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The Apostle's Creed in the Scriptures, in the Fathers...THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS [Ecumenical] ^ | October 27, 1998 | Robert M. Haddad

Posted on 06/09/2008 6:09:09 PM PDT by Salvation



"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1, 3; 7).

"All authority," said Christ to His disciples, "in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (St. Matt. 28, 18). Included in this was the power to forgive sins. The following incident in the Gospels testifies to Christ’s power to forgive sins:

"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. Then some of the scribes said to themselves, This man is blaspheming. But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Stand up and walk? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins - he then said to the paralytic - Stand up, take your bed and go to your home. And he stood up and went to his home" (St. Matt. 9, 2-7).

It was this same spiritual power to forgive sins that Our Lord communicated to His Apostles and their successors after His Resurrection:

"As the Father has sent me, so I send you...Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (St. John 20, 21-23).

In this verse we see that Christ bestowed upon His Apostles the following: (i) mission ("As the Father has sent me, so I send you…"); (ii) power ("Receive the Holy Spirit"), and (iii) discretion whether or not to exercise this power ("If you forgive…; if you retain."). This verse cannot be explained away by claiming that the Apostles were simply authorized to go out and preach forgiveness only according to the following injunction: "that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations" (St. Luke 24, 47). If such were the case St. John 20, 21-23 would be utterly devoid of purpose.

The power to forgive sins was the first charism Christ bestowed upon the Apostles after His resurrection. In claiming that Her priests have the power to forgive sins, the Catholic Church is criticized and accused of carrying out a function that is proper to God alone. It is he same accusation Christ Himself had to endure: "This man is blaspheming" (St. Matt. 9, 3). Yet, Christ established the Church to continue His work of salvation in the world after His ascension into heaven. Whatever Christ as Head possesses by way of power and authority is properly possessed by His Body also, that is, the Church. In forgiving sins, priests and bishops act as Christ’s ministers and instruments; the fact that they may be sinners themselves does not inhibit the exercise or effectiveness of this power.

The main ways by which the power to forgive sins is exercised in the Church are through the sacraments of Baptism and Penance. It is through Baptism that the merits of Christ’s Redemption are applied to us for the remission of Original Sin inherited from Adam: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (St. John 3, 5). Penance forgives all actual sin committed after Baptism.

Actual sin can be either venial or mortal. Venial sin is a transgression of the law of God in a slight matter, or in a grave matter when, at the time, either our understanding does not wholly comprehend the full gravity of the evil presented to it, or there is wanting full consent of the will. Mortal sin is a grievous offense against God that brings death to the soul by causing us to lose the friendship of God. For mortal sin to be committed, there must be: (i) grave matter; (ii) full knowledge of the gravity of the act being committed; (iii) full consent of the will to the commission of the act.

There are some who claim that the distinction made by the Church between venial and mortal sin is artificial, and that all sin is equally bad ("sin is sin"). The difference in degrees of sin is clearly indicated by the following verses: "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?" (St. Matt. 7, 3); "…therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin" (St. John 19, 11); finally, "If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal." (1 John 5, 16 - 17).

The Fathers:

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelpians 8, 1 (C. 110 AD):

"The Lord, however, forgives all who repent, if their repentance leads to the unity of God and to the council of the bishop. I have faith in the grace of Jesus Christ; and He will remove from you every chain."

Firmilian of Caesarea, Letter to Cyprian 75, 16 (C. 268 AD):

"‘Receive the Holy Spirit: if you forgive any man his sins, they shall be forgiven; and if you retain any man’s sins, they shall be retained.’ Therefore, the power of forgiving sins was given to the Apostles and to the Churches which these men, sent by Christ, established; and to the bishops who succeeded them by being ordained in their place."

Lactantius, The Divine Institutions 4, 30, 1 (Inter 304-310 AD):

"...let it be known: that is the true Church, in which there is confession and penance, and which takes a salubrious care of the sins and wounds to which the weak flesh is subject."

St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew 18, 8 (C. 353-355 AD):

[On Matthew 18:18] The power of binding and loosing given to the Apostles:-

"In our present condition we are all subdued by the terror of that greatest dread. And now, out in front of that terror, He sets the irrevocable apostolic judgment, however severe, so that those whom they shall bind on earth, that is, whomsoever they leave bound in the knots of their sins; and those whom they loose, which is to say, those who by their confession receive grace unto salvation:- these, in accord with the apostolic sentence, are bound or loosed also in heaven."

St. Pacian of Barcelona, Letters to Sympronian 1, 6 (Inter 375-392 AD):

"God never threatens the repentant, rather He pardons the penitent. You will say that it is God alone who can do this. True enough, but it is likewise true that He does it through his priests, who exercise His power."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

As, therefore, He became man, in order to bestow on man this forgiveness of sins, He communicated this power to Bishops and priests in the Church, previous to His Ascension into heaven, where He sits forever at the right hand of God. Christ, however, as we have already said, remits sin by virtue of His own authority; all others, by virtue of His authority delegated to them as His ministers.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 976: The Apostle’s Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

No. 981: After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations." The apostles and their successors carry out this "ministry of reconciliation," not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:

[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us (St. Augustine, Sermo 214,11).

No. 982: There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest." Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; creeds
Continuing the Apostles' Creed series. This is an Ecumenical thread. Please follow the guidelines set forth by the Religion Moderator for all Eucmenical threads. (Compare your beliefs in a not-antagonistic way.)
1 posted on 06/09/2008 6:09:15 PM PDT by Salvation
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To: All

**”As the Father has sent me, so I send you...Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (St. John 20, 21-23).**

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession/Penance) is given to the apostles by Jesus Christ himself!

2 posted on 06/09/2008 6:10:07 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: nickcarraway; sandyeggo; Lady In Blue; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; Catholicguy; RobbyS; ...
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.

3 posted on 06/09/2008 6:11:42 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Catechisms [Ecumenical] (I believe in God the Father Almighty

The Apostles' Creed, the Scriptures,the Fathers,& Catechisms Creator of Heaven & Earth. Man, Angels [Ecumenical]

The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Catechisms: AND IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD [Ecumenical]






The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, in the Fathers.....I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT [Ecumenical]

The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers,...THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH [Ecumenical]

The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers,....THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS [Ecumenical]

The Apostle's Creed in the Scriptures, in the Fathers...THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS [Ecumenical]

4 posted on 06/09/2008 6:13:32 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
[Sacrament of]Confession

Make a Good Confession

Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope

Holy Week Recovers Celebration of Penance (at St. Peter's Basilica) - photos!

Reasons for Confession [Sacrament of Reconciliation]

Lesson 19: Confession (Part 1) BY FATHER ALTIER

Lesson 20: Confession (Part 2) BY FATHER ROBERT ALTIER

Serious about God? Then get serious about confession

St. Ephraim the Syrian: On Repentance

What happened to confession – Changing mores reflective of use

Repentance and Confession - Introduction [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession

Pick a sin, any sin (Confession gone awry)

The Early Church Fathers on Confession / Reconciliation - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus

Catholics called from the idiot box to confession

Benedict XVI Extols Sacrament of Penance - Says Priests Need to Make It a Priority

Confession’s Comeback

Priests say more Catholics returning to confession

Pope Hears Confessions of Youth

MESSAGE FOR ALL CATHOLICS (in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday - April 15)

Salvation: Just click and confess


Get Thee To A Confessional! (beautiful insight for those who dread going to Confession)

Emerging Trends: The Return to the Confessional

Confessing to 'sins' is booming in America (Evangelicals and Protestants take up practice)

What You [Catholics] Need to Know: Penance (Reconciliation, Confession) [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]

A Comeback for Confession

MORTAL SIN and HOLY CONFESSION - The Antidote of Death

Thinking Inside the Box: An Attitude for Confession

Confessional Advice

The Epidemic and the Cure [The Sin of the World and the Sacrament of Reconciliation] (Confession)

5 posted on 06/09/2008 6:18:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All
Examination of Conscience

A Guide for Confession

How To Make a Good Confession (especially if you haven't gone in years)

Why Go to Confession? (Part 1) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

Why Go to Confession? (Part 2) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

How To Make a Good Confession (especially if you haven't gone in years)

Why Go to Confession? (Part 3) - Pastoral Letter of Archbishop Bruno Forte

Pulling Sin up by the Roots: The Need for Mortification

Reasons for Confession [Sacrament of Reconciliation]

Cardinal Stafford's Homily at Penitential Liturgy With an Examination of Conscience

How to Go to Confession

Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession

Learning to Confess


6 posted on 06/09/2008 6:19:45 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation

I’ve been following your threads with great interest. I came back to my faith fairly recently and am discovering how much I’ve got to re-learn. Your threads (plus NY’ER and others) have/are helping a lot.

If they’ve helped me I’m assuming they’ve helped others. Thank you and please keep up the great work.

7 posted on 06/09/2008 7:51:50 PM PDT by chase19
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To: chase19

Welcome back. Glad to help out in some areas. We all missed some catechesis as we were growing up. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t keep learning!

LOL! Learn something every day. — Stay young!

8 posted on 06/09/2008 7:55:39 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: chase19
Here's hoping you are enjoying the readings.
9 posted on 06/09/2008 8:17:52 PM PDT by Ciexyz
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To: Salvation

“The power to forgive sins was the first charism...”

The power given to them to bind and loose is awesome.

10 posted on 06/10/2008 8:33:51 AM PDT by OpusatFR
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To: OpusatFR
What a gift from our Lord to the Apostles and then passed down to bishops and then priests.

God forgives our sins as voiced in the words of absolution spoken by the priest when we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

enter the Table of Contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church here
1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:
God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and the resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

11 posted on 06/10/2008 10:03:49 AM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation; All

The passage in John, 20:19-23 was not given to the Apostles alone but to all disciples which includes us as Christians. This was never supposed to be limited to a priestly line of Bishops and their successes. It is command given to all believers so they can prepare themselves for God’s forgiveness. When you add the proceeding verses 19 & 20 it shows that it was given to the disciples. There is no mention of Apostles and/or of this having been given to them alone to pass on to their successors. This can only be concluded by the Church or anyone else if you only read verses 21-23 and pretend 19-20 do not exist.

John 20:19-23 (American Standard Version)

19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20 And when he had said this, he showed unto them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.

21 Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you: as the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:

23 whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

This has nothing to do with the forgiving of sins we commit against God by an earthly human, be it a priest or any one else. All of those sins have all ready been forgiven by God through the finished work of Christ. All we have to do is repent and forgive the sins against us by other humans.

John 20:21-23 deals with those sins committed by others against us. We have to forgive those people for God to be able to forgive our sins against Him.

Christ speaking to binding and loosing and how it is a command for all of us to bind and loose.

Matthew 18:18-35 (New American Standard Bible)
18 “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.

24 “When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

25 “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.

26 “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’

27 “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’

29 “So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’

30 “But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31 “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.

32 “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.

33 ‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’

34 “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.

35 “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

This is the biblical meaning of binding and loosing. You have to forgive to be forgiven. It has nothing to do with priests and confessionals. How arrogant and/or deceived can a man be that he thinks he has the right to forgive sins for God and the wisdom to determine a just punishment/penitence.

What bothers me is how few, if any, people understand this principle and what effect it will have on their salvation because of how the Church has misrepresented this important truth. BnB

12 posted on 06/12/2008 1:54:33 PM PDT by Bobsvainbabblings
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