is guilty of any one of these things, he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing" [Lev. v. 5]

1 John 1:5-11 - This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Proverbs 28:13 - People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

Psalm 32:1-6 - Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the LORD." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

Psalm 51:1-10 - Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my shameful deeds -- they haunt me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner -- yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me -- now let me rejoice. Don't keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

Sirach 4:26 - Don't be ashamed to confess your sins; there's no point in trying to stop a river from flowing.

Numbers 5:7 -They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged.

Nehemiah 9:2-3 - Those of Israelite descent separated themselves from all foreigners as they confessed their own sins and the sins of their ancestors.  They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.

James 5:16 - Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Acts 19:18 - Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices.

Matthew 3:6 - And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

Mark 1:5 - All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.

The Son of Man and the Forgiveness of Sin

Mark 2:4-10 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts?  Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’?  So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.”

"That you may know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sin..." [See also Mt. 9:6; Lk 5:21-24] The Hebrew title He used was "ben Adam" [בן־אדם] meaning "Son of Adam." This was the Hebrew word for "a human being." The question now is why Christ did not address his self as Son of God which he commonly used also? It is worthy to note that Christ wanted to draw attention on how the New Covenant will work in connection with the Old: He emphasize that a Human Being can be used as instrument to forgive sin and to reconciliation a fellow man with God.

Confession of Sin to a Priest

John 20:19-23 - That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.  As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord!  Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”  Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Christ gave authority to priests to exercise the forgiveness of sins here on earth and it is in Jesus' Holy Name by which the person confessing is forgiven. Theologically, the priest acts in persona Christi. Christ's representative, the priest, must decide whether to forgive or retain. Therefore, the penitent must confess each and every serious sin that is anything which separates him from Christ. If the priest judges he is truly sorry, He must absolve since Christ's Passion merited forgiveness for every repentant sinner. Only if the person shows no willingness to give up sin does the priest retain, that is withhold absolution, as we "do not give what is holy to dogs" (Mt 7:6). [Colin B. Donovan, STL www.ewtn.com]

Foreshadow in the Old Covenant

Leviticus 5:1-19

“If you are called to testify about something you have seen or that you know about, it is sinful to refuse to testify, and you will be punished for your sin.
“Or suppose you unknowingly touch something that is ceremonially unclean, such as the carcass of an unclean animal. When you realize what you have done, you must admit your defilement and your guilt. This is true whether it is a wild animal, a domestic animal, or an animal that scurries along the ground.
“Or suppose you unknowingly touch something that makes a person unclean. When you realize what you have done, you must admit your guilt.
“Or suppose you make a foolish vow of any kind, whether its purpose is for good or for bad. When you realize its foolishness, you must admit your guilt.
“When you become aware of your guilt in any of these ways, you must confess your sin. Then you must bring to the Lord as the penalty for your sin a female from the flock, either a sheep or a goat. This is a sin offering with which the priest will purify you from your sin, making you right with the Lord.
“But if you cannot afford to bring a sheep, you may bring to the Lord two turtledoves or two young pigeons as the penalty for your sin. One of the birds will be for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering. You must bring them to the priest, who will present the first bird as the sin offering. He will wring its neck but without severing its head from the body. Then he will sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering against the sides of the altar, and the rest of the blood will be drained out at the base of the altar. This is an offering for sin. The priest will then prepare the second bird as a burnt offering, following all the procedures that have been prescribed. Through this process the priest will purify you from your sin, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven.
 “If you cannot afford to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, you may bring two quarts of choice flour for your sin offering. Since it is an offering for sin, you must not moisten it with olive oil or put any frankincense on it. Take the flour to the priest, who will scoop out a handful as a representative portion. He will burn it on the altar on top of the special gifts presented to the Lord. It is an offering for sin. Through this process, the priest will purify those who are guilty of any of these sins, making them right with the Lord, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the flour will belong to the priest, just as with the grain offering.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “If one of you commits a sin by unintentionally defiling the Lord’s sacred property, you must bring a guilt offering to the Lord. The offering must be your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value with silver, as measured by the weight of the sanctuary shekel. You must make restitution for the sacred property you have harmed by paying for the loss, plus an additional 20 percent. When you give the payment to the priest, he will purify you with the ram sacrificed as a guilt offering, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven.
“Suppose you sin by violating one of the Lord’s commands. Even if you are unaware of what you have done, you are guilty and will be punished for your sin. For a guilt offering, you must bring to the priest your own ram with no defects, or you may buy one of equal value. Through this process the priest will purify you from your unintentional sin, making you right with the Lord, and you will be forgiven. This is a guilt offering, for you have been guilty of an offense against the Lord.”

So yes, loosely speaking, Priest can forgive sins as Christ representative – but to be precise, it is Christ (God) who works through Priest because priest’s authority to convey forgiveness does not come from himself. It comes from Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the priest stands in the place of Christ to declare the sinner forgiven. Christ passed on his authority to the Church to reconcile sinners to God.

In the person of Christ the Head . . . 

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis: 
It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.  [Catechism of the Catholic Church]

Early Christians

Do not come to prayer with a guilty conscience." [Epistle of Barnabas, 19:12 (A.D. 74)]

“In church confess your sins, and do not come to your prayer with a guilt conscience. Such is the Way of Life...On the Lord's own day, assemble in common to break bread and offer thanks; but first confess your sins, so that your sacrifice may be pure." [Didache, 4:14,14:1 (c. A.D. 90)]

"Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness[of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop." [Ignatius, Epistle to the Smyraeans, 9 (c. A.D. 110)]

"Moreover, that this Marcus compounds philters and love-potions, in order to insult the persons of some of these women, if not of all, those of them who have returned to the Church of God--a thing which frequently occurs--have acknowledged, confessing, too, that they have been defiled by him, and that they were filled with a burning passion towards him. A sad example of this occurred in the case of a certain Asiatic, one of our deacons, who had received him (Marcus) into his house. His wife, a woman of remarkable beauty, fell a victim both in mind and body to this magician, and, for a long time, travelled about with him. At last, when, with no small difficulty, the brethren had converted her, she spent her whole time in the exercise of public confession, weeping over and lamenting the defilement which she had received from this magician." [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1:13 (A.D. 180)]

"Such are the words and deeds by which, in our own district of the Rhone, they have deluded many women, who have their consciences seared as with a hot iron. Some of them, indeed, make a public confession of their sins; but others of them are ashamed to do this, and in a tacit kind of way, despairing of [attaining to] the life of God, have, some of them, apostatized altogether; while others hesitate between the two courses, and incur that which is implied in the proverb, 'neither without nor within;' possessing this as the fruit from the seed of the children of knowledge." [Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1:13 (A.D. 180)]

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