The Sacrament of Confession and forgiveness

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Weston Letson, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Weston Letson

    Weston Letson New Member

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    Of course Christ made this Sacrament and it is a valid means of forgiveness. It is not the Priest that grants the forgiveness, rather it is Christ Jesus. But, here is my question. Can Christ Jesus forgive without confession? If I were to pray and I asked for forgiveness of my sins, would he forgive me for my trespasses?
     
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  2. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    The priest is authorized to pronounce forgiveness of sins. If you pray to Christ for forgiveness, you will receive it. We believe that God works through means, though, so know that private confession OR corporate confession at church will receive a true absolution. Confession is there for our benefit. Of course we can receive forgiveness apart from it, but there's an immediacy and assuredness that is found in the sacrament. It is a means of imparting God's grace to us.
     
  3. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    Yes but is this supported by scripture. I agree that Jesus forgives the sin, but if this is so why is not my rubbish collector just as qualified to hear my confession and pronounce that my sins are forgiven, knowing that Christ has allready done so.
     
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I say he is. The bible says confess your sins to one another. The traditional understanding, however, is that he may not grant his priestly absolution to you unless your rubbish collector is ordained.
     
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  5. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Brother from across the ditch :) In our Church if your rubbish collector is a licensed Bishop or Priest he/she would be able to pronounce absolution.

     
  6. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There is no "Confession" per se, only "Absolution". It does not matter whether you audibly, privately or otherwise, confess your sins to the priest. It is a Romish doctrine that is alien to our church, and to the Church Fathers. For us, there is only Absolution, and it works by faith, upon the repentance of the believer. Absolution is very strongly present in the 1662 Prayerbook, but the Priest does not know whom it will work upon. He addresses it to the whole congregation, and whoever repented truly, will be absolved. It is not required for you to address yourself to the Priest... he pronounces the ordinance of Absolution to the congregation, and if you legitimately repented unto God, if your faith is pure and devotion is clean, the absolution of the Priest will infallibly work, because God will grant it.
     
  7. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Actually there is a secondary sacrament of Reconciliation and it also included in the Australia BCP not sure of any of the others. It has been part of the Anglican Church of Australia as long as I have been around....

    Basically our Church says

    None Should
    All Can
    Some Should

    tongue in cheek obviously....
     
  8. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    In the 1662BCP Rite of Holy Communion there is a long exhortation, the end of which says:

    ' therefore if any of you ......cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or some other 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.'

    Also, in the 1662 Office of The Visitation of the Sick, the sick person may ' be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter, After which confession, the Priest shall absolve him after this sort.'
     
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  9. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    We have it in our BCP as well.
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Naturally, you are right of course, it's along the same lines as I was saying. I was trying to get across the point that confession is not sacramentally necessary to the Ordinance of Absolution, and that does not alter the fact that you of course can, and should approach and privately confess to your minister, if needed for the quieting of conscience. Notice that the quotes you gave bring it up in the context of pastoral comfort.

    To put it another way, it isn't that Absolution wouldn't work without a preceding confession. Confession is an optional but laudable pastoral activity in the context of the larger Absolution which infallibly works by faith upon a truly repentant believer. But on the other hand, the Minister must also be present for it to work, and we can't go the other way and say that we can obtain absolution on our own, outside the church. The church was put on earth for the role of serving the offices of God unto his People, such as spiritually feeding them, and absolving those who repent.
     
  11. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    That is a little bit different then saying there was no Confession in the Anglican Church.
     
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  12. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's a good clarification. Which expands on Gordon's little ditty. As Anglicans we're sometimes accused of abolishing auricular confession, but according to the Prayer Book and Anglican Divines that is not the case. Auricular confession is not absolutely necessary for the remission of sins but is available if the individual's conscience proves troubled enough to require it.

    Jeremy Taylor says in 'A Dissuasive from Popery, Part I'

    "Confession might be made of excellent use and is so among the pious children of the Church of England; but by the doctrines and practices in the Church of Rome it is made not the remedy of sins by proper energy, but by the excuse, the alleviation, the confidence, the ritual, the external, and Sacramental remedy, and serves instead of the labours of a holy and a regular life; and yet so entangled with innumerable and inextricable cases of conscience, orders, human prescripts, and great and little artifices, that scruples are more increased than sins are lessened."

    Francis White says in 'A Reply to Jesuit Fisher's Answer'

    "The difference then between the Papals and us in this question is not about the thing itself, considered without abuses, but concerning the manner and also the obligation and necessity thereof.......But the precise and strict law of confession, imposed upon all Christians as a necessary means of remission of sins, is neither commanded in the New Testament nor hath warrant from the primitive church."

    Recently I was reading some old Diocesan records from the time before my present Diocese was carved out of a much larger one in the latter 19th century. The Bishop had asked if Incumbents heard confession after the manner of the Prayer Book exhortation. I expected a very small number of cases but was surprised to find that a fair number of incumbents replied yes, either hearing confession in the vestry or the vicarage/rectory.
     
  13. Jeff F

    Jeff F Well-Known Member

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    You answered your own question, your prayer was confession! The Priest is there to confirm God's grace and forgiveness, not to issue it. It's a blessing to have a Godly, knowledgeable person of God to guide you not only through confession, but the path to restoration from future sin, but even in the OT it was clearly stated in Isaiah 1:18 that a person could go directly to God.:)

    Jeff
     
  14. historyb

    historyb Active Member

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    My Priest told us that in a homily :)
     
  15. Argentinian

    Argentinian New Member

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    Absolution and the other things bound up in the "binding and loosening" power given to the church tend to confuse me. What authority is exclusively the church's as stemming from this authority Christ gives to the church?
     
  16. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As far as I know the Church has the privilege and duty of ,'binding & loosing,' the loosing being generally thought of as loosing sins. This is used generally through the Bishops and the prayer book, private confession(which I have used all my life) and or, through the general confession via the prayerbook. Of course, these are both the duty of the Bishops and clergy to use and not for layman has a private venture!
     
  17. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    I suggest you check out what Bishop Jewel has to say on loosening and binding, here:

    http://www.anglican.net/works/john-jewel-apology-answer-defence-church-of-england/#p2-2

    Do a text search for "We affirm,". (With the comma included!)

     
  18. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    There has been auricular confession practised in the Church in Britain, or England, since the Celtic Days. In fact, according to Anglican writers the system of confessing to a priest had its provenance in Britain. This was not because the Romanists misused it, but because people stopped going out of an evening, or the time of public confession ,since the method used for confession of sins , i.e. all being sat down in church and the confession made public. Audible confession, proved of greater interest. It was however giving cause for scandal! Not only did ,private confession originate in the Church in this country, but it has been practised consistently, by the Catholic Clergy and laity till modern times, though my own belief is that it isn't used as much as in former day.
    All through the Elizabethan and the Stuart Church it was freely practised. S. Charles received absolution after his private meeting with his clergy, Juxon, of Canterbury, Non Jurors received it publicly from their future Primus at their execution and I was told by my tutor than George Herbert rang his Church bell at 12 noon, so that the peasants could stop work at 12 noon, for prayers at the plough or whatever, knowing that Confession with absolution was available at Bemerton Church.
    Unfortunately, I have lost the records, or at least I can't find them, even so, it was what I have been taught in my early days.
    Interestingly, some congregations of evangelical protestants used the ,'open system,' regularly against my advice. They should have listened, the scandal it caused brought the local jurisdiction down!!
     
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  19. Robinson Crusoe

    Robinson Crusoe Member

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    thank you for this reference! going back to absolution... it wasn't clear to me whether a priest is needed to be absolved of sin. i suppose it was implied? if i confess my sin to God in prayer tonight, without a priest, am i not right with God until a priest absolves me?
     
  20. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Interestingly, in Orthodoxy, the priest does not forgive, but serves as a witness to God's forgiveness. The Roman style, where the priest forgives the sins, was introduced into the Russian Church when it was under Roman influence. Bishop Kallistos Ware talks about this in his book, The Orthodox Church:

    "The Greek formula runs: ‘Whatever you have said to my humble person, and whatever you have failed to say, whether through ignorance or forgetfulness, whatever it may be, may God forgive you in this world and the next ... Have no further anxiety; go in peace. ’

    In Slavonic there is this formula: ‘May Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, through the grace and bounties of His love towards mankind, forgive you, my child [name], all your transgressions. And I, an unworthy priest, through the power given me by Him, forgive and absolve you from all your sins. ’

    This form, using the first person ‘I,’ was originally introduced into Orthodox service books under Latin influence by Peter of Moghila in the Ukraine, and was adopted by the Russian Church in the eighteenth century." The Orthodox Church

    "In the Orthodox Church, the priest is seen as a witness of repentance, not a recipient of secrets, a detective of specific misdeeds. The "eye," the "ear" of the priest is dissolved in the sacramental mystery. He is not a dispenser, a power wielding, vindicating agent, an "authority." Such a conception exteriorizes the function of the confessor and of confession which is an act of re-integration of the penitent and priest alike into the Body of Christ. The declaration "I, an unworthy priest, by the power given unto me, absolve you" is unknown in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is of later Latin origin and was adopted in some Russian liturgical books at the time of the domination of Russian Orthodox theology by Latin thought and practice." Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.
     
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