Monday, March 19, 2007

Dear Catholic Warrior....
Q. "I have been told that since we are absolved of our sins during the mass that one may always go to communion (if you are a Catholic in good standing of course) So I wonder what is the need for personal confession if one does not have mortal sin on their soul?"
A. Although it is true that within the Mass, if we are sorry for our sins, then our venial sins are forgiven, mortal sins can only be forgiven within the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) or with a perfect act of contrition. A perfect act of contrition is where we are sorry for our sins because the sin offends God, Whom we love above all things for His own sake, and not because we fear punishment (e.g. Hell). However, even if we make a perfect act of contrition it is necessary for us to go to Confession as soon as possible so as to obey Christ by confessing our sins, and to ensure that we have been forgiven. So, mortal sins are not absolved during the Mass, and one cannot receive Holy Communion until all mortal sins have been confessed, to the best of the individual's knowledge. So let's get to your question: "what is the need for personal confession if one does not have mortal sin on their soul?"
To understand this you must know that Confession serves more than just the function of forgiving sins. Yes, that is the fundamental and most important part of the Sacrament, but it is not the only result that will occur from receiving it. When we go to Confession, not only are our sins forgiven, but we receive help to overcome those sins, to keep in a state of grace, and to grow in virtue. In a word it's called grace. Confession therefore is twofold---it forgives (helping us get up), and it helps us to sin no more (helps us to move forward in our life with Christ).
So, we go to Confession not only to receive the forgiveness that Christ offers us, but to help us to follow Christ more closely. That is one reason it is important to go to Confession frequently even if you only have "small" sins.
Here's another reason. We tend to not understand how dangerous venial sins are. Satan will generally always start small in a person's life to corrupt him. Usually you don't see children committing huge sins but rather small ones. But that is the way the big sins can enter eventually. We do a small sin enough times and eventually it becomes quite easy for us to do bigger and bigger sins, until we finally give into the mortal (deadly) sins. They are called mortal sins because we no longer have life with Christ until they are forgiven.
Perhaps the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it best as to the value of confessing even our venial sins:
"Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:" (CCC #1458)
Hope that helped!
---The Catholic Warrior (PBXVI)

7 comments:

Nicholas said...

To
The Archbishop Of Madras-Mylapore 13 March,2007
Santhome,Chennai,India.
Your Grace,Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ.I am a Marine Engineer from the States,currently sailing through the Indian Ocean,who spends considerable periods of time in Chennai and Colombo.In both ports of call,my contacts are Catholics and I,being a staunch Catholic myself,am pained to hear,and notice,the striking contrast between the Clergy in Sri Lanka and Chennai.Sri Lankan priests seem to have a spontaneous compulsion to present themselves as priests,both in attire and practice.It is noticeable to see how people respect them from their hearts.Sri Lanka does seem to be holding on to the traditional Catholic approach as far as the Clergy are concerned.At a time when churches are being converted into restaurants and night clubs in the West,the residual Catholic community there has a lot of hope and respect for the Catholic Church and its Clergy in India.But,from what I have heard and seen,the Clergy,under you pastoral care and supervision in Chennai(the truly devoted servants of Jesus apart)are making a mockery of the principles of Jesus Christ.My good friend,R V,told me that when he was travelling to Bangalore by train,his co-passenger,a non-catholic,asked R V whether he could exercise his influence to convert him into a Catholic.R V,puzzled,asked" why?"His answer was,"it's useless to pawn my mother's wedding chain and go to Dubai or Singapore by paying the agent in Tirchy for peanuts.I have seen a couple of Don Bosco priests,without any visible sign of austerity or obligation to God's command,having a layman's approach to life by helping their close relatives.I thought all Catholic priests and nuns would be like Mother Teresa,but these priests have no semblance of sacrifice.Why shouldn't I become a Don Bosco priest and help my poor relatives in the name of God?"Your Grace,how disturbing!We can only turn to you to share our profound concerns.We beseech you,in the name of Jesus Christ,to exercise our Lord's command to you by considering the following points:
1.Please insist that every priest under you is recognisable as an enthusiastic Representative of God.This would enable people to revere and keep them as role models to serve Jesus.When a lad,working for a super-market chain,could sport his uniform proudly to show that he is a part of a prestigious chain,why is a Catholic priest,representing the largest faith in the world,finding it a burden to present himself as an instrument of God,focused on a rich harvest for Jesus through his public display and and behaviour of being a Catholic priest.Your Grace,please look at some of the web-sites maintained by your priests--most of them are in smart casuals Couldn't they find at least a cross as an indicator that they are serving Jesus Christ.In the West,most of our priests present themselves as individuals to be revered for Christ's sake.Should they come out without their collar,they have the Cross hanging as an indicator.


2.Even in a small organisation,as a management policy,it is discouraged to recruit an individual who has a relative working there.Why do you allow your priests to minister in a neighbourhood where their close relatives live?Don't you agree this would hinder their priestly duties.Why are you allowing priests,especially from the Don Bosco Order,to render financial,material and educational help to their close relatives?These essentials could easily be met by those relatives who are comfortably placed and physically fit.It is understandable(and heart-warming),if a priest's involvement in his relative's family is directed towards spiritual guidance and well-being.We have proof of a Catholic layman pulled from the verge of committing suicide because a Don Bosco Priest failed to deal with his problem in a sympathetic manner.This priest was driven by passion for his relative,completely oblivious of his Vocation.



3.A priest who gets his Theological training in Rome tends to consider himself a step above other priests.Didn't you send him at considerable expense to the Catholic Church to equip him as a better person for his ministry?Please send such priests to a seminary in India,make them read the lives of Great Catholics,who worked for Jesus in tough and appalling conditions.How privileged they are to work for Jesus in this relatively comfortable world of today!


4.Let every member of the Human Race,be it a Christian,Hindu,Muslim,Buddhist or an atheist,see Jesus in our priests.Their faces,their conduct,their sacrifice,their devotion and their selflessness.

5.Before finding out how much revenue each Catholic church or an institution has generated,let the priests and nuns derive satisfaction from the knowledge of how many souls they have harvested for Our Good Lord,Jesus Christ.

Your Grace,as you will agree,the word integrity en capsules the contents of this letter.When somebody decides to become a spiritual leader,in whatever Church,they are not taking a job,they are not joining a business or a club.They are committing themselves to the spiritual guidance and well-being of others,thankfully with God's help.

It is an awesome responsibility that becomes heavier the higher they climb the spiritual ladder of promotion,within their Church or general belief.If many of those who took on the challenge(not job),were truthful to themselves,they would have to admit after quite a short space of time that they were not up to it and should therefore leave.

Looking around the Catholic Diocese of Madras,it would seem there are quite a few "members" who should be having a serious word with themselves..........?

Your humble friend in Christ,

Nicholas.

Anonymous said...

That question was from me. I appreciate your response.

Here is another one. My daughter is 18 and just now graduating from High school. In her junior year she had a confirmation sponsor who was male and 6 yrs her senior (she was 17 and he was 23. He is a devout and wonderful Catholic who taught apologetics at our Church. During that year they fell in love. They did not date then, but when she turned 18 they did. Her father and I and both of them had a long talk (they asked permission) and since he had had such a profound spirtual influence on her and I trusted him, we said yes. He has just graduated from college and lives in another town but visits frequently. The problem is that his family is totally against this. (one of his sisters is in my daughter's class and hates it) His mother thinks that I am awful for allowing them to date and I know that he must not tell them when he sees my daughter. The age doesn't bother me so much because I know and trust him so well, but his family believes that this is wrong. He says there is nothing in Catholic theology that prevents this because of age as long as both are adults. Like I said, they didn't "date" during the confirmation process.Is it wrong and what should he do?

Moneybags said...

Good answer to the Confession question.

PBXVI said...

Anonymous,
Sorry I am very busy these few days, but I will have a response out to you by Sunday evening! Thanks for asking these questions! God Bless!

Paul VI said...

Catholic Warrior, what do you do when all the people around you are witches and mormons and seem to hate you?

PBXVI said...

Paul VI, can you be a little more specific?

Paul VI said...

I mean, like when you work at a place like Denny's? I thought you might know...lol