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 Post subject: Penance?
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 4:53 pm 
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I'm not sure if there is anyone that can answer this here but... I figured I would try.

I have a character who is Catholic. he falls in love with a girl who is a murderer/terrorist and stays with her after he finds out because it's not entirely her fault. Lame summary - but nonetheless.

First: he would consider it a sin to aid and abett her and would confess it. What would be the priest's reply and penance?

Also, what would be the penance/reply for willfully lying to protect her?

I know I could as a priest but... I don't really know any yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Penance?
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 5:34 pm 
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My Dad was a Catholic before he became a Christian, so I will ask him for you. Not sure if he'll know what the penance given would be though, but I can see if he does. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Penance?
PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 6:32 pm 
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My dad was similarly raised devout catholic before becoming a Christian so I can ask him, too. But I did a little Googling and these articles might give you some ideas/point you in the right direction. It seems to me, reparation and an "appropriate" penance are the goals?

https://www.ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur235.htm

https://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=270027

And on another thread:
Person A: "I always thought that it was against canon law for a priest to give a penitent a penance that would force them to divulge their sins to other people."
Person B: "Such was my line of thought.....even if not "in canon law" such would seem to be not the kind of penance one could give....for the reason just mentioned. While well intended --Not so sure such is a possible penance."

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 Post subject: Re: Penance?
PostPosted: Sat May 27, 2017 12:30 am 
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Thank you so much, I look forward to what you learn from your father!

And thank you for the research. I am actually left with VERY limited internet/computer access, so I can't do the research myself at all right now - so your help was invaluable. Thank you for taking the time.

However, as on that Catholic Answers Forum thread, in the instances where it is bothering the character's conscience and he would talk to his confessor... What would the confessor say? Oh, I dearly wish I lived closer to the church....

But what would the confessor say when my characters asks him if he should lie to protect the girl? *groans* I am confusing myself!

Sorry, you are very helpful.

On a side note.... I was right about there not being much help here: 'raised Catholic before becoming Christian'? Sometimes it is so very easy to forget that Protestants tend to separate Catholics from Christians. .....and I don't mean to offend - I'm mostly laughing at myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Penance?
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:29 pm 
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It amuses me to see the distinction between Christians and Catholic here, which I think is an artificial distinction in many cases. Just as there are people who may label themselves as Catholic without being saved, so there are many Protestants who label themselves as Christian without having accepted Christ.

Now, for the actual questions, it likely depends on the priest, because they're all individuals with their own personalities and ideas as well. There are a lot of stereotypes about priests, but I think a good priest would challenge him on his decision to stay with and help her. Is that a path that truly honors God and lives according to His will? In Catholic doctrine, it is possible to lose one's salvation for a time, so that's something your character will have to wrestle with. If continuing to aid her would be a continued sin, then I think the priest would likely challenge him to stop sinning. Typically penance, from my understanding, involves prayers, fasting, or giving to the church. However, this is a very unusual type of confession, so it'll be a lot different.

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 Post subject: Re: Penance?
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Varon wrote:
It amuses me to see the distinction between Christians and Catholic here, which I think is an artificial distinction in many cases. Just as there are people who may label themselves as Catholic without being saved, so there are many Protestants who label themselves as Christian without having accepted Christ.


It is sort of amusing, yes. To be Catholic is to be Christian - or it should be. If one really lives it. The difference is more between protestantism and Catholicism, and there the differences are a bit more than 'superficial'. It is mostly amusing to me how Catholics are not considered Christian.... *sighs*

...although, out of curiosity, what in the world do you mean by 'may label themselves as Catholic without being saved'?

Varon wrote:
Now, for the actual questions, it likely depends on the priest, because they're all individuals with their own personalities and ideas as well. There are a lot of stereotypes about priests, but I think a good priest would challenge him on his decision to stay with and help her. Is that a path that truly honors God and lives according to His will? In Catholic doctrine, it is possible to lose one's salvation for a time, so that's something your character will have to wrestle with. If continuing to aid her would be a continued sin, then I think the priest would likely challenge him to stop sinning. Typically penance, from my understanding, involves prayers, fasting, or giving to the church. However, this is a very unusual type of confession, so it'll be a lot different.


Ah....that makes sense. As to honouring God - that is an excellent point and one I hadn't actually thought of. using his relationship with her to cause him to grow his faith beyond schoolboy catchesis and practice would be an excellent plot...not device but, hopefully you understand. Sorry, rambling.

Another question: would the priest condemn the girl to death? Because if my character stops helping her, she will be murdered by her employers. It's a bit like the situations in the Holocaust: is it wrong to lie to save the lives of the Jews one is hiding? ...the correlatins are weak, but that is how my character would see it.

And yes, my character would consider himself to be in mortal sin - possibly. I haven't decided yet whether he thinks he has a choice in lying or not. he might not see himself as being in a state of mortal sin - only venial sin - because of the mitigating circumstances. The Lord knows our hearts, and my character would trust in that.

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"Lords of the Mountains, come down from your heights.
Come down to the valleys beneath diamond nights."


"Maids of the Valleys, we come from our heights
To dance in your forests beneath the sky's lights."


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