Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pope tells priests not to judge absolve everyone in year of mercy.

I can't find the link to the article, but I'm not sure why this is controversial in blogosphere.

When you are struggling with a certain sin, it is recommended to use the same priest so he can advise and help you with the struggle and be sure you are not using the Sacrament as a crutch to continue doing whatever it is you're doing. If you are using it as a crutch, the practice is a grave danger to you and at a certain point, the priest has to refuse to absolve. It's very rare that a priest would have to resort to refusing to absolve and I can't think of a situation where it would happen on the first attempt of a penitent to absolve the sin.

In a year of Mercy, there will hopefully be a lot of souls who have strayed and want to return. If they are seeking absolution, there is recognition that the behavior is wrong, their salvation is in peril and they need to fix it -- so the idea is to infuse the soul with Sanctifying Grace. Sanctifying Grace will lead to right judgment and the priest will get them there through the Sacrament of Confession and reception of the Eucharist.

Let us say a priest discovers somebody is shaking up with their lover. The priest explains that he or she has to be celibate until they can move out or Sacramentally marry. A priest can tell whether the person is trying to resolve the situation the next time he comes back and it may take numerous trips to overcome temptation, move out or regularize the situation.

There is no room to remain in a situation that can never be regularized. The only action can be separation. Given we are in a year of mercy and Pope Francis has dispatched 1000 confessors, isn't this an acceptable course of action?

Everything the Pope says and does isn't completely off of the reservation. Why not assist in drawing people to absolution?

"During this Jubilee, the Church will be called even more to heal these wounds, to assuage them with the oil of consolation, to bind them with mercy and cure them with solidarity and vigilant care. Let us not fall into humiliating indifference or a monotonous routine that prevents us from discovering what is new! Let us ward off destructive cynicism! Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!"


Kelly said...

When I think of the state I was in when I hauled my sorry behind into the Church! But I have said it many times before and I will say it again; the Church is God's hospital. The sick need the Physician.
I was used to the way most of the Evangelical churches I went to operated, which was to have everyone be all up in everyone else's business, presumably to help "keep you accountable." But what it really turned into was a gossip and judgment fest. And supreme efforts to look good on the outside at all times.
When I came to the Catholic church, several things happened:
1. I recognized Jesus' presence was there. (I guess my charismatic-ness came in a little handy there).
2. I wasn't required to fill out any questionnaires or have swarms of people all over me trying to get me to their weekly Bible studies or whatever, in the attempt to "get to know me," (read:find out the "sin in my life)."
3.I was able to have the time needed to allow Jesus to untangle the knots in my life. Deeply rooted sin/wounds/habits take TIME if they are to be really changed and not just dressed up better by our own efforts alone.
4. When I finally was able to go to confession, I RAN there and continually confessed the same things for a couple years. Thank God I was never refused absolution, but I was givien some harder words on occasion, THAT I STILL REMEMBER. It hurt really bad at the time, but I am thankful.

So, I haven't heard or seen anything about the Pope's words to confessors, but there's my story.

God Bless your Lent!

Michael Dowd said...

I see nothing controversial here either. The hard part in not with the priest; it is on the penitent to give up his/her sinful practices. Usually it takes a very long time to accomplish this if it ever happens at all. We need to ask God to let us help Him overcome our faults. To me, God's grace is His Mercy.

JB said...

Boy I'm not sure if you have that right re using the sacrament as a "crutch." If you mean to say that there are some people who confess who have no intention of trying not to sin again, or aren't sorry in the slightest or have any fear of punishment, then sure, you don't get absolution. But there are millions of people who confess sins who are sorry for them, but either through the force of habit or human weakness commit them again. In that event, you are supposed to return to the sacrament, not stay away from it until you have "perfected yourself."