Confessing to a Priest

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, May 6, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    When one chooses to confess to a priest do you have to confess all your sins or can you confess just one particular sin and then be done with confession?
     
  2. peter

    peter Active Member

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    The normal practice would be to confess all one's sins (or at least more serious sins) since one's last confession. But the custom no doubt varies between churches and jurisdictions.
     
  3. PDL

    PDL Member Anglican

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    It would seem to me there is little point in going to confession if you do not intend to confess all of your sins. The priest will obviously not know of sins you have not confessed and he will say the words of absolution. However, it is God who forgives and it is God who knows what you have failed to confess.

    If you went to the doctor and only told him half your symptoms he may misdiagnose you and provide you with an ineffective treatment. If you do not tell the priest all how can he give you wise counsel? How can you expect God to heal you?
     
  4. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    I thought the Anglican was forgiven of the sins he confessed during the general confession and absolution and only went to the priest for those sins that were troubling him for more reassurance. Either way I do feel my question has been answered and I think you all for it.
     
  5. PDL

    PDL Member Anglican

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    I'm not saying it's obligatory for Anglicans to go to confession. I was answering what was asked: Should you confess all or be selective. I see no point in approaching a priest for confession unless you confess all. Why would God forgive sins we 'hide'?
     
  6. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I would want to say that selective confession could make sense, actually... Priests can be corrupt and you may want to withhold a sin you have, if it would lead to a compromise of the priest, which is something the Roman church does not realize (and hence their priests get corrupted all the time, with filthy confessions and smutty sins)

    You also may need to withhold a sin that is particularly compromising to you personally... True enough, you won't be pardoned for that sin, but the day is long, and you may choose to confess it 4-5 years later when the compromise has diminished...

    In general, the way I see it is you go and confess the sins you specifically need to be absolved of... It is on a per-sin basis, and let's remember that this kind of personal/auricular confession did not exist in the Patristic Era
     
  7. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 New Member

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    Ok so I am a slight bit confused here. I thought you were already forgiven of the sin but you went to personal confession really just for quieting of the conscious. I thought you were forgiven in the public confession.
     
  8. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it sounds like you may be familiar with the exhortation in the BCP Communion liturgy.

    The exhortation instructs us to examine our lives and conversations against God's commandments and where we have offended in thought, word or deed to bewail our sinfulness and to confess ourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life.

    If by this means we cannot quiet our own conscience (perhaps due to scrupulosity) or if we have doubt in God's mercy, we can approach the minister and through the ministry of God's holy Word receive absolution and counsel.

    In the BCP Communion liturgy the Confession follows the exhortations and is said by the minister and people together. The Priest (or Bishop if present) then pronounces the absolution.

    The BCP makes it clear that it is God alone who absolves; only those who truly repent and believe are absolved and that Christ's minister (Priest/Bishop) is authorised to pronounce absolution to those who fulfill these conditions.

    In the CofE, the obligation for auricular or private confession to a Priest was abrogated in the 16th century, private confession having become obligatory in the Western Church during the 13th century. Before then, those found guilty of grievous sin had to make public confession of their offences, a penance was given and in some cases a sentence of excommunication was pronounced for a period of time. The English Reformers would have liked to go back to this more primitive custom - see the exhortation in the BCP Commination liturgy.

    CofE liturgies such as Morning/Evening Prayer, Holy Communion, Services of the Word etc. will use an authorised form of confession and absolution. This is deemed sufficient for the forgiveness of sins. How private confession is handled should it be requested is likely to depend on whether the church is of an Anglo-Catholic (High) or Evangelical (Low) persuasion.

    If you are in the CofE, Common Worship contains this provision for Reconciliation:

    https://www.churchofengland.org/pra...nciliation-and-restoration-recovering-baptism
     

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