Friday, September 28, 2007

My Own Unanswered Questions

[UPDATE 2007-10-05: it appears that Turretinfan has accepted this as an adequate response, so I'm going to consider this question to be answered. I might be mistaken in this assessment; if he objects to this, then I'll consider amending this conclusion.]

I have a list of questions that have gone unanswered by another; it seems only fair that I keep a public list of questions that I haven't answered myself. This will serve as a reminder to me that I need to do this.

Turretinfan asked me:
are you saying that some people who enter heaven will have unforgiven sins? (emphasis in original)
I replied:
Mortal sins must be forgiven or one cannot enter heaven.

It would appear, based upon what I have cited from Trent [chapter V, on confession] and St. Thomas, that venial sins also must be forgiven, and apart from this one cannot enter heaven. Unfortunately this inference is the best I am able to offer at this time, not having ready at hand (i.e., in memory) a more direct answer for you with respect to venial sins. I apologize if this is insufficient for your purposes [links added here from a previous post].
To which he asked, by way of followup:
The follow-on question is: why?

If a sin does not render the sinner guilty, why would the sinner be forgiven - indeed - what sense does forgiveness have apart from guilt?
Now this is an honest question, I think, and I attempted to answer it, but was dissatisfied with my results. I haven't studied the subject with any depth at all, and it seems I need to. So I had to apologize for my inability to do so now, which apology was graciously accepted. I promise to try and answer this, Turretinfan - and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.


Leo said...

The Bible makes it clear that some sins are forgiven in the next world, most assuredly mainly venial sins.
We know this because of the way that the text of the scriptures state when it says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is a sin that cannot be forgiven either in this world, or in the next, thus we may conclude that some sins are forgiven after death.
Of course this also means that such a one would still have to expiate them in Purgatory.

Reginald de Piperno said...

Hi Leo,

Thanks for the input. I'll try to remember this when I work on producing an answer for him.

Turretinfan said...

Dear RdP,

This is part of a broader study on forgiveness that I am investigating. The original question was whether anyone could have ALL of their sins forgiven, and yet be in hell.

I had taken for granted that everyone in heaven would have all their sins forgiven as a matter of a priori necessity. Your post (and some of the Catholic documents I pulled up in investigating whether your post seemed representative of Catholicism - I hope you don't mind my double-checking) made me wonder whether it would be "Catholic" to assert that people go to heaven with some of their sins unforgiven.

Your response was not quite what expected - but what I had expected was based on my original conception of the relationship between forgiveness and salvation - which may itself not be a "Catholic" conception. That's why I asked "why ..." and it may help you answer, if it does, Great!