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 8874 times)

pr dtp

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Private C&A
« on: February 18, 2011, 12:47:23 PM »
Came up on another thread, about Luther being challenged by it falling into disuse.  It seems it has fallen into disuse...but stats are better. 

For discussion - should be restore it - how have you seen it restored?

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2011, 01:36:53 PM »
Confession and Absolution

Michael Slusser

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2011, 01:49:12 PM »
This prior thread from a few months ago may help with this question: "Individual Confession and Absolution"
http://www.alpb.org/forum/index.php?topic=3486.msg190389#msg190389

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2011, 02:44:24 PM »
Confession and Absolution

I take it that means that even though it's a brand new thread with only one response so far, you aren't going to re-launch it with a title that actually includes the words "Confession and Absolution"?

pretty much!

Evangel

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2011, 02:52:22 PM »
Got an intermediate answer that perhaps you can add to the poll.

Offered and rarely used.
Mark Schimmel, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church, LCMC
Priddy, TX
--
ACXXIII, "Your majesty will graciously take into account the fact that, in these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm."

pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2011, 03:04:40 PM »
Still interested in any who restored it - as to how you did, and the efficacy of your restoration

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2011, 05:01:37 PM »
I offer the office on a regular basis, and call it "Individual Confession and Absolution."

Here's my schedule, which is announced at worship and in printed materials--
Saturday 10:00am--12:00pm (Consistently, throughout the year)
Monday, Wednesday (and Saturday) 10:00--12:00am (in Lent and Advent)
Other times available by appointment.

I have had varying levels of usage by the congregation throughout the years...  Confession is held in a chapel we have adjacent to our Sanctuary.  We use the LBW rite which is reproduced in a individual folder.

I cannot see offering the office as a set feature of my pastoral ministry from here out...

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS
Pastor, Cross of Grace Lutheran Church, Hurricane, WV

peterm

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2011, 05:18:54 PM »
I offer it to folks in the nursing home I serve and have some takers.  I have found it to be particularly helpful to those who have made the decision to go into Hospice care.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Mike Bennett

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2011, 05:36:52 PM »
Has never been announced in our congregation ("never" meaning not in my 18 years as a member).  Under the prior pastor (10+ years ago) I requested it two times and was accomodated.  He told me that one other member had also utilized private c & a during his 20 years as pastor.  

Mike Bennett
« Last Edit: February 18, 2011, 05:39:20 PM by Mike Bennett »
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Mike Bennett

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2011, 05:37:51 PM »
Came up on another thread, about Luther being challenged by it falling into disuse.  It seems it has fallen into disuse...but stats are better. 

For discussion - should be restore it - how have you seen it restored?

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, the suject of what you want to discuss could actually be spelled out instead of reduced to initials? Must all Lutherans make a false idol of acronyms for everything?


What's a suject?

Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

BrotherBoris

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2011, 07:00:32 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.


pr dtp

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2011, 07:34:24 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. 

Karl Hess

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2011, 08:40:42 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.



A Lutheran pastor can't require private confession and absolution.  If he did, he would cease to be a Lutheran pastor. 

That said, it may be that confession was required by Lutherans before communing; but I remember reading that Luther would sometimes commune without confessing in order to not allow the devil to harangue his conscience.

I am not sure I revived individual confession and absolution here in the best way.  I simply started offering it before Vespers one Lent.  I think one person came that year.  I make myself available to hear confession in the church every Saturday from 6 pm to 6:30.  I also offer it on Wednesdays in Advent and Lent after vespers.  I think that no one has ever come during stated hours on Saturday.  I have had a few people come by appointment, and a few who have come more repeatedly.  Many people go once and then never come back again, which tells me that people feel the need to confess but tend to think of it as something that is valuable only for "big"  sins, instead of a gift of grace that pronounces us clean again and again.

I think it will change though.  I preached about it during Advent.  I am preaching on it during Matins in the school.  I make catechumens go to private confession during class and go through the rite, but do not allow them to confess specific sins, hoping that eventually they will ask me to let them confess the sins that trouble them (i got this idea from someone else.)  I regularly mention it in adult catechesis and Sunday morning Bible class.

I sort of agree with Boris that there will be a lot of people that don't go if it's not compulsory.  Certainly the old people who were usually told that they could confess privately if something troubled them--and often weren't even taught then--probably will never go.  But my hope in sitting alone for a half hour each Saturday is that the kids will grow up knowing that it is a normal part of life in a Lutheran church, rather than something you have to make an appointment to do. 

But I wouldn't want to force people to go.  The reality is that it is not commanded by God, but as I said in the other thread, it is a church tradition that is pure Gospel.  And it would be wicked to allow traditions that give the Gospel so clearly to fall into disuse.  Just as in Luther's day, communion was offered weekly, and the pastors preached that people should commune often, even though on most Sundays only the uber pious communed, so we do best when we extol the benefits and the gift of absolution, rather than forcing people to go and making a law out of it.  If you don't want to receive Christ's body and blood, and I force you to go once a year, I pervert the gift.  You are showing that you do not believe when you never desire the Lord's Supper, so should I require you to go when you don't desire it?

With private confession and absolution, the situation requires a little more patience.  We are not dealing with people who were familiar with the practice but simply used their Christian freedom as an excuse to treat the forgiveness given there with contempt.  We are dealing with people who were essentially taught that Lutherans don't do this, and we don't have to because we can confess our sins directly to God and receive forgiveness.  The problem is that people have not been taught about this gift, and it requires time to overcome the years of prejudice against it.  Rather than force sinners to receive a gift they don't want, we have to preach and teach in such a way that they hunger and thirst for the free pardon that God is giving there.  They stay away because of prejudice and because they focus on the confessing, their shame and humiliation in front of the pastor, their fear that he will judge them or look down on them.  When they are more focused on the free gift of pardon that God wants to give them in the absolution, then we will see if not the whole congregation there, at least a great many of them.

Weedon

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2011, 09:19:19 PM »
I offer private confession and absolution at 5 p.m. Saturdays before the 6 p.m. liturgy.  Most folks, though, who use it make an appointment during the week.  I have a number of folks who use it quite regularly; some who use it only once (for dealing with a particular sin that is troubling them).  I found for myself that in the first years I offered it (in my first parish), not a soul came.  I think that was good.  God was protecting them. For I hadn't been to confession myself.  After I began to make confession myself, I found that people began showing up for confession!  Speaking of which, Lent is coming and I've not been to confession for some time.  I need to make one of those appointments! 

A Catholic Lutheran

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Re: Private C&A
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2011, 09:24:32 PM »
And yet, many can remember...especially among those with LCMS blood in their veins... the requirement to "announce" one's intent to recieve the Sacrament (of the Altar) to the Pastor on the Sunday before Holy Communion was to be celebrated.  And one of the topics to be covered between the Pastor and the soon-to-be-communicant was an examination of the conscience and Pastoral guidance on matters ethical and spiritual.

Remarkably like Individual Confession, and one of the reasons I keep Saturday confessional hours.  Not that I can "compell" a confession, but the idea of preparing one's self to recieve the Sacrament, as Luther says, believing that the Sacrament truly conveys God's mercy for our sins; given and shed for us.

Pax Christi;
Pr. Jerry Kliner, STS