25 October 2008

Why do Catholics go to confession?

THE LORD ESTABLISHED THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:21-23).

“Reconciliation or “confession” is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in His love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God. At the same time, sinners reconcile with the Church, because it also is wounded by our sins. We know this sacrament by various names: the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, or Reconciliation.



The Early Church Fathers on
Confession/Reconciliation


The Early Church Fathers taught that Christ passed on His authority to forgive sins to His priests.

The Didache

Confess your sins in church, and do not go up to your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life. . . , On the Lord's Day gather together, break bread, and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure (Didache 4:14,14:1 [A.D.70]).

The Letter of Barnabas

You shall judge righteously. You shall not make a schism, but you shall pacify those that contend by bringing them together. You shall confess your sins. You shall not go to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of light (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).

Ignatius of Antioch

For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop. And as many as shall, in the exercise of penance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ (Letter to the Philadelphians 3 [A.D. 110]).

For where there is division and wrath, God does not dwell. To all them that repent, the Lord grants forgiveness, if they turn in penitence to the unity of God, and to communion with the bishop (ibid. 8).

Irenaeus

[The Gnostic disciples of Marcus] have deluded many women. . . Their consciences have been branded as with a hot iron. Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between two courses (Against Heresies 1:22 [A.D. 189]).

Tertullian

[Regarding confession, some] flee from this work as being an exposure of themselves, or they put it off from day to day. I presume they are more mindful of modesty than of salvation, like those who contract a disease in the more shameful parts of the body and shun making themselves known to the physicians; and thus they perish along with their own bashfulness (Repentance 10:1 [A.D. 203]).

The Church has the power of forgiving sins. This I acknowledge and adjudge (ibid. 21).

Hippolytus

[The bishop conducting the ordination of the new bishop shall pray:] God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . pour forth now that power which comes from you, from your Royal Spirit, which you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, and which he bestowed upon his holy apostles. . . and grant this your servant, whom you have chosen for the episcopate, [the power] to feed your holy flock and to serve without blame as your high priest, ministering night and day to propitiate unceasingly before your face and to offer to you the gifts of your holy Church, and by the Spirit of the high priesthood to have the authority to forgive sins, in accord with your command (Apostolic Tradition 3 [A.D. 215]).

Origen

[A filial method of forgiveness], albeit hard and laborious [is] the remission of sins through penance, when the sinner . . . does not shrink from declaring his sin to a priest of the Lord and from seeking medicine, after the manner of him who say, "I said, to the Lord, I will accuse myself of my iniquity" (Homilies in Leviticus 2:4 [A.D. 248]).

Cyprian

The Apostle [Paul] likewise bears witness and says: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord "[I Cor. 11:27]. But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at: the hand of the priest . . . they do violence to his body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him (The Lapsed 15:1-3 (A.D. 251]).

Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who . . . confess their sins to the priests of God in a straightforward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. . . I beseech you, brethren; let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord (ibid. 28).

Sinners may do penance For a set time, and according to the rules of discipline come to public confession, and by imposition of the hand of the bishop and clergy receive the right of Communion. [But now some] with their time [of penance] still unfulfilled . . . they are admitted to Communion, and their name is presented and while the penitence is not yet performed, confession is not yet made, the hands of the bishop and clergy are not yet laid upon them, the Eucharist is given to them; although it is written, "Whosoever shall eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" [I Cor. 11:27] (Letters 9:2 [A.D. 253])

John Chrysostom

Priests have received a power which God has given neither to angels nor to archangels. It was said to them: "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose, shall be loosed." Temporal rulers have indeed the power of binding: but they can only bind the body. Priests, in contrast, can bind with a bond which pertains to the soul itself and transcends the very heavens. Did [God] not give them all the powers of heaven? "Whose sins you shall forgive," he says, "they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." The Father has given all judgment to the Son. And now I see the Son placing all this power in the hands of men [Matt. 10:40; John 20:21-23]. They are raised to this dignity as if they were already gathered up to heaven (The Priesthood 3:5 [A.D. 387]).

"Senator, thank you for your commitment to life… I'd like to give you something. Here is a Miraculous Medal blessed by Pope Benedict XVI."


http://www.eduardoverastegui.com.ar/ingles/noticias/noticias_ingles_pag_36.htm


October 18, 2008

Eduardo Verastegui, producer and lead actor of the 2007 American film Bella, endorsed Sen. John McCain on October 15th in Colorado.

On October 17th, Verastegui was invited to Miami to speak at a rally Senator John McCain, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida’s former Governor Jeb Bush and Sen. Joe Lieberman.

Verastegui said, "I am endorsing Sen. McCain for President because of his commitments to end abortion, to protect traditional marriage, to select conservative judges and to pass a just immigration reform."

Verastegui reminded the audience that more than 45 million babies have been killed by abortion in America since Roe v. Wade in 1973.

"We need to put an end to abortion, and political candidates play a very important role in this matter. More than 200,000 Latino babies are killed by abortion each year in the USA. This holocaust must end. That's why we must elect Senator McCain. He will defend and protect the most innocent of his country, the beautiful babies in their mothers' wombs."

After the rally, Eduardo met with Sen. McCain, saying, "Senator, thank you for your commitment to life… I'd like to give you something. Here is a Miraculous Medal blessed by Pope Benedict XVI."

Sen. McCain said, "Thank you so much!" Then Sen. McCain reached into his pocket and took out a Blessed Mother Teresa medal that he always carries with him. He said, "Eduardo, now I am going to keep both of these with me everywhere I go." Verastegui also gave a Miraculous Medal to Mrs. McCain.

"I was touched when I found out that the McCains adopted one of their daughters from Mother Teresa's orphanage in India. I think there is nothing more beautiful than to give a child a home, but not only a home, but a family who will love them and sacrifice for them. I hope one day that I can do the same."

Verastegui believes that unless Americans elect a president who will defend fundamental human rights, no one can expect a sound economy, health care or national security… including immigration reform.

Verastegui said, "I can make hundreds of movies like Bella, and they will hopefully save many babies, but it's never going to be as powerful as a president nominating judges who observe constitutional law. After all, we are just one pro-life Supreme Court Justice away from overturning Roe v. Wade."

"We can never vote for any candidate that supports abortion."

Barack Hussein Obama is pro-abortion and he has promised to codify the Roe v. Wade decision by signing the proposed Freedom of Choice Act, which would strip Americans of their right to protect innocent human lives, even from the savagery of partial-birth abortion, during which the abortionist pulls a baby from his mother's womb, stabs his skull and vacuums out his brains. This is inhumane. (May God mercy on us.)

Verastegui also emphasizes McCain's commitment to protect traditional marriage. Unlike Obama, McCain supports the right of states to legally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Regarding immigration…

Verastegui says, "I'm very grateful to this wonderful Country for opening the door to my dreams... this Nation has been such an amazing blessing in my life, this nation has been an amazing blessing to all immigrants - including the entire Latino community - precisely because of leaders like Senator John McCain who sacrificed his life to serve his Country so we can all enjoy the freedoms that make America so great."

Sen. McCain has spent his entire life fighting for a cause bigger than himself, since he was a prisoner in Vietnam, until today. He has always used his talents to serve others, "He always puts people first, and that is the first reason why I'm supporting him, he is a selfless leader who has incredible character and integrity, and that is the most important quality our next president should possess."

Another example of John McCain's strong character and leadership is his commitment to immigration reform. Senator McCain introduced a very important immigration bill called the "McCain- Kennedy" bill.

My question is this, "Where was Obama when this important bill was moving through the Congress?" Obama abandoned the Latino community because he did not want it to hurt his political career. On the contrary senator McCain did not run for political coverage, he risked his political career and stuck in there with us just like he did with his fellow Americans in Vietnam. This is one of many examples of his incredible character and this is a man who is willing to sacrifice his political career to put his country and others first.

"Barack Hussein Obama speaks about 'change,' but what change are we talking about? Fidel Castro spoke about change in Cuba. Hugo Chavez talks about change in Venezuela, and other charismatic, well-spoken dictators promised change, but look what happened to their countries."

Obama doesn't represent the values of our Latino community. He has never done anything for us. He doesn't know who we are.

Senator McCain, however, not only knows who we are but he cares about us. Senator McCain is the real change, a real American hero and he is the leader we need to change and improve the direction of this incredible country. "I ask all of you to give him your vote because we all know he has, and he will, give his life for us and this great nation."

"Senator McCain, our Latino community is very grateful for everything you have done for us. We trust in you and we will support you. You cared about us, and you have proven it. Thank you!"

In closing, Verastegui says, "The right to life is the most important thing to me, so I want to do whatever I can to support the best candidates. That's why I support John McCain and Sarah Palin."

For more information, see Eduardo Verastegui's new English and Spanish videos about the sanctity of life, and Obama's pro-abortion agenda at:

www.DuraRealidad.com

21 October 2008

Bishop reminds Catholics to remember Judgment Day in the voting booth

St. Louis, October 18 (CNA).-Bishop Robert J. Herman, the administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has written a column reminding Catholics that their vote will be a decision weighed on the Day of Judgment. He urged Catholics not to treat the unborn as the neglectful rich man treated Lazarus in the biblical parable.

"Judgment Day is on its way," the bishop wrote in the St. Louis Review. "We cannot stop it. We don't know when it will come, but just as surely as the sun rises daily, the Son of Man will come when we least expect."

"For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us," he continued, referencing Christ's words of judgment in Matthew 10:32-33:

"Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father."

Bishop Herman asked the faithful to consider what kind of witness they give to God when they enter the voting booth on Election Day.

"The decision I make in the voting booth will reflect my value system. If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble," the bishop wrote.

He cited Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, which said outcry on human rights is "false and illusory" if the right to life is not defended to the maximum.

"The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy," Bishop Herman continued.

"My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion."

Bishop Herman looked to the spiritual dimension as well.

"Those 47 million children our nation destroyed are still living. We have destroyed their bodies, but their souls are still alive. When our Lord comes again, they may very well be there to judge us. Even worse, Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. We would truly shudder if we heard the words, 'I was in my mother's womb but you took my life!'

"It is quite possible that we might see these children, but, depending upon the choices we have made, we may very well be separated from them by a great chasm which cannot be crossed, much as the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man, during his lifetime here on earth but was separated from him after death."

Bishop Herman said the "deepest problem" with many Catholics is that they have become accustomed to rationalizing away a "life of sinful actions" headed in the wrong direction.

"My goal is not to engage you in some political party way but to engage you with our Savior and His teachings. We need to constantly challenge our accustomed behaviors in the light of the Gospel," he wrote.

He said the issues of the coming election could help people learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church and to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

"When we do this, both we and the heavens will be filled with joy!" he asserted.

"Judgment Day is on its way," he repeated, encouraging people to pray the family Rosary daily between now and Election Day.

In a previous column for the St. Louis Review, Bishop Herman urged Catholics not to put politics ahead of the Fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."

"Save our children!" he wrote. "More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. All other issues, including the economy, have to take second place to the issue of life."