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 Post subject: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confessor
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:30 pm 
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Sons of Thunder
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So someone told me that a priest had told them that the penances in confession were optional (though highly encouraged). I told them that it's possible they misunderstood the priest, but that we definitely are required to do the penance assigned to us, but for the absolution to be valid, we only have to will to do the penance assigned by the priest in the future.

The person in question then told me that he had sought documentation to this effect in the past and had found none from the magisterium. I thought surely that I could find something, but all I can find is the general requirement to make satisfaction for one's sins even after confession (and that one has to will to make satisfaction for absolution to be valid). I can't find anything magisterial that states that we have to carry out the penance assigned to us by the priest. I think this is because I must not be looking in the right place, because this must be a settled matter.

Do y'all know where the Church has spoken on the obligatory nature of the penance assigned by the confessor?

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:07 pm 
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The Church doesn't generally speak magisterially unless there's a controversy, and there's no controversy on this.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:33 pm 
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Okay, I was wondering if it might be that. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:15 pm 
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We are obligated but there isn't a time limit on the obligation.

Of course a confessor could make the penance he imposes optional, but not those imposed by other priests.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:18 pm 
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I think a priest can for good reason commute a penance imposed by another priest.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:35 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
I think a priest can for good reason commute a penance imposed by another priest.

Sorry, what I meant was a confessor can't say that a penance imposed in the future by another priest is optional, or say that penances in general (as opposed to a specific one) are optional.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:58 pm 
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Gotcha.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:05 am 
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Probably a bit of a tangent but hopefully not too much......I'm more used to hearing "One's Confessor" in the EOC and not in the CC. I hear EOC members usually mean it as someone other than a priest, but sometimes use it interchangeably as priest and someone not clergy. Such a thing doesn't exit in the RC, correct? Did it ever?

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:23 am 
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I think they use it to refer to what we would call a spiritual director.

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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:31 pm 
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Saying that the penance is 'optional' sounds like a gross exaggeration, however, I do think it is true that failure to perform the assigned penance does not render the absolution invalid, which may be what the priest in the OP was trying to say.


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 Post subject: Re: The Obligation to the Penance Assigned by One's Confesso
PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:26 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Saying that the penance is 'optional' sounds like a gross exaggeration, however, I do think it is true that failure to perform the assigned penance does not render the absolution invalid, which may be what the priest in the OP was trying to say.


Possibly, though if you never intended to do the penance, I think that does invalidate the absolution. If you intend not to do the penance later on, it may just be a new sin (potentially mortal?)

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