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Ligouri: The Ruin of Souls Who Through Shame Omit to Confess Their Sins October 3, 2019

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Interior Life, priests, reading, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, Tradition, Virtue.
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In light of this post from last week, I recently read the following excerpt from one of Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri’s great Ascetical Works and it was a perfect treatise on the matter of invalid confessions, and reasons for them.  Of course, Saint Alphonsus is the great Moral Doctor of the Church.  He is widely considered to be the single greatest authority on moral theology in the Church’s 2000 year history.

One hugely important post I failed to make in last week’s postfor a confession to be valid, EVERY mortal sin, in kind and number, committed since the last VALID confession, MUST be conveyed to the priest, or the confession is invalid, and every subsequent reception of the Blessed Sacrament in this foul state is sacrilegious and, in itself, a mortal sin, as was the original invalid confession.  Thus, if someone were to string out a long history of mortal sins over, say, 10 confessions, he would subsequently have to confess those 10 invalid confessions, and the 10 or 50 or 70 sacrilegious communions in the interim.  In fact, the longer a sin remains unconfessed for reasons of shame, the less likely it is that it will ever be confessed.  Thus, it is always best to confess all sins as soon as possible, both to alleviate the threat of damnation, but also to strike while the positive effects of shame are motivating the soul to seek forgiveness of its greivous offenses against God.

Saint Alphonsus repeatedly declared that more souls are lost through shame and subsequent invalid confessions than virtually any other reason.  Many Saints personally related mystical experiences of souls of the damned who lamented their sacrilegious, invalid confessions.

Now, the great moral Doctor, Ligouri (excerpts from pp. 316-317):

In the missions we should moreover strongly and often inculcate the necessity of overcomign the shame that one feels in confessions one’s sins.  Those who are experienced missionaries know that this cursed shame has been the cause of the loss of innumerable souls………

It is a pity to see how many souls the devil gains by this means, especially in matters concerning impure sins; for he makes th em lose shame at the moment of committing them, and gives this shame back to them when there is qustion of mention ing them in the confessional.  Saint Antoine, speakign of this matter, relates that a holy hermit, seseing one day the devil in the church going among those that wished to confess, asked him what he was doing there: the evil spirit answered: “To induce thse people to commit sin, I have taken shame from them; now I return it to them in order that they may not confess well and properly.”  Saint John Chrysostom also sayhs: “God has given shame to the commission of sin, and confidence to the confession of it. The devil inverts this: he inspires him who sins with confidence before the sin, and with shame afterwards, so that the sin may not be confessed and the soul lost forever.”

Alas! Christian soul, you have sinned; if you do not confess your sins you will certainly be damned. Why then do you not confess your sin?  You answer: “I am ashamed.” Hence, rather than overcome this shame you wish to be condemned for all eternity to the fire of hell? It is a shame to offend so good a God Who has created us; it is not a shame to confess to have offended Him.  But since you do not wish to manifest your sin, refrain at least from going to confession.  To the sin that you have committed do you wish to add the sacrilege of a bad confession?  Do yo know what you are doing when you commit sacrilege?  For the sins on accou nt which you have deserved hel there is no other remedy than the Blood of Jesus Christ, who will purify you if you confess it well; but by concealing your sin, you even tread under foot the Blood of Jesus Christ……….

……….What do you fear?  Ah!, here are no doubt the pretexts that the devil suggests to you, to keep you from confessing:

  1. What wil my confessor say when he hears that I have fallen in such a way?  Well, he will say that you have been weak, as happens to so many others who live in this world; he will say that you did wrong to sin, but that you afterwards performed and admirable deed in overcoming shame to confess your sins.
  2. At least he will not fail to give me a scolding! – oh no, why should he scold you?  Know that confessors cannot have greater consolation than when they hear a person accusing himself of a sin that he has committed; for then he can securely absolve him and deliver him from hell.
  3. I have not enough confidence to manifest this sin to my spiritual Father – Well! Go to confession to another priest of the place or to a stranger.

 

————-End Excerpt————–

Really, folks, your not that special, nor half as “bad” as you think.  The priests have heard it all.  If you go to Confession on Sunday at a busy parish, the priest might hear 80 or 100 confessions that day.  They all run together.  God gives priests special graces to forget what they hear in the confessional.  Most priests, most all the time, literally forget what they heard just moments ago in the confessional.  So don’t worry so much, trust God, and just spill it all.  Kind/type, and number.

The absolutely vital point to remember, is that, no matter what a foolish priest may tell you, you cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament with one unconfessed mortal sin on your soul!  If you do you commit another and worse mortal sin, the sin of profaning the Blessed Sacrament, and, many moral theologians maintain, literally re-crucifying Christ.

 

 

Comments

1. Baseballmomof8 - October 3, 2019

That cartoon is hilarious!

And so true about holy forgetfulness. I have a dear friend who is an excellent priest and he’s told me on many occasions that he completely forgets what a penitent confesses almost immediately. It really is a grace. And if someone mentions “a sin I confessed last week” he has to ask them to remind him…he has no memory of it.

But he can tell you all about the time he got in trouble in fifth grade… 52 years ago!!!!! 😂😂

2. Trg - October 4, 2019

So if a person honestly forgets sins from their youth and goes to confession after 30 years, should they stay away from Holy Communion, just in case they forgot a mortal sin? I wonder if just saying I know I broke every commandment but can’t remember all the details, would that cover it? You’re making me get scruples.

Tim - October 4, 2019

No, if you make a good Confession and you honestly forget mortal sins from the past, they are forgiven. You are, however, obliged to confess them as they resurface in your memory. This was my story for years, I haven’t had a recall from my youth in a few years but it could still happen!

3. dthy - October 10, 2019

Our age has another problem. Those who are not only not ashamed and nonrepentent, but actually proud of their sins. Thus we’re plagued with gay pride parades, women who celebrate and cheer because they can kill their babies legally–never mind that its against our constitution’s guarantee to a right to life–you never know from day to day what new sin their going to come up with and declare as “good”.


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