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Author Topic: Does the priest give absolution for sins or does God?  (Read 2052 times) Average Rating: 0
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yeshuaisiam
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« on: March 06, 2011, 03:58:15 PM »

I've read numerous post of prayers of absolution and I don't understand them very well.

In one post people were talking about individuals who are planning serious crimes or pedophiles confessing and that they said "priest does not have to give absolution".

But from all I can understand it is not the priest who has the power to absolve sins and only God can do that.

I understand the priest has the "prayers of absolution", but can't a layman say them just as easy as a priest?

Also what if a confession is to one's brother and not a priest?

Thanks!
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Tikhon29605
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2011, 04:18:40 PM »

I've read numerous post of prayers of absolution and I don't understand them very well.

In one post people were talking about individuals who are planning serious crimes or pedophiles confessing and that they said "priest does not have to give absolution".

But from all I can understand it is not the priest who has the power to absolve sins and only God can do that.

I understand the priest has the "prayers of absolution", but can't a layman say them just as easy as a priest?

Also what if a confession is to one's brother and not a priest?

Thanks!



Absolutely not!  We are not Protestants. We don't believe in that nonsense of the so-called "priesthood of all believers."  We believe in the priesthood of the priest and the layhood of the laity. 
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bogdan
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 04:45:10 PM »

The priest's prayer of absolution says "God forgives you through me, a sinner". The absolution is from God, but the priest pronounces the absolution. As a priest, he has the right to exercise the apostolic power of binding and loosing sins (Matthew 16:19), and to withhold absolution if a serious situation requires it.

We can, should, and must confess our sins to each other as well. Today is Forgiveness Sunday, and we all will do so at Vespers tonight. But only priests have the sacramental ability to pronounce absolution.

(Incidentally, we do believe in the priesthood of all believers. But we do not believe in the sacramental eldership of all believers. And neither did the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews.)
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 05:23:48 PM »

I've read numerous post of prayers of absolution and I don't understand them very well.

In one post people were talking about individuals who are planning serious crimes or pedophiles confessing and that they said "priest does not have to give absolution".

But from all I can understand it is not the priest who has the power to absolve sins and only God can do that.

I understand the priest has the "prayers of absolution", but can't a layman say them just as easy as a priest?

Also what if a confession is to one's brother and not a priest?
Thanks!

Only God has the ability to forgive sins. Priests in the Church do not exercise their personal authority when absolving sins. They are ministers of Christ's authority which Christ Himself gave them to exercise. The apostles were given the authority to bind and loose and that authority has been passed down through the laying on of hands in ordination. Just as they are given the authority to absolve sins and make God's mercy known in the sacrament, they also have the authority and responsibility to discern whether or not someone is truly repentent. Forgiveness does no good if someone has no intention or desire to stop sinning against God.

This also has to be looked at in the context of preparing for and approaching Communion. We are told that we need to examine ourselves before approaching. No one is without sin, so it's not a question of "if" someone has sinned, but "where" someone has sinned. As we find sin in our lives we need to be reconciled to our brother before offering ourselves at the altar, and as we find obstsacles between us and God, we need to take those to Him and have them cleared. We do this in confession for two reasons.

First reason is that we are incapable of forgiving ourselves, it must come from God. Even a bishop or priest with the authority to absolve sins can not absolve themselves but must go to someone else for absolution. God is our savior and our redeemer, but he is also our judge and executioner. He is perfect and holy. If we approach Him with an attitude of trying to justify ourselves, He will show us where and how we are wrong and we will be condemned for not trusting in His forgiveness. If we approach Him with everything that we have wrong with us seeking healing and reconciliation, then we know we can trust in Him to justify us for what we know we are guilty of.

Second, as pastors entrusted with Christ's flock, our priests are responsible for the spiritual well being of those that they serve. Communion can be taken for condemnation, and the priest has a responsibility to make sure that he does not give anyone Communion if their heart is not right toward God. As priests have this authority and responsibility, I know for a fact that if I put out everything that can possibly make me unworthy for Communion, and my priest tells me that those things are no longer preventing me from receiving Communion, then I can trust in God's grace to make me worthy to approach because all obstacles have been cleared.

Just as Christ told the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more", confession must be done with a repentant heart with a desire and intent to turn from sinful ways.

Also the "priesthood of believers" refers to all believers have Christ and the Holy Spirit in them and the reponsibility to make Christ known to the world in our daily lives and showing forth the love that God has shown to us.

What we refer to as "priests" today are called "elders" (presbyteros) in the Bible. While every believer shares in the priesthood of forwarding the love that we receive from God, not every believer is called and ordained by the laying on of hands to be an elder in the Church.

I hope this clears things up a little.
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Ortho_cat
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2011, 06:41:01 PM »

We as laypeople are called to be priests over our households and over creation.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 07:03:19 PM »

We are not Protestants. We don't believe in that nonsense of the so-called "priesthood of all believers."  We believe in the priesthood of the priest and the layhood of the laity.

While this might be true in practice, we sure as heck aren't allowed to say it publicly! The official party line still has to try and sync up with the Holy Scriptures.
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Benjamin the Red
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2011, 10:22:02 AM »

I've read numerous post of prayers of absolution and I don't understand them very well.

In one post people were talking about individuals who are planning serious crimes or pedophiles confessing and that they said "priest does not have to give absolution".

But from all I can understand it is not the priest who has the power to absolve sins and only God can do that.

I understand the priest has the "prayers of absolution", but can't a layman say them just as easy as a priest?

Also what if a confession is to one's brother and not a priest?

Thanks!

This is an interesting question. Different prayers of absolution abound within Orthodoxy. Some sound more like the priest is forgiving, others like God is doing the forgiving. Both are correct, in a sense.

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18

The Apostles here are given the authority to forgive sins, but from where does this power come? Themselves? No. It is received from Christ by grace. Their authority is not their own, but Christ's. They do the forgiving, it is through their ministry, but it is by Christ they forgive, not their own power.

This has been passed on in the laying on of hands in the priesthood.


I've read numerous post of prayers of absolution and I don't understand them very well.

In one post people were talking about individuals who are planning serious crimes or pedophiles confessing and that they said "priest does not have to give absolution".

But from all I can understand it is not the priest who has the power to absolve sins and only God can do that.

I understand the priest has the "prayers of absolution", but can't a layman say them just as easy as a priest?

Also what if a confession is to one's brother and not a priest?

Thanks!



Absolutely not!  We are not Protestants. We don't believe in that nonsense of the so-called "priesthood of all believers."  We believe in the priesthood of the priest and the layhood of the laity.  

Not entirely true, as has been pointed out. St. Peter writes:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

He isn't speaking to a group of priests here, he's writing to laymen as well. We all share in the universal priesthood of Christianity through sacramental relationship in the Body of Christ, restoring ourselves and creation to the proper place.

However, not all are sacramental priests. Not all belong to that Order of Melchizedek:

"For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared:
 
   “You are a priest forever,
   in the order of Melchizedek.”

 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God." Hebrews 7:12-19


St. Paul here is not talking about everyone. Just as the Israelites had the Levitical priest, so does the Church of the priesthood of Christ, of the Order of Melchizedek. Yet, all of the Israelites are also considered priests:

"'You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." Exodus 19:6

The same difference is true. Israel is meant to be redemptive to the world, but within Israel are the sacramental priests who offer the sacrifices. Likewise, all Christians are to be priests for the world, but within the Church are those ordained for the ministry of serving the sacrifice (the Eucharist) and administering the other sacraments to the people.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 10:47:38 AM by Benjamin the Red » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2011, 10:31:30 AM »

We are not Protestants. We don't believe in that nonsense of the so-called "priesthood of all believers."  We believe in the priesthood of the priest and the layhood of the laity.

While this might be true in practice, we sure as heck aren't allowed to say it publicly! The official party line still has to try and sync up with the Holy Scriptures.

Huh

Like when God called Israel a "kingdom of priests" (Ex. 19:6), and promptly thereafter instituted a sacramental priesthood?

It has been this way from the beginning. There is only conflict in the most superficial understanding of these terms.
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