The Catholic Confession to a Priest

A religious practice is a complex of factors comprising the belief systems in a given culture. Major religions show the core logic focused on the universal question of salvation and divinity. In the Catholic conception there are seven Sacraments or rites – baptism, confirmation, Holy Eucharist, penance, holy orders, matrimony and extreme unction, the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Orders are perhaps could be seen as fundamental to the Catholic Church as an institution and definitive of a conception of a social order based on such beliefs.

The Catholic core belief that penance which could be achieved through confession of sins is reinforced by the Holy Order which founded on the notion of apostleship. This practice directly links the practice to Jesus Christ and His apostles. How such beliefs are embedded in the social psyche is not as clear cut as it seemed but more like a tapestry of life. Hence the act of confessing to a priest is a complex of factors extending from the notion of a person and divinity to a code of conduct to the consequence of breaching such a code or committing sins to how could such breach be corrected.

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To fully comprehend the significance of a confession or a personal testimony as a religious experience we need to view the act in different perspectives – the Catholic construct, psychosocial and even philosophical dimensions. The relationship of a person with a divinity has been definitive of humanity as human beings grapple with living and the meaning of life. There are several items which need elucidation to grasp the significance of the Sacrament of Penance as standard practice in Catholic churches.

A covenant with the Almighty and sin as a person’s violation of such a covenant form the core of such a sacrament. The role of the priesthood in the absolution of sin or the act of bringing back man to the graces of God is the companion tenet forming the enduring belief system on redemption and salvation. Invariably such a belief system has a psychosocial impact manifest in an expected behavioral transformation. How such a process is shared by the church and its flock is elaborate and complex which in one hand is highly symbolic and a religious experience on the other.

Integrating the Catholic, psychosocial and semiotic points of view to the understand the logic of confession could lead to an illuminating insight on the human being in relation to the universe. The Catholic conception of confession The core belief of Catholics on confession is embedded on the Sacrament of Penance. According to the Newadvent. org, “Penance is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ in which forgiveness of sins committed after baptism is granted through the priest’s absolution to those who with true sorrow confess their sins and promise to satisfy for the same.

” In such a conception, we readily see two items which need elaboration if we are to come up with an understanding of the Catholic belief on confession. One is forgiveness of sins after baptism and two, the priest has an authority of giving absolution. This authority could be implied on the relationship between people and the divine. There are a sprinkling of passages in the Bible to attest on the veracity of such a belief. John 20:21-23 spells out this relationship. {20:21} Therefore, he said to them again: “Peace to you.

As the Father has sent me, so I send you. ” {20:22} When he had said this, he breathed on them. And he said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. In the above passage, Jesus Christ stressed his intermediary role between God and the apostles and by vesting power or the Holy Spirit over the apostles implied in turn the mission and the relationship of the apostles to people. In Matt. 18:18 we find this passage: “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt.18:18).

In 2 Cor. 5:18, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” In 2 Cor. 5:20, the apostle Paul understood this covenant as becoming ambassadors for Christ. It is clear from this passage that the power to forgive is not really with the apostles but with Jesus Christ. But looking back at the passage, “As the father has sent me…” Forgiveness is not with Christ either but with God through Jesus.

This could be seen as a covenant between Jesus Christ and his apostles which is related to the mission of Jesus. There were several high points in the life of Jesus as described in the Bible and the crucifixion and the resurrection reflected two things – the suffering of Jesus Christ in the cross (the human being) and His resurrection from the define(the divine). The importance of the divinity in Christianity is captured in the following passages from 1 Corinthians 15:13-17.

{15:13} For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen. {15:14} And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is useless, and your faith is also useless. {15:15} Then, too, we would be found to be false witnesses of God, because we would have given testimony against God, saying that he had raised up Christ, when he had not raised him up, if, indeed, the dead do not rise again. {15:16} For if the dead do not rise again, then neither has Christ risen again.

{15:17} But if Christ has not risen, then your faith is vain; for you would still be in your sins. It is very clear from this passage of the Bible which defines the meaning of the resurrection that redemption or the washing away of the sins is only possible through divine intercession. The crucifixion and the resurrection form the core logic of redemption. Jesus Christ sacrificed and had given all his being for humankind, His resurrection from the dead validated what he had all along had been saying.