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BJ: The authority to forgive sins is not found in the Old Testament but in the New. John 20: 22-23: "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." People can quibble about just to whom this was addressed and to whom the power was given,but private confession and absolution have been part of the practice of the Universal Church since its earliest days. It, like anything good, was and is subject to abuse, and was a real sticking point to the 'reformers.' They did not reform the practice but abolished it. I think the Anglican/Episcopal Churches have hit just the right note with 'All may, none must, and some should.' I myself make use of private confession and the longer I live the more I realize that I SHOULD. Saying the General Confession at the Eucharist is something I can mindlessly rattle off. Private confession requires that I actually and rigorously examine my conscience. The benefit of this is twofold: It is therapeutic (as it getting it off my chest) and it is also sacramental, the later meaning that the sins that do truly bind me are truly remitted and make me open to the healing power of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2011 on To Confess or Not To Confess.... at AskThePriest.org
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Dec 22, 2011