Sunday, 2 July 2017

Contrition And Confession

It is possible to embark on a spiritual path yet still to act wrongly so how do different traditions address this problem?

(i) For Buddhist contrition, see here.

(ii) Catholics confess sins to, and receive absolution from, a priest. Thus, Poul Anderson's Nicholas van Rijn speaks of confessing his sins and SM Stirling's Mathilda Arminger confesses to Father Ignatius.

(iii) An Evangelical Christian believes that, once saved, he can never be unsaved although he can still sin. He could commit genocide yet still enter Heaven immediately after death. Before death, God will punish him for his post-salvation sins probably by making him suffer guilt but that is as far as it goes. Surely a deplorable doctrine.

By the way, I do not think that anyone should be permanently damned but surely Purgatory or reincarnation would be more appropriate than instant entry to Heaven?

9 comments:

  1. Kaor, Paul!

    A priest who had someone as exuberant and extroverted as Nicholas van Rijn as one of his penitents would REALLY have his work cut out for him! (Smiles) I wonder if Old Nick retained a possibly elderly and retired priest as a private chaplain?

    One of the more irrational and baffling objections I've seen by Protestants to the Catholic Church is the practice of auricular confession. They PERSIST in ignoring such texts of Scripture as John 20.23, where Our Lord conferred on the apostles the authority to forgive sins in His name. How ELSE could they and their successors do that unless penitents confessed to them?

    Like you, I absolutely disagree with the Evangelical Protestant doctrine of "once saved always saved" (which I call OSAS for short). I simply don't believe a man can be "saved" and then behave like monsters such as like Stalin or Hitler and NOT be at serious risk, to say the least, of damnation.

    I wish I could agree with your last comment, about hell, but I cannot. Our Lord warned us hell is real and ETERNAL. I could and have argued that no one is damned who did not, ultimately, CHOOSE that fate. Despite all the efforts God Himself made for our salvation.

    Sean

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    1. Sean,
      Van Rijn, that sharp businessman and negotiator, would have his own understanding with God. There would be many dishonest, dishonorable and inhumane things that he would not do. There would be other acts, commonly regarded as "sinful," that would be regarded less seriously.
      Paul.

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    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Ha! I recall Old Nick coming close to saying exactly that in "The Master Key." I don't know if you have ever heard of or read the "Don Camillo" stories of Giovanni Guareschi, but the parish priest, Don Camillo, of those humorous/serious stories sometimes did "questionable" things for the right reasons.

      Sean

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    3. Sean,
      I have read some Don Camillo. There was an old clock on the church and the Communist Mayor put a new clock on the Town Hall. They told different times.
      The Mayor's football team beat Don Camillo's. Camillo asked the Lord, "Why did you let him win especially when he had bribed the referee?" The Lord replied, "Perhaps the ref thought it was ok to accept a bribe since he had already been offered one by the parish priest!"
      Paul.

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  2. Paul and Sean:
    I've made my best effort at reading ALL of the Don Camillo stories. To the best of my knowledge, I was successful. Granted, for several it's been four decades and more since I last read them....

    The early story "A Baptism" showed Don Camillo doing something for a WRONG reason. And Christ yelled at him for it, ANGRILY, until he made amends.

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    1. David,
      I heard part of a Don Camillo story dramatized for BBC radio with British regional accents, referring to the Fascists as "the reactionary party," as if the action had been transposed to a parallel world. Very odd.
      Paul.

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    2. Paul:
      I don't grasp why you say identifying Fascism with Reactionary politics seems a "parallel world" thing. I understand "reactionary" to mean, at least in part, "far-right-wing," and I certainly consider that an apt descriptor of Fascism.

      The Wikipedia article on "Reactionary" includes the following:
      "The Italian Fascists showed a desire to bring about a new social order based on the ancient feudal principle of delegation (though without serfdom) in their enthusiasm for the corporate state. Benito Mussolini said that 'fascism is reaction' and that 'fascism, which did not fear to call itself reactionary... has not today any impediment against declaring itself illiberal and anti-liberal.'
      "However, [Giovanni] Gentile and Mussolini also attacked certain reactionary policies, particularly monarchism and—more veiled—some aspects of Italian conservative Catholicism."

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    3. Kaor, Paul and DAVID!

      I'm very glad you too have read at least some of the Don Camillo stories, which I loved! And, HA, I remember that story about bribing the foot ball ref, who got two bribe offers, from Peppone, the Communist mayor, and Dom Camillo. If the parish priest was willing to bribe him, the ref naturally took Peppone's bigger offer!

      David: I'm delighted you too have read all or most of the Don Camillo stories! I still have four of Guareschi's books: THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO, DON CAMILLO'S DILEMMA, COMRADE DON CAMILLO, and DON CAMILLO AND THE FLOWER CHILDREN. All of them funny, a little sad, and very wise.

      And, yes, I remember how Don Camillo, a devoted and great hearted priest, but sometimes rather ERRATIC, was scolded by Christ.

      Some of what you quoted about Mussolini and Fascism could fit in, maybe, with Catholic ideas about subsidiarity and the limited state. But, only with some STRAIN. After all, Mussolini was also a theorist of totalitarianism, of believing everything should be done for and by the state, which in turn would allegedly care for the people. That would seem to contradict subsidiarity.

      I can see how some Italian Fascists might be anti-monarchism, if only because monarchy could not really fit into totalitarian views of the state. Albeit, until the "Social Republic" was set up in Northern Italy under German tutelage in 1943, Mussolini was content to rule more or less as PM for Victor Immanuel III.

      And considering how deeply rooted Catholicism is in Italy, it's no surprise Mussolini felt compelled to treat the Church cautiously.

      Sean

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    4. David,
      You are right. I should have made clear that the actors spoke as if "the Reactionary Party" was the name of the organization. Thus, we knew what they meant but the terminology was different.
      Paul.

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