Isn't the penance given in Confession supposed to match the gravity of the sin?
#1
I went to confession recently and confessed what I thought was a pretty bad sin. Instead of a penance of saying the rosary every day for a week (which a friend of mine got from a visiting priest) or something like that, the priest only gave me one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. Is this normal? How can I do enough penance to get rid of the temporal punishment of my sins, when I only get a tiny penance like this?! How is this small of a penance for the good of my soul?

EDIT: I mean, I know the above gives an illustration of God's infinite mercy, but what about His justice in such a case?
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#2
(09-12-2019, 08:42 AM)Birdie Wrote: I went to confession recently and confessed what I thought was a pretty bad sin. Instead of a penance of saying the rosary every day for a week (which a friend of mine got from a visiting priest) or something like that, the priest only gave me one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be. Is this normal? How can I do enough penance to get rid of the temporal punishment of my sins, when I only get a tiny penance like this?! How is this small of a penance for the good of my soul?

My advice would be: do the penance, and then do some prayer and fasting.
Your experience is definitely not unusual.
However, I’m ignorant as to whether we’re permitted to say “Father, please give me a more significant Penance”.
If you feel what you did was gravely immoral, I would do the prescribed penance, and then on one of the next few days fast until noon or later, and then spend a solid hour or more is diligent prayer, whether it be the Rosary or other Devotions
Mind you, nothing I tell you is in any way binding. I just recognize your sentiment.
Good for you for having the charity in your heart to want to really repair the insult to God you may have caused by sinning. I think it shows a very solid Catholic conscience.
That said, also be gentle with yourself.
Perhaps another approach would be to mark down in a journal that from THAT DATE of your confession, you will all the more ardently pray for the grace to be liberated from that particular defect.
Again, I’m a layman. The advice of a priest or Spiritual Director is better.
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#3
If that's the penance the priest gave you, then that's what you need to do. Going above and beyond whatever penance you've been given is spiritual pride. Yes, many priests go way too light on layfolk with penances, but as long as we are obedient and have proper contrition for our sins, with the intention of amending our lives, then absolution is given. If you want to do reparation for sin beyond that, then do so, as lng as you aren't willfully adding it to a penance.
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#4
(09-12-2019, 09:59 AM)Augustinian Wrote: If that's the penance the priest gave you, then that's what you need to do. Going above and beyond whatever penance you've been given is spiritual pride. Yes, many priests go way too light on layfolk with penances, but as long as we are obedient and have proper contrition for our sins, with the intention of amending our lives, then absolution is given. If you want to do reparation for sin beyond that, then do so, as lng as you aren't willfully adding it to a penance.

In my opinion, the penance the priest inflicts upon the penitent should free him from all purgatorial punishment if he confessed all his sins with great sorrow and a contrite heart,
If not, which is the aim of this penance if another harsher and longer penance will be required in Purgatory once he dies?
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#5
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#6
Confessors' manuals instruct a confessor to normally give a penance which is proportioned to the sin confessed.

So for mortal sins a grave penance should be given and for venial sins, a light penance.

Traditional manuals say that a grave penance is anything that the Church can imposed under pain of grave sin : to attend Mass, to fast, to abstain, to make a good Communion, to Confess during a particular period, etc., as well things that are plenary indulgences or tied to them such as the Stations of the Cross, or 5 decades of the Rosary. Also appropriate would be an extended practice of some light penance.

Only for the most grave sins or very long habits of grave sin are more difficult things given and only if the person can handle this. For abortion, for instance, confessors are often recommended to give the penance of daily Mass for a time, daily Rosaries or a mandatory retreat.

There are exceptions to this rule. For instance if a priest things a penitent cannot do the penance he can lessen it. I know some priests who take some of their penitents penances on themselves in these cases. If the priest fears that the person is delicate and will be turned away from confession by a harsh penance, he should lessen it, etc.

There's also the generic advice that a priest should be a lion in the pulpit and a lamb in the confessional. What is important is that people are sorry and confess, not that the penance must be a full repayment for the sin. It cannot be. Too harsh, and people will omit the penance, or worse, will not confess again out of fear.

It is ideal if there is some penance which can correspond to the sin. So for instance, I know a priest who systematically gives those who have made bad communions the penance of making a good Communion in reparation for that bad Communion.
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#7
To be quite honest, I generally like a tough physical penance like fasting or, what one FSSP priest once gave me, was praying a decade of the rosary kneeling on the wooden floor of the Church (he said I couldn't use the kneeler). I like feeling the penance at times.

However, I have visited other parishes for confession, and sometimes have received the most reflective guidance from what I at first glance judged to be more "liberal" priests or parishes.

What I never like is the "do something nice for someone" penances.
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#8
(09-12-2019, 05:12 PM)maso Wrote:
(09-12-2019, 09:59 AM)Augustinian Wrote: If that's the penance the priest gave you, then that's what you need to do. Going above and beyond whatever penance you've been given is spiritual pride. Yes, many priests go way too light on layfolk with penances, but as long as we are obedient and have proper contrition for our sins, with the intention of amending our lives, then absolution is given. If you want to do reparation for sin beyond that, then do so, as lng as you aren't willfully adding it to a penance.

In my opinion, the penance the priest inflicts upon the penitent should free him from all purgatorial punishment if he confessed all his sins with great sorrow and a contrite heart,
If not, which is the aim of this penance if another harsher and longer penance will be required in Purgatory once he dies?

That happens if the priest assigns something relatively light, and it is done perfectly.

To make a Communion in perfect Charity, we know, is sufficient to be the equivalent of a plenary indulgence. So is the Rosary said in a group. So is the Way of the Cross. So is the visit to a Church on the day of its consecration, or a shrine on certain days. So is 30 minutes of Adoration or Scripture or Spiritual reading.

And since we don't have infinite purgatory, then what about partial indulgences. To nearly any supernaturally good action is attached a partial indulgence. Since we can never know what quantity of expiation in purgatory we need to do, we can never know if a penance is sufficient. Perhaps just a Hail Mary said well is enough to remit it all? Depends on how weell that Hail Mary is said.

It's fine to have said opinion, but it's simply an impossible one to execute. It's a great idea, but impossible to put into practice : i.e. idealistic/utopian.
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