Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Confessional. Part 16.

Theory and practice of the confessional by Caspar Erich Schieler, Richard Frederick Clarke

We have viewed our subject with respect to the validity of the Sacrament. Let us see how in practice a general accusation may be made, and how far such general accusations are valid and permissible matter for absolution.

1. A penitent may accuse himself thus: "I have sinned and I accuse myself of the sins of my whole life," and if the confessor has no other knowledge of these sins, such an accusation is general in the widest sense; to this class belongs also an accusation conveyed by an expression of sorrow without any explicit avowal of sin.

2. A more particular but still general accusation is: "I accuse myself of all the mortal sins which I have committed."

3. Yet more precise is the accusation: "I accuse myself of all the lies I have told, or of all the sins I have committed against purity, or justice, or this or that particular virtue," thus pointing out the virtue or the command against which he has sinned, but without giving the ultimate specific character (infirm species) of the sin.

4. Finally, the penitent may declare the ultimate species (infirm species) of the sin without determining the precise act and without the specific circumstances and their number; e.g. I accuse myself of all profanations of the name of God, of all sinful looks dangerous to purity, of all deception in my dealings with my neighbor, etc.