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Author Topic: Decline in confession, but no decline in Eucharist receivers  (Read 14317 times) Average Rating: 1
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #45 on: February 23, 2009, 02:31:36 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?
But if you require this before the unconfessed can receive Communion, then wouldn't you admit that the point is to make someone worthy to receive Communion?  How does such a meaningless, perfunctory confession even do this?
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« Reply #46 on: February 23, 2009, 02:56:24 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?
But if you require this before the unconfessed can receive Communion, then wouldn't you admit that the point is to make someone worthy to receive Communion?  How does such a meaningless, perfunctory confession even do this?

Dear George,

These were not normal circumstances and obviously they won't be repeated.  The Antiochian is now aware that Russians won't come for Communion unless they have been to Confession.  Perhaps the example that day will somehow assist him to introduce Confession among his own parishioners.  I would like to think so.

But while Confessions can, very rarely, be perfunctory, I am not sure if we are right about calling them "meaningless."   The mere fact that someone has requested one gives it meaning.  A youg combatant who is mortally wounded may make a perfunctory Confession before the priest has to rush to another dying man, but such Confessions are not meaningless.
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« Reply #47 on: February 23, 2009, 03:04:02 AM »

  How does such a meaningless, perfunctory confession even do this?

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.

After the Genocide when over 90% of the clergy of the Armenian Church had been killed, group confession before communion became the norm.  Not an ideal situation, but not necessarily meaningless.  A person can make a lengthy one on one confession with a priest and not really mean it, while a person participating in a group confession can be truly sorry for his sins.  

Group confession is not exactly the same as what Fr. Ambrose described, but the idea is that a person is showing sorrow for their sins before partaking of communion, even if they are not able to discuss the sins in great detail.
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« Reply #48 on: February 23, 2009, 03:04:43 AM »

Dear George,

These were not normal circumstances and obviously they won't be repeated.  The Antiochian is now aware that Russians won't come for Communion unless they have been to Confession.  Perhaps the example that day will somehow assist him to introduce Confession among his own parishioners.  I would like to think so.
Don't you mean that the example may somehow assist the Antiochian priest to introduce the requirement of Confession before Communion among his own parishioners, since that's REALLY what you're talking about here?  How else do you know that he doesn't teach his parishioners the importance of Confession in and of itself?
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« Reply #49 on: February 23, 2009, 03:06:07 AM »

I know we have Oriental Orthodox on the Forum - Armenian and Coptic?

How do you handle the link between Confession and Communion?

And are the customs about this different in your home countries to what is done in the States?
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« Reply #50 on: February 23, 2009, 03:22:48 AM »

I'm pretty sure the Copts still have individual confession.  I don't know the details of how it is done, though.

In the Armenian Church it used to be individual confession, but then after the Genocide it changed to group confession.  The confession is read right before communion is given.  All who want to commune come up before the altar and kneel while the confession is read.  My priest says this is really not the way it is supposed to be.  It evidently violates all kinds of rules to do confession right in the middle of the liturgy this way.  I know there are priests who would like to go back to the old way, but it is hard to change this sort of thing once it is started.  You are expected to participate in the group confession if you want to commune.

A friend of mine recently went to Armenia and she said they did group confession there, but the liturgy wasn't interrupted for it.  If I understood correctly, I think the group confession was done sometime before and somewhere off to the side of the church, or something.

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« Reply #51 on: February 23, 2009, 03:28:03 AM »

Here is a thread on confession in Oriental Orthodox Churches:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5570.0.html
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« Reply #52 on: February 23, 2009, 03:30:10 AM »

Do you know the position of the Greek Old Calendarists on this matter of Confession before Communion?

The monks at the Greek OC (formerly ROCOR) monastery here called it a "cowardly" practice, unless I misunderstood them.
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« Reply #53 on: February 23, 2009, 03:45:37 AM »

Dear George,

These were not normal circumstances and obviously they won't be repeated.  The Antiochian is now aware that Russians won't come for Communion unless they have been to Confession.  Perhaps the example that day will somehow assist him to introduce Confession among his own parishioners.  I would like to think so.
Don't you mean that the example may somehow assist the Antiochian priest to introduce the requirement of Confession before Communion among his own parishioners, since that's REALLY what you're talking about here?

I do not think that the Antiochians would try and ask their parishioners to go to Confession before every Communion.


Quote
How else do you know that he doesn't teach his parishioners the importance of Confession in and of itself?
  I cannot answer that because it may be getting a bit close to personal matters.
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« Reply #54 on: February 23, 2009, 03:45:47 AM »

Do you know the position of the Greek Old Calendarists on this matter of Confession before Communion?

The monks at the Greek OC (formerly ROCOR) monastery here called it a "cowardly" practice, unless I misunderstood them.
I'm curious to know why they have this attitude.  I'm not judging it; I'm just genuinely curious. Wink
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« Reply #55 on: February 23, 2009, 03:55:19 AM »

The Antiochian is now aware that Russians won't come for Communion unless they have been to Confession.  Perhaps the example that day will somehow assist him to introduce Confession among his own parishioners.  I would like to think so.

I do not think that the Antiochians would try and ask their parishioners to go to Confession before every Communion.

Just putting two and two together...  No intent to be critical... Wink  You say in one post that perhaps your example will somehow assist a priest of the Antiochian church in introducing Confession to his own parishioners.  In a later post you say that you don't think the Antiochians would try to introduce the requirement of Confession before every Communion.  This logic you've presented seems to me to say that the Antiochian Orthodox don't go to Confession at all, whether in preparation to receive Communion or not.  I honestly hope you don't mean to insinuate that. Shocked
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« Reply #56 on: February 23, 2009, 03:56:55 AM »

Here is a thread on confession in Oriental Orthodox Churches:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,5570.0.html

Thanks for that.

I see that you use an absolution formula very similar to the Roman Catholic and in fact it insists very strongly on the authority of the priest to forgive sins:

"May God have mercy upon you, and may He guide you to everlasting life through the authority of priesthood which was entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who, in turn, entrusted it to their successors until it was given me; I who am weak and sinful, absolve you, brother (sister) of all the sins that you have confessed and are repentant of them, as well as of all the transgressions which have escaped your memory in the Name of the Father +, amen, and of the Son +, amen and of the Holy Spirit + for everlasting life. Amen."

Has this always been your formula or is it the result of some Roman Catholic influence?  
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« Reply #57 on: February 23, 2009, 04:13:13 AM »

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.
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« Reply #58 on: February 23, 2009, 04:16:52 AM »

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.

Yes, legalism, but I think the sad point here is that both parties (viewpoints) are talking past each other.  I have heard of ONE Antiochian parish in my general area that behaves similar to Fr. Ambrose's story, but as I imply, they are an aberration.  The majority I know of practice frequent confession with priests ready and willing to hear confessions from the parish.
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« Reply #59 on: February 23, 2009, 04:48:08 AM »

I see that you use an absolution formula very similar to the Roman Catholic and in fact it insists very strongly on the authority of the priest to forgive sins
Is that somehow problematic?
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« Reply #60 on: February 23, 2009, 07:12:29 AM »

I see that you use an absolution formula very similar to the Roman Catholic and in fact it insists very strongly on the authority of the priest to forgive sins
Is that somehow problematic?

Not for me.

But you could look at this other thread which concerns the formula of absolution in both its deprecative and declarative/indicative forms.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19265.0.html
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« Reply #61 on: February 23, 2009, 08:14:40 AM »


Just putting two and two together...  No intent to be critical... Wink  You say in one post that perhaps your example will somehow assist a priest of the Antiochian church in introducing Confession to his own parishioners.  In a later post you say that you don't think the Antiochians would try to introduce the requirement of Confession before every Communion.  This logic you've presented seems to me to say that the Antiochian Orthodox don't go to Confession at all, whether in preparation to receive Communion or not.  I honestly hope you don't mean to insinuate that. Shocked

The frequency of Confession varies from one self-governing Church to another.  It also fluctuates even within the self-governing Churches, between their home countries and their various diaspora.  The only consistent thing we can affirm is that it fluctuates.



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« Reply #62 on: February 23, 2009, 09:16:26 AM »

I don't really have anything to contribute to this thread, but as the link between confession and communion has been discussed and perhaps even questioned I thought I'd chip in with how things are in my Church.

My priest has told me that we are required to confess at least once a year, but also "the more, the better". He also said that if you have not confessed in a year you are not supposed to go to communion until you have confessed. This shows that while the "1 confession = 1 communion" formula is not used in Finland a clear link between confession and communion still exists.
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« Reply #63 on: February 23, 2009, 12:53:52 PM »

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?
Verbal
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« Reply #64 on: February 23, 2009, 06:23:56 PM »

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.

Yes, legalism, but I think the sad point here is that both parties (viewpoints) are talking past each other.  I have heard of ONE Antiochian parish in my general area that behaves similar to Fr. Ambrose's story, but as I imply, they are an aberration.  The majority I know of practice frequent confession with priests ready and willing to hear confessions from the parish.
I don't think we're talking past each other, since a specific issue is being addressed. I agree that in some cases, the Mysterion of Repentance is a forgotten Sacrament, but I don't think the answer to this is to turn it into a legalistic ritual and attach it as an inseparable part of the Mysterion of Holy Communion as though they were one. I think this poses a danger to the Orthodox understanding of both Sacraments. As Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann noted in his report to the Synod of the OCA: "And then, once a year, they fulfill their "obligation" and receive communion after a two-minute confession to a tired and exhausted priest. To see in all this a triumph of reverence, a protection of holiness, more than that, a norm, and not a downfall and a tragedy, is indeed incredible."
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« Reply #65 on: February 23, 2009, 06:52:17 PM »

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.

Yes, legalism, but I think the sad point here is that both parties (viewpoints) are talking past each other.  I have heard of ONE Antiochian parish in my general area that behaves similar to Fr. Ambrose's story, but as I imply, they are an aberration.  The majority I know of practice frequent confession with priests ready and willing to hear confessions from the parish.
I don't think we're talking past each other, since a specific issue is being addressed. I agree that in some cases, the Mysterion of Repentance is a forgotten Sacrament, but I don't think the answer to this is to turn it into a legalistic ritual and attach it as an inseparable part of the Mysterion of Holy Communion as though they were one. I think this poses a danger to the Orthodox understanding of both Sacraments. As Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann noted in his report to the Synod of the OCA: "And then, once a year, they fulfill their "obligation" and receive communion after a two-minute confession to a tired and exhausted priest. To see in all this a triumph of reverence, a protection of holiness, more than that, a norm, and not a downfall and a tragedy, is indeed incredible."

Fr Schmemann's example is exaggerative and not fair.

There are just as many tired and exhausted priests in the OCA at Pascha time who have to cope with the usual multitude of once-a-year penitents.  These people exist in ALL Churches, irrespective of whether their particular Church's tradition links, or does not link, Confession and Communion.

So why does Fr Schmemann bring in this exception, a once a year occurence in ALL the Churches, and disingenuously use it as an argument?  It is as exceptional as what I myself described about the rushed Confessions so that our Russian parishioners could commune at an Antiochian Liturgy.  It is NOT the norm.

-oOo-

I appreciate your worries about legalic Confession and sometimes Cogfession is indeed turned into a legalistic ritual in the Churches which favour infrequent Confession.  The crowds at Holy Week are too much for the priest and he resorts to simply reading the Confession prayers over the whole church and then people come up one by one and he puts the epitrakhil on their heads and reads a quick Absolution prayer.  I have seen this legalistic mode of Confession used in various parishes during Holy Week.  There is no confession of sins to the priest; the penitent and the priest don't say even one word to one another. 


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« Reply #66 on: February 23, 2009, 07:03:06 PM »

I appreciate your worries about legalic Confession and sometimes Cogfession is indeed turned into a legalistic ritual in the Churches which favour infrequent Confession. 

Which Churches favour "infrequent Confession"? I'm not sure that any Church does this. What I think some Orthodox Churches don't favour is turning Confession into a legalistic ritual worthy of Pharisees. Such a perfunctory Confession is akin to going to a doctor with a serious ailment, only to be given a two minute consult by the intern who prescribes a treatment without doing any examination.
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« Reply #67 on: February 23, 2009, 07:23:27 PM »

Quote
What I think some Orthodox Churches don't favour is turning Confession into a legalistic ritual worthy of Pharisees.

Someone might believe that "turning" has started from the "ancient" report of Fr. Schmeman, and the understanding of the issue of communion in relations "frequent" and "infrequent" instead of "prepared" and "unprepared". Since novelists have weak arguments in this regard (as usual), the last resort is "legalistic Pharisees".

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« Reply #68 on: February 23, 2009, 07:23:39 PM »

What I think some Orthodox Churches don't favour is turning Confession into a legalistic ritual worthy of Pharisees. Such a perfunctory Confession is akin to going to a doctor with a serious ailment, only to be given a two minute consult by the intern who prescribes a treatment without doing any examination.


In the mass Confessions which I have seen in some parishes on the evenings of Holy Week, there is not even a two minute consult but just a quick reading of an Absolution prayer over the head of each penitent as they approach the priest one by one after listening all together as a group to the prayers for Confession.  The penitent probably has 20 seconds kneeling in front of the priest.   If such events do not occur during Holy Week in churches in Australia then that is a blessing.

Do we think yourself that Fr Schmemann's description of the unsatisfactory Confessions in OCA churches during Holy Week is the norm?  Far from it. It is a rare annual event.  So I really do not grasp the point he is making.
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« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2009, 07:25:51 PM »

Quote
What I think some Orthodox Churches don't favour is turning Confession into a legalistic ritual worthy of Pharisees.

Someone might believe that "turning" has started from the "ancient" report of Fr. Schmeman, and the understanding of the issue of communion in relations "frequent" and "infrequent" instead of "prepared" and "unprepared". Since novelists have weak arguments in this regard (as usual), the last resort is "legalistic Pharisees".

Cheap.

Who are the "novelists" orthodoxlurker? Is a "novelist" an innovator, that is someone who brings something alien into the teachings of the Orthodox Church and calls it "tradition"?
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« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2009, 07:46:57 PM »

I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.

Yes, legalism, but I think the sad point here is that both parties (viewpoints) are talking past each other.  I have heard of ONE Antiochian parish in my general area that behaves similar to Fr. Ambrose's story, but as I imply, they are an aberration.  The majority I know of practice frequent confession with priests ready and willing to hear confessions from the parish.
I don't think we're talking past each other, since a specific issue is being addressed. I agree that in some cases, the Mysterion of Repentance is a forgotten Sacrament, but I don't think the answer to this is to turn it into a legalistic ritual and attach it as an inseparable part of the Mysterion of Holy Communion as though they were one. I think this poses a danger to the Orthodox understanding of both Sacraments. As Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann noted in his report to the Synod of the OCA: "And then, once a year, they fulfill their "obligation" and receive communion after a two-minute confession to a tired and exhausted priest. To see in all this a triumph of reverence, a protection of holiness, more than that, a norm, and not a downfall and a tragedy, is indeed incredible."

Fr Schmemann's example is exaggerative and not fair.

There are just as many tired and exhausted priests in the OCA at Pascha time who have to cope with the usual multitude of once-a-year penitents.  These people exist in ALL Churches, irrespective of whether their particular Church's tradition links, or does not link, Confession and Communion.

So why does Fr Schmemann bring in this exception, a once a year occurence in ALL the Churches, and disingenuously use it as an argument?  It is as exceptional as what I myself described about the rushed Confessions so that our Russian parishioners could commune at an Antiochian Liturgy.  It is NOT the norm.
Have you read the whole of Fr. Schmemann's article, or are you merely responding to ozgeorge's excerpt from the article?  If you haven't read the whole article, then how can you judge Fr. Schmemann's point of view stated therein?

I appreciate your worries about legalic Confession and sometimes Cogfession is indeed turned into a legalistic ritual in the Churches which favour infrequent Confession.  The crowds at Holy Week are too much for the priest and he resorts to simply reading the Confession prayers over the whole church and then people come up one by one and he puts the epitrakhil on their heads and reads a quick Absolution prayer.  I have seen this legalistic mode of Confession used in various parishes during Holy Week.  There is no confession of sins to the priest; the penitent and the priest don't say even one word to one another. 
How is there such genuine confession of sins in a legalistic 30-second confession immediately prior to reception of Communion, heard by a priest whose primary interest is the long line of communicants intent on receiving the Holy Mysteries?

Other concerns coming out of Fr. Schmemann's article:
  • Can the genuine repentance necessary for one's preparation for Communion be wrapped up completely in a three-minute confession?  When done legalistically out of one's desire to receive Communion, is such confession imbued with the necessary spirit of repentance, or does the rite become nothing more than something one must do in order to receive the Mysteries?
  • Does not the requirement that one confess before receiving Communion shift the emphasis of the rite of Confession onto the prayers of absolution and away from the confession itself, such that one can be made to feel worthy of receiving Communion merely by having the absolution read over him, even if he hasn't confessed anything?


All this means, of course, and no one really denies it, that the only real condition for partaking of the Divine Mysteries is membership in the Church and conversely, that membership in the Church is fulfilled in the partaking of the sacrament of the Church. Communion is given "for the remission of sins," "for the healing of the soul and body," and it implies, therefore, repentance, the awareness of our total unworthiness, and the understanding of communion as a heavenly gift which never can be "deserved" by an earthly being. The whole meaning of preparation for communion, as established by the Church ("The Rule for Holy Communion") is not, of course, in making man feel "worthy" but, on the contrary, in revealing to him the abyss of God’s mercy and love ("I am not worthy, Master and Lord . . . yet since Thou in Thy love . . . dost wish to dwell in me, in boldness I come. Thou commandest, open the gates . . . and Thou wilt come in love . . . and enlighten my darkened reasoning. I believe that Thou wilt do this . . .). Before the Lord’s table the only "worthiness" of the communicant is that he has been and realized his bottomless "unworthiness." This, indeed, is the beginning of salvation.

It is therefore of paramount importance for us to understand that the transformation of the sacrament of penance into an obligatory condition for communion not only contradicts Tradition, but obviously mutilates it. It mutilates, in the first place, the doctrine of the Church by creating in her two categories of members, one of which is, in fact, excommunicated from the Eucharist, as the very content and fulfillment of membership, as its spiritual source. But then it is no longer surprising that those whom the Apostle called "fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19) become again "worldly" (kosmiki, miriane), are "secularized" and their membership in the Church is measured and defined in terms of money ("dues") and "rights." But also mutilated is the doctrine of Communion, which is understood then as the sacrament for a few "worthy ones" and no longer as the sacrament of the Church: of sinners who by the infinite mercy of Christ, are always transformed into His Body. And finally, equally mutilated is the doctrine of Penance. Transformed into a formal condition for communion, it begins more and more obviously to replace the real preparation for communion, that genuine inner repentance, which inspires all the prayers before communion. After a three-minute confession and absolution a man feels "entitled" to communion, "worthy" and even "sinless," feels, in other terms, that which is in fact the very opposite of true repentance.


http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html
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« Reply #71 on: February 23, 2009, 07:51:25 PM »

Quote
What I think some Orthodox Churches don't favour is turning Confession into a legalistic ritual worthy of Pharisees.

Someone might believe that "turning" has started from the "ancient" report of Fr. Schmeman, and the understanding of the issue of communion in relations "frequent" and "infrequent" instead of "prepared" and "unprepared". Since novelists have weak arguments in this regard (as usual), the last resort is "legalistic Pharisees".

Cheap.
Devoid of all ability to provide a substantive criticism of a man's reasoning, you have to resort to the ad hominem of calling the man a novelist.

Cheap.
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« Reply #72 on: February 23, 2009, 08:05:16 PM »

Transformed into a formal condition for communion, it begins more and more obviously to replace the real preparation for communion, that genuine inner repentance, which inspires all the prayers before communion. After a three-minute confession and absolution a man feels "entitled" to communion, "worthy" and even "sinless," feels, in other terms, that which is in fact the very opposite of true repentance.[/color]

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html

You see, this is where Fr Schmemann simply falls off the top of the mountain and becomes irrelevant.  What he is describing has no connection to the real life of the Orthodox faithful. 

They certainly DO NOT feel "entitled" to Communion because they have confessed.

They do NOT loose or replace the need for genuine interior repentance and spiritual preparation by a ritualistic Confession. 

I question whether it may not be writings such as this which at one stage after Perestroika caused Fr Schmemann to be accused of revisionism by the Church of Russia and in some seminaries his writings (and Meyendorff's) were removed from library shelves.  Whether that prohibition is still in force I do not know.  Has anybody any up to date information?
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« Reply #73 on: February 23, 2009, 08:13:15 PM »

Transformed into a formal condition for communion, it begins more and more obviously to replace the real preparation for communion, that genuine inner repentance, which inspires all the prayers before communion. After a three-minute confession and absolution a man feels "entitled" to communion, "worthy" and even "sinless," feels, in other terms, that which is in fact the very opposite of true repentance.[/color]

http://www.schmemann.org/byhim/confessionandcommunion.html

You see, this is where Fr Schmemann simply falls off the top of the mountain and becomes irrelevant.  What he is describing has no connection to the real life of the Orthodox faithful. 
Really!!? Huh Even more importantly than the fact he was a theologian, Fr. Schmemann was first a parish priest who heard confessions himself and celebrated the Divine Liturgy himself and was therefore just as qualified as you to speak on the real life of the Orthodox faithful.

They certainly DO NOT feel "entitled" to Communion because they have confessed.

They do NOT loose or replace the need for genuine interior repentance and spiritual preparation by a ritualistic Confession.
And how is your pastoral experience any different from Fr. Schmemann's, such that you're more qualified than he to speak on the attitudes of the Orthodox faithful?

I question whether it may not be writings such as this which at one stage after Perestroika caused Fr Schmemann to be accused of revisionism by the Church of Russia and in some seminaries his writings (and Meyendorff's) were removed from library shelves.  Whether that prohibition is still in force I do not know.  Has anybody any up to date information?
In other words, just a more sophisticated way of voicing the same baseless ad hominem orthodoxlurker made above.  You can't refute Fr. Schmemann's reasoning, so you level the dreaded "revisionist" charge against him.
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« Reply #74 on: February 23, 2009, 08:15:14 PM »

Devoid of all ability to provide a substantive criticism of a man's reasoning, you have to resort to the ad hominem of calling the man a novelist.

Nevertheless, there are some substantive critiques of Fr Alexander Schmemann's writings, most in Russian.  Here is a small monograph by Fr Michael Pomozansky (in English.)

The Liturgical Theology of Father A. Schmemann
by Father Michael Pomazansky

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/pom_lit.aspx

A web search may turn up other material.
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« Reply #75 on: February 23, 2009, 08:18:39 PM »

Devoid of all ability to provide a substantive criticism of a man's reasoning, you have to resort to the ad hominem of calling the man a novelist.

Nevertheless, there are some substantive critiques of Fr Alexander Schmemann's writings, most in Russian.  Here is a small monograph by Fr Michael Pomozansky (in English.)

The Liturgical Theology of Father A. Schmemann
by Father Michael Pomazansky

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/pom_lit.aspx

A web search may turn up other material.

Yes, I have read this article by Fr. Michael.  I will grant that the content of what he says is a legitimate response to Fr. Schmemann, even if I don't quite agree with it.  The fact that you would use this in an effort to discredit Fr. Schmemann's contributions to this discussion, though, only shows me how weak your argument really is.
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« Reply #76 on: February 23, 2009, 08:22:21 PM »

Devoid of all ability to provide a substantive criticism of a man's reasoning, you have to resort to the ad hominem of calling the man a novelist.

Nevertheless, there are some substantive critiques of Fr Alexander Schmemann's writings, most in Russian.  Here is a small monograph by Fr Michael Pomozansky (in English.)

The Liturgical Theology of Father A. Schmemann
by Father Michael Pomazansky

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/pom_lit.aspx

A web search may turn up other material.

Again, have you actually read this?
It is clear that you are interested only in cursory "arguments and choose to ignore indepth questions about your position, as excellently asked by PetertheAleut:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19695.msg295411.html#msg295411

If you are just going to ignore questions and ignore references, there is very little point in discussing this with you.
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« Reply #77 on: February 23, 2009, 08:31:19 PM »

Yes, I have read this article by Fr. Michael.  I will grant that the content of what he says is a legitimate response to Fr. Schmemann, even if I don't quite agree with it.  The fact that you would use this in an effort to discredit Fr. Schmemann's contributions to this discussion, though, only shows me how weak your argument really is.

We are not using the article to "discredit" Fr Schmemann -that word is too emotive-  but to shed light on his thought from the angle of another theologian who disagrees with him.
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« Reply #78 on: February 23, 2009, 08:31:19 PM »

The Liturgical Theology of Father A. Schmemann
by Father Michael Pomazansky

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/phronema/pom_lit.aspx


Again, have you actually read this?

Yes, I have been familiar with it for many years.

Quote
It is clear that you are interested only in cursory "arguments and choose to ignore indepth questions about your position, as excellently asked by PetertheAleut:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19695.msg295411.html#msg295411

If you are just going to ignore questions and ignore references, there is very little point in discussing this with you.

Just as you wish.  There is no need for you or for Peter to discuss things with me if you prefer not to.
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« Reply #79 on: February 23, 2009, 08:35:32 PM »

Yes, I have read this article by Fr. Michael.  I will grant that the content of what he says is a legitimate response to Fr. Schmemann, even if I don't quite agree with it.  The fact that you would use this in an effort to discredit Fr. Schmemann's contributions to this discussion, though, only shows me how weak your argument really is.

We are not using the article to "discredit" Fr Schmemann -that word is too emotive-  but to shed light on his thought from the angle of another theologian who disagrees with him.
But the subject of this thread is NOT the person of Fr. Schmemann and whether he can be called a revisionist.  The subject of this thread regards our understanding of the tight connection between Confession and Communion and whether this is really Orthodox.  The fact that you would rather pick on Fr. Schmemann the priest and refuse to engage the core substance of what he had to say is evidence to me that you really don't want to discuss any arguments anyone may level against your position.

BTW, it's patently clear to me that you and orthodoxlurker ARE INDEED trying to discredit Fr. Schmemann, regardless of how you've tried to spin this.
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« Reply #80 on: February 23, 2009, 08:40:15 PM »

Quote
If you are just going to ignore questions and ignore references, there is very little point in discussing this with you.

Just as you wish.  There is no need for you or for Peter to discuss things with me if you prefer not to.
Doesn't work that way, Padre.  If you're going to get up on your theological soap box, you'd better be prepared to field counter-arguments.  Otherwise, you're just posturing.
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« Reply #81 on: February 23, 2009, 08:52:00 PM »

How is there such genuine confession of sins in a legalistic 30-second confession immediately prior to reception of Communion, heard by a priest whose primary interest is the long line of communicants intent on receiving the Holy Mysteries?

I have been told by George that I am ignoring your questions, so here goes....

30 second Confessions are known to take place in ALL Churches on Easter Eve when the crush of penitents is simply too much for the priest to handle and the Midnight Matins would be much delayed in starting.

This is an abnormal situation and I do not judge any priest, whether OCA or ROCA or Greek, who has to do rushed Confessions at this time.

Quote
Other concerns coming out of Fr. Schmemann's article:
  • Can the genuine repentance necessary for one's preparation for Communion be wrapped up completely in a three-minute confession?
Confessions vary widely in length - from 3 minutes to 30 minutes (I kid you not.)

Quote
When done legalistically out of one's desire to receive Communion, is such confession imbued with the necessary spirit of repentance, or does the rite become nothing more than something one must do in order to receive the Mysteries?[/li][/list]

If you had ever been to a Russian priest for Confession you would know that his interest in you is much more than just the need to put you through a legalistic ritual to enable you to get to Communion.  I am sure that the experience would answer dispell your worries.

Quote
  • Does not the requirement that one confess before receiving Communion shift the emphasis of the rite of Confession onto the prayers of absolution and away from the confession itself, such that one can be made to feel worthy of receiving Communion merely by having the absolution read over him, even if he hasn't confessed anything?

No, it doesn't. 

I don't understand the "even if he hasn't confessed anything?"  I have never met a person who has not sinned since the time of his last Confession.
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« Reply #82 on: February 23, 2009, 09:02:24 PM »

    How is there such genuine confession of sins in a legalistic 30-second confession immediately prior to reception of Communion, heard by a priest whose primary interest is the long line of communicants intent on receiving the Holy Mysteries?

    I have been told by George that I am ignoring your questions, so here goes....

    30 second Confessions are known to take place in ALL Churches on Easter Eve when the crush of penitents is simply too much for the priest to handle and the Midnight Matins would be much delayed in starting.

    This is an abnormal situation and I do not judge any priest, whether OCA or ROCA or Greek, who has to do rushed Confessions at this time.
    This is a comment on the prevalence of 30-second confessions, but it tells me absolutely nothing about how the confession of sins in such a 30-second Confession is genuine, which is really what I asked.

    Quote
    Other concerns coming out of Fr. Schmemann's article:
    • Can the genuine repentance necessary for one's preparation for Communion be wrapped up completely in a three-minute confession?
    Confessions vary widely in length - from 3 minutes to 30 minutes (I kid you not.)
    This is a comment on the length of Confession, but it says nothing about whether genuine repentance can be wrapped up completely in a three-minute confession.  Again, you're dodging my questions.

    Quote
    When done legalistically out of one's desire to receive Communion, is such confession imbued with the necessary spirit of repentance, or does the rite become nothing more than something one must do in order to receive the Mysteries?[/li][/list]

    If you had ever been to a Russian priest for Confession you would know that his interest in you is much more than just the need to put you through a legalistic ritual to enable you to get to Communion.  I am sure that the experience would answer dispell your worries.
    How are you qualified to speak for EVERY Russian priest solely from your own limited experience?

    Quote
    • Does not the requirement that one confess before receiving Communion shift the emphasis of the rite of Confession onto the prayers of absolution and away from the confession itself, such that one can be made to feel worthy of receiving Communion merely by having the absolution read over him, even if he hasn't confessed anything?

    No, it doesn't. 
    How not so?  Can you explain this assertion?

    I don't understand the "even if he hasn't confessed anything?"  I have never met a person who has not sinned since the time of his last Confession.
    [/list]
    Non sequitur!  What does the fact that one has sinned since his last confession have to do with his not confessing anything?  The sinning and the not confessing are two totally separate acts (or non-acts).
    « Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 09:06:14 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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    « Reply #83 on: February 23, 2009, 09:10:22 PM »


    I see that you use an absolution formula very similar to the Roman Catholic and in fact it insists very strongly on the authority of the priest to forgive sins:

    "May God have mercy upon you, and may He guide you to everlasting life through the authority of priesthood which was entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who, in turn, entrusted it to their successors until it was given me; I who am weak and sinful, absolve you, brother (sister) of all the sins that you have confessed and are repentant of them, as well as of all the transgressions which have escaped your memory in the Name of the Father +, amen, and of the Son +, amen and of the Holy Spirit + for everlasting life. Amen."

    Has this always been your formula or is it the result of some Roman Catholic influence?  

    I really don't know the history of our formula.  However, I know we did borrow some things liturgically from the Catholics during the Crusades.
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    « Reply #84 on: February 23, 2009, 09:18:40 PM »

    Have any of our posts addressed the OP - the decline in Confession while there has been no decline in communicants?

    Does the OP see a connection there?   Would he like to help us understand what he is driving at or wishing to investigate with the thread title?

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    « Reply #85 on: February 23, 2009, 09:21:30 PM »

    Have any of our posts addressed the OP - the decline in Confession while there has been no decline in communicants?

    Does the OP see a connection there?   Would he like to help us understand what he is driving at or wishing to investigate with the thread title?


    Why should I let you dodge ozgeorge's and my questions with your motion for a return to the OP when it was you (see Reply #1) who turned this discussion into yet another debate focused solely on the strict Confession=Communion connection?  Especially considering that you offered this strict link as the solution to the problem about which Scamandrius complained in the OP?
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    « Reply #86 on: February 23, 2009, 09:25:09 PM »


    I see that you use an absolution formula very similar to the Roman Catholic and in fact it insists very strongly on the authority of the priest to forgive sins:

    "May God have mercy upon you, and may He guide you to everlasting life through the authority of priesthood which was entrusted by our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples who, in turn, entrusted it to their successors until it was given me; I who am weak and sinful, absolve you, brother (sister) of all the sins that you have confessed and are repentant of them, as well as of all the transgressions which have escaped your memory in the Name of the Father +, amen, and of the Son +, amen and of the Holy Spirit + for everlasting life. Amen."

    Has this always been your formula or is it the result of some Roman Catholic influence?  

    I really don't know the history of our formula.  However, I know we did borrow some things liturgically from the Catholics during the Crusades.

    It has similarities with the first section of the Prayer of Absolution pronounced over the body at the end of a funeral.  
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    « Reply #87 on: February 23, 2009, 09:34:24 PM »

    Why should I let you dodge ozgeorge's and my questions with your motion for a return to the OP when it was you (see Reply #1) who turned this discussion into yet another debate focused solely on the strict Confession=Communion connection? 

    That is not so.  It was the OP who introduced this topic into the thread with the words "a legalistic trap here where one confession=one eucharist or something absurd along those lines."

    I really felt honour bound to say something in defence of a practice which is the majority Orthodox practice and was deeply wounded to see it called absurd. It is the practice of hundreds of bishops and thousands of priests and millions of the faithful around the world.
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    « Reply #88 on: February 23, 2009, 09:37:37 PM »

    One of the "arguments" for the "requirement" of Confession before infrequent Communion is often the case of St. Mary of Egypt whose Life we will read during the coming season of Lent.
    If we are to understand this ancient story as the tradition of the Church's understanding of the Mysteries of Confession and Communion, then we should note what the story actually says.
    In the Life of Our Mother Among the Saints, Mary of Egypt, the Holy Saint is recorded as having Communed of the Holy Gifts on two occasions, not just one. When St. Mary of Egypt is making her Confession to St. Zosimas, she recalls an interesting fact. St. Mary says that, on the very day she repented of her many years of harlotry and fornication:
    "I at length reached at sunset the Church of St. John the Baptist which stood on the banks of the Jordan. After praying in the temple, I went down to the Jordan and rinsed my face and hands in its holy waters. I partook of the holy and life-giving Mysteries in the Church of the Forerunner"
    (Source)[/i]
    If the Saint of God confessed her sins before receiving Communion in the Church of St. John the Baptist, why does she Confess them again, 47 years later to St. Zosimas before receiving Communion again from him? There is no mention of the Saint Confessing her years of sin before receiving Communion the first time, the very day she stopped her years of fornication.
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    « Reply #89 on: February 23, 2009, 09:38:30 PM »

    I have to agree with Fr. Ambrose that a perfunctory confession is not necessarily meaningless.
    And I have to disagree with you both. I think it is legalism.

    And you're entitled to your opinion.   Smiley

    However, I have been participating in group confessions for decades now, and I feel very differently.  I have always found it very meaningful.  The confession that is read is pretty detailed and, by kneeling in front of the altar, you are adopting it as your own.  You end up confessing to a lot stuff you probably wouldn't think of on your own during an individual confession.  That's just how I feel, though.  If you want to judge me and say I'm being legalistic, or that I really haven't been absolved of my sins all these years, that's O.K.  People have said worse to me.   Smiley

    You are not the only one, however, who is critical of group confession.  As I said, it was an accommodation that was made after most of our clergy were wiped out after the Genocide.  There are priests who would like to bring back individual confession.  Maybe someday that will happen.

    I notice you and Peter are putting a lot of emphasis on the amount of minutes the confession takes.  I can't understand how that matters.  To me, that would seem like a legalism.  Who are you to say a very sincere penitent can't express himself in a short amount of time?  Especially when the confession happens often, I would think the amount of time for each confession could be less.  I don't know.  I just think that is a judgement best left to the person's spiritual father.
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