Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quotes from Dante - on Absolution and Contrition

Some rather poorly-informed folks have the badly mistaken notion that the Catholic can go to Confession and receive forgiveness of his sins apart from the condition of his heart, as though he could go without sorrow for past sins or with full intention to sin again in the future, and still receive pardon.

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Here's a short passage from the Inferno that sums up the facts:
Absolved uncontrite means no absolution;
Nor can one will at once sin and contrition,
The contradiction bars the false conclusion.

[xxvii, 118-120]
Going through the motions is not Catholic. We don't have that luxury. Nor may we sin with the thought in our heads that "I'll just go to confession afterwards." No. This is to abuse the Sacrament, and actually multiplies our sin (by attempting to obtain forgiveness under false pretenses).

The priest does not know our hearts. He can only presume that when we come for absolution, we do so with true contrition and genuine repentance. It behooves us to actually bring them to the confessional.

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