Well, I didn’t get any questions for this week, which is not a huge surprise considering that I just posted about it yesterday. So, let’s start a little Catholic A-Z, shall we? I figure, on the weeks that I don’t have any questions to answer, I’ll post something about Catholicism using a letter of the Alphabet!
A is for Absolution
According to Wikipedia:
Absolution is an integral part of the sacrament of penance. The penitent makes a sacramental confession of all mortal sins to a priest and prays an act of contrition. The priest then assigns a penance and imparts absolution in the name of the Trinity, on behalf of Christ Himself, using a fixed sacramental formula:
“Dominus noster Jesus Christus te absolvat; et ego auctoritate ipsius te absolvo ab omni vinculo excommunicationis (suspensionis) et interdicti in quantum possum et tu indiges. Deinde, ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, + et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
May our Lord Jesus Christ absolve you; and by His authority I absolve you from every bond of excommunication (suspension) and interdict, so far as my power allows and your needs require. [making the Sign of the Cross:] Thereupon, I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Absolution forgives the guilt associated with the penitent’s sins, and removes the eternal punishment (Hell) associated with mortal sins. The penitent is still responsible for the temporal punishment (Purgatory) associated with the confessed sins, unless an indulgence is applied or, if through prayer, penitence and good works, the temporal punishment is cancelled in this life.
Absolution, for me, is one of the most freeing things to experience. After confessing my sins, just being able to hear the words forgiving me of my transgressions. My brothers and sisters of the Protestant Faith are often concerned about the thought of a priest forgiving someone of their sins and will use James 5:16 as reason against confessing to a priest. However, the Catechism states:
1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacraments of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
1465 When he celebrates the sacraments of Penance, the priest if fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgments is both just and merciful. The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner. (emphasis mine)
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