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RECONCILIATION

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					RECONCILIATION

 A
 HISTORICAL
 OVERVIEW
RECONCILIATION




                 2
RECONCILIATION
RECONCILIATION
Historical development of a sacrament
           Organic in nature
            Not cumulative
 •The Church responds to the prompting of the Holy
 Spirit in making revisions, changes, and adaptations
                  Like a seed unfolding
       it becomes united to the earth which holds it.
          Who can imagine the tree from the seed?




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 RECONCILIATION
 RECONCILIATION
Just as a seed develops through many
    stages unlocking the tree within
  Reconciliation continues to develop
    • never remaining static
    • providing new insight into the developing
      process of God’s forgiveness
 This history of dynamic growth and
  development should encourage us

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RECONCILIATION
RECONCILIATION
Old Testament people saw God
            in terms of
cultic deity, nature God, warrior
    Their experience and response
  took on particular form and structure
set off by particular laws and commands
           Ten Commandments
              Deuteronomy
                Leviticus
                Numbers
                                          5
Old Testament
RECONCILIATION
Covenanted communion with God is
   considered the source of life.
  Dt 30:19-20 “ I am offering you life or death,
  blessing or curse.Choose life then, so that you
     and your descendants may live, in love of
  Yahweh your God, obeying his voice, holding
     fast to him; for in this your life consists.”
  • If broken only God can restore the person back to the
    covenant promised Abraham
  • Throughout the prophetic period men and women are
    called back to the source of life.


                                                            6
Old Testament
RECONCILIATION
  Despite many breaks in relationship
Israel came to understand God‟s love was
                   eternal
     Penitential practices abounded
– Fasting, weeping, mourning, penitentiary garb
  such as sackcloth (Joel 1:13-20)
– Prayers for mercy (Lamentations 5; Ps 51, 60, 74,
  79)
– Sacrifices of expiation were offered (Leviticus 1-7)
– Intercession of a community leader were sought
  (Exodus 32:30; Jeremiah 14)
                                                         7
Old Testament
RECONCILIATION
    Ritual in itself was not enough
        Change of heart was needed
    A change that only God could initiate
            Psalm 51:10
 “God, create in me a new heart, renew
     within me a resolute spirit.”
The new heart for which the psalmist prayed
               was realized in
                   Jesus‟
          life-death-resurrection

                                              8
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
        Who could imagine
 when considering Israel’s growing
     awareness of God’s Spirit
  in creation and in the Exodus
        that it would reveal
      covenant, redemption,
      cross, and resurrection
  lying just beneath the surface?

                                     9
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
        INCARNATION
  Enfleshment of God in Jesus
The Good Shepherd, the Suffering
           Servant
       Reconciliation emphasized
       Mercy, Love, Forgiveness
  Beatitudes became the norm to follow
      “Come back to me”


                                         10
  New Testament
  RECONCILIATION
     Recurring theme that God’s initiative,
    realized in the dying and rising of Jesus,
           is pure gift offered by God
 “wanted all fullness to be found in Jesus
  and through Him to reconcile all things to
                       him.”
                 (Colossians 1:19)
“with exultant trust in God, through our Lord
     Jesus Christ, through whom we have
      already gained our reconciliation”
                  (Romans 5:11)
                                                 11
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
              Jesus alone
    Restores us to life giving communion
          in the power of the Spirit
              Jesus alone
Completes the original plan of God the Father
        by accepting in his own flesh
       the unbreakable link of sonship
       offered through the Holy Spirit.
 In him our adoption by the Father is
               finalized.

                                                12
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
                    “Institution”
 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said
  to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive
 are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
                        (John 20:23)
         Not the origin of today’s event
The community’s power to “isolate, repel, and negate
     evil and sin” was worked out differently within
    individual church communities, each specifying
   “both the manner and means of its exercise.”
John highlights the community’s participation and
         power in the reconciliation process.
                                                          13
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
        We are all reconciled to the Father
                   through the Son
                   2 Corinthians 5:18-21
“And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself
 through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
 not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting
            to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing
     through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be
                      reconciled to God.
 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”


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 New Testament
 RECONCILIATION
Various Reconciliation Practices emerged
             “One on One”
       Matthew 18:15-20 Galatians 6:1-2
       Eucharistic Celebration
                Matthew 5:23-24
              “Communal”
 1 Corinthians 5:1-5      2 Corinthians 2:5-11




                                                 15
New Testament
RECONCILIATION
         Communities held basic truths certain
   Anyone who sinned could be forgiven through the
    ministry of the church
   Forgiveness is rooted in Christ’s victory over sin
   He handed the power on to his Ambassadors of
    Reconciliation
    – Peter Mt 16:19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom of
      heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in
      heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in
      heaven."
    – Disciples Mt 18:18 Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind
      on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose
      on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

                                                             16
  New Testament
  RECONCILIATION
   Initially NO structures, sacred signs or
                     gesture
This in no way means today’s sacrament does
               not stem from Christ
It shows an organic process at work as the
 community, led by the Spirit, celebrates God’s
   forgiveness in different ways, reflecting the
  diverse aspects present within the treasury of
                      grace.


                                                   17
 The Early Church
RECONCILIATION
           The Body of Christ
    Communal and Social dimensions
  Sin as not a matter of hurting God, but of
 wounding the body of Christ present in the
                   Church
Reconciliation was structured so that the
 community celebrated the healing of its
                  member



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 The First Six Centuries
 RECONCILIATION
Marked by hesitancy on the part of the Church
    to offer a post Baptismal experience of
                   forgiveness
     The question was not whether
    God could forgive sins after
             baptism
                 but whether
     the Church could or should
                                                19
The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
           Tension between
               Matthew 18:22
    “Forgive seventy times seven”
                Romans 6:2
       “We have died to sin;
    how could we go on living it?”
The experience of committing serious sin
     after baptism was not the initial
    experience of the early community

                                           20
The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
Time of unparalleled fervor and faith
                  Early Christians
– Embraced the demand of Christian life with
  passionate love.
– Nothing could stand in the way of reaching their eternal
  crown of glory
– The second coming was imminent

 Christianity was an adult reality,
accepted by adults, lived within the
 context of a strong adult support
               group
                                                             21
     The First Six Centuries
     RECONCILIATION
       By the 2nd Century a Gradual Change of Heart
                       Tertullian
            The Church’s power to forgive sins is
            “a second plank after shipwreck.”
              Shepherd of Hermes (c. 140)
    Steering a course between rigorism and complete
                           laxity
   Allowed for forgiveness to be granted when grave sins were
    involved but only once in a person’s lifetime.
   Allowed forgiveness of non-grave sins at the Bishop’s discretion
   The Bishop judged the gravity of the sin
   Normal forms of mortification, that is fasting, almsgiving, prayers
    etc. celebrated the forgiveness
                                                                          22
 The First Six Centuries
 RECONCILIATION
              Third Century
            Persecution Begins
   Decius (250-51) Gallus (253) Valerian (257-58)
   Rock the Church with their intensity
       Martyrdom vs Apostasy
Should apostates be allowed to return
            to the Church?


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The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
      Council of Carthage (251)
           Pope Cornelius & St. Cyprian
Mercy and favor would be granted to those
who denied the faith during persecution but
                only once
        Immediate dispute
       “Severity vs Clemency”
   Novatianus challenged the decision
      resulting eventually in schism

                                              24
The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
                 By the fourth century
   A canonical or ecclesiastical structure emerged
      for the forgiveness of sins after baptism
                  PUBLIC PENANCE
Emphasis was on the process involved in reconciliation
     Unshaken conviction that a sinner could be
  forgiven only through ministry of the community
                    1 Peter 1:15
   Be yourselves holy in all your activity, after the
      model of the Holy One who calls us, since
                    scripture says,
               „Be holy, for I am holy.‟”
                                                    25
The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
Sinner confessed privately to Bishop
   If serious enough penitent was enrollment in the Order of Penitents
   Community then praised God over sinners repentance
   Penitent was excommunicated “removed from main body of
    believers”
   No Eucharist
   Relegated to back of Church. There to greet the community with
    prayers, tears and prostration
   This was coupled with public acts of penitence that could last for years
    or in extreme cases a lifetime.
   Bishop decide when repentance had truly ripened
   Bishop then prayed over penitent and led them back to their prior place
    in the community. This usually occurred on Holy Thursday.
   Reintegration was never complete. Once a penitent always a
    penitent. They were considered “Born Again” to be excluded from
    clerical orders, holding public office. Rehabilitation was ongoing
                                                                         26
The First Six Centuries
RECONCILIATION
The entire church was obliged to take an
  active part in the sinner’s reconciliation
  with God, since the individual member’s
  unity or rupture with God affected the
  community’s holiness.
        By the end of the sixth century this form collapsed
  –   Church membership was increasing but apostolic fervor and
      heroism diminished
  –   People were no longer willing to give up their trade as a
      means of reconciliation
  –   End of persecution weakened community solidarity. No
      longer a minority.
  –   Christ’s coming was no longer seen as imminent
                                                            27
Middle Ages
RECONCILIATION
             Highlighted
  God’s splendor, majesty, kingship
   God was unapproachable, distant,
               omnipotent
Reconciliation emphasized judgement,
    atonement, reparation, ransom



                                   28
Monasticism
RECONCILIATION
Affected the very core of spiritual growth
      among the church’s members
           Spiritual Direction
  Each person had a spiritual companion or soul mate
             with whom they confessed
Not the form of reconciliation we exercise today
    It was a sharing of one’s journey when in
   search of direction, encouragement,
             prayer, discernment

                                                  29
 Monasticism
 RECONCILIATION
Patrick began to offer a conversion
     process in Ireland based on
 gradual growth in spiritual direction
  Monks began to offer forgiveness
 combined with Spiritual direction in the
 guise of ongoing conscience formation
         “Penitential Books”
As Monasticism spread so did the new system of
                   Penance
                                                 30
Monasticism
RECONCILIATION
         After the Germanic invasion
   Columban introduced the system into Europe
  The Monastic structure spread throughout Europe
         Third Council of Toledo (589)
             Condemned the practice
        Synod of French bishops (652)
         Deemed the practice good for all
Spread to Rome where a compromise arose
 – public notorious sin would use public penance
 – private sin would use private penance


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What did it look like?
RECONCILIATION
No order of penitents
   No one time only rule
   No segregation from community
   No public penance
   Confess and receive absolution from priest not bishop
   Absolution was given immediately
   Penance was an honor system
   No more after effects from penitence
   Fostered a gradual process of spiritual conversion and growth
   No distinction made between mortal and venial sins
   The use of penitential books to assist in deciding on penance
   Early penance concentrated on personal healing and reparation
    Later it developed into a judgement and repayment mode

                                                              32
Abuses Developed
RECONCILIATION
                Commutation
       Penitent could commute their
       punishment to another through
        prayers, readings or payment
   Contributed to class distinction because
    the poor could not take advantage of it
   Resulted in buying and selling of
    indulgences

                                          33
Fourth Lateran Council (1215)
RECONCILIATION
The Ritual of Reconciliation in the Irish
             form is canonized
  “Each member of the faithful of both
     sexes who has reached the age of
    discretion must confess their sins at
  least once a year to their parish priest,
   and accomplish within the measure of
     their means, the penance which is
                 imposed.”
                                         34
Controversy:Contritionists vs Absolutionists
RECONCILIATION
The relationship that the actions of the
   penitent and actions of the priest
     have on the forgiveness of sin
               Penitent
  Sorrow, Confession, Acts of Penance
                Priest
               Absolution
  In the name of Christ and the Church

                                         35
    The Controversy
    RECONCILIATION
                      Contritionists
        Peter Abelard (1142) & Peter Lombard (1160)
   Sincere sorrow motivated by the love of God was the cause of
    forgiveness
   The priests absolution is more a statement of the fact
    forgiveness has occurred than the granting of forgiveness
                     Absolutionists
          Hugh (1141) and Victor (1173) of St. Victor
   Saw the priests absolution as the proper use of Christ’s power
    known as “the power of the keys”
   This power was used to admit or exclude people from
    forgiveness, rather than from community.


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    Solutions
    RECONCILIATION
                       CONTRITIONIST
                      Thomas Aquinas (1274)
   The individual’s personal actions were the matter for the
    sacrament.
   The ecclesial action was the form.
   Both were necessary for the efficacy of the sacrament
                         ABSOLUTIST
                        Duns Scotus (1308)
   Forgiveness is received through the priests absolution
   The persons sorrow simply opened their heart to receive it
   A priest is required for forgiveness



                                                                 37
The Decision
RECONCILIATION
              Council of Trent
Advocates the absolutionist position of
               Duns Scotus
Maintains the judicial importance of the
    priests absolution granting role
– He judges the penitents disposition
– Imparts penance as penalty for sin
– Pronounces absolution
               Penitent must then
– Confess the number of mortal sins “integral confession”
– Venial sin can be forgiven in other penitential practices
                                                              38
RECONCILIATION
              Today
  God is portrayed in his intimacy
     Face-to-face confession,
Penance services filled with sensitivity
    and close experience of God
     Reconciliation is more
       “Intimate Encounter”


                                           39
Vatican II (1973)
RECONCILIATION
        Sin ruptures relationship:
  – Our link with God
  – Union with community in the church
Forgiveness requires a restoration and
       healing of broken bonds
     Sacrament of Reconciliation
  – Cleanses our sins through Christ’s redeeming
    blood
  – Makes us one with God
  – Reconnects us with Christ’s Body, the Church

                                                   40
 Vatican II (1973)
 RECONCILIATION
      Sacrament of Reconciliation
 The Church is represented by the Priest
                  confessor
 The words of absolution officially signify
    our restoration to full healthy status
         within the Catholic Church
This need to be reunited and reconciled with the
  Church is why someone who sins in a serious
  way is required, under ordinary conditions, to
   go to confession before receiving Eucharist
                                              41
    Penance is a Sacrament of the Church
    RECONCILIATION
                  Given to us by Christ.
                    It restores Grace!
   Provides a uniquely rich and protected way for us to
    confess our failings, acknowledge our guilt and
    unburden our anxiety
   We actually hear in clear and certain words that our
    sins are forgiven
   Talking out our problems with a friend can comfort
    and reassure us when we are burdened but they can
    not announce God’s forgiveness with certitude


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