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 8864 times)

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2011, 01:37:46 AM »
A little less than 1/3rd at this point use Confession and Absolution...

That's without breaking it down to "TradWo," "CoWo", "liberal" or "conservative"

Still pretty indicative of the efficacy of catachesis.

Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2011, 01:49:34 AM »
A little less than 1/3rd at this point use Confession and Absolution...

That's without breaking it down to "TradWo," "CoWo", "liberal" or "conservative"

Still pretty indicative of the efficacy of catachesis.

How?

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2011, 10:11:21 AM »
A little less than 1/3rd at this point use Confession and Absolution...

That's without breaking it down to "TradWo," "CoWo", "liberal" or "conservative"

Still pretty indicative of the efficacy of catachesis.

How?

Really?  You don't see how effective a generation or two of catachesis is, when one of the chief parts is fallen into such disuse?

Likewise, when people don't see their need and settle for 2nd and 4th?

vicarbob

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2011, 11:06:03 AM »
By now I am sure that you are aware of the $1.99 phone app being offered by iPhones tobe used as a confessional aid for those preparing for the Sacrament of Reconcilation in the RCC.
Last week, my home congregations pastor (Ascension, Deer Park ny) utilzed it as a basis for his sermon ( video available on congregations website btw). Just today in the largest daily newspaper on Long Island ( NY Newsday) in the weekly Saturday section entitled "asking the clergy" the topic was offered for comments.
Now I don't have the app...as I only recently found out what a phone app was......but do find it to be an interesting tool. My pastor, BTW, did get the app.
How could this tool help Lutherans in their understanding of the need for private Confession and Absolution?
And yes, I do intend, once ordained as presbyter, to offer the third Sacrament in the congregation I serve.
Pax,
PiTe

BrotherBoris

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2011, 12:01:45 PM »
As a non-Lutheran follower of this Forum, I'd like to make the following comments about Individual Confession and Absolution, from a Russian Orthodox perspective:

1.  No one "likes" individual confession and absolution.  Its a rather bitter and unpleasant pill to swallow for the sickness of sin.   However, it is remarkably effective in its curative properties.  My godmother describes it this way:  "Its kind of like throwing up all over yourself. There is no graceful way to do it. Nevertheless, I always feel better after I've done it."

2. If it is made optional, almost no one except the uber-pious will avail themselves of it.

3. You have to make it MANDATORY in order to get people to do it. (This alone is going to make it exceedingly difficult for Lutherans to do, because in my experience Lutherans don't like rules and requirements. Such rules are usually dismissed with a wave of the hand and talk of the "freedom of the Gospel.")

4.  When and if you make it mandatory, you have to be willing to stand your ground in regard to Eucharistic discipline, otherwise no one in the parish will take you seriously and you'll be viewed as "Pastor Milquetoast."  You have to decide how often your people are going to confess, and what you are going to do if they don't.  (Again, for Lutherans, this is going to be exceedingly difficult because you don't have bishops that priests have to obey.)  A Russian Orthodox priest doesn't have to be the "heavy" in regard to confessional frequency.  If his bishop demands a minimum of once a month confession to partake of the Eucharist, then he simply announces that and enforces it.  The people can't fire him. They didn't hire him.  The bishop is his boss and he will obey his boss.  If his people approach the Chalice without having gone to Confession, he will politely turn them away and tell them they are not prepared.  But, he has his bishop to back him up in that regard. A Lutheran pastor has no such backup. 

5.  As long as American Lutheranism has congregational gov't (and I don't ever see that going away), I don't think private confession and absolution will ever be revived here.  American Lutherans just don't have the support structure to keep it in place. 

Nevertheless, I think it is good that Lutherans teach people about the value of private confession and absolution, and that some Lutherans do avail themselves of it. But I don't ever see it becoming widespread amongst Lutherans unless Lutherans make LOTS of changes in their church governance, and I just don't see that happening.




Boris,
Having grown up shuttling between Eastern Rite and Franciscan parishes, I know the law as you state it pretty well.  The priests came to our parochial school every friday afternoon. ( I still laugh because it was friday night through sunday morning when the most 'grievous of sins would occur - at least according to our nuns.

However, using C&A in this manner is something I would never do as a Lutheran.  It may have been tradition, but forcing people to be absolved is simply not going to do it.  We made up things, we told of sins we never committed, and often in more abundance, rather than dealing with the sins that truly bother us.   And I believe it would be so among the Eastern church as well.

Rather, I would prefer to see it as it usually happens here.  People come and say - Pastor - you told us we could always talk to you when something bothers us.. and so it begins. Using the Rite, or sometimes simply taking them through the passages.Handing them a cross is usually part of my practice - to grasp onto while we pray....

When receiving the(a) sacrament is made a duty and obligation, I wonder if it is truly then grace.  At least growing up catholic, it was not.  It was duty and law and hell if you didn't. Not an unmerited rescue from hell if you did. 


Dear J&S:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I seem to remember you mentioning once before that you grew up Roman Catholic. I didn't know you attended any Eastern Rite parishes growing up.  I would be interested in hearing more about that.  Although I've been Orthodox for 15 years now, I've never attended an Eastern Rite RCC parish (although I have watched videos of some).  There are simply none in my area.  It would be interesting to see how Rome interprets and celebrates Chrysostom's liturgy.  I would think they'd at least abbreviate it quite a bit - the Sunday liturgy at my Russian Orthodox church takes a good 2.5 hours.  I can't imagine people that are used to 45 minute masses tolerating that for very long.

I can't really say that the Russian Orthodox church 'forces' people to be absolved.  The frequency of confession is, to a large degree, left up to the discretion of the individual. No one has ever forced me to go to confession and I've been Orthodox for well over a decade. But our people are taught not to approach the Chalice casually, without proper preparation and some good old-fashioned 'fear of God.'  That's why if you attend a Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church, a significant portion of the people might not approach the Chalice to commune on any given Sunday.  Protestant visitors to an Orthodox Church are usually bewildered by this practice, but to us it actually makes some sense.  There is a real fear of partaking unworthily, without proper preparation, and a strong fear of merely receiving the Eucharist  just to be "going through the motions."  Perhaps this is a version of Orthodox pietism or a bit of folk piety, but I actually like it because it forces us to come to terms with our spiritual lethargy and laziness.  In the stricter Russian tradition one does not commune unless he has:

1.  fasted from meat and dairy products on Wednesday and Friday of the preceding week
2.  prayed daily during the preceding week using the Church's set rule of prayer (about 20 minutes each day)
3.  read the appointed Epistle and Gospel lessons for each day of the preceding week
4.  made peace with all and not harboring unresolved anger or hatred against anyone
5.  attended at least Vespers on Saturday evening preceding to be liturgically prepared
6.  made a Sacramental Confession with a priest after Vespers
7.  totally fasted from all food and drink from Midnight the evening before, so that the Eucharist will be the first food and drink of the day.
8.  gotten to church on time, participating in the prayers with due reverence and attention, listening closely to the Gospel reading and paying close attention to the sermon.

It isn't as though we "earn" the right to be worthy to partake of the Eucharist. We will never be worthy.  It is always a gift to us. But at the same time, since it is the very Body and Blood of Christ, we cannot approach it casually, flippantly or mechanically.  I hope this better explains things.

As an aside, all Orthodox are not as strict about Eucharist preparation as the Russian Orthodox are.  The Greek Orthodox, for instance, are almost "Lutheran" in their treatment of the Sacrament of Confession.  They generally leave it totally up to the individual to determine how often he should go.  I've met some Greek Orthodox who are actually surprised to learn that Confession is a Sacrament and who told me "Why I thought only Catholics did that!".  In fact, I would venture to day that private confession among the Greek Orthodox is almost as rare as it is amongst the Lutherans.


Jeff-MN

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2011, 12:03:53 PM »
You have to get the kids going to C&A early in their life and it could become something they would avail themselves to for the rest of their lives.

grabau

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2011, 12:44:43 PM »
Quote from a life-long Lutheran layman:  Catholics beleive the priest saves them.  We believe you got to save yourself! grabau

lthayer

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2011, 12:55:30 PM »
Why are you so obsessed with being as "almost Roman Catholic" as possible? If anyone were to click on the link to view all of your posts at once, and read them going back over all of the time you've been posting here, one would get the impression that what you really want most in life is to be a Roman Catholic Priest, and you're only "settling" for being a Lutheran pastor. I'll admit that might not be what you truly want, but if that impression isn't true, one would not discover the error of that impression from reading your posts. From the content of your posts, you make it seem like you regard being a Lutheran pastor as nothing more than a consolation prize. Why do you have such disdain and contempt for being a Lutheran pastor that you cannot even use the word "pastor" to describe your vocational objective?

George, you may be one of the most active posters and frequently make contributions of value, but at times you have a ways to go with respect to courtesy, much less thread drift.  Your comment above was entirely unnecessary and snarky, and did not contribute in any positive way to the conversation of the thread. . . and neither does my response to you.

That said, I am deeply appreciating the thread and do not wish to see it sidetracked.  Confession and absolution has not been offered at any Lutheran Church with which I have been affiliated or employed with the exception of one, Christ Church, York, PA, Pr. Patrick Rooney, STS.  My associations with the pastors of Susquehanna Chapter and now Florida Chapter are treasured in part because of their offering of and participation in "the third Sacrament."  This cantor and layperson has been blest to receive it from them.

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2011, 01:00:44 PM »
In 59 years, the only Lutheran I ever knew who wanted a Private Confession and Absolution was my wife, who only converted to Lutheran after more than 50 years of being a Roman Catholic.

In confirmation classes in the ULCA and LCA, we were taught that, as it says in the Order for Public Confession in the Service Book and Hymnal, "we poor sinners confess unto thee, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against you by thought, word, and deed." We were taught that Matthew 5.28, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" teaches us that we cannot hope to enumerate all of our individual acts of sin. And, we were taught that there was no ranking order of sins, as if there was some sort of ecclesial categories equivalent to misdemeanors and felonies of various grades or degrees. Therefore, there was no need or benefit for individual confession or absolution of the really big sins, as the issue was our general sinful nature.

In the Augsburg Confession it says in Article XI: Of Confession.

1] Of Confession they teach that Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession 2] an enumeration of all sins is not necessary. For it is impossible according to the Psalm: Who can understand his errors? Ps. 19:12.

Could anyone please explain in their own words why there is a need for private confession if an enumeration of all sins is not necessary? What's the point of a private confession and absolution if a public confession that "we poor sinners confess unto thee, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against you by thought, word, and deed"? What's the point?



vicarbob

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2011, 01:08:03 PM »
Why are you so obsessed with being as "almost Roman Catholic" as possible? If anyone were to click on the link to view all of your posts at once, and read them going back over all of the time you've been posting here, one would get the impression that what you really want most in life is to be a Roman Catholic Priest, and you're only "settling" for being a Lutheran pastor. I'll admit that might not be what you truly want, but if that impression isn't true, one would not discover the error of that impression from reading your posts. From the content of your posts, you make it seem like you regard being a Lutheran pastor as nothing more than a consolation prize. Why do you have such disdain and contempt for being a Lutheran pastor that you cannot even use the word "pastor" to describe your vocational objective?

8th Commandment in play........thanks for reminding me why I need the Third Sacrament George.

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2011, 01:20:41 PM »

Dear J&S:

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I seem to remember you mentioning once before that you grew up Roman Catholic. I didn't know you attended any Eastern Rite parishes growing up.  I would be interested in hearing more about that.  Although I've been Orthodox for 15 years now, I've never attended an Eastern Rite RCC parish (although I have watched videos of some).  There are simply none in my area.  It would be interesting to see how Rome interprets and celebrates Chrysostom's liturgy.  I would think they'd at least abbreviate it quite a bit - the Sunday liturgy at my Russian Orthodox church takes a good 2.5 hours.  I can't imagine people that are used to 45 minute masses tolerating that for very long.

response:  Fransiscan masses weren't 45 minutes - they were more 90 minute range - and the Maronites - were usually 2-2.5 hours plus.  To be honest I don't remember - but it was a full service.  The service wasn't as elaborate as my best friend's Greek Orthodox church, but I never really saw it as a long service - probably why I find my 75-80 minutes short.  (and if we didn't have our chinese congregation coming in 90 minutes after i start.... o well)

I can't really say that the Russian Orthodox church 'forces' people to be absolved.  The frequency of confession is, to a large degree, left up to the discretion of the individual. No one has ever forced me to go to confession and I've been Orthodox for well over a decade. But our people are taught not to approach the Chalice casually, without proper preparation and some good old-fashioned 'fear of God.'  That's why if you attend a Divine Liturgy in an Orthodox Church, a significant portion of the people might not approach the Chalice to commune on any given Sunday.  Protestant visitors to an Orthodox Church are usually bewildered by this practice, but to us it actually makes some sense.  There is a real fear of partaking unworthily, without proper preparation, and a strong fear of merely receiving the Eucharist  just to be "going through the motions."  Perhaps this is a version of Orthodox pietism or a bit of folk piety, but I actually like it because it forces us to come to terms with our spiritual lethargy and laziness.  In the stricter Russian tradition one does not commune unless he has:

1.  fasted from meat and dairy products on Wednesday and Friday of the preceding week
2.  prayed daily during the preceding week using the Church's set rule of prayer (about 20 minutes each day)
3.  read the appointed Epistle and Gospel lessons for each day of the preceding week
4.  made peace with all and not harboring unresolved anger or hatred against anyone
5.  attended at least Vespers on Saturday evening preceding to be liturgically prepared
6.  made a Sacramental Confession with a priest after Vespers
7.  totally fasted from all food and drink from Midnight the evening before, so that the Eucharist will be the first food and drink of the day.
8.  gotten to church on time, participating in the prayers with due reverence and attention, listening closely to the Gospel reading and paying close attention to the sermon.


response - but if you say they don't come to the Eucharist unless the following has been done, you either have to legislate that, or spend a lot of time explaining why each of those disciplines is beneficial (and for me - scriptural) and working hard not to develop a attitude  where these works even to the most minimalistic thought - "prepare you" for the sacrament.)

It isn't as though we "earn" the right to be worthy to partake of the Eucharist. We will never be worthy.  It is always a gift to us. But at the same time, since it is the very Body and Blood of Christ, we cannot approach it casually, flippantly or mechanically.  I hope this better explains things.

response - I get that is the ideal - but in your words there still is a way tat says - this is the way we avoid that.   And for this ex-roman catholic who dreamed of being a priest - those are man made disciplines.   Personally I like Luther's comment about bodily preparation is cool - but one is really prepared who knows and trusts in the words, "given and shed for you".  
I have seen to many turned away from the grace of God for man-made reasons - and  while I am not saying all my brothes in the RCC and OCA are pharisees, there is an imminent danger in marking your preparation as more full than simply looking at adoration at the invitation to the altar rail and knowing this is given and shed ofr my sin.


As an aside, all Orthodox are not as strict about Eucharist preparation as the Russian Orthodox are.  The Greek Orthodox, for instance, are almost "Lutheran" in their treatment of the Sacrament of Confession.  They generally leave it totally up to the individual to determine how often he should go.  I've met some Greek Orthodox who are actually surprised to learn that Confession is a Sacrament and who told me "Why I thought only Catholics did that!".  In fact, I would venture to day that private confession among the Greek Orthodox is almost as rare as it is amongst the Lutherans.

response - and that is a shame.  At my last church, I catechised two ladies, one a SW, the other a Psychotherapist.  They kept bouncing between my church and the local Rcc Parish.   The kicker was two things - my congregation then did not weekly commune, and they didn't like Marian adoration.   THy stuck with us, after we talked about the Ministry of Reconciliation/ aka Absolution.  Both were amazed at the freedom that came with being absolved, and the PsyD indicated that she would lose 70 percent of her clients if they knew about this.....   (she smirked when I said I wold be gald to teach them!)

Again, the issue for me is that this gift, this charis, this grace is so incredible, that it is a shame that we ave let it slide away, even as we amp up the discussion about who is being faithful to the liturgy...
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 01:41:04 PM by justified and sinner »

George Erdner

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #26 on: February 19, 2011, 01:28:54 PM »
Why are you so obsessed with being as "almost Roman Catholic" as possible? If anyone were to click on the link to view all of your posts at once, and read them going back over all of the time you've been posting here, one would get the impression that what you really want most in life is to be a Roman Catholic Priest, and you're only "settling" for being a Lutheran pastor. I'll admit that might not be what you truly want, but if that impression isn't true, one would not discover the error of that impression from reading your posts. From the content of your posts, you make it seem like you regard being a Lutheran pastor as nothing more than a consolation prize. Why do you have such disdain and contempt for being a Lutheran pastor that you cannot even use the word "pastor" to describe your vocational objective?

[move8th Commandment in play........thanks for reminding me why I need the Third Sacrament George.[/move]

What does the one have to do with the other? What does the 8th commandment have to do with an observation (which I deleted after lthayer called me on it) that was not an accusation of wrongdoing? There is nothing wrong with being a Roman Catholic. There is nothing wrong with being a Lutheran. There is nothing wrong with settling for being a Lutheran pastor if one cannot qualify to be a Roman Catholic priest because one is married, or there is some other impediment. There are a great many Lutheran pastors who give the impression that they would prefer to be Roman Catholic priests if only the Roman Catholic Church would become more Lutheran. That's not an accusation of wrongness. It's a simple observation of how things are.

As for the so-called "Third Sacrament", is being given absolution by a called and ordained pastor as part of the Public Confession and Absolution any less a bona-fide absolution than one given by the same called and ordained pastor using the same words in private? Do not the words "The Almighty and merciful God grant unto you, being penitent, pardon and remission of all your sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of his Holy Spirit", not count if spoken by a called and ordained pastor if they are not spoken one-on-one, in private? How private does absolution have to be in order for it to "take"? Does the number of people present make a difference? If I am granted absolution by a called and ordained pastor with only a few other people also being granted absolution, is that better than if I'm in a congregation with hundreds of other worshippers present?

What of all of the Lutherans over the past decades who confessed their sins using the order for Public Confession and were granted absolution by a called and ordained pastor and who never once had a Private C&A? Will they burn in hell?

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #27 on: February 19, 2011, 01:39:47 PM »
In 59 years, the only Lutheran I ever knew who wanted a Private Confession and Absolution was my wife, who only converted to Lutheran after more than 50 years of being a Roman Catholic.

In confirmation classes in the ULCA and LCA, we were taught that, as it says in the Order for Public Confession in the Service Book and Hymnal, "we poor sinners confess unto thee, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against you by thought, word, and deed." We were taught that Matthew 5.28, "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" teaches us that we cannot hope to enumerate all of our individual acts of sin. And, we were taught that there was no ranking order of sins, as if there was some sort of ecclesial categories equivalent to misdemeanors and felonies of various grades or degrees. Therefore, there was no need or benefit for individual confession or absolution of the really big sins, as the issue was our general sinful nature.

In the Augsburg Confession it says in Article XI: Of Confession.

1] Of Confession they teach that Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession 2] an enumeration of all sins is not necessary. For it is impossible according to the Psalm: Who can understand his errors? Ps. 19:12.

Could anyone please explain in their own words why there is a need for private confession if an enumeration of all sins is not necessary? What's the point of a private confession and absolution if a public confession that "we poor sinners confess unto thee, that we are by nature sinful and unclean, and that we have sinned against you by thought, word, and deed"? What's the point?





George, I will take a stab at it.

Despite it being one of sins people might think less of, one particular sin haunted me since I was 16.  At the time, I had been working on graveyard shift, supporting my folks since a little after i turned 15.  Illegally, and at great personal cost to what I wanted.  One day, wen my mom put a curfew on me on a day off, I said to her that the house rule was whoever paid the rent made the rules and I paid the rent and walked out of the house.  Pretty brash for a 16 year old to tell to 50 year olds whose business went down the drain in 9 months.  At the same time - they were going through a spiritual crisis

Perhaps I have caused more pain in some other action - but that one still to this day, I remember. 

Sounds petty, and cruel and teenagerish, but it became something else for me.

When I joined the Lutheran Church, I confessed it to one of my mentors - who simply said to do so with any sin that weighed heavily one me.  Hearing him speak on God's behalf to that specified sin was an incredible release of a burden held too long, baggage that had a crippling effect on me for too many years.

That is why - it is not needed for every white lie, every sin of omission, but indeed, those sins that burden and terrify us.

Maybe no sin in your life you regret to that extent - Praise God.  But wen you are in the depth of depression because of your past, and Romans 7 describes where you are at.... having someone called by God to explain that Romans 8:1 is about YOU.... makes a incredible difference, and the peace that comes... is beyond description.


js


PS - I would give anything but my soul to be a priest in the RCC.  But the cost would be my soul, and therefore I am a Lutheran pastor.  I believe that is probably true for at least 5 or 6 here.


vicarbob

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #28 on: February 19, 2011, 01:48:07 PM »
the 8th Commandment was not in response to your post......it was may initial reaction to it.....that had to do with the 5th Commandment.....
It ain't always about you George........btw, I must have missed it......Atkins help with your obvious weight loss...lookin trim.......gettin' back to fightin' weight  ;)
FWIW, IF God had wanted/wants me to be a RC priest, He would accomplish it!
Won a consolation prize once......Coney Island, back in the day.
as to the hell question, don't really know.......I'll wait for your first hand report :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
Best to leave some questions and answers up to GOD........you can handle adding and subtracting congregations leaveing the ELCA.....no need to exercise your considerable gifts in further conversation with me on the topic at hand.
U da man George...u da man 4 sure
pax,
Bob

Matt Staneck

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2011, 01:53:05 PM »
George,

Perhaps people want to sound Catholic because Lutherans are indeed Catholic?  In addition to J&S's fine post I'd direct you to one of your own: Carl Braaten.  In his book, Justification: The Article By Which the Church Stands or Falls, he has a nice discussion on whether Lutherans are exiles from Rome, or immigrants.  The latter implies they left of their own volition and intended on setting up shop anew somewhere else.  The former implies they were forced out and are awaiting the day to return.  He settles on Lutherans as exiles, but he also is quick to point out that day is sadly not here yet, and may not be for quite some time.

Once a week Chaplain Stein at Concordia STL offers private confession and absolution.  I ought to attend myself, it is a most freeing experience to be sure!  I would hope to introduce this practice in a parish someday.

M. Staneck
« Last Edit: February 19, 2011, 01:54:50 PM by Matt Staneck »
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