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« A new day to celebrate our identity as a nation? | Main | Is this paranoia? »


paul Litterick

Those pesky secularists; does your tradition give you the right to make sweeping assumptions about people based on no evidence?

I would not rely on Fox for facts. I will read the article in L'Espresso before I comment further.

paul Litterick

It is no wonder the Vatican does not like this article. The Priests gave advice which was humane and thoughtful but which contradicts the Dogma of the Church. It is a credit to them that they are prepared to help people, rather than condemning them as the Church demands. In case you are wondering, the reporter does not reveal their identies


It would have to be a secularist - no practising Catholic would dare.

But, sacrilege aside, the article does point to a number of problems with the advice that priests are giving out. Wrong advice can have devastating consequences.

paul Litterick

You have not lived in Italy, have you? Practising Catholics do all sorts of things of which the Vactican would not approve. Far from being wrong, the advice given in these cases seems very sensible. At least it doesn't involve eternal damnation and lashings of guilt.


No, I've not lived in Italy.

But, I do know a number of Catholics that don't follow their faith and it's one thing to do something of which the Church would not approve, and it's another to go into a confessional and lie. In effect, you would be lying directly to God through his representative and committing a grave sacrilege. Only someone who did not believe in confession and it's power and purpose could do that.


I would like to highlight this statement of yours Andrei;

''The priest is viewed not as a judge, but as a physician and guide. It is an ancient Orthodox practice for every Christian to have a spiritual father to whom one turns for spiritual advice and counsel''.

How do you reconcile it with what Jesus said in Matt.23 v9 ''Do not call anyone on earth your father;for One is your Father,He who is in Heaven''.

Or do you place the ''traditions of men''above the Scriptures?

John Boy

Its a non event really. Forgiveness doesn't come from the mouth of a priest and the Catholic opinions on practical things are just their opinions. Practical is saying you shouldn't do it but its your choice so if you do be careful. Advice contradicting a Church position but not endorsing the act seems sensible advice. Whose mother / father never said, "If you do that don't come crying to me later".


Towaka, do you not call your own Dad, Father?


Towaka, oh, btw, you appear to be taking the verse out of context.


Jesus is obviously not talking about one`s biological father,that is an absurd notion.

As for the context;This chapter in Matthew Jesus is berating the Pharisees for being hypocrites and in verses 8,9 and 10 there is a clear warning not to follow priestly conduits between man and God.

Most religious systems have this characteristic i.e. a ruling priest-hood between man and God but NT teaching is clear that there is free access for all to God.This being symbolised in the curtain being torn in the front of the ''Holy of Holies'' when Jesus died on the cross.


Great comments Towaka.
Also the scripture which says there is NO mediator
bwtween God and man other than Christ Jesus.

And...praying to dead people is called necromancy,
which is an abonomination.



Doesn't it seem strange to you that Jesus, who gave the authority to his apostles to forgive sins, would also be warning people about those very same apostles? Did Jesus make a mistake, or did you?


Could you please provide chapter and verse to back up your claim that the Apostles were given authority to forgive sins.

I think that you will find that it is only Jesus who has this authority,that is if you are using the Bible as your guide!


See Matt. 9:8 where the authority to forgive sins "was given to men." See also John 20:21-23 where the Lord, after the Resurrection, breathes on the apostles and says "whose sins you forgive are forgiven; whose sins you retain are retained." Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive sins.


I think we need to get our terminology right otherwise we are talking at cross purposes.

The Apostles (and us)can forgive sins i.e. people who have sinned against us,with Jesus saying when asked how often we should forgive being ''seventy times seven''.The verse in John you gave fits into this category.

Now what I meant was ''propitiation'' of sins which only Jesus can do.Remember the Bible says that without the ''shedding of blood there will be no remission of sins''

So what are you saying,that the Apostles somehow could absolve sins without this shedding of blood.Or that the priests in there confessional can make propitiation on our behalf also without the shedding of blood?

I think that you will find the NT teaching clear on this subject,every person is responsible for there own sins and that the transaction is between each individual and God ultimately.

The thought of a human entity being the go-between and saying ''your sins are forgiven you''is the ultimate hubris!


If I may wade in here as a Protestant who understands the points both of you are making.

Towaka I think we would all agree that human sin was paid for in the first instance by the shedding of Christ's blood on the cross.

Having re-read the Johannine passages, I'm afraid I'm with Lucyna that it is more likely to refer to the wider issue of forgiving the sins of the flock, than just the personal kind.

This kind of forgiveness is preached in the Epistles if memory serves me correctly. After all, a brother with an alcohol problem who gets drunk is not really sinning against me, but against himself and God, yet if there is genuine repentance and willingness to accept help I'm confident the Bible empowers us to - in prayer and with due deference to our Lord, forgive the brother his sin.

Paul in 2 Cor 2:5-10 covers an exact situation where Paul forgives "with Christ's authority" a man whom he had probably never met.

On my reading of the great commission, Jesus empowered all Christians to go forth in his name and do the things he had done to usher in the Kingdom of God.

Where I think the Catholic Church lost focus early on was an over reliance on the passages regarding Peter the rock, and the one at issue above, to build a formal structure that in some ways distances its parishioners from that personal relationship Christ offers.

The "Church" has come a long way from the days of a Latin mass read to a congregation who didn't really understand a word of it...nowdays Catholics are encouraged to read their Bibles and I am aware of many Catholics who are born again and just as Christian as any other. Likewise I know of Catholics and High Anglicans trapped in the ritual who have never found that personal relationship with Christ, never been born again.

But that, again, is a problem affecting many churches, not just one denomination.


I think that you are confusing the issue.The NT is very clear that there is only one name under heaven which one can be saved and that being Jesus.With one only having to believe in the atoning power of Jesus`s death on the cross to receive salvation.

This is different than the principle of forgiveness,which is best summed up in the Lords Prayer:''And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors''.

The trouble is that religious organisations including The Vatican,the Orthodox,High Anglicans etc dilute the simplicity of the gospel with there ''traditions of men''.Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees for exactly this.

As far as I know the Catholic church still teaches that for one to be saved one needs the ''sacraments''of the ''Church'' with this being confirmed at the Vatican 2 Council.



The verse in John comes after Jesus rose from the dead, after He shed His blood to save us from sin. There you have the requirement for blood to be shed fulfilled. His was the ultimate sacrifice that never needs to be repeated.

Jesus says to his Apostles "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."

Then He breathes on them and says "Receive the Holy Spirit." And then says that not only do they have the power to forgive sins, but also the power to retain sins.

I'm struggling to understand why you think that Jesus did not pass on any supernatural power to the Apostles at this point, given what He said and did.

"As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."



The Apostles were sent out to share the Gospel(good news) which directs people to Christ`s dying on the cross on our behalf.It was Christ who died on our behalf,not one of the Apostles or a priest!

So how could one of the Apostles save you from your sin?


Towaka, I don't disagree with anything you just said. But your question confuses me. We've gone from the ability to "forgive sin" to asking me how one of the Apostles could "save me from sin". I never said anything about the Apostles being given that power.

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