Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Confessional. Part 56.

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

The purpose of amendment, then, is fixed and efficacious when a man is determined really to carry out what he has proposed, though he may afterwards fail through fear of an obstacle or in the stress of temptation; this happens often enough even in the case of those who are aiming at Christian perfection. Hence, for valid reception of the Sacrament, the purpose of amendment is sufficiently efficacious if it keep a man from sin during the time that his resolution lasts.

In order to be reasonably free from misgivings with regard to his resolution, the penitent should be morally certain that he desires to avoid sin at any cost for the rest of his life, despite all grounds he may have for believing that his resolution may become weak in course of time.

Finally, the resolution must be universal, i.e. it must extend to all mortal sins at least, not only those which have been committed, but also those which are possible. Here lies the distinction between the universality of the contrition and that of the purpose of amendment; for while the sorrow is universal which includes all the sins that have been committed, the resolution, in order to be valid, must embrace all possible mortal sins. If there remained but a single mortal sin which the penitent was unwilling to shun, his resolution would be vain and useless even with regard to his other sins, because it could not be founded on a universal motive, such as hatred of sin considered in the light of an offence against God. A resolution which is based on this motive extends to all mortal sins without reserve, because they are all an offence against God; and if but one be excepted, such a motive could not have influenced the purpose of amendment, which in consequence cannot be real and genuine.