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Author Topic: Decline in confession, but no decline in Eucharist receivers  (Read 14984 times) Average Rating: 1
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scamandrius
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« on: February 12, 2009, 07:00:01 PM »

There is another thread right now pertaining to the Vatican opening up its records on the use of this particular super-secretive confessional for those sins which are of such a magnitude that God will grant absolution only through the Pope.  This thread can be found here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19265.0/topicseen.html

The article orginally referenced in the thread spoke of the lamentable decline of Catholics (and, by inference, Orthodox or any other Christian confession that still makes use of this sacrament).  If there is such a decline (and I'm sure there is), then why do individual parish priests not be more proactive in insisting on confession before receiving the Eucharist?  Now, I know it is very easy to get into a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines.  I know that a lot of people will insist that they are entitled to communion whether they are penitent or not, so why does it seem more and more priests (both Orthodox and Catholic or anyone else for that matter) do not deny the Eucharist?  Are they afraid of embarassing those whom they have turned away? 

I'd especially like to hear from some of the priests on OC.net without referencing, of course, specific cases.
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 03:50:10 AM »

There is another thread right now pertaining to the Vatican opening up its records on the use of this particular super-secretive confessional for those sins which are of such a magnitude that God will grant absolution only through the Pope.  This thread can be found here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19265.0/topicseen.html

The article orginally referenced in the thread spoke of the lamentable decline of Catholics (and, by inference, Orthodox or any other Christian confession that still makes use of this sacrament).  If there is such a decline (and I'm sure there is), then why do individual parish priests not be more proactive in insisting on confession before receiving the Eucharist?  Now, I know it is very easy to get into a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines.  I know that a lot of people will insist that they are entitled to communion whether they are penitent or not, so why does it seem more and more priests (both Orthodox and Catholic or anyone else for that matter) do not deny the Eucharist?  Are they afraid of embarassing those whom they have turned away? 

I'd especially like to hear from some of the priests on OC.net without referencing, of course, specific cases.

Dear Scamandrius,

It is still obligatory for the faithful of the Russian and Serbian Churches to go to Confession before they receive Communion.  I am not sure about Bulgarians but the ones we have in our parish expect to go to Confession.

With the Russians and the Serbs we are looking at about 70% of the Orthodox Church - so as long as this custom is maintained there is no danger of Confession fading away.

I have a priest friend in Irkursk at the cathedral and before major feastdays all the four cathedral priests have to devote many hours for Confessions.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 04:15:03 AM »

to a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines. 

I don't know how wide your exposure is to Orthodoxy but the practice which you describe as absurd is the majority practice of the Orthodox world.     Embarrassed

It would be interesting if you could say something more about why you see it in a negative way?
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2009, 04:53:17 AM »

to a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines. 

I don't know how wide your exposure is to Orthodoxy but the practice which you describe as absurd is the majority practice of the Orthodox world.     Embarrassed
Just as your faulty appeal to tradition regarding infrequent communion was addressed in this post--"1600 years of practicing infrequent Communion makes the practice holy despite the fact that this practice started as an innovative deviation from earlier practice"--so I need to address your equally faulty argumentum ad populum (appeal to the majority).  Just because the practice of required Confession before every reception of Communion is the majority practice in the Orthodox world does not sanctify such a distortion of both sacraments.  I've argued myself against this practice, which you can read HERE and HERE, so I'm pretty much current on this debate.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 04:56:05 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2009, 05:41:24 AM »

to a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines. 

I don't know how wide your exposure is to Orthodoxy but the practice which you describe as absurd is the majority practice of the Orthodox world.     Embarrassed
Just as your faulty appeal to tradition regarding infrequent communion was addressed in this post--"1600 years of practicing infrequent Communion makes the practice holy despite the fact that this practice started as an innovative deviation from earlier practice"--so I need to address your equally faulty argumentum ad populum (appeal to the majority).  Just because the practice of required Confession before every reception of Communion is the majority practice in the Orthodox world does not sanctify such a distortion of both sacraments.  I've argued myself against this practice, which you can read HERE and HERE, so I'm pretty much current on this debate.

I myself would be reluctant to state that the majority of bishops and priests are allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.   

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of the opposite attitude - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches.  For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with it and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is a regular Sacrament and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.

I believe it also promotes a good spiritual life and promotes the ascetic struggle against engrained sins because the penitent and the pattern of his spiritual strengths and weaknesses become known to his confessor who is better able to guide him and help him.

I would not want to argue with you about this.  I am simply judging by the empirical evidence as I witness it in the Slav Churches.

« Last Edit: February 20, 2009, 05:47:15 AM by Irish Hermit » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2009, 05:53:25 AM »

[this post--"1600 years of practicing infrequent Communion makes the practice holy despite the fact that this practice started as an innovative deviation from earlier practice.


I was fairly sure that I would not make such a statement and so I searched the posts and could not locate it.  Could you send a more specific reference.
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2009, 06:05:50 AM »

[this post--"1600 years of practicing infrequent Communion makes the practice holy despite the fact that this practice started as an innovative deviation from earlier practice.


I was fairly sure that I would not make such a statement and so I searched the posts and could not locate it.  Could you send a more specific reference.
I admit that you didn't make such a statement verbatim, but the defense you offered for your position after Pravoslavbob and ozgeorge challenged your faulty appeal to tradition essentially implied the statement I just attributed to you.
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2009, 06:16:42 AM »


I was fairly sure that I would not make such a statement and so I searched the posts and could not locate it.  Could you send a more specific reference.
I admit that you didn't make such a statement verbatim, but the defense you offered for your position after Pravoslavbob and ozgeorge challenged your faulty appeal to tradition essentially implied the statement I just attributed to you.

It would be better if members of the Forum did not create statments and attribute them to others.  I would never say that the current majority practice is "an innovative deviation from earlier practice"  !!
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2009, 06:31:41 AM »

I myself would be reluctant to state that the majority of bishops and priests are allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.   
Again, argumentum ad populum.  I think I've pretty well established how requiring Confession before every Communion is a distortion of Orthodox praxis.  If the majority of bishops and priests allow this practice, then it follows from reason that they are indeed allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.  It doesn't matter if all the bishops of the Church save one allow a particular practice if the practice is wrong; the practice is still wrong regardless.

We have seen the results in modern Orthodoxy of the opposite attitude - the virtual disappearance of the use of the Mystery of Confession in some Orthodox Churches.
But this is to engage in the logical fallacy of making Confession before every Communion the ONLY way to maintain frequent Confession.  What of quarterly Confession, or Confession once every six weeks, or monthly Confession?  Are these frequencies not often enough for you?  Why the false dichotomy between every week or not at all?

For example, the Orthodox Church of Antioch uses our Russian parish church since they have none of their own at the moment.  I was quite shocked when their priest told me that he has not heard a Confession - EVER!  He has been a priest 6 years.  I asked him how this could come about because a large proportion of his people are rather recent immigrants from Lebanon and Egypt and surely they are formed in the tradition of their home countries.  He replied that they are not familiar with it and actually see it as a Roman Catholic thing.
Truly a tragedy, but I would blame this more on poor or non-existent catechesis on the importance of frequent Confession than on the absence of the strict connection between Confession and Communion that you advocate.  Even those who confess weekly can be just as poorly catechized as to what Confession does and does not do for the penitent.

So on the basis of "by their fruits ye shall know them" I postulate that the practice of the Slav Churches is preferable.    In the Churches which maintain the link between Confession and Communion, Confession is a regular Sacrament and it is also used outside of the Communion link too - when a person believes he needs to come and confess some serious sin.

I believe it also promotes a good spiritual life and promotes the ascetic struggle against engrained sins because the penitent and the pattern of his spiritual strengths and weaknesses become known to his confessor who is better able to guide him and help him.

I would not want to argue with you about this.  I am simply judging by the empirical evidence as I witness it in the Slav Churches.
An equally valid argument for requiring that the faithful come to Confession once every four to six weeks, as opposed to once per year.  Interestingly, and in a way that undermines your argument, those who received Communion only once per year would only go to Confession once per year.  They still followed the letter of the strict one-to-one connection you advocate, did they not?
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2009, 06:39:24 AM »

I myself would be reluctant to state that the majority of bishops and priests are allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.   
Again, argumentum ad populum

It is really an argumentum ad episcopos and since the bishops determine the standard of Orthodox praxis that is a perfectly valid argument.   Smiley

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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2009, 06:41:26 AM »


I was fairly sure that I would not make such a statement and so I searched the posts and could not locate it.  Could you send a more specific reference.
I admit that you didn't make such a statement verbatim, but the defense you offered for your position after Pravoslavbob and ozgeorge challenged your faulty appeal to tradition essentially implied the statement I just attributed to you.

It would be better if members of the Forum did not create statments and attribute them to others.  I would never say that the current majority practice is "an innovative deviation from earlier practice"  !!
Of course not!  That's not my point!  But, according to your false argument from tradition, even if you did acknowledge that the 1600-year practice of infrequent Communion was a deviation from earlier practice, would you still argue that 1600 years of usage makes the practice holy?  I believe from reading your defense of infrequent Communion that you probably would.  THIS is my point.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2009, 06:45:47 AM »

I myself would be reluctant to state that the majority of bishops and priests are allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.   
Again, argumentum ad populum

It is really an argumentum ad episcopos and since the bishops determine the standard of Orthodox praxis that is a perfectly valid argument.   Smiley


Really?  So now you believe that truth is determined by a majority vote of the bishops?  That certainly isn't the consensus model upheld by the great councils.

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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2009, 06:56:54 AM »


I was fairly sure that I would not make such a statement and so I searched the posts and could not locate it.  Could you send a more specific reference.
I admit that you didn't make such a statement verbatim, but the defense you offered for your position after Pravoslavbob and ozgeorge challenged your faulty appeal to tradition essentially implied the statement I just attributed to you.

It would be better if members of the Forum did not create statments and attribute them to others.  I would never say that the current majority practice is "an innovative deviation from earlier practice"  !!
Of course not!  That's not my point!  But, according to your false argument from tradition, even if you did acknowledge that the 1600-year practice of infrequent Communion was a deviation from earlier practice, would you still argue that 1600 years of usage makes the practice holy?  I believe from reading your defense of infrequent Communion that you probably would.  THIS is my point.

It is still misleading to create a statement, place it in inverted commas and attribute it to me.

I am sure that if I did that to another member a ton of bricks would fall on me.   I would be disciplined with a Warning or Moderation.
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2009, 07:10:09 AM »

Really?  So now you believe that truth is determined by a majority vote of the bishops?  That certainly isn't the consensus model upheld by the great councils.

The determination of truth which is a function of correlation between the Ecumenical Councils and the pleroma of the Church is one of Othodoxy's most complicated questions.  One articulate theologian dealing with this is Fr Georges Florovsky.
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2009, 10:18:22 AM »


I myself would be reluctant to state that the majority of bishops and priests are allowing a distortion of Orthodox praxis.   
Again, argumentum ad populum.  I think I've pretty well established how requiring Confession before every Communion is a distortion of Orthodox praxis. 

I'm a bit confused here.  Why is everyone so set against Holy Confession?   

We prepare for Holy Communion.  We fast, we pray, we take a bath and we put on clean clothes....lest we insult the Lord by nearing His presence unclean.
Should we not put at least that much effort to ensuring our souls are clean, as well?

Is it a matter of pride?  Do we think we are too good and have nothing to confess from week to week?

I know I am a miserable sinner.  I try hard not to judge, and not to get angry, and not to eat too much, and not to gossip, and not to participate in the crude conversations and "jokes" at work....but, I often fall short of the mark.
I KNOW that I have sinned....and instead of compounding this sin, from week to week...to the point that I forget about them.....I prefer to Confess on a weekly basis.

I come early, so, I do not interfere with the serving of the Divine Liturgy or I confess at the Vespers service the night before....and I honestly don't care when I hear the snide remarks behind my back..."oh...here comes the sinner..." from members of the parish who chose to sit out the Liturgy and not participate.  Maybe they have no sin to confess...more power to them.

As for me, I am a sinner and I am not too proud to admit it, or to Confess it.

I could not imagine approaching the Holy Chalice with all this "sin" hanging over me...compounded by my pride of not confessing it.  Dirty socks are one thing, an unclean soul is another.

Lord, have mercy on me and forgive me my inequities! 


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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2009, 10:28:03 AM »

It is still misleading to create a statement, place it in inverted commas and attribute it to me.

Father, it's not misleading at all.  Quite the opposite is true.  All that people need to do is to go to the link provided by Peter the Aleut, read the thread in question, and determine for themselves whether or not his statements are a faithful paraphrase of your writings. 
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2009, 10:43:41 AM »

I could not imagine approaching the Holy Chalice with all this "sin" hanging over me...
Do people in the Slavic Churches believe themselves to be approaching the Chalice sinless?
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2009, 10:46:18 AM »

Why is everyone so set against Holy Confession?   

No one is set against Holy Confession, and there is nothing wrong with confessing weekly, or even daily. What is "a distortion of Orthodox praxis" is the idea that Confession is required before every time we take Communion.
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2009, 10:53:59 AM »

It is still misleading to create a statement, place it in inverted commas and attribute it to me.

Father, it's not misleading at all.  Quite the opposite is true.  All that people need to do is to go to the link provided by Peter the Aleut, read the thread in question, and determine for themselves whether or not his statements are a faithful paraphrase of your writings. 

The link supplied leads to your own message which contains a total of 7 ad hominems.

Quote
Father, it's not misleading at all.

Perhaps those reared under a British system of values and those reared elsewhere do not share the same sense of values but it is not honest to create a statement, enclose it in inverted commas and then present it as being written by someone who never wrote it (namely, me.)


I have already pointed out that pretending that I wrote that infrequent communion is "an innovative deviation from earlier practice" is simply untrue.  I never wrote that and I never would write that since I do not believe that.  It should never have been presented as a direct quote from me.  Surely you can see that?

If you wish to clarify matters, I suppose you could ask an Admin, Fr Anastasios or Fr Chris, to adjudicate whether such a misleading presentation is acceptable in terms of Forum standards.



 For the reasons cited in this post:
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Most specifically, for questioning moderation in public and repeatedly referring to the deliberation of your own case in other posts, some of which we have removed, you have been placed on post moderation.

On-topic posts will be accepted, but this step is to ensure that no more public complaints about moderation are made.

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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2009, 10:57:34 AM »


Well, certainly not sinless, however, at least having made the effort to Confess one's sins, and hope and pray that God will forgive them.

Nobody on Earth, save Christ, was ever "sinless".  Yet, we aim to emulate Him.

You would be amazed at how people approach the Holy Chalice.

I once visited an another church...and they had no requirement of Holy Confession....people were just walking up in a huge line and chit chatting with the folks they hadn't seen in a while, they were talking, and laughing, while others were just walking in to the church and getting right in line.....

To me that was just shocking...and irreverant. 

It loses the sense of "respect".  Do you know what I mean?    Holy Communion becomes common-place.  There is no awe, no trepidation.

They walk up and receive Holy Communion, in the same manner they walk up to a coffee line.

I am afraid that we, Orthodox, not diminish the honor bestowed upon us, by allowing us to partake of the Mystical Body/Blood of our Risen Lord and Savior!
It is a priviledge, not a right.

That's all.  I am afraid that people don't lose sight of the true goal.



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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2009, 11:02:16 AM »

I could not imagine approaching the Holy Chalice with all this "sin" hanging over me...
Do people in the Slavic Churches believe themselves to be approaching the Chalice sinless?

In most Russian churches, as the priest stands before the faithful holding the Chalice, the faithful recite these prayers altogther and aloud...

Judge thou thyself if they think they approach the Chalice sinless.

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen.

Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom. Not unto judgement nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body.

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« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2009, 11:03:07 AM »


Well, certainly not sinless, however, at least having made the effort to Confess one's sins, and hope and pray that God will forgive them.

I see. "Almost sinless". "As sinless as possible".
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« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2009, 11:11:32 AM »

Haven't we discussed this at length in another thread?
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« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2009, 11:11:53 AM »

Why is everyone so set against Holy Confession?   

No one is set against Holy Confession, and there is nothing wrong with confessing weekly, or even daily.
What is "a distortion of Orthodox praxis" is the idea that Confession is required before every time we take Communion.

Why?

There is a curious notion abroad among the Western Orthodox (at least among converts, and not infrequently expressed on the Forum) that there is no gradation of sin, that ALL sins are equally serious.  (Someone today went as far as to assert that EVERY sin separates us completely from God!!)

So, for those who believe that all sin is equally serious then Confession is indeed an absolute requirement every time they wish to commune.  Nobody with serious sin on their soul should approach the Chalice unconfessed.
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« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2009, 11:13:28 AM »

Haven't we discussed this at length in another thread?

The other thread was about infrequent Communion, not about the "Decline in Confession..."
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2009, 11:36:43 AM »

I could not imagine approaching the Holy Chalice with all this "sin" hanging over me...
Do people in the Slavic Churches believe themselves to be approaching the Chalice sinless?

In most Russian churches, as the priest stands before the faithful holding the Chalice, the faithful recite these prayers altogther and aloud...

Judge thou thyself if they think they approach the Chalice sinless.

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the living God, who didst come into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly thine own immaculate Body, and that this is truly thine own precious Blood. Wherefore I pray thee, have mercy upon me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake without condemnation of thine immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins and unto life everlasting. Amen.

Of thy Mystic Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant; for I will not speak of thy Mystery to thine enemies, neither will I give thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in thy Kingdom. Not unto judgement nor unto condemnation be my partaking of thy Holy Mysteries, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body.



They must be holier than we are.
Even though we pray the same prayers before Communion.
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« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2009, 11:38:22 AM »

It is still obligatory for the faithful of the Russian and Serbian Churches to go to Confession before they receive Communion.  I am not sure about Bulgarians but the ones we have in our parish expect to go to Confession.

With the Russians and the Serbs we are looking at about 70% of the Orthodox Church - so as long as this custom is maintained there is no danger of Confession fading away.

I have a priest friend in Irkursk at the cathedral and before major feastdays all the four cathedral priests have to devote many hours for Confessions.

Father, add to this the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (KP) - they also insist that one must partake in the Holy Mystery of Confession before going to the Chalice. I do not know for sure but I suspect that it is also the rule in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP).
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2009, 11:42:02 AM »

The other thread was about infrequent Communion, not about the "Decline in Confession..."
Yes, but it also had quite a lengthy debate about the "requirement" for Confession before each Communion.
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« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2009, 11:45:44 AM »

The other thread was about infrequent Communion, not about the "Decline in Confession..."
Yes, but it also had quite a lengthy debate about the "requirement" for Confession before each Communion.


You were involved in it on the other thread, remember?

I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions.

In the Slav Churches (those that I know first hand the Serbian and the Russian) Confesion and Communion aere tightly linked, so much so that people will commonly say, "I want to confess on Saturday" and you know that they are telling you they will be at Communion also.

Confession without Communion takes place, of course, especially when a heavy sin needs to be confessd.

This linkage of the two Mysteries has ensured that Confession remains a normal and accepted part of church life for the faithful and does not become such an irregular event that people begin to think that it is something only for Catholics.   Wink

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« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2009, 11:47:01 AM »

Father, add to this the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (KP) - they also insist that one must partake in the Holy Mystery of Confession before going to the Chalice. I do not know for sure but I suspect that it is also the rule in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP).

I understand that your own Church, the Milan Synod, is a Greek Old Calendar Church.  It received its autonomy from Archbishop Auxentios of Athens.  Do you know the position of the Greek Old Calendarists on this matter of Confession before Communion?
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« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2009, 11:53:51 AM »

The other thread was about infrequent Communion, not about the "Decline in Confession..."
Yes, but it also had quite a lengthy debate about the "requirement" for Confession before each Communion.


You were involved in it on the other thread, remember?

Yes, however in the other thread the matter of a decline in Confession was tangential whereas here it is more focused.  However, If you feel that this thread has a close connection with the previous thread I suppose you could merge them?  We can go on discussing the decline in Confession as a continuation of the frequent Communion thread.

I'm going to agree with Fr. Anastasios on this because the sacrament of confession is a separate sacrament in my church. It could also relate to the way Greeks differ slightly to the practices of the Slavic traditions.

In the Slav Churches (those that I know first hand the Serbian and the Russian) Confesion and Communion aere tightly linked, so much so that people will commonly say, "I want to confess on Saturday" and you know that they are telling you they will be at Communion also.

Confession without Communion takes place, of course, especially when a heavy sin needs to be confessd.

This linkage of the two Mysteries has ensured that Confession remains a normal and accepted part of church life for the faithful and does not become such an irregular event that people begin to think that it is something only for Catholics.   Wink

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« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2009, 12:10:13 PM »

Actually, what I'm most concerned right now about is this accusation:
The link supplied leads to your own message which contains a total of 7 ad hominems.
So I'm locking this thread until it is dealt with.
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« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2009, 10:16:18 PM »

The reason we locked this thread has been dealt with, and the original topic is actually quite interesting, so I'm going to unlock this thread.  However, we moderators need everyone to work especially hard to keep this thread on topic.  In accordance with this directive from Fr. Anastasios, any user who attempts to use this thread to complain about recent moderatorial actions will receive a public warning or post moderation if already warned.  We will also not hesitate to relock this thread if the discussion deviates into such forbidden territory again.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2009, 11:08:37 PM »

Irish Hermit,

Since I posted originally, let me first address you.  My reason for posting this question has nothing do with a "negative" take on Confession.  I'm glad that many people, whether in the Slavic Churches or not, still do partake of the wonderful opportunity of confession before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord.  I was just curious as to how much the practice of confession before receiving the Eucharist was "enforced", for lack of a better word, by priests or individual praxis.  That was my only reason for writing, not to disparage confession which I so often use and need for my own salvation.
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« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2009, 01:30:24 AM »

Irish Hermit,

Since I posted originally, let me first address you.  My reason for posting this question has nothing do with a "negative" take on Confession.  I'm glad that many people, whether in the Slavic Churches or not, still do partake of the wonderful opportunity of confession before receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord.  I was just curious as to how much the practice of confession before receiving the Eucharist was "enforced", for lack of a better word, by priests or individual praxis. 

In real life there is no need to "enforce" it since people are aware of the requirement.

During my years as a priest there have been occasions all the same when people come up to the Chalice without a prior Confession.  I explain that Confession is needed and ask them to wait for their Communion until the end of Liturgy when we can do a Confession.

For the Feast of the Nativity I was serving with a native Russian priest and he refused Communion to about 6 people who had not been to Confession and he did not offer them the option of Confession and Communion after the Liturgy had ended.  I mildly remarked that it was rather tough, but he pointed out that people who don't know about Confession are even less likely to understand about Communion.  Later on he went around these people and gave them booklets about both Sacraments.

I had an amusing event serving with an Antiochian priest recently.  They use our Russian parish church since they don't have their own.   Besides his own parishioners there were quite a few of our own people at Liturgy.  So the Antiochian priest communes his own parishioners but none of ours approach the Chalice.  He has no idea what the problem is and exhorts them to approach.  So two grannies come up and receive Communion.  I am holdng the Communion cloth and one of them says:  "I haven't had Confession. Can I have it now."  So what else can I do escept assuage her anxiety by doing an on-the-spot Confession.  Thereupon, seeing that she is having Confession more of the Russians join the Communion line and each one stops at me, has a very quick and perfunctionary Confession and then moves on to take Communion from the Antiochian priest. 

So, the point of this little story is.... the faithful are "self-policing."   The clergy do not have to "enforce" the Confession traditions.

Fr Ambrose
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« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2009, 01:30:25 AM »

The reason we locked this thread has been dealt with, and the original topic is actually quite interesting,

I am quite interested in the questions I've raised in Message 23.  Please see above.

The contention is that all sins are of equal gravity and seriousness  - how does this belief effect the need for Confession before every Communion since nobody with serious sin may come to the Chalice unconfessed?


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« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2009, 02:01:13 AM »

each one stops at me, has a very quick and perfunctionary Confession
What does a very quick perfunctory confession consist of?
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« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2009, 02:05:34 AM »

I don't think he can tell us.  Isn't it supposed to be confidential?
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« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2009, 02:09:21 AM »

I don't think he can tell us.  Isn't it supposed to be confidential?
I don't think the general form of such a perfunctory confession as Irish Hermit speaks of can be called confidential, since we're not speaking of what is divulged in such a confession.
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« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2009, 02:10:56 AM »

No. What I mean is: what actually happens? How does one make a very quick and perfunctionary Confession? I'm not asking what is confessed, just the procedure.
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« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2009, 02:11:38 AM »

each one stops at me, has a very quick and perfunctionary Confession
What does a very quick perfunctory confession consist of?

Quick perfunctory confessions are not desirable at all.  But under these circumstances, with the Antiochian priest standing beside me holding the Chalice, people could see that that there was not time for leisurely Confession.  So the major component was an expression of repentance for grave sins, a of repentance for all their sins, and then the words of absolution.  There was no time for anything else.

I don't know about priests of other Churches,  but there are three essentials that need to be ascertained even in the quickest of Confessions:

1.  Are you sincerely repentant for these sins and for all your sins?

2.  Do you have a firm resolve to try and avoid them in the future, with God's grace?

3.  Do you forgive others who have sinned against you?

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« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2009, 02:12:28 AM »

each one stops at me, has a very quick and perfunctionary Confession
What does a very quick perfunctory confession consist of?

Quick perfunctory confessions are not desirable at all.  But under these circumstances, with the Antiochian priest standing beside me holding the Chalice, people could see that that there was not time for leisurely Confession.  So the major component was an expression of repentance for grave sins, a of repentance for all their sins, and then the words of absolution.  There was no time for anything else.

I don't know about priests of other Churches,  but there are three essentials that need to be ascertained even in the quickest of Confessions:

1.  Are you sincerely repentant for these sins and for all your sins?

2.  Do you have a firm resolve to try and avoid them in the future, with God's grace?

3.  Do you forgive others who have sinned against you?



I don't understand. What is the point of this?
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« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2009, 02:16:45 AM »

each one stops at me, has a very quick and perfunctionary Confession
What does a very quick perfunctory confession consist of?

Quick perfunctory confessions are not desirable at all.  But under these circumstances, with the Antiochian priest standing beside me holding the Chalice, people could see that that there was not time for leisurely Confession.  So the major component was an expression of repentance for grave sins, a of repentance for all their sins, and then the words of absolution.  There was no time for anything else.

I don't know about priests of other Churches,  but there are three essentials that need to be ascertained even in the quickest of Confessions:

1.  Are you sincerely repentant for these sins and for all your sins?

2.  Do you have a firm resolve to try and avoid them in the future, with God's grace?

3.  Do you forgive others who have sinned against you?



I don't understand. What is the point of this?

Me no understand either.  Of What?
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« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2009, 02:18:06 AM »

No. What I mean is: what actually happens? How does one make a very quick and perfunctionary Confession? I'm not asking what is confessed, just the procedure.
My experience practicing(*) Orthodoxy in an OCA parish was a "quick" confession consisted of the priest doing a very brief opening, as opposed to the lengthy opeing with Psalm 50, the Trisagion etc, me giving a list of my sins, and then absolution w/o any deep spiritual counsel. Not the norm, but used in a pinch.


* they say practice makes perfect. didn't work in my case Wink
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« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2009, 02:24:11 AM »

No. What I mean is: what actually happens? How does one make a very quick and perfunctionary Confession? I'm not asking what is confessed, just the procedure.
My experience practicing(*) Orthodoxy in an OCA parish was a "quick" confession consisted of the priest doing a very brief opening, as opposed to the lengthy opeing with Psalm 50, the Trisagion etc, me giving a list of my sins, and then absolution w/o any deep spiritual counsel. Not the norm, but used in a pinch.


* they say practice makes perfect. didn't work in my case Wink

When you say "a list" do you mean a verbal list or a written one?
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