Category Archives: Communion

Resistance to Confession

At least one of you knows that there’s an issue in my life that kind of revolves around confession these days.  Following are some insights that have come to me whilst pondering this problem.

I think we can all agree that only the Catholics and Orthodox have valid Sacraments (all of them).  This is, of course, due to their possession of Apostolic Succession.  So therefore it is perfectly obvious to me that if one confesses his sins to God in private, one cannot be sure of forgiveness, because that’s not how Christ and the Apostles talked about having one’s sins forgiven – the instruction was ‘confess your sins one to another’ and when the Lord instituted the Sacrament He said, ‘those sins you shall forgive are forgiven, those you retain shall be retained.’  And so forth.

Anyway, to some people, the big stumbling block to conversion to Catholicism is the Confession issue.  The just don’t want to do it!  Why not?  Who wouldn’t want their sins forgiven – and not just forgiven, but absolved, which is a much stronger word.  Erased, wiped out!

Answer:  lack of Faith.  Remember, Faith is a gift.  So here we have a person who has been blithely going along, confessing to God in the privacy of their own home, or some Protestant house of worship somewhere, or in the car on the way to the grocery store.  And then they get this urge that they just have to have the ‘Real Jesus’ as in Communion.  Eucharist.  The Blessed Sacrament.

So for a while they just go skipping up to Communion at the local Catholic parish as if they are, indeed, Catholics. (Some of you might say, so what’s wrong with that?  Lots of Catholics probably go to Communion who haven’t been to Confession in a long time.  Well, that’s wrong too, but that’s not my point right now.)  Then I guess they sort of have a crisis of conscience (oho!) and quit going to church altogether.  What a dilemma!  They want Jesus but can’t have Him on their terms because their terms aren’t the Church’s terms.  In order to receive Him, they have to really receive Him.  In a public confession of Faith (in what the Catholic Church teaches, also abjuring and recanting from all heretical beliefs they may have held in the past).  And just before that, in the Confessional.  Where any priest/catechist worth his chasuble (or phelonion, as the case may be) would insist on a life confession.  Hoo-boy!

“But wait!”  they say.  “I already confessed all those sins.  And I don’t have any sins now!”

And now, you see, we are at a serious disconnect from reality and Truth.  For if previous sins were already confessed, and forgiven, one would have no problem confessing them again to the priest, because he stands in persona Christi  and if you already confessed them, then Jesus has heard them before, and if He forgave them once, he’s not going to go back on his Word (after all, He did say “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life…..”) and not forgive them this time.  And if they weren’t, well, there isn’t any sin that can’t be forgiven if one truly is contrite and confesses it in humility.  And believe me, priests have heard it all!

So they have some kind of doubt, in some greater or lesser degree.  Either they doubt that they were forgiven in the first place when they confessed in private (good doubt), or they doubt that God the Son gave his priests the power to forgive sins in His name through the Sacrament of Holy Orders (bad doubt), or they doubt their particular sin can be forgiven for some reason (balderdash, assuming they are truly sorry and will sincerely try not to sin any more).  Or they are simply not sorry for their sins (bad again).  Or they really do think they have nothing to confess (I am not even going to go there).

I was once asked, not too long ago, how I could bear to confess my sins to a man.  I answered that I do not confess them to a man, but to +Jesus Christ+ Who suffered and died for those sins.  I’ve also been asked what I confess.  And that one I wasn’t sure how to answer.  I mean, I know what I confess, but is it anyone else’s business?  So I just made a general sort of answer involving impatience, gossip, that kind of thing.  but I don’t think it made an impression.  I felt very bad afterwards, as if I had somehow let God down.

So let’s pray for all doubters, asking the intercession of the Holy Apostle Thomas, beseeching God to grant to all who doubt the grace and gift of Faith, so that they too may “not see, yet believe.”


I truly did not mean to drag this out for so long!…

I truly did not mean to drag this out for so long! My cable company got sold, and my internet service was transferred, and for several days the only thing I was able to do was check email….plus I didn’t want to trust anything important to that mail-to-blog thing you can do (but I’ve never tried).

Anyway, to summarize so far: The Catholic Church is where Jesus is Truly Present in the Eucharist, so if you want the Real Thing, you gotta be Catholic. That means keeping the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments, and the Precepts of the Church. Yes, Virginia, it’s still a mortal sin to lay out of Mass (or Divine Liturgy) just because!

Now – C4 through C10 are covered by GC2 (see previous posts for explanation of abbreviations). I think for the average person this should be pretty much self-evident. Also p5 is part of GC2 – contributing to the support of one’s pastors. Obviously your pastor is your neighbor. And his support, directly or indirectly, comes from your contribution in the offering plate.

p6 is not as obvious a part of GC2, but it’s in there. We are enjoined by GC1 to love God to the utmost. GC2 instructs us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, and we are to desire holiness and sanctification for ourselves by virtue of the fact that God has given us Faith and Hope in everlasting life. Therefore we should desire nothing less than that same holiness for all people. Marriage is a sacrament of joy and ought not to be celebrated during penitential seasons, since by doing that we are putting our own desires above that of God, Who through His Church has given us times of reflection and penance (Lent/The Great Fast and Advent/St. Philip’s Fast). During these seasons we ought to be preparing to celebrate the Nativity and Resurrection, and our thoughts and actions should all reflect this preparation (this is called ‘living your faith, people). And if you’re serious enough about your faith to follow this simple little bit, then go just a bit further and don’t marry your first or second cousin, or someone who isn’t Catholic, or someone who isn’t even baptized.

But wait, there’s more! Even if you are OK with all of these, there are bunches of other Catholic teachings, the denial of which is enough to keep you away from what you’re after – Jesus, Truly Present in the Sacrament of the Altar.

The fifth commandment – are you truly pro-life? Really? Do you condemn abortion in ALL circumstances, because it’s MURDER? Do you truly understand that contraception, whether physical or chemical, is also a violation of this commandment? If you hold the view that ‘young people are in such a grip of their hormones that they are going to have sex outside of marriage anyway, so there should be birth control/condoms so that abortion doesn’t enter the picture, and no unwanted/unplanned babies are conceived, then you are in dissent from the Magisterium of the Church and should not present yourself for Communion.

More later. If there’s error here, correct me. I retract whatever is wrong in advance, but I need to know where I err so I can further educate myself.

I keep having these conversations with ByzCat wher…

I keep having these conversations with ByzCat where we preach to each other – the choir, as it were. Most recently I was ranting about non-Catholics and their attitude toward the Eucharist. I guess I should go backwards a bit and explain MY PERSONAL REASONS for believing that I’m in the right place, faith-wise.

Scripture has it that Jesus said to Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Receive the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Thereby establishing Peter as the visible head of the Church on earth, and the method by which our sins are forgiven through the Sacrament of Confession all in one fell swoop. He didn’t give this authority to all of the Twelve, but they received it from Christ through Peter. Thus we have the hierarchy of the Church on earth, from deacons to priests to bishops and archbishops all the way to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. Since the Pope is head of the Catholic Church, then in order to follow Jesus as a member of His Church I must be a Catholic.
I can’t be Orthodox because I acknowledge the primacy of the Pope. I can’t be any denomination of Protestant because I believe Jesus taught all the things that Protestants deny or gloss over – the obligation to render regular worship to God; necessity of individual auricular confession; efficacy of anointing of the sick and/or dying; the value of works as a complement to faith; the reality of the Communion of Saints; necessity of penance/repentance; etc. etc. ad infinitum et nauseam.

OK. Based on Jesus’ words as recorded in Scripture, what we as Catholics receive in the Eucharist is truly Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – whether unleavened as in the Latin Rite or leavened as in the Eastern Rites. Since Jesus instituted the sacred priesthood, and also established Peter as the first Pope, then it naturally (to me) follows that ONLY A VALIDLY ORDAINED CATHOLIC PRIEST (or a validly ordained Orthodox priest) CAN EFFECT TRANSUBSTANTIATION, or the change from bread and wine to the Most Precious Body and Life-Giving Blood of Jesus.

I can’t. A Baptist preacher can’t. A Presbyterian minister can’t. And, so sorry, neither can an Episcopalian minister. No amount of wishing or deciding is going to cause any bread or any wine (or grape juice) to be mysteriously and miraculously changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, by anyone other than a validly ordained priest of the Catholic Church.

I mentioned this before, but I will repeat it now: if anyone reads this and sees ANY ERROR, please comment. Hold me accountable. Please.

I see that I shall have to continue this later…..

Here’s a picture of my children’s Chrismation on …

Here’s a picture of my children’s Chrismation on December 3, 2006 at St. Mary’s Holy Protection Byzantine Church. If you follow their line of sight you can see that, as Father is giving them the final blessing at the end of the Sacrament, their eyes are not on him, but on the Cross he holds in his hand.

When we assisted at Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we went forward to receive Jesus in Communion….my younger son was directly in front of me in line, as we do when we assist at NO Masses, in case I have to reassure the minister that he does receive. When he reached the Extraordinary Minister – a grandmotherly-looking lady who was administering Communion with more-than-common reverence – he made a profound bow, at which point she looked at me and asked “does he receive?” I assured her that he does, whereupon she elevated the Host and said “The Body of Christ” and my son responded “AMEN!” and opened his mouth to receive his Lord. She gave him the Body and then touched his cheek and said sotto voce “how beautiful!”
Even little children are called to be witnesses to the power and grace of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.

Hermit crab update – none of them are AWOL now; I …

Hermit crab update – none of them are AWOL now; I found the ‘missing’ crab last night while straightening up their crabitat. I have film in the camera now so I will post pics when available. I realized if I’m going to talk about them on this blog, they should really have names, so…

small crab in American flag painted shell: George

medium crab in green striped shell: Teresa

large crab in gray/brown striped shell: Patrick

One of the other things that happened at that Holy Day Mass I mentioned in a previous post was that at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the celebrant said: …..Benedict, the Bishop of Rome,…
I am currently trying to find out what’s up with this, and if it’s permitted to say that, rather than …Benedict our Pope…. will let you know when I know.