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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Forgiving Always (Modernism Part 71)

April 7, 2024

Today’s gospel:

John 20:19-31

 

    

      Pope Francis tells priests not to ask too much during confessions, and instructs them to forgive always and everything. He tells priests to put in their mind and heart that God never tires of forgiving. Indeed God is merciful and forgiving, but He grants forgiveness to those who are repentant of their sin. “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” (Acts 3:19).     What did Jesus teach? When he appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he told them, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (v.23). So priests are able to forgive sins, but they also may withhold forgiveness from sin. Forgiveness may be withheld if there is clearly no repentance. They are not to forgive always and everything.     Take for example President Biden of the USA, who is a staunch pro-abort, who marshals all Federal resources to push abortion. He claims to be a devout Catholic and receives Holy Communion. If he were to confess his support and enabling of abortion, the priest may give him absolution. But he is supposed to sin no more. If he continues to support abortion, then it becomes clear that there is no true repentance, and so forgiveness can be withheld. This actually is for the good of his soul. If forgiveness is given every time, then there will be no change, and his soul is imperiled.      Pope Francis tells priests not to ask too much during confession. But this is how the priest is able to discern true repentance, and enables the priest to guide the penitent so that he would then avoid sin. This is how the priest acts as a true pastor, and not just an automatic dispenser of God’s forgiveness.

 

      Recently, Pope Francis extolled the Franciscans as good confessors, as they have a reputation for forgiving everything. He said to always forgive is part of their mission to repair the Church. Well, to have the heart of God for forgiveness is good, but to always forgive everything does not make a good confessor. Again, unrepentant sin is not to be forgiven. A good confessor goes beyond just listening to the words of confession, but tries to probe the penitent’s heart, in order to guide him to true repentance and righteousness.      And to always forgive does not help repair the Church, but to further weaken her. The Church is made up of God’s holy people. They are sinful, but they can attain to holiness. This is by repentance of sin and doing the will of God. If people persist in sin, especially as they receive forgiveness in confession, they become weak Christians that weaken the body of which they are a part.

 

     How about us? Are we not to forgive as God has forgiven us, not just 7 times but 77 times? Yes. God forgives us our sins, and we forgive those who sin against us. But what we forgive are offenses against us. What the priest is supposed to forgive in confession are offenses against God. If someone blasphemes God, we do not say we forgive him, as his sin is against God, not us. But the priest stands in God’s place, extending the forgiveness of God. He should not take lightly a grave offense against God.

 

     It is modernist thought to forgive always and everything, even irrespective of true repentance and resolve not to sin anymore. It is looking to the well-being of man, ridding him of the burden of sin, but transgressing the very righteousness of God. And it is not in fact helpful to the sinner, if he remains in his sin while being comfortable in having received forgiveness in confession.

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