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Source: (consider it) Thread: Confession in the Anglican Church
Stoic29
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During my time in the Orthodox Church, I would go to confession about four times during the year and as a Roman Catholic about two times a month. I found it to be helpful and a good discipline, but I never liked the stressed distinction of mortal versus venial sins (although I do certainly believe some sins are more grave than others).

How often do shipmates climb into the confessional? Surely it is different for everyone. "All may, some should, none must"...but what about preparation for the Eucharist? Not that confession is your ticket to the Lord's Table, but ISTM that at least some people should confess their sins before receiving the Eucharist.

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mr cheesy
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I have never been to confession. I doubt many in my wing of the Anglican church ever have either.

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Ethne Alba
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Would you mind terribly....explaining the difference between the two types of sin? Thanks
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Stoic29
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quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
Would you mind terribly....explaining the difference between the two types of sin? Thanks

From the Roman Catholic Catechism:

III. THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SINS

1852 There are a great many kinds of sins. Scripture provides several lists of them. The Letter to the Galatians contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit: "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God."127

1853 Sins can be distinguished according to their objects, as can every human act; or according to the virtues they oppose, by excess or defect; or according to the commandments they violate. They can also be classed according to whether they concern God, neighbor, or oneself; they can be divided into spiritual and carnal sins, or again as sins in thought, word, deed, or omission. The root of sin is in the heart of man, in his free will, according to the teaching of the Lord: "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man."128 But in the heart also resides charity, the source of the good and pure works, which sin wounds.

IV. THE GRAVITY OF SIN: MORTAL AND VENIAL SIN

1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,129 became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner's will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.130
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: "Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent."131

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: "Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother."132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.135
1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

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Bishops Finger
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From the Exhortation in the 1662 Prayer Book Communion Service:

'Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that holy Table; lest, after the taking of that holy Sacrament, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul.

And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God's mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God's holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.'

Confession was enjoined upon those attending Anglo-Catholic services, from the Oxford Movement onwards, but the above is, AFAIK, still the Church of England's official position. I doubt if any Anglican church ever sees long lines of penitents waiting for the priest(s), but some do still offer 'Reconciliation' at stated times.

IJ

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Fr Weber
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I believe there's also a reference to private confession in the Visitation of the Sick.

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--Sr Theresa Koernke, IHM

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ExclamationMark
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Confess your sins to one another - if you need to (James 5). No priest required though as we all have equal access to God.
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Ethne Alba
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Thank you...for the fulsome responses!

Exclamation Mark.....well indeed.
However i do know that some are incapable of receiving ...understanding....or entering into ....that forgiveness that hopefully comes as a result of confession.

ISTM that maybe those trained and experienced in such matters might be better able to encourage such that cannot make that leap either on their own, or with the help of kind friends.

But so far, i am learning lots. Thank you!

[this from someone not exactly well versed in the matters of formal confession or the ministry of reconciliation.....]

[ 13. January 2017, 18:04: Message edited by: Ethne Alba ]

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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quote:
Originally posted by Stoic29:
quote:
Originally posted by Ethne Alba:
Would you mind terribly....explaining the difference between the two types of sin? Thanks

From the Roman Catholic Catechism:
<<snip>>

I prefer the definition in the Catholic Encyclopedia, which can be quoted much more succinctly within the Ship's guidelines on quoting copyrighted material:
quote:
By mortal sin man is entirely averted from God . . . and . . . places his last end in some created thing. By venial sin he . . . remains united with God . . . but does not tend towards Him as he ought. The true nature of sin as it is contrary to the eternal law . . . is found only in mortal sin. Venial sin is only in an imperfect way contrary to the law . . . nor does it avert man from the end intended by the law.
Or, as the nuns in Sunday school told us, more succinctly but perhaps less clearly: "Mortal sin is a deadly sin. Venial sin is a lesser sin."

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leo
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About once every 2 months.

We tend not to distinguish between "Mortal sins" and "venial sin."

Veinal sins are likely to be more indicative of one's spiritual state.

[ 13. January 2017, 19:08: Message edited by: leo ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Stoic29

I recently noticed that an Anglo-Catholic church in my city in the UK was advertising dates and times for confession. It's not something I'd ever heard of or come across as a CofE thing before. Perhaps its more common among Anglicans in your country.

[ 13. January 2017, 19:11: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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Anselmina
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Every active Anglican will have confessed their sins, but not every Anglican will have 'been to' confession, as in a one-to-one encounter with the absolving priest. The general confession in the standard communion liturgy is a must-have rubric in every eucharistic service.

Personally, I think it is good for Christians, as much as it's practical, to have a spiritual director or soul friend, with whom they can confidentially discuss anything that disturbs them. And I know quite a few anglicans who like to make their confession, privately and in detail, with the assistance of the priest.

Not my tradition, though I take the general confession very seriously. And it is to be hoped that everyone who says it takes it seriously and realizes that that is their public confession to God of what they've done wrong, even though it's not in details! But it is also to be hoped that Christians who feel they need to get right with God in a specific way, they would use auricular confession.

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bib
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At my church there is the opportunity to go to confession but I'm not sure how many of the congregation do as it is a private thing between the priest and the penitent.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:
Personally, I think it is good for Christians, as much as it's practical, to have a spiritual director or soul friend, with whom they can confidentially discuss anything that disturbs them. And I know quite a few anglicans who like to make their confession, privately and in detail, with the assistance of the priest.

Not my tradition, though I take the general confession very seriously. And it is to be hoped that everyone who says it takes it seriously and realises that that is their public confession to God of what they've done wrong, even though it's not in details! But it is also to be hoped that Christians who feel they need to get right with God in a specific way, they would use auricular confession.

Our rector is available for confession/spiritual direction with a phone call to make an appointment; not the usual RC position of 5 to 7 on a Saturday. BTW, I wonder how many of the younger ones really need an additional time on Sunday, but perhaps that's a bit flippant.

Regardless of that, there is the general confession which to us is important - we join together in confessing our departure, just as we join together in receiving grace.

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MaryLouise
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As a post-Vatican II Roman Catholic, the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation has always meant a great deal to me. For a number of years, I went to confession once a week when I was working with a spiritual director who was an elderly Jesuit in his 80s. He encouraged me to see the practice of regular confession as a call to a deeper conversion of the heart and believed that sacramental absolution restores and renews our baptismal holiness. A friend of mine assured me this understanding is also present in the high-ish Anglican church she attends.

I no longer go to confession as often, but try to have my confession heard during Lent and Advent.

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Lyda*Rose

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"Immoderate laughter" is a sin? I learn something every day. My movie going buddy would agree, having been embarrassed by my "immoderate laughter" during some very funny comedies.

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Graven Image
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My Episcopal priest hears my confession during Lent each year and would make himself available when ever it was requested.
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Stoic29
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Private confession was the norm when England was in communion with Rome. When did private confession become rare or not the norm?

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Bishops Finger
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During the Reformation, pro tem, and after the attempt at re-Catholicisation during the reign of Mary I.

Hence the Exhortation (which I quoted above)in the Book of Common Prayer.

IJ

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Ethne Alba
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Amanda B. Reckondwythe ...thank you!
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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
Confess your sins to one another - if you need to (James 5). No priest required though as we all have equal access to God.

No priest required for forgiveness: but as the passage from the BCP quoted upthread suggests, advice and counsel, and a specific pronunciation of absolution, can both help you amend your life, and settle your conscience by making you *feel* that you are forgiven.

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Forthview
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No priest is required for forgiveness is true.Forgiveness is dependent upon the sorrow of the penitent.
Not everyone is aware of the gravity or otherwise of their sins and some penitents can also be overscrupulous.
The priest is there to help the penitent and to assure them of God's mercy for them. He will have been trained, hopefully, to be able to distinguish between grave (mortal) sins and less serious (venial)sins.
The absolution which the priest may give (if the sinner is truly sorry) is given with the full weight of the authority of the Church - whose sins you forgive they are forgiven - whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven,whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.

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Albertus
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Precisely so. And I think you will find all of that- except I suppose for the formal distinction between venial and mortal sin- in the Prayer Book.

[ 19. January 2017, 15:44: Message edited by: Albertus ]

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Pangolin Guerre
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I would agree with Exclamation Mark, that clerical intercession isn't germane to the efficacy of confession. As Bishop Finger notes the BCP, I would argue that if one be taking the Liturgy seriously (sorry - couldn't resist the archaic subjunctive mood), confession as a separate exercise is unnecessary, because we explicitly "confess our manifold sins and wickedness." If you are genuinely engaged with the service, you have made your confession. That's why we (again referring to the BCP) speak the confession before approaching for Communion. We approach shriven.

That said, I think the act of confession to another human is psychologically meaningful. I once made a confession that was a profound experience. (Although also very funny - I was so distracted afterward that I walked directly into the chapel door. The priest thought that I had badly brained myself. Perhaps that was my penance.)

Bit of A, bit of B.

[ 22. January 2017, 01:19: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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PaulTH*
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I fully agree with the Anglican axiom "all may, some should, none must" with regards to sacramental confession. I confess my sins to God almost every day, and I see it as quite sufficient contrition to attend and receive Communion. Yet there have been a few occasions where I have wanted to confess to a priest. One was when I was constantly troubled and tortured over a particular sin I had committed. Hearing the words of absolution followed by the penance and the spiritual counsel of the priest allowed the clouds of depression to lift.

The most recent time was when I didn't attend church for almost three months because I was feeling no sense of God's presence and felt quite alienated from the whole idea of church. When that feeling lifted I felt that I should confess my lack of faith. After all, faith is tested at its most in times of spiritual dryness. At the times when I've decided to go to confession, I've felt great spiritual benefit from doing so, but I think many others would feel just as forgiven if they had made their private confession. I don't agree that formal confession should be required of anyone.

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Paul

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