question on contrition
Let's say a person really wants Confession but is dying without Confession because there is no priest. Do they still need perfect contrition to have their sins forgiven? Do people generally *probably* get perfect contrition in such a case? (as far as we know... of course the judgement is up to God!). Any thoughts on the Church teaching? :)
An act of perfect contrition in this case can be a substitute for sacramental confession.
What I'm wondering is what if they don't have perfect contrition but can't go to Confession, though they want to?
(05-02-2015, 11:53 PM)little_flower10 Wrote: What I'm wondering is what if they don't have perfect contrition but can't go to Confession, though they want to?

The good news is that making an act of perfect contrition is not difficult, if you are inclined to spend the time perhaps you might listen to Chapter 2-3 on this Audiobook that covers perfect contrition, it provides numerous examples of how to make a perfect act of contrition (in fact many Catholics make perfect acts of contrition throughout the day and may not even realize it).  If a person found themselves in a situation where they were dying and they thought they lacked perfect contrition, then I would pray that I be given the grace of perfect contrition and then start repeating the various acts of perfect contrition, the author provides different tips.

Most unfortunately though if a person where to die without the benefit of confession and without perfect contrition they would die in the guilt of their sins, but will God ever ignore a prayer made asking Him to grant the grace to despise one's sins for the Love of Him and to be filled with true repentance?  If their was ever an intention that was efficacious in and of itself, it would seem to me that such a prayer would not go unanswered.

"Ask and you shall receive."  God infallibly grants to us anything we ask in prayer if it is conducive to our salvation. God desires our salvation--He is not playing a game of gotcha striking a penitent person down on the way to confession.  If you ask for forgiveness, God will therefore either grant you the grace of perfect contrition or ensure that you get to confession. I believe, if you die on the way to confession, it either means you didn't need sacramental reconciliation or you were impenitent.

St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote a whole book that is basically about how God grants us anything we ask if it will lead to our salvation.  Here is an excerpt:
St. Alphonsus Liguori Wrote:And, in fine, St. Chrysostom says, "No man has with sorrow asked favours from Him, without obtaining what he wished." No sinner has ever with penitence prayed to God, without having his desires granted. But why should we cite more authorities, and give more reasons, to demonstrate this point, when Our Lord Himself says, "Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you." [Matt. 11: 28] The "burdened," according to Saints Augustine, Jerome, and others, are sinners in general, who groan under the load of their sins; and who, if they have recourse to God, will surely, according to His promise, be refreshed and saved by His grace.

Ah, we cannot desire to be pardoned as much as He longs to pardon us. "Thou dost not," says St. Chrysostom, "so much desire thy sins to be forgiven, as He desires to forgive thy sins." There is no grace, he goes on to say, that is not obtained by prayer, though it be the prayer of the most abandoned sinner, provided only it be persevering: "There is nothing which prayer cannot obtain, though a man be guilty of a thousand sins, provided it be fervent and unremitting." And let us mark well the words of St. James: "If any man wanteth wisdom, let him ask of God, Who giveth to all abundantly, and upbraideth not." [James 1: 5] All those, therefore, who pray to God, are infallibly heard by Him, and receive grace in abundance: "He giveth to all abundantly." But you should particularly remark the words which follow, and "upbraideth not." This means that God does not do as men, who, when a person who has formerly done them an injury comes to ask a favour, immediately upbraid him with his offence. God does not do so to the man who prays, even though he were the greatest sinner in the world, when he asks for some grace conducive to his eternal salvation. Then He does not upbraid him with the offences he has committed; but, as though he had never displeased Him, He instantly receives him, He consoles him, He hears him, and enriches him with an abundance of His gifts.

To crown all, our Saviour, in order to encourage us to pray, says "Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it you." [John 16: 23] As though He had said, Courage, O sinners; do not despair: do not let your sins turn away from having recourse to My Father, and from hoping to be saved by Him, if you desire it. You have not now any merits to obtain the graces which you ask for, for you only deserve to be punished; still do this: go to My Father in My name, through My merits ask the favours which you want, and I promise and swear to you ["Amen, amen, I say to you," which, according to St. Augustine, is a species of oath] that whatever you ask, My Father will grant. O God, what greater comfort can a sinner have after his fall than to know for certain that all he asks from God in the name of Jesus Christ will be given to him!

I say "all" but I mean only that which has reference to his eternal salvation; for with respect to temporal goods, we have already shown that God even when asked, sometimes does not give them; because He sees that they would injure our soul. But so far as relates to spiritual goods, His promise to hear us is not conditional, but absolute; and therefore St. Augustine tells us, that those things which God promises absolutely, we should demand with absolute certainty of receiving: "Those things which God promises, seek with certainty." [Serm 354, E.B.] And how, says the Saint, can God ever deny us His graces, than we to receive them! "He is more willing to be munificent of His benefits to thee than thou art desirous to receive them." [Serm 105, E.B.]

St. Chrysostom says that the only time when God is angry with us is when we neglect to ask Him for his gifts: "He is only angry when we do not pray." And how can it ever happen that God will not hear a soul who asks Him for favours all according to His pleasure? When the soul says to Him, Lord, I ask Thee not for goods of this world,-----riches, pleasures, honours; I ask Thee only for Thy grace: deliver me from sin, grant me a good death, give me Paradise, give me Thy holy love [which is that grace which St. Francis de Sales says we should seek more than all others], give me resignation to Thy will; how is it possible that God should not hear! What petitions wilt Thou, O my God, ever hear [says St. Augustine], if Thou dost not hear those which are made after Thy Own heart? "What prayers dost Thou hear, if Thou hearest not these?" [De Civ. Dei, 1, 22 c. 8]

But, above all, our confidence ought to revive, when we pray to God for spiritual graces, as Jesus Christ says: "If you, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from Heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask Him!" [Luke 11: 15] If you, who are so attached to your own interests, so full of self-love, cannot refuse your children that which they ask, how much more will your Heavenly Father, Who loves you better than any earthly father, grant you His spiritual goods when you pray for them!

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