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Author Topic: Why Confess to someone besides a Priest?  (Read 1290 times) Average Rating: 0
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SolEX01
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« on: October 10, 2008, 01:08:53 AM »

There are monks and nuns who are blessed to hear confessions by a bishop; but they are not permitted to read the prayers of forgiveness.  This is a topic for another thread.

Why would anyone want to confess to a monk or a nun rather than a member of the Clergy?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 04:07:28 AM »

Perhaps they expect or hope for good advice from the monk/nun?
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 08:56:23 AM »

Why would anyone want to confess to a monk or a nun rather than a member of the Clergy?

Because, believe it or not, there are people with incredible spiritual discernment who are not ordained.

For example: many times the women at a Women's Monastery will confess to the Abbess; part of this is due to the fundamental relationship between monk and master (which is also seen in many monasteries where the monks confess to their Abbot); part of this is due to the incredible spiritual maturity that is often exhibited by the Abbesses.  The abbess will hear the confessions and provide spiritual support and direction, and when the priest (who serves the monastery) comes by, he will ask the abbess for the names of people that he needs to read the prayers over.  He will then see each of them and complete the sacrament.

With the Male monks, sometimes the Abbot is a priest, and so they can go to him for guidance, confession, and he will read the prayers.  But often times the Abbot is not a priest, yet has the gift of discernment, and will hear confessions in a similar manner to the Abbesses.

This doesn't even include the Elders who are not Abbots or Abbesses who are gifted and not ordained, who have still been blessed to hear confessions.

The common thread amongst all these stories: permission from a clergyman has been granted beforehand!  In the case of an Abbot or Abbess, it is the Bishop who enthroned them that grants such permission.  In the case of elders, it is their abbot or abbess, who has the blessing to act as a bishop in many ways within the monastery.  In every case, permission from above comes before a non-clergyman begins to hear confessions.
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 10:10:46 AM »

This is a very old practice.  I remember reading in numerous places of the so-called anam cara ("soul friend") of the Irish monks of the first millenium.  Each monk had a particular companion to whom he would pour out his soul to and from which he would receive spiritual advice.  In many cases, if I recall correctly, a priest would read the prayers of absoultion some time afterwards if the anam cara was not one himself.

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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 12:51:48 PM »

Because, believe it or not, there are people with incredible spiritual discernment who are not ordained.

It may also be true that the priest you have access to is not particularly skilled at providing spiritual guidance, however well-intentioned he may be.
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SolEX01
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 05:36:52 PM »

Why would anyone want to confess to a monk or a nun rather than a member of the Clergy?

Because, believe it or not, there are people with incredible spiritual discernment who are not ordained.

In other words, why send people with incredible spiritual discernment to Seminary for 3-7 years to obtain a M. Div. Degree required for all male Clergy?

For example: many times the women at a Women's Monastery will confess to the Abbess; part of this is due to the fundamental relationship between monk and master (which is also seen in many monasteries where the monks confess to their Abbot); part of this is due to the incredible spiritual maturity that is often exhibited by the Abbesses.  The abbess will hear the confessions and provide spiritual support and direction, and when the priest (who serves the monastery) comes by, he will ask the abbess for the names of people that he needs to read the prayers over.  He will then see each of them and complete the sacrament.

I think of Confession as a one celebrant process.  What you describe sounds like intake (Step 1) and actual absolution (Step 2).  Is there precedence for a 2-Step Confession process?

With the Male monks, sometimes the Abbot is a priest, and so they can go to him for guidance, confession, and he will read the prayers.  But often times the Abbot is not a priest, yet has the gift of discernment, and will hear confessions in a similar manner to the Abbesses.

There were examples in the Epistles of many who had gifts of "discernment" only to wind up being frauds.

This doesn't even include the Elders who are not Abbots or Abbesses who are gifted and not ordained, who have still been blessed to hear confessions.

Who makes this call?  If such Elders were Blessed by Greek Metropolitans and transferred to the Elder Ephraim Monasteries, how would the laity know the difference?  Is that a mystery that they have to accept?  What if I question it?

The common thread amongst all these stories: permission from a clergyman has been granted beforehand!  In the case of an Abbot or Abbess, it is the Bishop who enthroned them that grants such permission.

Where is the Bishop from: US, Greece, Serbia or elsewhere?  Is there Apostolic Succession for Elders, Abbots and Abbesses?
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 06:54:21 PM »

Why would anyone want to confess to a monk or a nun rather than a member of the Clergy?


Because, believe it or not, there are people with incredible spiritual discernment who are not ordained.

In other words, why send people with incredible spiritual discernment to Seminary for 3-7 years to obtain a M. Div. Degree required for all male Clergy?

For example: many times the women at a Women's Monastery will confess to the Abbess; part of this is due to the fundamental relationship between monk and master (which is also seen in many monasteries where the monks confess to their Abbot); part of this is due to the incredible spiritual maturity that is often exhibited by the Abbesses.  The abbess will hear the confessions and provide spiritual support and direction, and when the priest (who serves the monastery) comes by, he will ask the abbess for the names of people that he needs to read the prayers over.  He will then see each of them and complete the sacrament.

I think of Confession as a one celebrant process.  What you describe sounds like intake (Step 1) and actual absolution (Step 2).  Is there precedence for a 2-Step Confession process?
Yes.  Cleveland just described it.  When are you going to stop trying to make everything fit your limited frame of reference? Wink

Quote
With the Male monks, sometimes the Abbot is a priest, and so they can go to him for guidance, confession, and he will read the prayers.  But often times the Abbot is not a priest, yet has the gift of discernment, and will hear confessions in a similar manner to the Abbesses.

There were examples in the Epistles of many who had gifts of "discernment" only to wind up being frauds.
That's why we need to pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment--did you know that "discernment" is one of the most commonly used words in the book of Proverbs--that we may be able to discern who truly has the gift of discernment and who's just a fraud.

Quote
This doesn't even include the Elders who are not Abbots or Abbesses who are gifted and not ordained, who have still been blessed to hear confessions.

Who makes this call?  If such Elders were Blessed by Greek Metropolitans and transferred to the Elder Ephraim Monasteries, how would the laity know the difference?  Is that a mystery that they have to accept?  What if I question it?
We are a hierarchical Church, are we not?  Does that not mean the bishops and metropolitans have the final call?  Do you not trust their discernment, especially since they also have the official qualifications and authority necessary to make such decisions?

Quote
The common thread amongst all these stories: permission from a clergyman has been granted beforehand!  In the case of an Abbot or Abbess, it is the Bishop who enthroned them that grants such permission.

Where is the Bishop from: US, Greece, Serbia or elsewhere?  Is there Apostolic Succession for Elders, Abbots and Abbesses?
IOW, you value visible, institutionalized qualifications and credentials over the unseen work of the Holy Spirit.
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SolEX01
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2008, 07:35:47 PM »

Yes.  Cleveland just described it.  When are you going to stop trying to make everything fit your limited frame of reference? Wink

OK, you see Confession as a 2-Step process and I see it as a 1-Step process.  We are both right; However, I'm trying to look beyond my limited frame of reference to see how Confession is a 2-Step process.  Cleveland explained it well; although, I never saw Confession as a 2-Step process.

That's why we need to pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment--did you know that "discernment" is one of the most commonly used words in the book of Proverbs--that we may be able to discern who truly has the gift of discernment and who's just a fraud.

Absolutely - it's my sense of discernment being debated on this thread.   Wink  Hey, If SolEX01 turns out to be a fraud, maybe that'll help me sleep better at night, lol.   Grin  Shocked  Roll Eyes

We are a hierarchical Church, are we not?  Does that not mean the bishops and metropolitans have the final call?  Do you not trust their discernment, especially since they also have the official qualifications and authority necessary to make such decisions?

The Church is Hierarchical, yes.

You are correct in that Bishops and Metropolitans have the final call.

My problem is (forgive me for this example) that I can confess to a Seminarian who has already been blessed by a Hierarch.  I can also confess to a person in a mall parking lot and I don't know if that person has been blessed by a Hierarch.  If I go to a Monastery, I would have to ask the same questions to the Monastics like I ask here.  OK, I thank you for putting up with me.   Wink


IOW, you value visible, institutionalized qualifications and credentials over the unseen work of the Holy Spirit.

Is having proof such a bad thing after all?   Wink
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