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Author Topic: Sins, voluntary and involuntary, known and unknown  (Read 2575 times) Average Rating: 0
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JMJCatholic
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« on: May 29, 2013, 10:23:07 PM »

My Catholic understanding of being guilty of sin involves knowledge that something is sinful, and, in the case of serious or mortal sin, the matter must be grave, done with knowledge and full consent of the will.  I have been reflecting on the prayers in the Divine Liturgy where we ask God's forgiveness for sins voluntary and involuntary, know and unknown.  While the Catholic Church talks about objective and subjective sin, the concept of unknown and involuntary sin, and its emphasis in the Liturgy, has profound implications. "Frequent confession" makes much more sense if sin is not only seen as a deliberate transgression of God's law.  I have often thought that I did not have "matter" for confession, but defining sin to include involuntary and unknown transgressions has helped me to reconcile a sincere unawareness of sin (nothing deliberate to confess) and the expectation that a Catholic should be going to confession on a regular basis.  Based on my understanding, would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of?  Or as in the Catholic Church, must there be "matter" for confession?

Joanna
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 10:56:36 PM »

I've found that confessing sins "known and unknown" goes a lot further in clearing my conscience than trying to remember every jot and tittle of the moral laws I have broken.
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Mor Ephrem
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 11:39:27 PM »

Based on my understanding, would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of?  Or as in the Catholic Church, must there be "matter" for confession?

I don't know that Orthodox have the concept of a "devotional confession" per se, nor am I sure how you could confess a sin of which you were unaware (to confess it, you'd have to be aware of it...no one asks you to make up stuff).  Truth be told, if you examine your conscience thoroughly and honestly, you'll have enough to confess.  If you stick to the mortal/venial distinction in terms of "confess mortal sins in number and kind, but don't worry about venial sins unless you have no biggies to confess" (a typical RC model), you'll still have something to confess. 

But we disregard the mortal/venial distinction in the sense that we believe all sins we are aware of having committed ought to be confessed, whether "serious" or "not so serious" in our estimation, because every crack in the wall makes the wall weaker.  It's not the case that just because your sins are "not so bad" you don't need to repent of them, but need only receive Communion or use some sacramentals devoutly in order to have them forgiven.  That views looks at sin from a legal perspective; while there is a "legal" aspect to sin, it's not merely that, and a focus on legal/illegal ignores the effect sin really has on us from a more holistic perspective.  It's not just a matter of having a certain "criminal record", it's about who we've become or are becoming, and how to change that.     
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 02:43:16 AM »

You may want to check out this topic regarding what are involuntary sins: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=30926.0

My understanding is that involuntary sins are something like: you go hunting and instead shoot your friend by mistake; you did not want that, but it is your fault. Unknown sins are things you are unaware that are sins, but that is your fault, your ignorance (this does not include just bad things you do, but also good things you do not do). So, all you have to do is inspect yourself thoroughly. 

« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 02:52:00 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 07:43:20 AM »

Dear Joanna,

If I came for Holy Confession and thought that I had no sins, then that thought would surely be the first thing I'd say.  I think as I take time to examine myself in light of the Lord's teaching, those unknown issues become known.  Of course I'd never figure out a thing on my own, but we have awesome help in prayer, the teachings of the Church, and our spiritual leaders. 


Love, elephant
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 10:03:40 AM »

Speaking for myself, the more I confess, the more I am aware of my sins: not just bad actions, but failures to act and failures of love, kindness and compassion. For example, I haven't killed anyone lately, but I sure haven't acted in a loving and kind way. As I have come to realize, sins aren't simply bad actions or thoughts, but most always spring from the real roots of pride, selfishness and self-centeredness.
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 10:11:50 AM »

Based on my understanding, would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of?  Or as in the Catholic Church, must there be "matter" for confession?

As an orthodox inquirer, I have not been instructed in their confessional practices. However, I can share my observations in what I have come to learn. The parish I attend is the 'conservative' branch of orthodoxy. Confessions are required before you can receive the Eucharist, you are urged to receive at least weekly, therefore, you are urged to confess weekly. That is how it was when I was growing up Roman Catholic. Now for specifics, I have observed, since everyone who plans to commune has to confess and we have folks who cant make Saturday confessions after Vigil, there is a LONG line for confessions Sunday morning. The priest has asked a few times, if you could 'condense' your confessions to one word...meaning that your sin may fall under one of the categories of the seven deadly sins of lust, avarice (greed), gluttony, envy, anger, pride, sloth. So keeping these categories in mind, you should be able to bring to mind sins you may have overlooked.

I can see that I am guilty of all of these each and every week.
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 10:30:52 AM »

would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of? 

Does that mean if my sins are boring, repetitive and not very impressive should I confess rapes, pedophila, and mass-murderers? Do I understand this point correctly?
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Agabus
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 10:45:22 AM »

Now for specifics, I have observed, since everyone who plans to commune has to confess and we have folks who cant make Saturday confessions after Vigil, there is a LONG line for confessions Sunday morning. The priest has asked a few times, if you could 'condense' your confessions to one word...meaning that your sin may fall under one of the categories of the seven deadly sins of lust, avarice (greed), gluttony, envy, anger, pride, sloth. So keeping these categories in mind, you should be able to bring to mind sins you may have overlooked.
Condense confessions to one word, or list your sins as one word?

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Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
Martyr Eugenia
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 11:19:35 AM »

would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of? 

Does that mean if my sins are boring, repetitive and not very impressive should I confess rapes, pedophila, and mass-murderers? Do I understand this point correctly?

Trickster: noun
1. a deceiver; cheat; fraud.
2. a person who plays tricks.
3. a supernatural figure appearing in various guises and typically engaging in mischievous activities, important in the       folklore and mythology of many primitive peoples

Sorry, Joanna. Please ignore this offensive poster. I havent been here for long but I have quickly learned who is here to genuinely answer questions and who is here to pester you.



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Agabus
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2013, 11:38:05 AM »

would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of? 

Does that mean if my sins are boring, repetitive and not very impressive should I confess rapes, pedophila, and mass-murderers? Do I understand this point correctly?

Trickster: noun
1. a deceiver; cheat; fraud.
2. a person who plays tricks.
3. a supernatural figure appearing in various guises and typically engaging in mischievous activities, important in the       folklore and mythology of many primitive peoples

Sorry, Joanna. Please ignore this offensive poster. I havent been here for long but I have quickly learned who is here to genuinely answer questions and who is here to pester you.

I am not trying to pester you, but could you clarify in response to my earlier question:

Now for specifics, I have observed, since everyone who plans to commune has to confess and we have folks who cant make Saturday confessions after Vigil, there is a LONG line for confessions Sunday morning. The priest has asked a few times, if you could 'condense' your confessions to one word...meaning that your sin may fall under one of the categories of the seven deadly sins of lust, avarice (greed), gluttony, envy, anger, pride, sloth. So keeping these categories in mind, you should be able to bring to mind sins you may have overlooked.
Condense confessions to one word, or list your sins as one word?
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Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH
JMJCatholic
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 01:24:02 PM »

would it be expected for Orthodox Christians, unaware of specific sin, to make a devotional confession, confessing any sins he or she may be unaware of? 

Does that mean if my sins are boring, repetitive and not very impressive should I confess rapes, pedophila, and mass-murderers? Do I understand this point correctly?

Trickster: noun
1. a deceiver; cheat; fraud.
2. a person who plays tricks.
3. a supernatural figure appearing in various guises and typically engaging in mischievous activities, important in the       folklore and mythology of many primitive peoples

Sorry, Joanna. Please ignore this offensive poster. I havent been here for long but I have quickly learned who is here to genuinely answer questions and who is here to pester you.





Thank you, and I hope I am not bringing out the mischievousness in some members, unintentionally  Wink
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