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Author Topic: A question to Catholics  (Read 9321 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: December 28, 2007, 10:28:46 PM »

Hello,

No.  Everything I've learned from multiple priests indicate that a penance would only be given in order to assist in struggling against a particular sin one is having problems with, more along the lines of medicine than punishment.

Yup, that's what penance (even in Purgatory) does. It is more for correction than punishment. The Scriptures in several places uses the analogy of a loving father. What loving father would chastise his son to correct him, even after he forgives his son. While there is an element of punishment, the punishment is meant to make the son a better person and not just to punish for punishment's sake.
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« Reply #46 on: December 28, 2007, 11:00:20 PM »

I believe this is the quote you want:

C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, pp. 108-109


Thank you, Veniamin. That was indeed what I had in mind.  Smiley

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« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2007, 12:22:20 AM »

I completely understand the concept of confession.

A protestant would just ask why you need to do it to your priest Wink And while I am not completely orthodox yet, I am not protestant either. I actually look forward to confession is a weird way.

As to why we must confess to a priest (or bishop), I'm not sure if this is theologically correct (according to Orthodoxy), but it is my understanding that we are to confess to our Spiritual Father, typically our parish priest, because we are called to be working toward growth in our spiritual quest to become Christ-like.  Our Spiritual Father must know of our progress and failures, as he guides us in our spiritual quest, recommending courses of action, in addition to the authority he has been granted to ask for the absolution of our sins.  Only a clergyman has the insight to understand our behavior and recommend what we need to do to remediate our transgressions, due to his education and the Grace bestowed upon him.
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« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2007, 02:47:35 AM »

This is somewhat related to purgatory, but not enough so that I want to derail the discussion by posting the question.

I understand that you have a belief in purgatory. ...
Purgatory makes sense to me. And from what I have read from from The Soul After Death, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, App. I, pp. 196-213, as quoted from another thread on Indulgences: "In the Orthodox doctrine, on the other hand, which St. Mark teaches, the faithful who have died with small sins unconfessed, or who have not brought forth fruits of repentance for sins they have confessed, are cleansed of these sins either in the trial of death itself with its fear, or after death, when they are confined (but not permanently) in hell, by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful. Even sinners destined for eternal torment can be given a certain relief from their torment in hell by these means also. .."
The concept of being cleansed of small sins or imperfect repentance for confessed larger sins, by being confined temporarily in hell, sounds pretty much  like Purgatory. And being cleansed while there by the prayers and Liturgies of the Church and good deeds performed for them by the faithful sounds pretty much almost the same as the Catholic teaching on the value of prayer and good works for the poor souls in Purgatory.

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« Reply #49 on: December 29, 2007, 02:56:46 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh
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« Reply #50 on: December 29, 2007, 03:01:53 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

It could be that she doesn't belong to a Roman Catholic board, and in any event feels more comfortable posting here.  We have enough Roman Catholic friends here that I can see how she thought she would get a good answer from them.
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« Reply #51 on: December 29, 2007, 03:39:40 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

RC forums are scary.   Lips Sealed  Even when I was a RC, I rarely ventured on them.   Tongue
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« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2007, 03:40:57 AM »

As to why we must confess to a priest (or bishop), I'm not sure if this is theologically correct (according to Orthodoxy), but it is my understanding that we are to confess to our Spiritual Father, typically our parish priest, because we are called to be working toward growth in our spiritual quest to become Christ-like.  Our Spiritual Father must know of our progress and failures, as he guides us in our spiritual quest, recommending courses of action, in addition to the authority he has been granted to ask for the absolution of our sins.  Only a clergyman has the insight to understand our behavior and recommend what we need to do to remediate our transgressions, due to his education and the Grace bestowed upon him.

I'll try to offer my two cents worth on this....
Originally, penitents confessed their sins to the entire community of Christian believers  (ie their local church).  Later, after Christianity became the favoured faith of the empire, so many joined the Church that intimacy in parish situations was lost and it was seen as inappropriate and impractical to confess your sins to numerous total strangers.  The bishop or priest then began to represent the church community in confession.  Confession also began to acquire its "spiritual advice" role as people sought out holy ascetics and confessed to them.  When we confess our sins, we confess to our entire church community, all members of the Church, the entire universe, and God, of course.  The priest is acting as a witness for all of these.  He also restores the penitent to his/her original baptismal state through administering absolution.  

It's not actually true that "only clergymen have the insight" to hear confessions, though only they can give absolution.  In Orthodoxy, there is a longstanding tradition of lay monks and nuns who are considered called to do so offering spiritual counsel.  Sometimes, even lay people who are not monastics may hear confessions, though I don't know how prevalent this is.  
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« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2007, 04:00:46 AM »

I'm just plain confused by this whole thread and the OP.
If the OP wants answers from Roman Catholics, why would they ask their question on an Orthodox Forum and not a Roman Catholic one?  Huh

I was kicked off of a Catholic board; Catholic Answers to be exact. And since this is the "orthodox-catholic discussion" area I thought it was the place to ask. Am I incorrect to do so? Huh
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« Reply #54 on: December 29, 2007, 04:10:06 AM »

My priest was going thru what the Orthodox view of sin and hell are. As part of the class he mentioned various Catholic, as well as protestant views of sin and hell. We are well aquanited with the various protestant views on the issues, but my husband I had questions about the Catholic view after the class was over. I figured we could either ask my Orthodox priest, or I could ask some Catholics to clarify. My good Catholic friend doesn't seem to be the best wellspring of information on these types of theological issues (and she has 4 kids and no desire to shoot the breeeze theologically) And since it is more a question of curiosity than anything else, I decided to ask here.

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
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« Reply #55 on: December 29, 2007, 05:47:29 AM »

We have enough Roman Catholic friends here
I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
I don't mean to suggest you've broken any rules, I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. And I'm not speaking here as a moderator.
What I am saying is that your sample size is way too small to get a decent answer to any question about RC belief. If you really want to know what RC's think about an issue, you need to ask it on an RC forum- or better yet, study up on it yourself.
I know you got kicked off of CAF, but CAF is not the only RC forum (nor even, in my opinion, is it the best one).
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« Reply #56 on: December 29, 2007, 05:51:11 AM »

My priest was going thru what the Orthodox view of sin and hell are. As part of the class he mentioned various Catholic, as well as protestant views of sin and hell. We are well aquanited with the various protestant views on the issues, but my husband I had questions about the Catholic view after the class was over. I figured we could either ask my Orthodox priest, or I could ask some Catholics to clarify. My good Catholic friend doesn't seem to be the best wellspring of information on these types of theological issues (and she has 4 kids and no desire to shoot the breeeze theologically) And since it is more a question of curiosity than anything else, I decided to ask here.

Is it incorrect to ask questions about Catholic beliefs here?
You can find many excellent and free sources of Catholic theological information on the web. As an example you can use the Catechism of the Catholic Church on line at http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/index.htm

There are also many Catholic sites that offer explanations of Catholic beliefs from an apologetics stance, for example http://www.catholic.com/default.asp
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« Reply #57 on: December 29, 2007, 05:56:13 AM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....
You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.
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« Reply #58 on: December 29, 2007, 06:08:59 AM »

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you?
Actually, a very narrow one.
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« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2007, 06:25:16 AM »

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.).  So I think it's more a function of sample size - there isn't much counterbalance to the opinions of the few, which makes them appear as the opinions of the many, which in some cases (as George alluded to) they're not.
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« Reply #60 on: December 29, 2007, 06:32:46 AM »

(as George alluded to)

Does "alluded to" mean the same as "spelled it out" in US English? Cheesy
What I am saying is that your sample size is way too small to get a decent answer to any question about RC belief.
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« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2007, 06:48:18 AM »

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.).  So I think it's more a function of sample size - there isn't much counterbalance to the opinions of the few, which makes them appear as the opinions of the many, which in some cases (as George alluded to) they're not.
Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?
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« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2007, 07:10:34 AM »

Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?
.....and the required tarring brush width just keeps getting narrower as the predictable, stock standard responses based on misinterpretation just keep coming from our select little RC population sample here on OCnet.....
 Roll Eyes

Now do you see what I mean Quinalt? Try asking your questions of a wider, more balanced and mature group of Roman Catholics. It's not fair to Roman Catholicism to ask your questions here.
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« Reply #63 on: December 29, 2007, 10:04:33 AM »

Does that mean that 2 nuns and 3 priests, or 3 nuns and 2 priests is more Catholics than are here on this forum?

No, of course not - but the opinions of those 5 carry so much weight because there aren't many on here to counterbalance.  If there are 20 active RC users, that's fine, but then the 5 opinions that George spelled out represent a significant demographic - 20% of the RC opinions he has been exposed to.  Now, if there were 150 active RC users, that's also fine, and then the 5 opinions would only represent 3.2% of the RC opinions he has been exposed to.
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« Reply #64 on: December 29, 2007, 10:07:32 AM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

I don't find that surprising -- I myself occasionally cringe at something said by a Catholic here.

You are tarring the Catholics here with a very wide brush aren't you? Even if some Catholics offer strange opinions that is not a good reason to splash tar on all of the Catholics here.

I don't think George is tarring us with a wide brush.

The bigger problem is that Catholics often tar ourselves with a wide brush -- like "you're not a real Catholic unless you subscribe to the western concept of purgatory" or "you're not a real Catholic unless you subscribe to the western ideas of how many ecumenical councils and ex cathedra statements there have been". (There are many other examples I could give, but I wanted to stick with ones that have been discussed recently rather than opening up a new can(s) of worms.)

There are many requirements for being Catholic, but "westernness" isn't one of them.

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« Reply #65 on: December 29, 2007, 05:03:08 PM »

Hello,

Now do you see what I mean Quinalt? Try asking your questions of a wider, more balanced and mature group of Roman Catholics. It's not fair to Roman Catholicism to ask your questions here.
I don't think that that is a fair assessment. The majority of what I post is the orthodox Catholic position - especially when I quote and cite from sources such as the Catechism or other Magiesterial documents. True that the majority of my posts reflect Latin theology, but that shouldn't be be unacceptable to Eastern Catholics anymore than the Eastern theology from their Churches should be unacceptable to Latin Catholics. Both must submit their theology to the Universal Church (which is neither exclusively Latin nor Greek nor Syriac nor any other region) for acceptance and the fact that the Universal Church accepts them makes it binding on all Catholics to accept those expressions of faith (both East and West).

Did I forget anything?
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« Reply #66 on: December 29, 2007, 10:58:22 PM »

True that the majority of my posts reflect Latin theology, but that shouldn't be be unacceptable to Eastern Catholics anymore than the Eastern theology from their Churches should be unacceptable to Latin Catholics.

Quite right, it goes both ways. (To say "someone can't be Catholic if he/she believes in 21 ecumenical councils" would make no more sense than to say "someone can't be Catholic if he/she believes in only 7 ecumenical councils".)

I don't think George was tarring y'all, just stating that because there aren't that many RC's on the site, one is not able to find the requisite variety in view that exists within the very large RC Church.  OTOH, there are so many Orthodox that if one asks a similar question seeking the Orthodox POV, one would find quite a bit of variety if not in essence then at least in delivery, since many "groups" or POV's are represented (Oriental, Oriental "traditionalist," EO, EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC, etc.). 

You forgot the WRO! But you make a good point. Within Catholicism we have the Maronite Church, the Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Churches, the various Byzantine-rite Churches, the Oriental Churches, and the Latin Church (which could be further broken down into the various non-Roman Rites and the Roman Rite (which could be further broken down into the Novus Ordo usage, the Tridentine usage, and the Anglican Usage)).

But to be fair, while this forum definitively has an imperfect representation of the various kinds of Catholics, it's nice that we at least have some posts from Latin Catholics and some posts from Eastern Catholics -- whereas a lot of Catholic internet forums only have the Latin p.o.v. represented.

RC forums are scary.   Lips Sealed  Even when I was a RC, I rarely ventured on them.   Tongue

It's good to know that I'm not the first RC to feel that way. (Actually, there is one Catholic web-forum that I've spend I good bit of time on, but it's really more Byzantine than Roman.)

God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #67 on: December 30, 2007, 12:56:50 AM »

Which councils one calls Oecumenical and which one calls Local or Regional or even Western is not a matter of huge importance as long as one remembers that the decisions of councils such as Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II are the basis for some of the dogmatic decrees of the Catholic Church and those dogmatic decrees are binding on all Catholics.

So you can say that there are 21 Oecumenical councils, or you can say that there are 7 ... it doesn't really matter a whole lot, but you can't say that you're being a consistent Catholic if you think that some dogmas of the faith are optional.
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« Reply #68 on: December 30, 2007, 09:00:30 AM »

Which councils one calls Oecumenical and which one calls Local or Regional or even Western is not a matter of huge importance as long as one remembers that the decisions of councils such as Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II are the basis for some of the dogmatic decrees of the Catholic Church and those dogmatic decrees are binding on all Catholics.

So you can say that there are 21 Oecumenical councils, or you can say that there are 7 ... it doesn't really matter a whole lot, but you can't say that you're being a consistent Catholic if you think that some dogmas of the faith are optional.

Well said, Credo. And (if I might "piggy-back" on your post) in much the same way a Catholic is free to believe that Munificentissimus Deus (1950) was or was not an ex cathedra statement; but regardless of whether it was or wasn't, all Catholics are required to agree with the dogma it defined, i.e. the Assumption of Mary.

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« Reply #69 on: December 30, 2007, 09:07:42 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?
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« Reply #70 on: December 30, 2007, 09:14:13 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?
The Dogma is defined thus:
that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

The Apostolic Constitution is available at http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P12MUNIF.HTM

Anybody who clicks the URL will see that the apostolic constitution is much longer than the dogmatic definition. I think that may well be the point that PJ was making.
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« Reply #71 on: December 30, 2007, 09:30:35 AM »

So Catholics have to accept that summarized statement as dogma but do not have to believe the rest of the document if infallible?
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« Reply #72 on: December 30, 2007, 09:38:21 AM »

Anybody who clicks the URL will see that the apostolic constitution is much longer than the dogmatic definition. I think that may well be the point that PJ was making.

No.
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« Reply #73 on: December 30, 2007, 09:55:09 AM »

Alright that makes sense you dont have to agree it was an infallible statement but if you have to agree with the dogma.(sarcasm) isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?

The way I look at it, it's very similar to the situation in Orthodoxy: you all acknowledge each other as Orthodox because you have doctrinal unity, even though some of you (the Eastern Orthodox -- including EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC) say that there have been seven ecumenical councils, while others say that there have been only three ecumenical councils (the Oriental Orthodox -- including Oriental "traditionalist").

With us it is really no different: we are all Catholic because we have doctrinal unity, even if we don't agree about how many ecumenical councils there have been, or about how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been.

Hope that helps,
Peter.
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« Reply #74 on: December 30, 2007, 10:03:18 AM »

No.
My apologies PJ, I was not sure what you meant ...
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« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2007, 10:07:34 AM »

isn't that the same thing though like damned if you do damned if you don't?

Perhaps so, but again I don't see how it's really different from Orthodoxy. E.g., imagine that I'm a Protestant who wants to convert to Orthodoxy, but I don't accept the teaching about icons. Well, regardless of whether I believe that the Second Council of Nicea was ecumenical or not, I couldn't become Orthodox unless I accept the teaching on icons. Right? (Or I am misunderstanding what you mean by "damned if you do damned if you don't"?)
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« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2007, 11:50:32 AM »

The way I look at it, it's very similar to the situation in Orthodoxy: you all acknowledge each other as Orthodox because you have doctrinal unity, even though some of you (the Eastern Orthodox -- including EO "traditionalist," EO OC and EO NC) say that there have been seven ecumenical councils, while others say that there have been only three ecumenical councils (the Oriental Orthodox -- including Oriental "traditionalist").

With us it is really no different: we are all Catholic because we have doctrinal unity, even if we don't agree about how many ecumenical councils there have been, or about how many ex cathedra statements (if any) there have been.

I don't think the EO-OO is a good example to prove your point.  We're acknowledging each other as Orthodox informally, because formally we haven't changed our statements that we're not in doctrinal unity (which would involve restoration of full communion).  So, at the moment, being Orthodox does involve acknowledgment of a number of Ecumenical councils (for the EO, it's at least 7, if not more; for the OO, it's at least 3).  The process of reunification may lead to a situation where the "Ecumenicity" of some councils may come into question, or other councils may be acknowledged as "Ecumenical" that are not currently so, but this is not the case yet.

A better example would be the debate within the EO as to whether certain councils that are not commonly called "Ecumenical" are indeed so (such as Photian and other post-Nicea II Synods).
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« Reply #77 on: December 30, 2007, 10:46:20 PM »

I don't think the EO-OO is a good example to prove your point.  We're acknowledging each other as Orthodox informally, because formally we haven't changed our statements that we're not in doctrinal unity (which would involve restoration of full communion).

Ah ... I wasn't aware of that. (I mean the part about the acknowledgements being informal. I was aware of the lack of full communion.)

Perhaps that explains some of the reactions I've been hearing from Orthodox when they first learn that Catholics don't all agree on a list of ecumenical councils (or ex cathedra statements).

So, at the moment, being Orthodox does involve acknowledgment of a number of Ecumenical councils (for the EO, it's at least 7, if not more; for the OO, it's at least 3).  The process of reunification may lead to a situation where the "Ecumenicity" of some councils may come into question, or other councils may be acknowledged as "Ecumenical" that are not currently so, but this is not the case yet.

A better example would be the debate within the EO as to whether certain councils that are not commonly called "Ecumenical" are indeed so (such as Photian and other post-Nicea II Synods).

Yes, that is a good example.

Thanks and God bless,
Peter.
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« Reply #78 on: January 01, 2008, 06:33:16 PM »

My Catholic friend sees the concept of purgatory and confession as a way to sort of get around things here on earth. So you can look at porn, and it is just fine since you can confess it and since it isn't a mortal sin, it isn't going to do anything other than put you in purgatory.

 Shocked Yikes! I fear for your Catholic friend if he/she thinks of it that way. If you go to Confession with that attitude, you will blaspheme the sacrament. It goes without saying that the sacrament will not be efficacious.

Purgatory isn't about "getting out" of anything. It's about God completing the work of theosis so that we who have been saved enter heaven unclean. If you damn yourself, you are not going to Purgatory.
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« Reply #79 on: January 01, 2008, 06:45:13 PM »

Oh, and to address your friend.  All I can say is Lord have mercy.  From a RC standpoint, he/she is looking for loopholes, which can never be good for one's soul.  As well, about the porn reference...  Lust is seen as a grave sin, and if one understands that it is a sin (knows they must go to confession for it, etc.) and they perform it deliberately, it is likely views as a mortal sin within the RCC.

Indeed. Let us keep in mind what Jesus said about lusting in your heart. What else are we doing when we view porn, especially when we are masturbating to it? When I struggled with pornography, I knew I had to confess it in the sacrament. If you are spending time thinking about what sins you should confess with the priest and which you should "leave out" because of embarrassment or some other motivation, you are in trouble. When you go to Confession, you should just pour out your sins in contrition and do not analyze mortal/venial or anything else.

(BTW, when I was in London a couple days ago, I went to Confession at the famous Brompton Oratory. It was a glorious experience. The priest was a wonderful help, and he had his eyes closed in prayer the entire time. I received my absolution in Latin! I couldn't wait to perform my penance, which was one I had never been given before.)
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« Reply #80 on: January 01, 2008, 07:07:16 PM »

I understand the need for confession. But I don't understand how God would send 99.999% of people to purgatory because they haven't been very recently to confession.

There are only two ways to avoid Purgatory:

1) Damn yourself to Hell. Obviously not a good choice.

2) Be so far along in theosis by the end of your life that you are no longer attached to even minor sin. The divine light emitted by you is brilliant, and the purification effected by Purgatory has already been completed. Look at the root word of Purgatory: purge. It's the purgation or removal of any remaining attachments that inhibit your communion with God. Unclean things cannot enter Heaven, as St. John writes in the book of Revelation.
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« Reply #81 on: January 01, 2008, 07:11:50 PM »

So, to put it bluntly, God can't be bothered to forgive us completely?

He has forgiven those in Purgatory, but in his love and mercy he wants to make sure they are purified of remaining attachments so they don't get themselves thrown out after they enter Heaven. I know I'd get myself kicked out real soon if I died right now and went straight to Heaven as-is.
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« Reply #82 on: January 01, 2008, 07:24:45 PM »

I beg to differ.
I wouldn't call our Roman Catholic friends here "enough" of anything. They hardly qualify as much of a cross section of Roman Catholicism. I personally know two RC nuns and three RC priests who cringe at some of the things our RC friends say on this forum....

Do they cringe at what some of what we've said, or do they cringe at your interpretation of it?  Wink

About getting the Catholic understanding of things, Quinault is welcome to ask us here, of course, though you are right that he/she should also consult the official (and actual) rather than popular understanding found in the Catechism and magisterial documents. Just because many Catholics believe something doesn't mean it is true. I'm sure you say the same for poorly catechized Orthodox.

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