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By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky, Catholic Culture, April 25, 2022
Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. …
In His first appearance to His assembled Apostles after the Resurrection, Jesus breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (Jn. 20:22-23) These newly ordained priests, therefore, became His first confessors. Jesus sends them to hear confessions and to forgive sins in His name.
[Can mortal sin be forgiven outside of Confession? St. Thomas teaches that while fear of God’s punishment is praiseworthy, it is insufficient outside the Sacrament of Penance to secure the graces that remove the guilt of mortal sin. Only in response to perfect contrition—sorrow because we have offended an all-loving God—do we receive the necessary graces that blot out the guilt of mortal sin. It is noble to strive for perfect contrition, but we should not presume its attainment. The graces of the Sacrament of Penance elevate imperfect contrition to perfect contrition and provide the certainty of the forgiveness of mortal sin.] …
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