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Confession, Absolution and Communion

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  • Babu Thomas, Chennai
    The discussion over confession, absolution and communion is quite interesting, opening up lots of contradictory thoughts in many. However, once we understand
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 22, 2002
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      The discussion over confession, absolution and communion is quite interesting,
      opening up lots of contradictory thoughts in many. However, once we understand
      the basics of these "three" practices within the church, I am sure most of our
      doubts can be cleared.

      We indeed have a long tradition of finding "short-cuts" to solve our immediate
      problems. Short-cuts are not sustainable and tend to drive us more into
      finding more short-cuts. Confession and absolution is not only the medium for
      repentance and reward for confessing the sins committed knowingly or
      unknowingly. It is a part of a "psychosocial intervention" which the church
      designed for a quality life through a spiritual medium for harmony within
      oneself. And communion comes as the climax for the intervention to be at peace
      within oneself. I have not been told until now by any of our priests nor
      teachers the significance of confession, except that it is a medium to cleanse
      ourselves of our sins and reconcile with God, with a probable warning that it
      is necessary for an eternal life beyond . But I am sure there are more to it
      than what is literally said about it.

      The practice of confession, absolution and communion should not be disregarded
      nor be changed from its present form. Because, it is an inbuilt insulation for
      the members to react positively and to lead a quality life. Because, it is one
      of the strengths of our Church. It is a visible indication as to how holistic
      our church is. Confession, absolution and communion not only gives us the
      spiritual back-up required, but also contributes to maintain a healthy mental
      status for each of us. It is a common practice these days to go to a
      counsellor when we are mentally confused. On psychological terms, confession,
      absolution and communion are nothing more than sessions with a psychologist or
      a counsellor. But we require certain refinements in the approach. The priest
      should be a true counsellor (qualified). The clients (we) should know what it
      is all about, more than just the impression that the process is to get our sins
      absolved. The advantage here is that we get both, a spiritual back-up as well
      as a clear mind to react positively. However, adaptations could be designed
      without upsetting the primary theme.

      Babu Thomas, Chennai
    • Dn. George Mathew
      This is in response to Fr. Eapen s (Mysore)comments. Here are some of my ideas for discussion. Ref: Digest 406. Interesting ideas Achen has raised. But, is
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 23, 2002
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        This is in response to Fr. Eapen's (Mysore)comments.
        Here are some of my ideas for discussion. Ref: Digest 406.

        Interesting ideas Achen has raised. But, is the
        Church for the people, or the people for the church?
        Is the church supposed to give up its ideals and
        traditions for the sake of the people? I don't think
        so. The church is supposed to teach the people about
        sin and its destructive force. Part of the
        authenticity of our church is the fact that we hold on
        strongly to our faith ("orthodox" - the true faith)
        and traditions. Jesus Christ did not waiver on issues
        where the people tried to trick Him into blasphemy;
        rather, He quoted the Scriptures and asked people to
        follow it. Instead of looking for ways to ease the
        restrictions, I think we need to find ways to improve
        understanding and comprehension to get participation.

        The idea of confession before Holy Qurbana is
        important. Many only take part in this important
        sacrament once per year. It's a shame. Holy
        Confession has a number of benefits, including
        forgiveness of sins (and the associated guilt),
        psycological help, true life analysis, etc. Our
        church does allow the receipt of Holy Qurbana with
        just the statement of Absolution. I think this is the
        point Mundukuzhy Achen was getting at. We cannot
        approach the "living coal-fire" without preparation
        and forgiveness.

        If any achen is giving Holy Qurbana without the
        minimum Absolution prayer, then I feel it is not
        right. We are then reducing Holy Qurbana to something
        as simple as eating a piece of fruit. Just walk up,
        open your mouth, and partake. No, there needs to be
        proper preparation. A student doesn't just show up
        for an examination. He studies and prepares for the
        exam. What would happen if he showed up without
        attending any class or studying? Most likely,
        failure. Similarly, we cannot approach the altar of
        God and partake of His feast without proper inspection
        of our lives. I consider it to be a sin.

        Prayerfully,
        Dn. George Mathew
        Baltimore, MD
      • Babu Thomas, Chennai
        This continuous and interesting discussion prompts me to write again some of my thoughts. We have to realise certain interesting features when we discuss and
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 27, 2002
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          This continuous and interesting discussion prompts me to write again some of my
          thoughts. We have to realise certain interesting features when we discuss and
          study about topics like confession, absolution and communion.

          During Christ's mission, he broke many of the traditions and social practices
          of the time to spread his message. The word-of-God was the old testament those
          days. Now the word-of-God for us is the new and old testament. Christ spoke
          and corrected many of the misinterpretations of the old testament. That was
          necessary for the reformation he was preaching. It gives a meaning that Christ
          realised the Holy Bible was indeed a dynamic source of word-of-God, which
          necessitated re-interpretations as the world changed and progressed.

          In the same way, I feel that the new testament too can be subjected to
          re-interpretations as the world change and progress. This is where the
          word-of-God or the Bible is made more dynamic in its presentation. What has
          gone wrong these days probably would be our insistence on sticking on to every
          word of the Bible as it is. Meaningful interpretations are required to make it
          more logical. Christ was a very logical and practical preacher and social
          worker. Therefore, the meaning for confession, absolution and communion is
          also subject to revision of thoughts and understanding. We have to grow out of
          the cocoon we are living in at the moment to make the sacraments more
          meaningful for us and for the others. The church leadership should take the
          initiatives for continuous dialogue over these issues with the active
          participation of the younger generation. The present initiative is only
          confined to ascertain what is there, but not to develop over what we have.

          Babu Thomas / Chennai
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