images-1Q. My wife’s mother when a Catholic went to confession and confessed sins to him that the Holy Spirit was convicting her of. His response was that he did not feel they were sin he said nothing of mortal or venial as far as I know. So what then? Should she still confess or did the priest have the authority to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit?

A.  I cannot say since I do not know what “sins” she was confessing or all the circumstances. But there are a few  possibilities.

1) What she was confessing may have been faults or weaknesses but not truly sinful. We may confess these things but the priest cannot pronounce absolution unless there is confession of at least one true sin. I too have had this exact experience. He then asked me to confess a true sin in addition to the faults I had confessed.

2) She may have confessed true sin that he knew had previously been absolved in confession with himself and therefore she did not need to confess it again. He may have discerned in her a lack of trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness and was trying to guide her away from an overactive conscience and scrupulosity into peace and trust in God.

3) He could have been a priest who was in error. Since Vatican II some priests have come to believe that people should ONLY go to confession IF they have committed a MORTAL sin. And they think anyone who goes to confession for venial sin only are being scrupulous and they try to convince the person not to come to confession unless they have mortal sin to confess.

But this is NOT what the Church teaches. The pope goes to confession every week. It is doubtful that he is confessing MORTAL sin. Even though we are not required to go to confession for venial sin, if we do so anyway, we receive sacramental graces to overcome even venial sin and progress more surely towards holiness. If this were the case she should not go to this priest again in the future. I also had this experience. After a thorough examination of conscience the priest “made light of my sins”. I knew he was in error and never went to him again.

4 Responses

  1. Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
    35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
    36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
    38There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
    39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
    40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
    42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”
    43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

  2. Didn’t Jesus say” salvation is from the Jews”

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