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Good morning, Sister.

Apologies for the delay. I trust you are well.

Concerning John 20:19-23:

‘In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, “Peace be with you,” and, after saying this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord, and he said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” After saying this he breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone's sins, they are retained.”’

You have written:

‘I'm not too sure what Jesus meant by this statement in John. It sure does sound like Jesus meant that the Apostles could forgive sin.’

I'm trying to put different thoughts together and it always seems complicated to me.
Here they are:

Jesus was acting as God.
Only God could forgive sins of man.
The Apostles were men...how could they possibly forgive sin?
Jesus also could not have meant for them to forgive personally those that sin against them (apostles) personally because that would deny Jesus' teaching about forgiving others....We must forgive, not retain the forgiveness.

I don't see how we could be sure what Jesus meant.
The letters were written first and the gospels many years later.
Jesus might have meant something we cannot fathom.
As Mungo posted above, even the ECFs taught that we must confess our sins...
but they do not state how this is to be done.
In fact, confession changed from the beginning and so this leads me to question the practice.

The notion that the ‘authority to either forgive people's sins or to retain them was given only to the disciples by Christ after he had died and risen, before he ascended into heaven, and before Pentecost’ (reference Post 123; my emphasis) makes sense only if we assume that Yeshua (ʿalayhi as-salām) was simply an apocalyptic prophet – one of many in his day – who did not expect the world to survive the lifetime of his contemporaries.

You and I are agreed that Yeshua intended the Church – however we define that term – to endure through the ages.

I don't understand what this has to do with the question at hand.
Jesus was Jesus, no matter when He spoke, He spoke with authority.
And it's obvious, as you state below, that this particular command (and some others) was given only to the Apostles.

Knowing that he would not be always be with his Church – visibly – Yeshua delegated his power to the Apostles; a power that could – and indeed must have – be passed on to their successors and agents, to be exercised for as long as sinning is a way of life. This is the meaning that the Church has always given to this pericope.

I must say that not all priests are in agreement with purgatory but they're all in agreement regarding confession as is practiced in the CC. (at least the few priests I know).
Please see my post in the thread ‘Development of Doctrine’. It concerns the need for confession, and follows on from this post.
OK.
 
Shalom, Sister.

You write:

‘I guess the big question is: Is confession necessary for sins to be forgiven for salvation?’

Let’s start by looking at the nature of Divine Love:

In 1 John 4:8 we read that the Beloved is love (agape). I see no reason to disagree with this!

His love is expressed in two ways; the first being that which creates and preserves.

As you know, Genesis tells us that man was the last to be created on earth; perhaps in a matter of days after the first of creation (as some believe); or many millions of years afterwards (as others believe). Either way, the Creator’s preserving love was – and is – bestowed on all created things, without discrimination.

The Catholic Church teaches that the Beloved’s existence can be known with certainty: ‘In the light of human reason by those things which have been made.’ (Denzinger 1806; cf. 1785 and 1391). Created things – held in being by His preserving love – would have remained the only sign of the Beloved’s existence, had He not chosen to reveal Himself to humankind; and to establish personal relationships with each one of us. He does this by means of a different expression of His love; namely, sanctifying love (known also as ‘Grace’).

Romans 1:20 teaches the above. God can be seen in His creation.
20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Colossians 1:17
teaches that God holds all things together.
17He [Jesus] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

We also know that God's grace is given to us.
To all a sufficient amount of grace needed for belief, but not all will accept that grace,
and to others grace of obey and follow Him. (for those who accept His grace).

By His grace we have been saved.
Ephesians 2:8
According to the Council of Trent, sanctifying love: ‘(Transforms) an unjust person into a just person and from an enemy into a friend (of God).’ (Denzinger 799).

Sanctifying love – by which we are justified, and given a claim to the inheritance of Heaven – can most certainly be lost; and indeed is lost (through a process of gradual diminishment) with every grievous sin.

I can accept the above although I call it grace and not sanctifying love - but that's just wording.
Grace is sanctifying love also, and much more.

This truth is the very foundation of the Christian concept of the Fall of humankind, and its need for Redemption through Christ.

As you know, Genesis tells us that the Beloved took the first man, and settled him in the Garden of Eden; to cultivate and take care of it. This man was given a command: ‘You are free to eat of all the trees in the garden. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat.’ (Gen. 2:16-17). In a footnote to these verses the producers of the Jerusalem Bible (the Dominican scholars of the École Biblique de Jérusalem) write:

‘This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, will usurp. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen creatures do not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognise his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.’ (‘The New Jerusalem Bible’).
Interesting.
An attack on God's sovereignty.
Not disobedience toward a rule given by God?
This is how most understand Genesis.

The CC believes that Adam and Eve had preternatural gifts.

PRETERNATURAL GIFTS

Favors granted by God above and beyond the powers or capacities of the nature that receives them but not beyond those of all created nature. Such gifts perfect nature but do not carry it beyond the limits of created nature. They include three great privileges to which human beings have no title--infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and bodily immortality. Adam and Eve possessed these gifts before the Fall.

source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35763


Personally, I've always understood that Adam was not to eat of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil because, thus far, he knew only good. He was pure and full of God's love and knew only the good in life.
Eating of the tree would give him KNOWLEDGE of evil. When one has knowledge of something, he is also capable of carrying it out. The eating of the fruit introduced Adam to evil,,,thus the knowledge of nakedness, the knowledge of wrong-doing, etc.

Of course, this doesn't explain WHY Adam ate of the fruit to begin with since he did not have concupiscense, or the sin nature as Protestants call it. The concept of the Dominican scholars in the Jerusalem Bible would have a better explanation as to why Adam ate of the fruit.

The Dominicans speak of moral discrimination. And that man already possessed this moral discrimination.
If so, it is possible that Adam came to a decision on his own regarding whether or not the fruit would be good or evil.
They then go on to say that this would not have been enough to cause the fall, but that Adam decided ON HIS OWN that the eating of the fruit would NOT be evil---thus deciding for himself what is good and what is evil.

Have I understood properly?
I'd have to digest this a little more, but wouldn't it then mean that God put this evil into Adam?
The evil of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil --- a moral decision that could only be possessed by God.
Pride – ever an assault on the Beloved’s sovereignty – is the root of all sin.

Agreed.


To be continued...

C. S. Lewis writes: ‘Pride is a universal human problem. Everyone suffers from it to some degree. When we have exalted ourselves in pride, God does not want to punish us and bring us low but rather to forgive and restore us. He says again and again in Scripture, humble yourselves, and I will exalt you. This gives us hope and encouragement. God takes pleasure in our efforts to humble ourselves, and he loves to bless and exalt the humble. For just as pride is the root of all sin, so “humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue,” as John Chrysostom once remarked.’ (‘Pride and Humility’).

A disgruntled Roman legionnaire is said to have scribbled on some wall: ‘Ego semper in excremento, solum altitudo variat.’ (‘I will always be in excrement, only the height varies.’ – polite translation). It is the same with pride. It is always with us – to a greater or lesser extent.

Note Lewis’ words: ‘When we have exalted ourselves in pride, God does not want to punish us and bring us low but rather to forgive and restore us. He says again and again in Scripture, humble yourselves, and I will exalt you.’

Lewis is, of course, correct.

When we sin, we break the very first of the Beloved’s commandments: ‘You shall have no others gods to rival me.’ (Exodus: 20:3). When we sin, we make gods of ourselves. In effect, we say to the Beloved: ‘I don’t give a hoot about your Way, it is my way that matters. Not your Will be done on Earth, but mine!’

Sanctifying love is never a forced love; if it were, then we would all be holy. The devil himself would be holy. No, sanctifying love has to be accepted, freely. And how do we demonstrate our acceptance? By submitting to the Beloved’s Will; by obeying His Laws; by meeting His conditions.

Continued:
 
C. S. Lewis writes: ‘Pride is a universal human problem. Everyone suffers from it to some degree. When we have exalted ourselves in pride, God does not want to punish us and bring us low but rather to forgive and restore us. He says again and again in Scripture, humble yourselves, and I will exalt you. This gives us hope and encouragement. God takes pleasure in our efforts to humble ourselves, and he loves to bless and exalt the humble. For just as pride is the root of all sin, so “humility is the root, mother, nurse, foundation, and bond of all virtue,” as John Chrysostom once remarked.’ (‘Pride and Humility’).

A disgruntled Roman legionnaire is said to have scribbled on some wall: ‘Ego semper in excremento, solum altitudo variat.’ (‘I will always be in excrement, only the height varies.’ – polite translation). It is the same with pride. It is always with us – to a greater or lesser extent.

Note Lewis’ words: ‘When we have exalted ourselves in pride, God does not want to punish us and bring us low but rather to forgive and restore us. He says again and again in Scripture, humble yourselves, and I will exalt you.’

Lewis is, of course, correct.

When we sin, we break the very first of the Beloved’s commandments: ‘You shall have no others gods to rival me.’ (Exodus: 20:3). When we sin, we make gods of ourselves. In effect, we say to the Beloved: ‘I don’t give a hoot about your Way, it is my way that matters. Not your Will be done on Earth, but mine!’

Sanctifying love is never a forced love; if it were, then we would all be holy. The devil himself would be holy. No, sanctifying love has to be accepted, freely. And how do we demonstrate our acceptance? By submitting to the Beloved’s Will; by obeying His Laws; by meeting His conditions.

Continued:
Great post.
Agreed on all, especially what I highlighted and underlined.
 
Romans 1:20 teaches the above. God can be seen in His creation.
20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Colossians 1:17 teaches that God holds all things together.
17He [Jesus] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

We also know that God's grace is given to us.
To all a sufficient amount of grace needed for belief, but not all will accept that grace,
and to others grace of obey and follow Him. (for those who accept His grace).

By His grace we have been saved.
Ephesians 2:8


I can accept the above although I call it grace and not sanctifying love - but that's just wording.
Grace is sanctifying love also, and much more.


Interesting.
An attack on God's sovereignty.
Not disobedience toward a rule given by God?
This is how most understand Genesis.

The CC believes that Adam and Eve had preternatural gifts.

PRETERNATURAL GIFTS

Favors granted by God above and beyond the powers or capacities of the nature that receives them but not beyond those of all created nature. Such gifts perfect nature but do not carry it beyond the limits of created nature. They include three great privileges to which human beings have no title--infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and bodily immortality. Adam and Eve possessed these gifts before the Fall.

source: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/index.cfm?id=35763


Personally, I've always understood that Adam was not to eat of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil because, thus far, he knew only good. He was pure and full of God's love and knew only the good in life.
Eating of the tree would give him KNOWLEDGE of evil. When one has knowledge of something, he is also capable of carrying it out. The eating of the fruit introduced Adam to evil,,,thus the knowledge of nakedness, the knowledge of wrong-doing, etc.

Of course, this doesn't explain WHY Adam ate of the fruit to begin with since he did not have concupiscense, or the sin nature as Protestants call it. The concept of the Dominican scholars in the Jerusalem Bible would have a better explanation as to why Adam ate of the fruit.

The Dominicans speak of moral discrimination. And that man already possessed this moral discrimination.
If so, it is possible that Adam came to a decision on his own regarding whether or not the fruit would be good or evil.
They then go on to say that this would not have been enough to cause the fall, but that Adam decided ON HIS OWN that the eating of the fruit would NOT be evil---thus deciding for himself what is good and what is evil.

Have I understood properly?
I'd have to digest this a little more, but wouldn't it then mean that God put this evil into Adam?
The evil of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil --- a moral decision that could only be possessed by God.


Agreed.


To be continued...
Hi Sis.

Let me come back to you on this. Recent death in the family, and things are a wee bit topsy-turvy.

Very best regards, blessings.
 
I'm trying to put different thoughts together and it always seems complicated to me.
Here they are:

Jesus was acting as God.
Only God could forgive sins of man.
The Apostles were men...how could they possibly forgive sin?
Jesus also could not have meant for them to forgive personally those that sin against them (apostles) personally because that would deny Jesus' teaching about forgiving others....We must forgive, not retain the forgiveness.

I don't see how we could be sure what Jesus meant.
The letters were written first and the gospels many years later.
Jesus might have meant something we cannot fathom.
As Mungo posted above, even the ECFs taught that we must confess our sins...
but they do not state how this is to be done.
In fact, confession changed from the beginning and so this leads me to question the practice.



I don't understand what this has to do with the question at hand.
Jesus was Jesus, no matter when He spoke, He spoke with authority.
And it's obvious, as you state below, that this particular command (and some others) was given only to the Apostles.



I must say that not all priests are in agreement with purgatory but they're all in agreement regarding confession as is practiced in the CC. (at least the few priests I know).

OK.
Please see post above. Cheers.
 
Hi Sis.

Let me come back to you on this. Recent death in the family, and things are a wee bit topsy-turvy.

Very best regards, blessings.
No problem N...
It took me over a month's time.
Too much going on.
I'm sorry for your loss...
4 persons I know have passed away in the past 2 months.
 
LOL.
Yorkshire expression. Light hearted greeting, used between friends. In Nottingham it would be 'me dook' (duck). Strange folk, these English 🤪.
Oh.
Like my upstate NY friends who said "Hey Buddy" to a NYC cop...trying to get his attention for information.
My friend was darn lucky I was present...
We don't say Hey Buddy in NYC...
Not unless we're looking for trouble.
😳
 
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