Confessions?

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by BrethrenBoy, May 3, 2013.

  1. BrethrenBoy

    BrethrenBoy Member

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    Do Anglicans confess their sins to a priest like the Catholics and Orthodox?
     
  2. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    It's not a requirement for Anglicans to confess privately to a Priest, however we have the option to do so if we have a troubled conscience. During our services such as Holy Communion and Morning/Evening Prayer there's a general confession said by all, and this is followed by the absolution pronounced by the Priest.

    The 1662 BCP mentions private confession in two places - one in an exhortation in the order for Holy Communion, the other in the order for the Visitation of the Sick. Also under the 1662 Ordinal, Priests are given the power to bind and loose sins - "Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained".

    There's a short readable article on the subject on the Conciliar Anglican Blog:

    http://conciliaranglican.com/2011/08/10/all-may-none-must-some-should/

    Note the phrase 'All may, none must, some should' which rather sums up the Anglican perspective on private confession.
     
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  3. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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  4. Dave

    Dave Active Member

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    Note that the practices within Orthodoxy can vary greatly.
    Also note that most Catholics don't follow the requirements for not taking communion if one hasn't confessed their mortal sin to a priest.
    I do appreciate the "cleansing" of the confession of sin before eucharist during Anglican services.
     
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  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In my Orthodox parish my priest expects me to confess once a month if I want to commune regularly. I know that in some hardcore Russian parishes confession is expected before each communion, something I believe is unnecessary and too strict. The problem with requiring frequent confession (in my opinion), is that it seems like getting your ticket punched to receive communion. I would prefer to confess when I feel the need to. Of course we all sin each day, but then going to confession consists of recounting very minor sins, ones which I am comfortable confessing to God in my daily prayers. So I do think it is over stressed in the Orthodox Church, but the opposite, almost never going to confession, would be equally undesirable. In my understanding of the practice in the Assyrian Church, the rite of confession is for major sins (where the person has effectively excommunicated himself) and it is a big deal, whereby the person is restored to communion with the Church. Kind of reminds me of how it was practiced in the New Testament. I think the type of confession we have in the Orthodox Church and the RCC may have it's roots in monastic practices.
     
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  6. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    As a Franciscan part of my rule is to take the sacrament of reconciliation once a year, and I do that during Lent. My Spiritual Director is a Priest so I ask him to be my confessor.
     
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  7. historyb

    historyb Active Member

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    In my Parish and Church we have Confession but it is not a requirement
     
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  8. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Historyb,

    I like that shield you have for your avatar. Where is it from, if you don't mind me asking?
     
  9. historyb

    historyb Active Member

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    Nope I don't mind you asking :) It's from the CEC (Charismatic Episcopal Church)
     
  10. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Thanks!
     
  11. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Can someone please explain why confession is not necessary from the Anglican perspective? I am still learning! Also, is a good source out there on this subject?
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    You can start by asking why is confession necessary in the first place?

    A good resource is the Rite of Absolution ind the Prayerbooks. It is a general absolution of the congregation.
     
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  13. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Do all parishes practice this? I don't remember that occurring the last few times I attended an Anglican parish.
     
  14. Lux Christi

    Lux Christi Active Member

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    "All may, some should, none must" is a classic way to describe Anglican practice, as far as I know. Here is the general Confession and Absolution that happens every Sunday at my parish, and can be found in the Prayer Book:





    As you can see, at least in Anglo-Catholic circles, the priest in persona Christi absolves our sins each Sunday. If there is a more serious sin or if one desires also advice and counselling from a clergyperson, they may ask their local priest or minister for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in private. It is one of the five minor Sacraments and thus while conveying Grace, it is upon the individual to accept it.

    "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders [presbyterous] of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
    -- James 5:15-17
     
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  15. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Great information! Very helpful.
     
  16. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    The penitential system of the early Church was not concerned with the everyday failings and shortcomings of daily life. This was left to personal confession through prayer to God. The concern of the early Church was with serious or scandalous offences like homicide, adultery and apostasy. Such offences clearly transgressed the moral standards of Christian society. The extension of private or auricular confession to a Priest (including minor transgressions) gained ground in the early middle-ages and became obligatory in the Latin Church in the 13th century.

    At the English Reformation, the Church of England abrogated the obligation for auricular confession and returned to a system more in line with the primitive Church. As Anglicans we do not play down the necessity for confession and absolution. We are expected to make sincere confession of our sins through general confession in public worship and personal prayer. The Priest, on the authority of the Gospel proclaims God's forgiveness via the the absolution and we should accept this with full assurance. For those whose conscience is still troubled, they may seek private confession with the Priest as commended in an exhortation in the 1662 Order for Holy Communion but this is not obligatory.

    See also part 2 from the Homily on 'Repentance & True Reconciliation to God'.

    http://www.footstoolpublications.com/Homilies/Bk2_Repentance20.pdf
     
  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    All orthodox parishes must practice the Rite of Absolution as it's in all of our Prayerbook versions.
     
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  18. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Thank you so much for this...This was exactly what I was looking for.