Poll

Do you (if you are laity - state what your church does - and if you avail)

Offer it scheduled consistently
Announce it is available by appointment - and it is regularly taken up
Offer it by appt, but it is not ever used
Don't offer it
Private what?
Offerend and rarely used (as opposed to not used)

Author Topic: Private C&A  (Read 11183 times)

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #105 on: February 26, 2011, 11:04:56 AM »
George,

Why not ask those who have experienced it, if they found it to be a terrifying, negative experience?  To me, it is anything but.  A great joyous freeing experience - leaves me dripping wet in baptismal grace - and usually laughing and smiling from ear to ear.  Is the confession humiliating?  Of course!  But that in itself ends up being a great joy and suddenly you're inside:  "whoever humbles himself will be exalted." 

Lutheran confession was significantly different from Roman Confession, of course, for it removed the required listing of all sins since the last confession, and focused the experience chiefly upon the absolution itself.  

I have talked at length about Private Confession with Roman Catholic friends. Very, very few of them ever had anything positive to say about it. It wasn't just the need to compile a laundry list of sins that they mentioned.

I don't doubt that a Lutheran clergyman who is an evangelical catholic at heart would have a different perspective on private confession, a perspective shaped by his unique call, years of seminary training, and experience as a pastor than would an ordinary Lutheran pewsitter. Would you not agree that an individuals background, education, and related experiences wouldn't shape his perspectives on this issue? Or that those of us whose experiences are very, very different from yours might not see things differently?

Again George responds in a most sincere manner and engages in faithful way his life long undertanding of PC&A.
For the record so as not to confuse or misinform, the venial sins/purgatory and mortal sins/hell was offered as an mis-illustration of what is accomplished in corporate over private confession and absolution.

When discussing the overall perception of the majority of Lutheran pewsitters across the United States, which totalled a reported 8,263,347 people in the "Big Three" Lutheran church bodies as of 2009, the perception of most of those 8 million plus people is the more relevant point in this discussion. Your statement about the Roman Catholic pewsitter's perception of how private confession worked is consistent with what I've heard from every Roman Catholic pewsitter that I've ever talked about private confession with.


A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #106 on: February 26, 2011, 11:22:09 AM »
I find it amusing how many things that grew up over time have occluded the Gospel...  And yet they are "the way we do it..."

For instance, how many Lutherans grew up knowing that "you're only supposed to 'take' Holy Communion 4 times a year."  Periodic distribution of the Sacrament became a reality on the American frontier because there was a paucity of Lutheran Pastors and so quarterly distribution of the Sacrament became something of a necessity.  But then it morphed...it became "special" to only celebrate the Sacrament four times a year, and so when Lutherans began to reclaim their right to recieve the Sacrament, in both kinds, as frequently as possible, many argued that somehow that "cheapened" the Lord's Supper and made it "less special."

Or how many Lutherans assume that "We don't do saints" simply because generation after generation of Lutheran clergy were either anti-catholic or just too darn lazy to bother with knowing who the Saints were or what a proper Lutheran veneration of the Saints might be.  God forbid, we only named the majority of our congregations after some Saint or another.  But here we sit, and I'll wager that if you asked your contemporaries, George, they would say "I have 59 years of teaching that Lutherans don't do saints..."

You were taught incorrectly.  Sorry about that, but your pastors failed to teach and practice the fullness of the Lutheran Confessions, George.  We (Pastors) are human, we all fail.  As proof of that, we have quoted the Confessions and Luther himself on the matter.  We have tried to reason with you on a variety of levels on the subject.  But for whatever reason you are obdurate on this subject.  Yes, the circumstances are quite different between Luther's day and ours.  Some to the worse, some to the better.  I personally am glad that much of the emnity that Lutherans used to have to anything "catholic" has largely dropped away.

I don't know what else to say...  I'm not judging you here, I'm just telling you the truth.  Individual Confession is thoroughly Lutheran, right down to the Augsburg Confession and the Small Catechism.  Whether you accept that or not is up to you.  But I will remind you that you took umbrage with a vague and squishy confessional prayer in "Sundays and Seasons" not too far back.  If the (General) Absolution is all sufficient, why get upset about the confessional formula?

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS

Weedon

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #107 on: February 26, 2011, 11:25:08 AM »
George,

Certainly that would influence it, I suppose.  But if you listen to the pew sitters (if you will) who have experienced it, I think you'll find the same experience described:  terror going in the first time; then finding out what a joy it was; and then it becomes a place you know can go to taste the good gifts of God alongside the other places (the Word, the Eucharist, public absolution, the conversation of the brothers) in a special manner, and they come back for it again and recommend it to others.  At least that's been the experience I've basically noted with folks who have ventured to receive it.  

We have a new hymn in our hymnal that celebrates how this work - I love it because it puts you into the prodigal son story:

Baptismal waters cover me
As I approach on bended knee;
My Father's mercy here I plead
For grievous sins of thought and deed.

I look to Christ upon the tree,
His body broken there for me;
I lay before Him all my sin,
My darkest secrets from within.  

Lord, may Your wounded hand impart
Your healing to my broken heart;
Your love alone can form in me
A heart that serves You joyfully.

From Your own mouth comes forth a word;
Your shepherd speaks, but You are heard;
Through him Your hand now stretches out,
Forgiving sins, destroying doubt.

Baptismal waters cover me;
Christ's wounded hand has set me free;
Held in my Father's strong embrace,
With joy I praise Him for His grace!
LSB 616 (by Pr. Kurt Reinhardt of the LCC)

racin_jason

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #108 on: February 26, 2011, 11:29:23 AM »
It's no secret that Private Confession and Absolution has fallen out of favor with the laity in the Roman Catholic church. Is that a failure of teaching for them too?

As I reflect on this topic, I have no issue with Private Confession. What I grow tired of is the laments that we Lutherans don't do it more. It has been 18 years since I first heard this topic raised. Since then, not much movement. In that time, there has been considerable change in the church in areas of weekly communion, lay readers, and teaching on vocation. In contrast, I discern no movement on this topic, despite the steady stream voices raised in concern that we Lutherans don't do it more.  

It is silly to be "against" private confession. No one here is of that thought as far as I can see. But how urgent is this?

No doubt there is a cost to not having private confession and absolution. What remains to be seen, not to mention demonstrated, is how great that cost is.
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Weedon

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #109 on: February 26, 2011, 11:35:46 AM »
I think the cost is that we have largely left our people all alone in their battle against sin - what did Bonhoeffer say:  "There is no man so lonely as the man left alone with his sin."  And the consequence has been accepting either lives of despair or too often lives of hypocrisy.  But our gracious Lord has a remedy for this struggle, and one that specifically cuts to the heart of the aloneness and speaks a word of grace and pardon directly to the exposed sin - at the point of their deepest shame - and nothing so breaks the power of sin as that!  It was the ordinary manner of pastoral care in our churches and its use explains, I believe, the spiritual vitality that one can sense from those early years.  

By the way, my all time favorite absolution from the early years comes from the Saxon Herzog Heinrich tradition.  Is this gold or what?

The almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ would be gracious and merciful to you. He wants to forgive you all your sins, and this because his dear Son Jesus Christ has suffered for them and died for them. In the name of that same Jesus Christ, because he has mandated me to do this, in the power of his words where he said: 'Whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven,' I say to you that all your sins are forgiven. They cannot hold you captive. They are altogether forgiven you as abundantly and completely as was won for you by Jesus Christ through his suffering and death, and which he commanded to be proclaimed in all the world through the Gospel, and this is now said to you, to comfort and strengthen you, as I now speak this to you in the name of the Lord Christ, for you to receive it gladly, setting your conscience at peace, as with a faith that cannot be shaken, your sins are surely forgiven you, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Go forth in peace."
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 12:06:04 PM by Weedon »

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #110 on: February 26, 2011, 11:38:50 AM »
You were taught incorrectly.  Sorry about that, but your pastors failed to teach and practice the fullness of the Lutheran Confessions, George.  We (Pastors) are human, we all fail.  As proof of that, we have quoted the Confessions and Luther himself on the matter.  We have tried to reason with you on a variety of levels on the subject.  But for whatever reason you are obdurate on this subject.  Yes, the circumstances are quite different between Luther's day and ours.  Some to the worse, some to the better.  I personally am glad that much of the emnity that Lutherans used to have to anything "catholic" has largely dropped away.

You know, everyone seems to make a whole lot more of what I've said about Private Confession than I ever said. I only said that it seems to me that such strong advocacy for an optional rite implies that the more standard, customary rite is somehow inadequate. Nothing more. That's all I'm saying here. I don't oppose the Evangelical Catholic faction of the Lutheran faith tradition attempting to drag the Protestant faction of the Lutheran faith tradition into the Evangelical Catholic camp. But if you guys are going to succeed at convincing the Protestant Lutherans to become more Evangelical Catholic, you'll have a much easier and more successful time of it by actually addressing the objections the Protestant Lutherans have instead of belittling their perceptions and understandings as errors.

If you Evangelical Catholics want to persuade the Protestant Lutherans that private confession is a good thing, beating us up about the fact that Protestant Lutherans have no history of using Private Confession and Absolution and so we're just wrong and don't know what we're talking about isn't going to accomplish that. There are very few voices in here speaking from the perspective of the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter. This isn't so much about all of you Evangelical Catholics beating up on one Protestant Lutheran pewsitter. It's more a demonstration of how out of touch the Evangelical Catholic clergy is out of touch with the Protestant Lutheran pewsitters you hope to reach. The responses to my statements of the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter point of view from the Evangelical Catholic clergy demonstrate, to me, that the Evangelical Catholic clergy knows how to mutually support each other in agreement, but that you guys are pretty clueless when it comes to pastorally persuading a Protestant Lutheran pewsitter to come around to the Evangelical Catholic perspective.

LutherMan

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #111 on: February 26, 2011, 11:52:29 AM »
Quote
The responses to my statements of the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter point of view from the Evangelical Catholic clergy demonstrate, to me, that the Evangelical Catholic clergy knows how to mutually support each other in agreement, but that you guys are pretty clueless when it comes to pastorally persuading a Protestant Lutheran pewsitter to come around to the Evangelical Catholic perspective.
They persuaded me, and I was brought up as a low-church pietistic protestant WELSian.

vicarbob

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #112 on: February 26, 2011, 11:54:47 AM »
I would submit George, that there is no such thing as a Protestant Lutheran. That the Reformation was about the restoration of what is meant to be "Evangelical- in the Roman Catholic Church. Once this is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit and justification apart from works is embraced, we will enjoy the unity which is spoken by the Lord Himself, that they all shall be one, as He and the Father are One.
Over simplified? Again- KISS....Keep it Simple Sinner/Saint....nothing is impossible for God.
We all go kicking and screaming George, don't we, to the foot of the Cross?
Pax,
Bob

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #113 on: February 26, 2011, 11:57:19 AM »
Quote
The responses to my statements of the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter point of view from the Evangelical Catholic clergy demonstrate, to me, that the Evangelical Catholic clergy knows how to mutually support each other in agreement, but that you guys are pretty clueless when it comes to pastorally persuading a Protestant Lutheran pewsitter to come around to the Evangelical Catholic perspective.
They persuaded me, and I was brought up as a low-church pietistic protestant WELSian.

Well, I guess if one person out of 8,263,347 was convinced, that sure proves me wrong.  ::)

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #114 on: February 26, 2011, 12:20:47 PM »
After everything I've been through the last two years, one of the things I have lost to a great degree is the amusement at "the game" that gets played out on this forum.   Point and counter-point, play nicely.  You have argued for blunt honesty, George, and that's what I'm giving you.  I have not "beat up" on you, I'm just telling you face-on what I know from the Lutheran Confessions and personal experience.  Nobody...not myself at least... has called you an "insufficient" Christian or Lutheran.  You, on the other hand, have implied that somehow I don't know where most "Lutherans" are.  Quite to the contrary, I assure you that I do indeed know where the majority of Lutherans come from: at least two generations of terrible catechesis (at least in the ELCA and her predecessors); a generic "protestant" identity that sees absolutely no difference in being Lutheran as opposed to Methodist, Presbyterian, or Baptist; a desire to be located at all costs within the American "main-line" religions and not offend; and a fervent desire to avoid admitting sin and its consequences.  "Most" Lutherans, in my experience, don't really want to admit that they are "all that bad," and certainly don't want to think of themselves as in desperate need of saving.

As to Jason's critique: Really?  Do you not find it interesting that this topic has been raised with increasing urgency over eighteen years, and at the same time in those eighteen years we have witnessed a monumental change in the ethics of our denomination?  I wonder if we had been confronting the reality of sin on a personal level, as opposed to tilting at "systemic sin" so prevalent in the "social gospel" movement, where we might be in regards to our sexual ethics.   Instead, in a striking example, we have the LGBTQ (and whatever other letters you chose to add) community confessing the sins of others rather than any personal sense of sin in the confessional rite in the "Reception to the Roster" worship out in the S-P Synod.

And yes, to the fact that Individual Confession has declined in the Roman Catholic Church is a failure of teaching and Roman Catholics will tell you that as well.  Besides which, I am (a) unconvinced that there is a dramatic decline in the use of Sacrament of Reconciliation (as it is now called), and (b) that such a decline is in fact permanent, but rather is the tail end of the mis-understanding of Vatican II.  But regardless it is a failure of teaching most surely.

And finally, let me hearen back to an earlier point I made....  I propose NO NEW LAW.  Rather Individual Confession is a gift, an oportunity.  But no one is compelled to make use of it, as sadly as I might think it is.  Just as no one is compelled to actually recieve the Sacraments, or attend worship, or listen to the sermon...  As a Pastor I offer the opportunity, that's all.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 12:22:44 PM by A Catholic Lutheran »

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #115 on: February 26, 2011, 12:52:12 PM »
After everything I've been through the last two years, one of the things I have lost to a great degree is the amusement at "the game" that gets played out on this forum.   Point and counter-point, play nicely.  You have argued for blunt honesty, George, and that's what I'm giving you.  I have not "beat up" on you, I'm just telling you face-on what I know from the Lutheran Confessions and personal experience.  Nobody...not myself at least... has called you an "insufficient" Christian or Lutheran.  You, on the other hand, have implied that somehow I don't know where most "Lutherans" are.  Quite to the contrary, I assure you that I do indeed know where the majority of Lutherans come from: at least two generations of terrible catechesis (at least in the ELCA and her predecessors); a generic "protestant" identity that sees absolutely no difference in being Lutheran as opposed to Methodist, Presbyterian, or Baptist; a desire to be located at all costs within the American "main-line" religions and not offend; and a fervent desire to avoid admitting sin and its consequences.  "Most" Lutherans, in my experience, don't really want to admit that they are "all that bad," and certainly don't want to think of themselves as in desperate need of saving.

Here's the thing. I cannot disagree with anything you have said about the current sad state of Lutheranism in the United States. I think you are quite correct about how bad the situation is. And, what you have expressed as the ultimate goal to be striven for is also impossible to argue with.

Which leaves the main point I tried to make, and the part your post ignored. You've defined the starting point of right now (Point A). You've described the ending point of where we need to be someday (Point B). So how do you propose getting from point A to point B? How do you propose undoing the bad catechesis of the past two generations? Do you favor abandoning the Protestant Lutherans and starting to grow a new crop of Evangelical Catholics? Or do you propose something that will entice, persuade, encourage, or otherwise convince Protestant Lutherans to take a long, hard look at being a Lutheran and somehow reversing the trend of at least two generations? Do you think just telling Protestant Lutherans that they should be more Evangelical Catholic like Lutherans were four or more centuries ago will accomplish anything positive?

amos

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #116 on: February 26, 2011, 12:57:11 PM »
George -- "The responses to my statements of the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter point of view from the Evangelical Catholic clergy demonstrate, to me, that the Evangelical Catholic clergy knows how to mutually support each other in agreement, but that you guys are pretty clueless when it comes to pastorally persuading a Protestant Lutheran pewsitter to come around to the Evangelical Catholic perspective."

Well said George, that is a pretty good reflection of some real live "thinking" Protestant Lutheran pewsitters.  I wish more pewsitters even bothered to think about the issues, in some cases that would be a major improvement.  You may be correct that some Evangelical Catholic clergy may be clueless when it comes to pastorally persuading a Protestant Lutheran pewsitter.  It is also correct  that many  Protestant Lutheran pewsitter's are clueless when it comes to understanding the whole Evangelical Catholic concept of the one Holy and catholic and Apostolic church. For example, the rejection of private confession, weekly communion, or even the outright rejection by some of vestments or the refusal of some to use the traditional liturgical service.

Absolutely no sarcastic remarks are intended here, just trying to make a point, these things have been part of the church for centuries and should not just be rejected just because it "Looks like" Roman Catholic.  

I find it interesting the older German congregations in this area predominately use the common cup but reject a chasuble, while some Swedish congregations freely use the sign of the cross as part of their worship but feel weekly communion somehow "cheapens" communion.    For many these are often signs of congregational historical customs and not theological issues for the pewsitter.  

So how do we do make that change, through education, time and good teaching in the church.  Not telling people what they MUST do but begin by educating people what they can do and WHY.  I have found many caring Lutheran lay people will at least consider the EC view IF and WHEN it is explained carefully, respectfully, and accurately.   No body will willingly accept or embrace something they do not understand or wrongly perceive.  What we have to overcome is the lose of understanding "what it means to be a Lutheran".  ie ---- it is an understanding of Holy Scripture and the Confessions and NOT the church building where I go to church.  

 

« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 01:12:09 PM by amos »

Weedon

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #117 on: February 26, 2011, 12:58:41 PM »
George,

You seem to be regarding the private confession and absolution as a symbol of evangelical catholicism; what Pr. Kliner, Pr. Kirchner, I, and others are suggesting is that it is actually a gift that God would like to give you.  It's not a symbol of a church political or theological position.  It is a personal word from God spoken to a personal confession from you, lifting the weight of sin, guilt, shame, fear.  

amos

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #118 on: February 26, 2011, 01:15:50 PM »
Pastor Weedon -- well said.

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #119 on: February 26, 2011, 01:20:49 PM »
George,

You seem to be regarding the private confession and absolution as a symbol of evangelical catholicism; what Pr. Kliner, Pr. Kirchner, I, and others are suggesting is that it is actually a gift that God would like to give you.  It's not a symbol of a church political or theological position.  It is a personal word from God spoken to a personal confession from you, lifting the weight of sin, guilt, shame, fear.  

What you seem to be disregarding in my statements is that to the Protestant Lutheran pewsitter, it is a symbol of Evangelical Catholicism. That's the perception. Perception is a powerful thing. Perceptions aren't changed by simply saying, "Your perception is wrong." Just because you in the clergy know something to be so doesn't mean that the pewsitters also know to be so. This isn't so much about whether something is or isn't Evangelical Catholicism, it's whether or not you can educate the Protestant Lutheran pewsitters of what it is. You can quietly state what it is until the cows come home, but once anyone says "this is so", and the person they say it to responds, "But that doesn't make any sense to me. It goes against everything I've been taught all of my life. Why is it so?", just repeating "because this is so" 147 times times won't answer the question, "Why is this so?"