maximum amount of sins to be forgiven
#11
(04-27-2015, 09:55 PM)Bourbon Apocalypse Wrote:
(04-27-2015, 06:23 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: Thank you for the replies... So if I understand St Alphonsus meant that any repentant sinner can be forgiven unless they are unrepentant? Is it just a more detailed way of saying that? I hope so because otherwise its a nightmare especially for scrupulous people. For example - "am I truly repentant? How do I even know? Etc". And how DO you know, after reading this? If you WANT to change but keep falling due to weakness into the same sins, is that different??

I'm still wondering about Fr Relyae. If its lack of repentance (desire for amendment), why this statement about 3 times? I mean isn't it invalid the first time then? Is he still saying that this doesn't apply to repentant people?

Little_Flower10: To begin, let me say that as someone who also struggles with scrupolosity, I know what a dreadful affair it can be, especially when one comes across particularly hard-hitting passages from saints like St. Alphonsus (who seems to be a go-to saint among Trads) or convicting homilies from the fervent priests featured on AudioSancto. When you read or hear something that produces fear, before you get obsessed by the particular statement, ask yourself what the general principle/understanding behind the statement is. As has already been noted, the general understanding seems to be that St. Alphonsus is admonishing priests to look for signs of true repentance in their parishioners. If such signs are absent, then the priests do have the authority to withhold absolution until further proof is supplied. Remember, too, that St. Alphonsus's Moral Theology was written for priests--men who, presumably, have better training in detecting even the smallest signs of repentance than either you or I . Now, as for Fr. Relyea and his number three fixation, that does seem to be an arbitrary number. In some cases a priest might know after two confessions; in other cases, I suppose, a priest might not know after ten confessions. Still, I must acknowledge that I have not listened to his homilies, so I do not know the context for his statement.

Do be careful--once again, as someone who can relate--about your online reading/listening. Without a strong formation (and how many of us have one these days?), you can easily lose your joy and trust in the Lord by obsessing over a particular passage or the comments of an anonymous poster. I think that there is a certain type of (Internet) Trad (very toxic) who preys on scrupulous people and will cite the most fear-inducing comments from the saints that he can find--maybe he wants everyone to be as miserable as he is, I do not know. If you come across such people, flee. I believe FishEaters has been cleansed of such types, but be on guard.

I would type more, but I am typing this on my iPhone. I wish you all peace and joy in our risen Lord and His Mother, both who love us more than we can imagine.

Yes! Priests like Father Isaac Realya are not for the scrupulous. If you're a tough guy type who likes a Catholic Taliban style preacher who seems to revel in stories about the near impossibility of getting to Heaven, the vicious torments of Hell and the absolute necessity to be a card carrying water baptized Roman Catholic living like a perfect saint in order to have any chance at all of getting to heaven than go for it, but for some of us this mans preaching is borderline toxic trad stuff and not recommended.
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#12
(04-27-2015, 09:55 PM)Bourbon Apocalypse Wrote:
(04-27-2015, 06:23 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: Thank you for the replies... So if I understand St Alphonsus meant that any repentant sinner can be forgiven unless they are unrepentant? Is it just a more detailed way of saying that? I hope so because otherwise its a nightmare especially for scrupulous people. For example - "am I truly repentant? How do I even know? Etc". And how DO you know, after reading this? If you WANT to change but keep falling due to weakness into the same sins, is that different??

I'm still wondering about Fr Relyae. If its lack of repentance (desire for amendment), why this statement about 3 times? I mean isn't it invalid the first time then? Is he still saying that this doesn't apply to repentant people?

Little_Flower10: To begin, let me say that as someone who also struggles with scrupolosity, I know what a dreadful affair it can be, especially when one comes across particularly hard-hitting passages from saints like St. Alphonsus (who seems to be a go-to saint among Trads) or convicting homilies from the fervent priests featured on AudioSancto. When you read or hear something that produces fear, before you get obsessed by the particular statement, ask yourself what the general principle/understanding behind the statement is. As has already been noted, the general understanding seems to be that St. Alphonsus is admonishing priests to look for signs of true repentance in their parishioners. If such signs are absent, then the priests do have the authority to withhold absolution until further proof is supplied. Remember, too, that St. Alphonsus's Moral Theology was written for priests--men who, presumably, have better training in detecting even the smallest signs of repentance than either you or I . Now, as for Fr. Relyea and his number three fixation, that does seem to be an arbitrary number. In some cases a priest might know after two confessions; in other cases, I suppose, a priest might not know after ten confessions. Still, I must acknowledge that I have not listened to his homilies, so I do not know the context for his statement.

Do be careful--once again, as someone who can relate--about your online reading/listening. Without a strong formation (and how many of us have one these days?), you can easily lose your joy and trust in the Lord by obsessing over a particular passage or the comments of an anonymous poster. I think that there is a certain type of (Internet) Trad (very toxic) who preys on scrupulous people and will cite the most fear-inducing comments from the saints that he can find--maybe he wants everyone to be as miserable as he is, I do not know. If you come across such people, flee. I believe FishEaters had been cleansed of such types, but be on guard.

I would type more, but I am typing this on my iPhone. I wish you all peace and joy in our risen Lord and His Mother, both who love us more than we can imagine.

Well, I certainly hope I didn't come across as this type of person.

I do like Fr. Relyea very much, though (he has the best quote ever: “sedevacantist are smart. But you know who's smarter…? the Devil!”).
Yes, he might not be for everybody, but I still think if one is planning on making a big confession (maybe a general confession, or just one of those good confessions—BTW, if you're one of those who make reparations to the immaculate heart, its this week, so it would be a good time for a good confession this Saturday) one should consider listening to him. And its not like he is devoid of mercy or is lying—I think the world would benefit from more priests like him (but not every priest, of course).

Anyway, yes, don't despair.
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#13
RF: in no way was my last post directed toward you. I should have been clearer about that.
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#14
Thank you for the replies! :) I think maybe Fr Relyae meant about lack of repentance/amendment, and my priest meant that interpretation where you only get a few tries and that's it even if you're repentant. (My priest said that view is incorrect). If its linked to lack of repentance that's different though I guess yes?

Do I understand correctly that amendment is wanting to change your life and not do the sin anymore?

This is one of those topics that could really confuse a scrupulous person I think. That's why I usually read more comforting devotional books. Preaching on hell and difficulty of being saved is great for those with a lax conscience but scrupulous people need to grow in confidence and trust. :)
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#15
Little Flower, for a sane, healthy, orthodox and deeply profound understanding of what being a Catholic essentially entails, I always recommend Christ the Life of the Soul by Columba Marmion.  I heard about Bl. Columba years ago from the monastery of a Benedictine monastery, but this book, in particular, was recommended to us during an SSPX retreat at Ridgefield, CT by a priest of the SSPX.

Some books can be used to heal.  In fact, there is a discipline called bibliotherapy, which involves the use of books to heal emotional ills.  Bl. Columba is one of the best forms of bibliotherapy I know for sensitive Catholics who have been battered by certain temperaments who love to flex their zeal (disregarding charity and prudence).

By the way, Bourbs, you have officially achieved mensch status.
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#16
Thank you for the recommendation! :) I've actually been trying to remember his name because one time I found an amazing book on vocations by him. I'd have to look up this one too :) I remember being edified by how he writes.

I see what you mean about some things we read especially inline being very zealous but not good for sensitive souls. I don't think that's the cause of my scruples in my particular case but it can definitely increase them. I heard that scrupulous people should also avoid certain books even though they are great books, but they would only cause more fear. Manuals on moral theology for priests being one of them :D
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#17
I would think there's a difference between someone who habitually sins, but can't stop themselves vs. someone who habitually sins but just does so out of sheer desire.

For many people their vices become such strong desires that they find it practically impossible to stop even if they want to. It takes a ton of work. One such example is masturbation and pornography. They become like drugs to the person where even if they don't want it, they still end up giving in for that hit. Such a person may go to confession every week to confess this sin, but they would probably be truly repentant. Now, maybe that person isn't doing enough to overcome their sin... however, this doesn't mean that they aren't truly repentant.

On the other hand, we can take same sin and maybe the person confesses it each week, but has no desire to stop. We also hear the jokes about people who say they go out and sin on Friday and then go to confession on Saturday. They go out, get drunk, do drugs, fornicate, and whatever else. Then they go to confession on Saturday and do it all over again.  In this case, even though the person is going to confession every week, a priest could discern that such a person my not actually be repentant.

I think this is the case that is being made. However, even in the first case, a priest can in theory come to the belief that the person isn't truly repentant. The person just keeps confessing the same sin week after week with no change. In this case, the priest can theoretically withhold absolution until the penitent proves in some way that they are actually making an effort to rid themselves of the sin. Of course someone who goes to a different priest every week probably wouldn't run into such a situation.
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#18
That makes sense! Of course there is weakness for sure too. Let's say someone resolves to stop a sin each time but then keeps falling again and again.

So then it depends on the desire at the time of Confession? Like if you intended to stop during Confession but later on sinned again or even got attached to a sin again, they'd need to repent once again but their previous repentance was valid yes? I mean - is repentance that doesn't last long still repentance, at the time? The person would need to seriously work on staying repentant but just hypothetically speaking. Let's say they really intend to amend their life.
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#19
(04-27-2015, 02:37 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: I read a quote a while ago about there being a 'maximum' number of sins you can commit. I thought its probably to do with unrepenrance and a persons heart getting hardened towards God through repeated unrepented mortal sins... I believe God always forgives if we are sorry. Then I heard that in one of his talks Fr Isaac Relyae said that habitual sins can only be confessed three times then its invalid or something along those lines. I didn't actually listen to the talk, someone told me about this... Did he actually say this? How did he mean it? I was skeptical he meant it like that... Anyway I asked my FSSP priest and he said this is incorrect and God forgives as long as we are sorry. Which is what I was taught. But I don't understand where is this idea from? Why did Fr Relyae say this, IF he did? Did he even say it? I was glad my priest told me its not like that but why do some people think so? Thank you!

There is a serious, SERIOUS problem with Jansenism in the trad movement today.  Maybe it's time for Pope Francis to bring down the hammer on the semi-Jansenist heresy.
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#20
Yes, Little Flower.  "The just man falls seven times a day." 

The "matter" of the sacrament of penance requires "firm purpose of amendment."  That means you want and intend to stop.  For most people, with certain besetting sins, it will turn out to be a process.  That does not mean they were insincere when they confessed.  It means they are human, subject to the human condition, even with grace.
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