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Full Version: A fake priest and validity of penance/last rites
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Okay, so they arrested a guy who for many years has pretended to be a priest. Nobody had any doubts about him, he 'absolved' people and 'said' masses.

This begs the question whether from the point of view of the penitent the absolution he or she received was valid? Imagine this: you're a good Catholic. You frequently go to confession. You go to the person that is later revealed to be an imposter. You receive 'absolution' from him, thinking he's a priest, because why shouldn't you? You really regret your sins but are not able to have contrition, only attrition (imperfect contrition). You die. You go to hell?

That's logically what follows from opinions I've read on Polish sites. 'Ecclesia supplet' cannot be applied here because the Church supplies only the jurisdiction, not the power of absolving sins itself. But if a person is to go to hell for something like that... That would be awful.

Can someone explain?
Did this really happen, or is it a hypothetical situation?  If it happened, where did it happen?  Any links?  Thanks!


(01-16-2014, 09:48 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Okay, so they arrested a guy who for many years has pretended to be a priest. Nobody had any doubts about him, he 'absolved' people and 'said' masses.

This begs the question whether from the point of view of the penitent the absolution he or she received was valid? Imagine this: you're a good Catholic. You frequently go to confession. You go to the person that is later revealed to be an imposter. You receive 'absolution' from him, thinking he's a priest, because why shouldn't you? You really regret your sins but are not able to have contrition, only attrition (imperfect contrition). You die. You go to hell?

That's logically what follows from opinions I've read on Polish sites. 'Ecclesia supplet' cannot be applied here because the Church supplies only the jurisdiction, not the power of absolving sins itself. But if a person is to go to hell for something like that... That would be awful.

Can someone explain?
Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P
Strange case, sloppy administration!
(01-16-2014, 09:58 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P

How do we know that some penitents didn't have perfect contrition?
(01-16-2014, 10:07 AM)lumine Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 09:58 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P

How do we know that some penitents didn't have perfect contrition?
The question is: how can we be sure that all did?
(01-16-2014, 10:08 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 10:07 AM)lumine Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 09:58 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P

How do we know that some penitents didn't have perfect contrition?
The question is: how can we be sure that all did?

We can't be sure at all.  Some may have made unworthy confessions to begin with, having no repentance truly in their hearts.
(01-16-2014, 09:58 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P

A link would be nice. Some of us understand polish :).
(01-16-2014, 10:10 AM)lumine Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 10:08 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 10:07 AM)lumine Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-16-2014, 09:58 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: [ -> ]Dying 'absolved' only by an imposter a hypothetical situation, although given the odds I believe there might have been someone is such a situation. If not in this case, then in another case with fake priests.
I could provide a link but I doubt you would understand anything in Polish that's there. :P

How do we know that some penitents didn't have perfect contrition?
The question is: how can we be sure that all did?

We can't be sure at all.  Some may have made unworthy confessions to begin with, having no repentance truly in their hearts.
Okay, I know. I'm asking about the very case of a hypothetical person described in the OP, under circumstances also described there. And I'd appreciate an answer based on official Church teaching.

DiesIrae: http://www.tvn24.pl/spowiadal-ludzi-orga...127,s.html
I think the all-knowing and all-seeing God would be able to see that this person's soul desired the sacrament of confession and the last rites, and can dispense the graces associated with the sacraments as He chooses.  We cannot know one way or the other where anyone goes when they die.

If I went to confession with the priest in question I would go again with a valid priest but in life-or-death emergency cases I can't see God turning someone away who, through no fault of their own, confessed their sins in a way that was invalid, but they thought were valid.
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