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 Post subject: A question on confession and absolution
PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:48 pm 
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When you go to confession is a Priest allowed to give you conditions for absolution?

An example would be someone who committed a murder. Could a priest say that he would only absolve him if he turned himself in?

Or a person who has stolen a large sum of money. Could the priest say that he must return it before the priest would give absolution?

I know that a person can be denied absolution if they are not contrite, but can a priest set the conditions as to what would imply contrition like the above? I am also not talking about a priest giving a penance such as turning in the money but withholding absolution. Is this possible?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 4:43 pm 
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:bump Anyone?

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 Post subject: Re: A question on confession and absolution
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 5:09 pm 
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bonaventure wrote:
When you go to confession is a Priest allowed to give you conditions for absolution?

An example would be someone who committed a murder. Could a priest say that he would only absolve him if he turned himself in?

Or a person who has stolen a large sum of money. Could the priest say that he must return it before the priest would give absolution?

I know that a person can be denied absolution if they are not contrite, but can a priest set the conditions as to what would imply contrition like the above? I am also not talking about a priest giving a penance such as turning in the money but withholding absolution. Is this possible?


Good question.

I have no idea - but I thought I'd give the topic a bump while I research.

Edit -

I found the following in a lengthy article about absolution at New Advent


Quote:
GRANTING OF ABSOLUTION

In virtue of Christ's dispensation, the bishops and priests are made judges in the Sacrament of Penance. The power to bind as well as the power to loose has been given by Christ. The minister therefore must have in mind not only his own powers, viz., order and jurisdiction, but he must also keep in mind the dispositions of the penitent. If

(a) the penitent is well-disposed, he must absolve;

(b) if the penitent lack the requisite dispositions, he must endeavour to create the proper frame of mind, for he cannot and may not absolve one indisposed;

(c) when dispositions remain doubtful, he employs the privilege given above in conditional absolution.

When the minister sees fit to grant absolution, then he pronounces the words of the form (supra) over the penitent. It is commonly taught that the penitent must be physically present; consequently, absolution by telegraph has been declared invalid, and when questioned in regard to absolution by the telephone the Sacred Congregation (1 July, 1884) answered Nihil respondendum.



So, after reading item A in that list it doesn't sound like the priest can withhold abosolution if the penitent is sincere in his confession. Though, obviously, he can (and probably should) counsel and encourage the penitent to make restitution or to turn himself in to the authorities if civil law had been broken.

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 Post subject: Re: A question on confession and absolution
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:40 pm 
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bonaventure wrote:
When you go to confession is a Priest allowed to give you conditions for absolution?

An example would be someone who committed a murder. Could a priest say that he would only absolve him if he turned himself in?

Or a person who has stolen a large sum of money. Could the priest say that he must return it before the priest would give absolution?

I know that a person can be denied absolution if they are not contrite, but can a priest set the conditions as to what would imply contrition like the above? I am also not talking about a priest giving a penance such as turning in the money but withholding absolution. Is this possible?

My understanding, which is that of a layman, is that a priest would not be able to put such conditions on absolution because of the inviolate seal of the confessional. Since a priest can not do anything that would reveal the sins of a confession or even that a confession was made, requiring such a condition would seem to violate that.


Edward Pothier


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:46 am 
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Thank you both very much. I was thinking the same thing but I really wasn't sure. I think that you may be right Edward...I had not thought of that angle.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:38 am 
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Since a requirement of absolution is repentance, it seems to me that absolution can be witheld because repentance would include accepting just punishment for what you had done.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:41 am 
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zachk1983 wrote:
Since a requirement of absolution is repentance, it seems to me that absolution can be witheld because repentance would include accepting just punishment for what you had done.


Not necessarily. Absolution removes the Spiritual burden. Acceptance of punishment is the Temporal burden.

I remember reading an article about this sometime ago. The answer was the generally no, the priest cannot withhold absolution.

One case where the priest CAN withhold is when another person is being charged with the crime. By letting the other person take the blame of the crime, the penitent is effectively bearing false witness, a mortal sin.

And since that would be a case of a continual state of mortal sin that the penitent will not give up, that show a lack of contrition.

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 Post subject: Re: A question on confession and absolution
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:43 pm 
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Edward Pothier wrote:
bonaventure wrote:
When you go to confession is a Priest allowed to give you conditions for absolution?

An example would be someone who committed a murder. Could a priest say that he would only absolve him if he turned himself in?

Or a person who has stolen a large sum of money. Could the priest say that he must return it before the priest would give absolution?

I know that a person can be denied absolution if they are not contrite, but can a priest set the conditions as to what would imply contrition like the above? I am also not talking about a priest giving a penance such as turning in the money but withholding absolution. Is this possible?

My understanding, which is that of a layman, is that a priest would not be able to put such conditions on absolution because of the inviolate seal of the confessional. Since a priest can not do anything that would reveal the sins of a confession or even that a confession was made, requiring such a condition would seem to violate that.


Edward Pothier

I don't think that's correct considering ancient practice such as the scarlet letter (or is this a Protestant thingie) and similiar ones in the past.


I think the priest can ask the murderer to go to the police.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:12 pm 
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He certainly can ask the murderer to go to the police Beng, but can he withhold absolution until he does so?

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Whence are we to find words enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the Eucharistic oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; which angels carry back the news of to heaven, which the Father holds as ratified? -Tertullian

Uniformity with the Will of God by St. Alphonsus Liguori


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