(To SBCA Yr.

4 students: you must have a hard copy of this handout as one of the sources of our lesson on the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. Other parts of these copies are supplemental readings but focus on what we discuss in the class or to be pointed as reviewer.) THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE. THE MEANING OF SIN AND CONVERSION; THE VIRTUE OF PENANCE AS A DYNAMIC FORCE IN CHRISTIAN LIFE; THE NATURE OF THE SACRAMENT, AND ITS ADMINISTRATION TODAY. I. THE MEANING OF SIN: A. In Revelation 1. In the Old Testament – in general, the offense against God is presented as an ingratitude to God, injustice and unfaithfulness to the alliance with God. Hence an affirmation of sin implies a call to repentance and to conversion. CHARACTERISTICS: a) More collective rather than personal in nature; due to the fact that God had his alliance with the nation of Israel than an individual, a transgression of which necessarily reflects on the Jewish nation. b) Sin is the cause of physical evil; moral evil; the cause for physical evil. c) Sin is an external offense: The strict observance of the law is to fulfill all the pre-requisites of salvation; hence, any non-observance would mean a transgression of that alliance: this constitute a sin. d) The OT essential notions of sin: On the supernatural level, sin is a refusal of God; in the natural level; it is the perversion of man. 2. In the New Testament: a) Sin is an internal offense (against God) – as contrasted to the old pharisaical conscience. b) sin is an obstacle to salvation c) sin is a betrayal of God’s love d) But can be forgiven by the mercy of God 3. In St. Paul a) The universality of sin the first one to describe our condition as sinner; also the existence of original sin. b) The social character of sin: “we are one body, one baptism, one faith,” “we all parts of one Body”. c) The victory of Christ over sin: “we all need to believe in his victory over sin” (Rom 10:9) the death of Christ destroys sin Note: for St. Paul sin is slavery

4. In St. John a) Sin is darkness (the refusal of the commandment of love is to live in darkness) and death (sin is death, redemption is life) b) Sin is an obstacle to salvation. Sin is the refusal of the great commandment of love; sin is unbelief c) Christ is the savior who came to take away the sins of the world. B. St. Augustine: 1. Sin is a “disordered love”; it is the corruption of the soul. 2. Ontologically – a rupture of love Psychologically – the anguish of man Theologically – disordered love C. Vatican II 1. Of the 16 documents of the Vatican II, 12 at least mentioned sin, notably among which are Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium. 2. Sin in the Church: Sin is not merely a personal offense against God; it also possesses communitarian dimensions (LG, 11). The sinner remains in the Church, but is on the way to damnation. (LG, 14) 3. Sin in Man – the dignity of man and the indignity of sin (GS, 13); Sin debases man and impedes him to attain his own fullness (GS, 13b); in favor of social dimension of justice and charity, it speaks against individualistic ethics (GS, 30). One of the great errors of our times is the divorce between faith and daily life (GS, 43). II. THE THEOLOGY OF SIN A. Theological Considerations The theology of St. Thomas is still considered as the basis for a catholic theology of Sin (cf. S.T. I-II, q. 81, ea. 1-6). Art. 1 gives the difference of vice and virtue; art. 2 explains how virtue is “secundum naturam hominis”, and vice as “contra naturam hominis”. Art. 6 speaks of sin simply as “actus humanus malus” (humanus because it is a voluntary act and malus because it is without due order.). The definition of sin is analogous,in the sense that it applies to grave sin, that is, sin which is committed over grave matter, with the advertence of the intellect and the perfect consent of the free will. The Church Magisterium teaches the essential difference of mortal sin and venial sin (St. Thomas has this distinction of sin in I-II q. 72 aa I to 9.

The consequences of sin: 1. Metaphysically, the diminution or the breaking of the order of man and its nature 2. Theologically, a disunity between the body and the soul, man and God (the nonfollowing of the hierarchical values in the body than the soul 3. Morally, sin is imputable to man’s free choice, it causes unhappiness because of the absence of God in man, since there is that urge to attain the Ultimate End; a rupture in sin causes anguish, slavery, passion and spiritual death. 4. Psychologically, it is rooted in ignorance, concupiscence and desolation in the absence of God.

B. Two elements of sins: 1. The aversion from God (Against the law of God or any established order of law) 2. The inordinate conversion to creatures

C. Kinds of sin 1. By reason of cause: a) Original Sin – inherited from our first parents; perfectly voluntary. b) Personal Sin – totally voluntary 2. By reason of the effect: a) Mortal – three conditions are (1) grievous matter (2) full knowledge (3) full consent. It is mortal because it causes death (a total break from the God-man relationship) b) Venial – only a turning away from God (as distinguished from total aversion), they weaken our resistance to sin and induce us to commit bigger sins. 3. By reason of the mode of action a) Commission (i.e.) by the performance of an act b) Omission (i.e.) the non-performance of an act.

D. Distinction of Sins 1. Species – moral theological (either mortal or venial)

2. Vices – as opposed to the different virtues 3. Number – there are as many sins as there are moral objects E. Comparisons of Sins Spiritual sins are of greater guilt than carnal sins. 1. On the part of the subject a) Spiritual sins belong to the spirit b) Carnal sins are consummated in the carnal pleasure of the appetite (spiritual sins - turning away from; carnal – turning to) 2. person against whom the sin is committed a) spiritual sin - God and neighbor b) carnal – sinner’s own body 3. Motives: stronger impulse, less grievous sin a) Spiritual sin – less impulse b) Carnal sin – stronger impulse F. Subject of Sins The will is immediately and generally the only seat or subject of sin. The will is the power which is the principle of the act. Now since it is proper to moral acts that they be voluntary, and since the seat of voluntariness is the will, then the seat of or principle of good acts and evil acts, sin is the will. G. Causes of Sin (cf. Thesis 40, pp.8-9) 1. Internal cause - ignorance, passion, malice 2. External – man, devil

III. THE MEANING OF CONVERSION A. Theological Considerations Faith opens our hearts to the call of God in Christ, a revelation of God’s loving intention for us; ipso facto once we become aware of this we also become aware of our state of alienation and of the need for a radical change. How? We have to relinquish our old ways, to lay off the old man, and to follow Christ, to put on the new man, in order to enter the kingdom of God. This conversion involves two things: 1) Terminus ad Quem – Man’s calling to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not a utopia which will never come; it is the establishment and the gradual acceptance of God’s rule – the saving love manifest in Christ and the Church to which He sent His Spirit. Those who belong to Christ, the Truth, the Way and the Life, belong to the New Order, but can still lose it. 2) Terminus ad Quo – Man’s alienation from God. Man’s situation of being without God is tragic, because he is aware of it as something wrong but gives him the feeling of guilt and the desire to straighten out, yet he is powerless in himself, then he becomes implicated in the affairs of this world, contributing to his mistakes, incurring personal guilt in as much as he fails in the exercise of his freedom. This can only be resolved by the gratuitous grace extended or given by God to give the necessary impulse for him to repent, to change his ways and ultimately be forgiven, thus attaining salvation. B. Repentance in the Old Testament Repentance in the Old Testament implies a change of heart thus, conversion. This is expressed in Isaiah 1:16-17: “Take your wrongdoing out of my sight, cease to do evil, learn to do good.” And in Amos 5:14: “Seek good and not evil, so that you may live, and that Yahweh, God of Sabaoth, as you claim he is; hate evil and love good.” The nature and manner of this conversion depends on:

1) The religious ideal envisaged 2) The manner in and the measure to which one is removed from that ideal C. Repentance in the New Testament The coming of God’s Kingdom calls for a change of heart (metanoia) which affects man’s moral attitude and behavior. It implies man’s turning from his wrong former path and striking out towards a different direction – that of the opposite. Conversion, therefore, implies the turning away from his sins, totally in his attitude as well as his actions, and a resolute turning towards God (repentance) and atonement for the sins committed (penance) D. The Virtue of Penance as a Dynamic Force in Christian Life 1. The virtue of penance is determined by man’s sinful past which is contrary to his divine calling to divine sonship, image of God, member in the divine Kingdom of God and in the Mystical Body. The virtue of penance is fully realized in Christianity because of the Incarnation and Redemption which reveal the true nature of sin and of man’s vocation. 2. The Christian concept of penance is dynamic; penance represents a dynamic force, radical in nature, to renounce sin (the negative phase) and the turning towards God (the positive phase). 3. For the Christian the virtue of penance is an inner change of heart and a disposition founded in the fear of the Lord, for having offended him, inspired by hope in God’s promise of forgiveness and adoption. 4. This is also dynamic since the tension between the gradual conversion and the radical aversion away from God is an occurrence that permeates a Christian’s daily life. This is further proven by the very fact that man is on a pilgrimage here on earth. Thus, the Christian’s unwillingness to be reconciled with God whenever he sins or betrays God, shows the very dynamism of the virtue of penance. E. The Nature of Penance The word “penance” is used by theologians in three different ways: 1) For the moral virtue of penance 2) For the sacrament of penance; and 3) For the part of penance which is also known as satisfaction

1. The Virtue of Penance Definition: The virtue of Penance is a supernatural habit infused by God whereby man readily includes both (1) to sorrow for sins in as much as they offend God and (2) to a firm purpose of amendment. a) It is a supernatural virtue because to grief over one’s sins or the commission of it with one’s natural powers and for purely natural reasons is not a perfect virtue nor is it able to remove the stain of sin. b) The grief over one’s sins can only be a virtue when sin is hated precisely because it is an offense against God; not every form of sorrow for sin is a virtue of penance. c) Since true sorrow is accompanied by a firm purpose of amendment, it follows that the three elicited acts of this virtue are: (1) sorrow for sins committed (2) detestation of sin and (3) the resolution not to sin again. • Proximate subject of the virtue of penance; the will, hence, the faithful is not to be worried if he does not have the sensible feeling of sorrow for sin. Remote subject of the virtue – any man guilty of sin or at least capable of sin. Material object – any personal sin (not original sin) Formal object – the offense against God must be expiated or the injured rights f God for which reparation must be made through satisfaction.

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The virtue of penance is a NECESSARY MEANS OF SALVATION for all sinners and is also commanded. (note the necessity of means and the necessity of precept. The Council of Trent says, “Penance has been necessary at all times for all men who have stained themselves with mortal sin, in order to attain grace and justification”: Christ said, “you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent” (Lk 13:5). Ecclesiastical law also commands the virtue of Penance by enjoining confession at least once a year. Theologians do not agree as to the time when the precept of penance is an obligation, but the general admission is as follows: