I don't think a priest should be a judgegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread
I don't think a priest should judge whether we are forgiven or not. God should be our only judge.
-- Kin Juh (email@example.com), October 18, 2004
that, kin juh, is why religion is such a wonderful thing... you see, it doesnt matter what you, or i, or anyone else who visits this forum, or even anyone else in the world thinks. all that matters is what GOD thinks, and according to the gospel (ie, when the keys to the kingdom of heaven are given to the apostles and their apostolic succession) what YOU think is wrong.
HOWEVER, God really is our only judge. The preist asigns penance and absolution based on our externals, but it is God who can judge if we are truly repentant, from whom all good things come, who is the ultimate arbiter of grace, and therefore the ultimate confessor in the sacrament of reconciliation. its not "just the priest," its the priest and God.
-- paul h (dontSendMeMail@notAnAddress.com), October 18, 2004.
Priests are not judges of mens' souls, but as ministers of God's grace, including the grace of absolution, they do sometimes have to make prudent judgments about whether or not the basic requirements for sacramental absolution are present. If God did not want His priests ministering His forgiveness, He would not have told them, "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them"; and if He did not want them making necessary judgments concerning true contrition, He would not have told them, "if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained". (John 20:23)
-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), October 18, 2004.
Kin is not altogether wrong. In his heart he asks God to be merciful; and because he trusts in God's mercy, he may perceive that God forgives him absolutely. It may well be that in a perfect act of contrition, rejecting his sins with great sorrow, he has obtained absolution from Our Lord.
But Kin is unable to absolve himself of grave sins. God alone can forgive him.
We cannot observe the divine Will of God and determine what God actually does. We can only have faith in the divine mercy. If we truly desire the forgiveness and mercy of God without ANY doubt, it's imperative we become conformed to His Gospel only. There we see that Christ gave us true access to His grace and salvation in the sacraments. Not relying on human judgment or observation, but by conformity and faith in the Church of His apostles. It has been His will, not ours, that all Christians confess to the ordained ministers of His own temple. Where? In the Catholic Church. No other minister has the authority to forgive sin.
Nevertheless we can be sure that there have been sinners forgiven at large, after begging mercy of God in private; by truly repenting before Him. As extraordinary exceptions to the rule and always through Jesus Christ Our Saviour.
-- eugene c. chavez (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 19, 2004.
Our Lord gave the apostles (and no one else) the gift of the Holy Spirit saying "whose sins you forgive they are forgiven, whose sins you hold bound are held bound." In order to make the distinction though, obviously these authority bound teachers had to KNOW and thus JUDGE the issues at stake.
In Acts we see Peter judging the corrupt married couple who lied to the Holy Spirit about selling and giving all their money to the poor.
The same passage by the way also nukes the idea that the early Church was a communist commune as Peter specifically chides them with the line "while you owned the property wasn't it yours?" in other words - it wasn't that they owned it that was bad -but that while selling it with the intention to give 100% of the proceeds to the CHurch they decided to hold some proceeds back. Both fell down dead at Peter's feet.
-- Joe (email@example.com), October 19, 2004.