Friday, 27 January 2017

The Confessional. Part 68.

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

12. Lacrimabilis. The confession should be made with real sorrow. It is not necessary that it be accompanied by tears or sighs and other external signs of the kind, but it is required that there be a real sorrow and horror of sin. The internal sorrow should become sensibilis or evident by the confession so as to form materia sacramenti. The sentiment of contrition can always be roused by grace, while tears are not in our power.

13. Accelerata. The confession should be prompt; there should be no delay in making it after mortal sin has been committed. This is not of precept, but it is a counsel which should be readily followed by any one who realizes the horror of sin and its consequences.

14. Fortis. The confession should be made with great courage, all hindrances to a candid avowal of one's sins being put aside, especially false shame and the fear of losing the good esteem of the priest. It is the delight of the devil, not before, but after entrapping a soul into sin, to work upon the feeling of shame so vehemently that the penitent is tempted to conceal sins which are particularly shameful. In this case the penitent must use all his courage, and by reflecting on God's command and the awful consequences of a bad confession get the victory over this false shame. He must put into practice Tertullian's maxim, Pereat pudor, ne pereat anima.

15. Accusans. The confession should be an accusation and not a series of excuses. Thus the penitent ought to impute the sins to himself and not to other causes, temptations of the devil, the passions, natural weakness, etc., nor to the companions by whose advice or orders he has gone astray. There may be of course occasions where what is objectively a mortal sin may become only venial or perhaps no sin at all, through inculpable forgetfulness or absent-mindedness or inadvertence.

16. Parere paratus. The penitent should be disposed to obey the priest's advice and commands; hence he should be ready to adopt the means suggested for his improvement, to follow out the advice given, to avoid the occasions of sin which are pointed out to him, and to accept the penance which is imposed on him.