Friday, March 5, 2010

Jesuit Says, "Every Time That A Priest Is Seated In The Confessional, He Is There As A Judge"

Casuistry is the study of the law which is administered in the confessional. It is by no mere metaphor that the confessional is called "the tribunal of penance." The Council of Trent, speaking with dogmatic precision, says that Christ being about to ascend into Heaven "left priests behind in place of Himself as judges, that all crimes, amounting to mortal sin, into which Christ's faithful ever fell, might be brought under their cognisance, in order that, using the power of the keys, they might pronounce sentence of remission or retention"; and further, that priests " could not exercise this power of judgment without examination of the case "; and again, in the ninth canon of the same Session, the Council anathematises "any one who shall say that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act." Every time that a priest is seated in the confessional, he is there as a judge. He must, then, possess jurisdiction as well as order; otherwise his acts are invalid, and his absolution goes for nothing. He must be in fact either the ecclesiastical superior of his penitent, or the delegate of that superior. Being a judge, he is bound to decide according to the law of the court where he sits — the court of conscience it is called. The law there current presents many nice points for decision. The study of these, as I have said, is casuistry. It is essential to the training of a priest. It is matter of professional interest to him, and occasionally of keen discussion, as the treatment of wounds is to a surgeon.
Link (here) to the essay entitled Casuistry by Fr. Joseph Rickaby, S.J.

1 comment:

Tisha Sunico said...

I absolutely disagree with the jesuit author who wrote this. The priest-confessor is NOT the judge whenever he sits in the confessional. If you say that "everytime a priest is seated in the confessional, he is there as a judge" means the priest is playing god. The priest is never the judge, God is. The priest is only an instrument of God's grace. It means the grace comes directly from God through the priest and not from the priest. Whenever I confess, it is to God whom I confess through the priest. A priest must have HUMILITY to be able to understand that he is only an instrument of God, an instrument of God's grace NOT the source of God's grace. This is how I understand the seal of confession: the seal of confession is a reminder to priests that they can never tell the sins of the penitent under ANY reasons or circumstance unless with permission from the penitent to prevent spiritual abuse and most importantly TO REMIND THEM THAT THE PENITENT CONFESSED TO GOD AND NOT TO HIM; TO REMIND HIM TO HAVE HUMILITY BECAUSE HE IS A SERVANT, AN INSTRUMENT OF GOD.

A priest whenever he is ordained, prostrate on the floor. The reason a priest prostrate on the floor is to remind him that he is dust; he is nothing without God. Second, the priest prostrate on the floor to remind him that HE IS THE FLOOR THAT CONNECTS TO THE PILLARS OF THE CHURCH; HE IS THE FLOOR THAT PEOPLE WILL STEP INTO TO BE ABLE REACH GOD.