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Author Topic: Confession and Occasions of Scrupulosity  (Read 1678 times) Average Rating: 0
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wainscottbl
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« on: January 26, 2014, 04:00:22 PM »

So I was looking at Orthodox stuff on confession. Best way to learn is when you become Orthodox the priest will tell you how to make a proper Orthodox confession. It sort of comes with time. It's learned and easier for a Catholic than Protestant I would guess. But one thing I found annoying is these papers called "Examination of Conscience". Even my old Roman Catholic confessor who died last year made me put that away. He told me it is silly to need a paper listed with various sins or faults on it to examine one's soul for sin. "Don't dig," he said. "If you have anything big you will remember. Don't make confession odious." I dealt with scrupulosity but I think even for those who are not particularly scrupulous papers like this can lead to scruples. They make confession and sin very legalistic and make one dig rather than calmly considering ones faults and sins. One should take a few minutes to remember their sins. After doing so they simply confess, saying the sins they remember, not excusing or justifying themselves, and stating the sin simply, not going into detail and not trying to cover up the sin cleverly. In short simple, concise, and brief. No papers, no writing it down, etc. My old confessor would not let me write it down. He just said say what I remember and then forget the past. If I forgot something I can bring it up next time if I remember. No need to get hung up on it. Papers called "Examination of Conscience" seem dangerous to me, both for Orthodox and Roman Catholics. 

Even for someone who has not been to confession in years they are not good in my opinion. In fact they should be very simple going back. They should just go and tell the priest they have not been in years and ask for help. In Roman Catholicism at least the priest helps and usually tries to make it very brief and simple. He does not go on about their past life, even if they have done things like cheat on their wife or commit crimes I would say. He will just tell them to remember God's mercy and keep working towards perfection. How do you Orthodox feel about Orthodox papers called "Examination of Conscious"? I know one has take the time to examine before confession, but in my opinion it should be simple and straightforward. These papers just lead to scrupulosity.

Maybe one of our Orthodox priests can give some good advice but if I was a Catholic priest I would not encourage people to use such papers and forbid them if I know they are scrupulous. I am not sure if these papers are a carryover from Roman Catholic converts. They seem rather Roman Catholic to me because they get into the legalism of mortal vs venial, etc.
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Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 04:26:08 PM »

What exactly is an "Examination of Conscience" paper?
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wainscottbl
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 04:36:08 PM »

What exactly is an "Examination of Conscience" paper?

Something like this:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/selfexam.aspx

I just find that silly and pointless. You know your sins and do not need to look at all these questions that make it so detailed that it becomes more of a legal examination than anything.

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Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
Nephi
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 05:01:15 PM »

What exactly is an "Examination of Conscience" paper?

Something like this:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/selfexam.aspx

I just find that silly and pointless. You know your sins and do not need to look at all these questions that make it so detailed that it becomes more of a legal examination than anything.

I see. I don't entirely agree, because I think these things can be useful so long as we don't treat them scrupulously. Anything can be misused and lead to excessive scruples, but that doesn't mean it has to (even the Eucharist itself can become a subject of over-scrupulosity). These examination tools can, for example, draw attention to something we wouldn't otherwise think about. Some sins we bury, or otherwise do without thinking/remembering., and would forget if we didn't have a trigger to remind us. Part of the improvement process is to become more aware, and seek forgiveness, of all sins we do, and not just those that stand out to us.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 05:01:56 PM by Nephi » Logged
wainscottbl
By the grace of God, King of the South, Grand Duke of Louisville, Bardstown, Lexington and all the Kentuckys, Prince of Alaska, East Ukraine, Crimea and Wallachia
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How's this avatar, Mor? An angel! Profane not!


« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 06:30:58 PM »

Yeah, you may be right. For some they may help, for others they may do harm depending on factors. For those who are lax in their judgment of evil they may help, but for those who are scrupulous they do harm. Always though an examination should be honest, simple, brief and calm. We should call to mind, I think, God's judgment upon on sins, but never forget the mercy. I think it can be a hard line to draw. I do not hold the universalism that some Orthodox and some of the Fathers even held, but I do think it is important not to get to hung up on God's wrathful judgments. I read a good article the other day that talked about how some Christians seem to take pleasure in the idea of most people going to burn in hell. If most people do it is sad and we should not take pleasure in it. I do believe the blessed have joy in the punishment of the wicked, but not a joy in their torments but in the justice done to them. I think the reason for eternal damnation is not some angry God who must be satisfied but that some refuse to turn to good. I think that at the hour of our death we shall see ourselves and good and evil for what they really are. Mercy shall call us and if we have a merciful and forgiving spirit in life and were not malicious we have a better chance of being saved. Those who had a merciless and unforgiving spirit will find salvation harder. Also sins of the flesh like fornication and adultery are deadly sins we might say but it is the spirit in which we look at them that matters. If we have sorrow, even if not perfect, there is hope. But if we are proud like some are in their sins of the flesh it will be harder.

That is one reason I have the picture of Snape as my avatar because he was part of something out of many problems within. But when it led to the murder of the woman he truly loved he felt guilt and sorrow his whole life. He was bitter towards Harry Potter because Harry's mother, his childhood and school friend, chose Harry's father over him to marry. But he still, deep down, cared for Harry because of his love for Harry's mother and spent his whole life risking his life for the boy. Snape, who was always nasty to Harry asked Harry to look into his eyes to remember the eyes of Harry's mother before he died and say, "You have your mother's eyes" which to Snape were eyes of kindness and love. In that moment I think, dying, he was able to find peace in himself for all the wrongs he had done. Voldermort on the other hand mocked the love Harry had for his parents and the love Snape had for Harry's mother.
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Aristotle says in the Metaphysics that "in mathematics goodness does not exist." It is a rather great quote to show to any math teacher when they tell you how important math is. Give them a riddle: I am not tall, I am not short, nor big nor take up any space but simply am. I have no name but I am.
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